The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience

Lesson 6 of 34

The Best Wedding Photography Marketing

 

The Complete Wedding Photographer Experience

Lesson 6 of 34

The Best Wedding Photography Marketing

 

Lesson Info

The Best Wedding Photography Marketing

Okay, we're gonna get started in the section on the best wedding photography marketing. And I'm gonna state the obvious. The obvious is there is no one way to market your business. If you are doing something and it's working, and it's getting you the type of clients and weddings that you like and enjoy and are pushing your brand forward, continue doing what you're doing. Now, we all have our own approach, and I'm not saying that my approach is better than anybody else's approach, but I do think that we can learn from each other. I learn from other photographers on a constant basis about what has been effective in regards to marketing, maybe, perhaps in traditional forms of marketing, social media marketing, or even client to client marketing. So, having said that, what you're gonna see is an aggregate to my approach. And in future lessons we're gonna get into maybe smaller minutiae in regards to how I market after shoots, specifically, but today we're gonna get into a big, global block...

of how I do that. Now, in order to keep this as streamlined as possible, because marketing can go in 500 different directions, and I would rather you guys walk away with three concrete things that will act as a foundation so you guys can fly off from there, than me trying to do 1,000 different things. Although, when we get to the Q&A, at the end, if I didn't address something that you guys really want to know, please, please, please, ask me. So in light of what those three sections would be, I'm gonna give you an overview of each, we're gonna get into the logistics of each, and then we're gonna conclude with the application of each. You guys are gonna see what I do and specifically how I do it with examples. In future lessons you're gonna see how I do this after we participate in The Knot wedding. And on that note, for people who are kinda joining in at different points of time, just as a refresher, I am honored to be The Knot wedding photographer. I think this is an opportunity of great and grand proportions. I'm gonna get into a little bit why some people might perceive it to be different in a future slide. We're gonna get to that a little bit later. But what I want to do is to give you a front row seat to every step of my approach. And every step will be, how I shoot, why I shoot, how I present it, and then how I empower my clients and creative teams to do so. Because over the course of the next 30 days, you're going to see how the marketing machine really pushes things into momentum. This is really a first time that I've ever been able to do this. Because it's one thing for me to stand up here and say, "Hey guys, I really think you should do this." Then it's another thing for me to say, guys, "Hey, I think you should do this, "and here's how I'm doing it in real time." And then it's an entirely different thing to say, "Here's how I do it, here's how we're doing it "in real time, and here are the results." And this is gonna be the beauty of this particular bootcamp. We're gonna see beginning, middle, and end. Now, one thing I want to note before diving into the details, is you will hear me use the word evangelists. When I refer to my efforts, when I refer to things that I do, I use the term marketing or marketer. But when I refer to outside marketing efforts that reside squarely with evangelists, I refer to them as such. Now an evangelist can be described as zealous advocates of something. I don't want you to have marketers, I want you to have evangelists. I was about to say, "I want you to have zealots." No, no, no. I want you to have evangelists who are very zealous in pushing forward what you do. Basically I want you to create evangelists. Because their endorsements are far more powerful than traditional modes of marketing and furthermore, they're so much more cost-effective. And this is how we're gonna do it. On a side note, and I don't have this written in my notes, but I think it's gonna be important to lay out. If somebody is encountering this course and they're thinking, "Oh well that works for her," or, "Oh, that's what she does," or, "She could do that because..." I believe that there are two types of people. There are people who have reasons and there are people who have results. People can find reasons as to why this marketing approach works for me and would never work for them, and then there's other people who can say, "I think I can do what she does and make it better "because it's going to be my own," and then you get results. I started my business, I shot my very first wedding in October of 2006. I shot that first wedding for $1,000. And I thought this was just the biggest thing to ever happen in my life, and it was. But in the course of... And then I shot two more weddings in the course of a month, for a total of three weddings in October of 2006. In 2007 we booked 38 weddings, all at much higher price points. Now, I say that because we didn't spend a dime on marketing. We completely shifted form three separate markets of people who could potentially book us and we didn't spend any money, and our profitability was off the charts, at least for me, as a young, single entrepreneur in Orange County, trying to start my business. So now that you know that I didn't have credence in the marketing sector, I just left law school, I also didn't have money because I just left law school. I had just gotten married and my husband was with a startup company, so we didn't have any money, and I was working part-time. That's the backstory in a nutshell version of how we started the business. The marketing approach that I took then, 10 years later, even though things have changed my business dramatically, are still the same things that I do, because it works. I am not saying that if I had the opportunity, perhaps if I had money, perhaps if JD had this wonderful, great job that I can invest buying a traditional print ad in a magazine, maybe that would've changed my opportunities and the outcome, but that was not an option for me. So if having thousands of money... Thousands of dollars. I was like, that does not make sense. Thousands of dollars to invest in marketing, if that is not for you, then maybe you can apply some of the things that I'm going to teach about. And on a side side note, I think it is just as valuable for you to know what you don't want to do as it is for what you actually want to do. Because if I'm sitting here and everything I'm saying is pushing you, you're being repelled by the thing that I'm saying, that is just fine, because it's going to eventually push you closer to the thing that you actually want to do and how to apply it to your business. Now, having said that, we're gonna take a three part marketing approach. This is mine, and this is how it's going to unfold. Or, this is... Actually, here's the thing I'm gonna say. This marketing approach is no longer mine. It was never mine to begin with, but the more that I shared it with other photographers, it became ours. And I hope that after walking through this, you partake in a tiny bit so that it's no longer one way of doing it, but a collective way that we can all make each other better as a result. So part one. Client evangelists. Part two. Creative team evangelists. And part three of my approach would be personal marketing. So now what we're gonna do is we're gonna get into section one of three, and underneath each section there are gonna be sub-components and explanations. So just in case you're taking notes... Because you guys all know... I've mentioned it before... I was like one pen shy of a pocket protector, I graduated 4.0 from college because I was like, "I'm gonna be valedictorian of note-takers." So now that I... Some people just write notes, but I like organization, I like to follow, so if I get off my notes, just let me know, be like, "Where are we, at what point?" Because I want you to go home, as you're watching this online, to look at it and say, "Oh, I see how she connected the dots." And if I'm missing it, please help me. So, part one. We're gonna start with client evangelists. Now, we all want word-of-mouth referrals. We love it. It validates us. We think it's powerful for our business. Now, the question becomes, how do we get word-of-mouth referrals? How do we go through and get people talking about us in a way that we want? The first thing I suggest is manage client expectation. How do you manage client expectation? You exceed client expectation. If you want people talking about how great you are, you must over-deliver on every count. Because if you just deliver, people will think they got exactly what they paid for. But if you over-deliver, it empowers them to say really nice things about you. So how do we manage expectations? I have seen on wedding forums, brides are just like, "I can't believe that it's been a week "and I haven't seen my wedding photos." I'm just like, "What?" And I don't think that's the fault of the bride. I think it's the fault of the photographer for not educating the bride how long he or she might need to process the images. So when I talk about managing expectation, what I mean to do is, I know, and we're gonna get into what my post-processing workflow looks like in a future lesson, but I know that my clients will see their images about two to two and a half weeks after the wedding day. But I tell my clients that they're going to see their photos three to four weeks after the wedding day. So I know that I'm going to over-deliver on a promise that I've already cushioned for myself. After an engagement session, I tell my clients, you will see your photos in about two to two and a half weeks, when I know the photos will be online a week to a week and a half later. So these small things. It can be even as small as, when I end an engagement session I tell my clients, "I'll post a sneak-peek in about a week." And they think, "Oh that's amazing, great, awesome." And the next day I posted a sneak-peek. We're really just shifting small things. We're really padding how we interact with them, but we're finding ways to create connections with them. And I'm gonna get more about this in the future, but after an engagement session... I'm probably getting ahead of my notes, but it's okay. After the engagement session, because it fits right in, is after... I said this, for the third time over, after an engagement session, I send them the gallery and I give them the downloading information and they usually email back, "Thank you so much." At minimum, they'll say, "Thank you so much." Couple days later, I email and I say, "Hey, would you mind telling me "which photo was your favorite?" This really gives insight into how we should approach your wedding day photography. This will give me and JD a way to figure out what you prefer. When in actuality what I'm doing, is I want to get their favorite because I'm going to order a print, either a canvas print or a pop-out print from White House Custom Color. And I drop-ship it to my clients. So I have managed their expectation by not saying that they were going to get a surprise canvas from me, but I've exceeded their expectation by sending it to them, even though I've already calculated those costs into my profitability, and I know, this is par of the course. This is what I do. But far be it from us to include a canvas print in the collection and then we're like so bummed that they didn't say thank you about the canvas print. They paid for it. You know, when's the last time you wrote a thank you note to the guy who sold you a car? You just got this transactional service. But if you go out of your way, if he throws in car mats, or like, the extended warranty, you're like, "Wow, this is amazing." Manage expectations so you can exceed expectations. Now, image turnaround. We talked about how I can control, manage expectations by image turnaround times. Also, how many images are delivered. So one thing that I wanna say is, I will tell a client, when somebody signs a contract with me, I itemize the things that are included in each collection, and I itemize that a client will get about 50 and 55 photos after an engagement session. But I know that I usually deliver 60 to 65, right? So I'm gonna pad the session. And this works for me two ways. That if I encountered a particularly hard engagement session where I just couldn't get what I needed, and I deliver on the 50 to 55, I fulfilled my contractual duty. But if I can get to that number that I really like, which is my consistent number... Now your numbers will be different. I get it. But for me, my sweet spot is that, I can get 60 to that I'm really proud of, that I feel are solid pieces to start marketing my services, what they get when they see this, and I make note of it when I email them, like, "Hey, engagement sessions usually have "between 50 and 55 images, but we had so much fun, "I got such great images, I couldn't get down "any less than 66." I have managed their expectations to exceed their expectations. That makes them feel, what? Awesome. Great. Good-looking. Happy. Portfolio. And all I did was cushion myself to ensure that they felt better about it. And I also just talked about client gifts. Now I did talk to you about asking clients about what their favorite image was. But also, included in the cost of each collection that a client gets, is at the end of the year, it's a surprise. But at the end of the year, I send them a wooden box filled with 5x7 prints mounted on styrene foam so that it's kind of like a curated version of my favorite photos. And they're between eight and 10 photos. So they get a wooden box, they slide open the top and they just bring out pieces of their favorite photos from the wedding day. By the time the year ends, I usually know what their favorites are because they've created an album. So they kind of gave me a cheat sheet to what they absolutely loved, and then of those great things, and this is the beautiful piece of this marketing component, is I order them in November, they are delivered to my clients in early December, and guess who's over at the newlyweds' house over the holidays? Guests, friends, family. And what are my clients having out as their new, surprise thing from their wedding? A wooden box, full of 5x7 mounted prints that can stand on their own, or against the box, or just simply as something on their coffee table. It is marketing that goes such a long way. When somebody walks into a house and they see a 24x36 canvas print or a pop-out print on the wall, it's like, "Hello, can I have a billboard in your apartment? "Thank you." So these are small things that we can do to manage expectations and then exceed expectations. Now, when I refer to things like a quick turnaround, this has completely shifted in light of social media. 10 years ago, Facebook was still... I'm totally aging myself right now. 10 years ago Facebook was prevalent, but it was heavily prevalent in the collegiate arena, not so much in the social arena. And Twitter wasn't even... Gosh, I feel like I should stop saying this stuff. Twitter, Instagram, Vine, I mean all of it was not available. So people were seeing their photos probably the next day when people were uploading their digital prints and their digital images, things of that nature. But what I was doing then, which is what I still do now, which I feel like is very, very powerful, is as the guests are eating dinner, usually that's a time where a photographer has 35 to 45 minutes to themselves to eat. I will eat and make a slideshow, a same-day slideshow. Because I want my clients to see their images for the first time from me. I don't want them to end the wedding, go back into their hotel suite, and as the bride is surfing Facebook, the only photos that she's tagged in are her on the dance floor after she's drank too much, ate too much, and is sweaty. Because her first experience seeing herself on her wedding day will be not the most complimentary. I want her to see photos from me first. Heavily curated. Now here's the thing. Not every bride will go and see a slideshow. I understand that. However, I will have a slideshow set up on a laptop, similar to this, on a bar table similar to like this. JD will take the bar table from the cocktail hour that's no longer being used, he will bring it into the reception area, we put little candles, we might get a little flower piece that's no longer being used, we set up this, and people will look at it, and even if the bride doesn't see it, they'll go up to the bride, "Oh, Micaela, you look so pretty. "We saw your wedding photos." She's like, "Really?" So people are validating your work, they're letting her know that she made a good decision hiring you because she looks so great, and that's the first interaction they have with your photos. Now, I also have a sneak-peek the following day. Now, I wait. I know that some photographers will tag their clients the night of the wedding, which is fine, that's great, as long as you're starting that conversation, but most of the guests are tagging the clients on the night of the wedding, early the next day. I wait 'til the afternoon, because I want my photos to be at the top, right? I don't want mine to get buried under hundreds of iPhone photos. So it is a strategic decision but I still, because she's already seen the slideshow, or at least has been validated, am I speaking too fast? I feel like I'm just (makes speeding engine sound). I'm like, "Sold!" Okay, I want her experience to be night-of with me. I want her experience the next day to be the next afternoon with me. And hopefully what I'm doing is I'm going to be sharing two to three sneak-peek photos and I will always include a horizontal with room because ideally, if I can lobby for the masthead and the profile picture, it's a win. That's marketing to her entire audience. So we do the sneak-peek the next day. Now about a week and a half later I will do a blog post. And this is after the images have been processed. Like I mentioned, in the future lesson we're gonna go through that workflow and how we actually make that possible. Now, when I write the blog post, I leverage that on my chosen forms of social media. Because I am so active in social media, I seem to attract clients who value the same thing. One of the things I wanna point out is that the engagement session in Los Angeles or The Knot Dream couple, Samantha and Taylor shared sneak-peek photos from their shoot both on Instagram and on Facebook. Between the two of them, just on Facebook, they have a collective audience of 2400 people. She got her photo, and even if just 1/3 of each audience, even if 1/4 of each audience saw that and they tagged me in it and they validated it, it wasn't like sneak-peek, it was like, "We had such a great time at our engagement session "with linked Jasmine Star." And I'm like, "Amazing." That's exactly the marketing that I want. She had passed me her camera, she's like "I'm so sorry..." Her phone. She's like, "Can you take a photo of us? "Because I wanna share it." There are some photographers who prefer to kind of keep their experience sacrosanct, like, "No, no, no, this is our moment, "I don't wanna distract her." Are you kidding me? I was like, "JD," I was like, "18, 20, take a lot of photos. "She has options." I wanted her to be able to choose a photo that she felt best represented her entire experience. And that's pretty darn amazing. Now, on that same note, in the same vein as blogging and social media, I wanna talk about personalizing their images. Because so often I see it, not as a disadvantage, but as a lost opportunity. When you have the ability to personalize the clients' shoot, images, experience, I want you to leverage it for all it's worth. Now the way that I personalize their images is first and foremost, by way of my blog. On my blog I write a blog post about the couple. Now when I am blogging an engagement session, the story is how they met, and/or how he proposed. Now people often ask me, "How do you get that information?" When I meet with my clients, during the initial client consult, I ask, "How did you meet?" If they end up booking me, we will shoot their engagement session a couple months later, and then I say, "Hey guys, remind me how you guys met." And then it's a little trigger in my mind. "Oh yes, they met in college." And it's not enough for me to say, "Oh you met in college, okay." Well I wanna know what college you went to, what did you major in? Did you guys meet in class? Did you guys meet like by way of a Greek party? Was he drunk? Right, and so I'm trying to ask all of these things because people will give you the yes and no answers. "Yes we met at college. "Yes we met at a party. "No, we weren't part of the Greek system." But I need to get all the details so that in my mind I can start creating and crafting what the post will be. Now for people who aren't... Who find writing rather difficult... I have been in situations where I've worked with clients who I'm just like, we don't really resonate, I didn't ask the right questions, I'm struggling to find things to write and/or say. So, how to tell their story if, in the case you cannot get the right information during the meeting or at the shoot, what I propose is the three and three rule. The three and three rule is very simple. Three unique things about the couple, three unique things about the engagement session. This stuff can be written off the top of your head. So three unique things about the couple? Well when Danny kisses Sophia, her nose scrunches in such a way that light shines on her face. That Danny always opens and closes the doors when she gets into the car. This can be stuff that's just random conversation or just visual cues that you're seeing. Another thing could be that they had met in college and they met at a frat party and he, out of all the people in the room saw her and she stuck out. If you write one sentence for each of those things, you have three sentences. Now I want you to write three unique things about the engagement session. Well, we shot their session in Santa Monica. It's a special place because they had their first date. It was a bright and sunny day but the sunset was beautiful. And three, she's really excited to wear her new favorite pair of shoes. I mean, I'm just pulling stuff from thin air. But you can find three things about the couple and three things about the day. If you were to write a sentence about each of those things, you'd have six sentences, and six sentences is a paragraph. And a paragraph is amazing. For two reasons. One, you're telling your clients, "I was there, "I listened to you, I heard what you were saying." People like to read about themselves in third person narrative. It changes the dynamic tremendously. Another reason why it's really valuable to personalize the images is this little thing called Google juice. Google reads text. Now, I can't tell you how many times I have booked a wedding by like three things removed. One of the top things that just comes to mind is somebody had typed in Korean Hollywood hairstyles. And they'd come across my blog. And my blog was because I'd said the bride had family coming in from Korea, they got married in Hollywood at Yamashiro, and her hair stylist was this person, and I linked to her. Now the girl who came across that was not looking for a wedding photographer, but her cousin was. And she sent her cousin the link to my blog because she was looking for something. So I have seen a lot of photographers be like, "I'll let the photos do the talking." Or just say, like, venue, client, and then photos. And that's great. I'm actually glad to see that people are pursuing that, but I think that there's another missed opportunity to get randomly found. Now, that's just about the blog posts. Now let's talk about how we use the blog post as a foundation to move into different forms of social media. Now what I'm going to show you, and I'm gonna get into depth about their album. I'm gonna talk about their album from the client evangelist, from the creative team evangelist, and then I'm gonna talk about social media in regards to my approach on the backend. I'm gonna show you Samantha and Taylor's Facebook album. Now I shot their engagement session in Los Angeles, and then I posted their photos on Facebook. Now one thing that I want to do is talk about how they shared this album to their network. And again, we now know that their network is somewhere between 22 and 2400 people. So not only did they link to me during the engagement session for the sneak-peek, they also shared this particular post. Two amazing marketing opportunities to leverage their audience right now, which became great, because not only... They just didn't share the album, right? Just the way that they didn't share their sneak-peek. They said, "We're so excited to see a sneak-peek "of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah." They're validating their decision to work with me. Now that is section one. That's kind of just seeding where we're ultimately gonna go. We're gonna go into section two. And section two is what we call the creative team evangelists. Now, in the past I've learned that building trust with wedding professionals is powerful. To me, building relationships based on trust and credibility have been fundamental game-changers in my business when it comes to marketing. Now, I didn't get referrals from wedding peers and other industry folk for at least two years. So the first two years of my business, I flew solo. I wasn't depending or looking at other people because even if I had tried to get it, I wouldn't. I wouldn't get it because I was a stranger to all the people I wanted to work with. Furthermore, even if they felt gracious or benevolent, to give me an endorsement, they are really putting their brand on the line. If they endorse me and I show up late, I don't show up, I don't give them their images, it has not only ruined my name, it has smeared theirs. It is very rare for a new photographer to get endorsements from a professional without getting to know them on a personal level. Because, if we go back to this idea that I've addressed in previous lessons about being a shy, introverted photographer, I was never going up to wedding coordinators and emailing them and being like, "Hey, can we have a time to meet? "Do you have time for lunch? "Can I buy you a drink?" Like, oh my god, I mean, I think it's amazing, but that's just not who I am. So in light of that, I said that when our paths finally do cross, I'm gonna prove it to you. I'm gonna prove that when you endorse me, I will not let you down. That when you send a client to me, your business will be taken just as care of as mine. Now, coordinators started referring me after our paths had worked, and after I had proven myself. Now one thing is that I needed to prove that I wasn't gonna let anybody down, but furthermore, I needed to prove my work ethic and my capability for success at every time. It didn't matter if we had worked three weddings and they were all fantastic and amazing. If I let her down the fourth, that's it. And I think that this is the way that marketing principles work. Take care of people and they will take care of you. Now the way that I take care of them, the creative team, starts at the engagement session. And here's how it works at the engagement session. So the day before the engagement session, I will email the creative team who is applicable to the shoot. I will not be emailing the officiant or the venue, because they're not there. People who are usually applicable to the engagement shoot are the coordinator, if there is one, and the makeup artist, if there is one. If I can connect, and I usually get this information from the bride, and then I will email them the day before and I will say, "Hey, I'm gonna be shooting Samantha and Taylor, "and this is what I did for Samantha and Taylor." I emailed Jeannie, their wedding coordinator; I emailed the team at The Knot; and I emailed my producer here at Creative Live. And I said, "Hey guys, we're gonna be shooting "the engagement session tomorrow. "Please let me know if there's anything "I should be aware of, but I just wanna let you know "how excited I am." This email is basically just to put me on their radar. I want them to know what's coming. I want them to actually start being cognizant of the idea that I will take care of them. The day of the engagement session, I will take behind-the-scenes photos, and then I will tag the creative team. So when I shot the engagement session for The Knot couple, I tagged Jeannie, I tagged The Knot, and I think I tagged JD; I'm not so sure. But what we wanna do is we wanna highlight people that are directly involved with the shoot. Because it's an act of goodwill. Like, "Hey, we're all in this together "to make Samantha and Taylor's day great." Now, the following day after the shoot, what I do is I send a sneak-peek photo. Now, I've told the clients that they're gonna see a sneak-peek in a week, so I'm about to share that sneak-peek the following day. But before I get all of that traction, the social traction that all of us find very valuable, out of respect, I email the coordinator and, if applicable, the makeup artist. So in this particular situation with Samantha and Taylor, after I emailed them the day before, the next day I said, "Hey guys, I'm gonna share a sneak-peek. "It's attached here in this email "if you guys would like to use it, too. "If not, no worries. "Just wanted to give you a heads-up." They might not use it. The Knot did not use it as part of their stream. And I'm okay with that. But the act of respect says a lot about me taking into consideration how they might feel about that situation. What I want to do every time with the creative team is I want to empower them with decision. I do not want to make the decision for them. Whether or not they choose to share my photo is not of importance to me. It's just saying, "Here you are, you can choose what you want to do with it." Now, the night before I blog the engagement session... An average engagement session blog post includes eight to 10 photographs. So what I want to do is the day before I blog the engagement session, I will email the creative team and I'll say, "Hey guys, here's a sneak-peek of what I am blogging." And I include all eight of them. I say, "I will be sharing them tomorrow, "and if you guys would like to, here is the link "to the blog post, here is the link, "and here are photos from the shoot. "If not, no worries. "I am so excited for what is in store. "They were such a great couple." That was the email. Whether or not they decide to share them is not important to me. So I told them that I was going to list it in a blog post, I told them that I was going to list in on my Facebook fan page, and I told them that I was going to tag them on Instagram and/or Twitter if possible. I was letting them know what I am doing for them. And I hope, graciously, they would return the favor. And most people, I'm talking about 98% of the people, do. They return the favor because we know how it works within the industry. And that's pretty darn great. Now, if done right, the engagement session could be seen by a network far larger than yours. And that is what marketing is. Marketing is getting your stuff seen in networks that are not yours in order to build your network and also start creating alliances and feeds and inquiries in regards to that. So my network on Instagram is X, but if I get X plus Y from the coordinator and X plus Z because of the makeup artist, and if we're really lucky, X plus 2X from The Knot, then we'll be a total, winning, spectrum. Worst canary... Worst case scenario... Worst canarial? Wow, we're just slicing these words. Worst case scenario is if I only hit my network, that's fine. I'm busy doing what I do. Empower others with decision. Now, I follow the same pattern. I follow the same pattern on the wedding day. So what you guys just saw, empowering them from the engagement session, I'm going to empower them on the wedding day, the same pattern. We're gonna add a few differences. Now, here's how I follow the same pattern on the wedding day. I ask the coordinator for the creative team Instagram handles, and I have it prepped on my phone for the day of the wedding. I don't wanna be running around asking people, "Oh what is it, what is it?" And there are networks that I wouldn't naturally know. So if there's a lighting company that comes in and does lighting for the venue, I might not have access to who that is. If there is a furniture rental company, I might not have access to who those people are by the time I actually go in and shoot those things. So I can get all of those things in advance, I now know how big my network could potentially be. This is all that it boils down to. Now, for weddings that do not have wedding coordinators, I will work on my own, and I will talk about how I prepare my clients for that, how I get the information in advance, and then I will go out and I will contact the florist, I will contact the venue, I will just do my own research. I don't need to email people and be like, "What's your Instagram handle?" People usually have it on their website. So doing that type of work in advance really helps. Then, on the wedding day, I take a sneak-peek iPhone photo. Now, if you guys follow me on social media, you guys know, this is the pattern, we get it. Okay. But I'm telling you the pattern because it freaking works. I shouldn't say freaking. Okay because it really works. So I take a sneak-peek photo on my iPhone. I tag the creative team, and if the wedding has a hashtag, rock the hashtag. Because now all their friends get to see the legit photos. These are not all the silhouetted photos at their first kiss. You're posting real, awesome, cool photos that are reflective of your brand, you wanna pick up followers, and then you wanna put a seed. I can't tell you how many bridesmaids I have booked or how many friends at weddings, simply by being seen in that hashtag. It's a powerful thing. Now, after I tag the team on the wedding day in the iPhone photo, I do something that a lot of people may not want to do, and I only recently started doing it in the past year. Because it's more competitive. And the more competitive the industry gets, the harder you have to work to actually stay relevant. So, when I go home, when I'm driving home, depending where we're coming from, I go home and I go through and I just quickly look at a few detail photos. I'm not so concerned with the bride and groom favorite photo yet, because right now I'm just dealing with the creative team. So I go home and I pick three photos from the reception, three photos from the ceremony, and maybe a couple other cool, like a boutonniere shot, a bouquet shot; I'm getting stuff that sets the scene. Five to eight photos. And I will know the CF card that I shot it in because I keep chronological order of my cards in my card case so I can say, "Oh two cards back, this is where I was shooting "those detail photos that I need to pull." I pull that card, I quickly go through it, I pick five to eight, and then, yes, and I do know, this is a little bit crazy, but at like one o'clock in the morning, I'm sending the creative team sneak-peek photos because I want them sharing my photos of the wedding day, not what their creative team took of the wedding day. We must know that our photos will be better than anything they can capture on a simple, basic DSLR or worse, even on their iPhones. So don't miss that opportunity to have sharing capabilities. Now, one thing is I see a lot of photographers is we share our detail photos in advance of the coordinator, of the venue, and what we're saying is that we're the gatekeepers. We get to share them because we have them. But why not empower other people to share them because just as much as we wanna show a sneak-peek of the bride and groom, they want to show their network a sneak-peek of the hours, the year that they spent planning it and the hours they spent building it. It really goes a long way in building those types of relationships. I wanna take care of them the way that they take care of yourself. Now, let's start doing the application, because I've just been talking and I just feel, I feel us fading. Let's bring it back. I'm gonna show you an example of a wedding that I shot a few weeks ago in Newport Beach, California at a venue called Pelican Hill. It was a collaboration with a wonderful, great team. Now the event designer and florist has a pretty solid following on Instagram. And it was really great because when I went home I knew that it was gonna be a really great opportunity to rally the entire team about making this a win for everybody. So this is what she posted on Instagram. "I cannot stop loving you." To her partner, "Helm of design and production, "my partner in crime, and bestie, left arm, "for White Lilac and Jasmine Star, my diva of photography, "Pelican Resort, Fernanda Jaimeg, Allison Howard, "Amber Event Production, Classic Orange County, "Blue Kite Cinema." So she got 4200 likes on the photo. She got hundreds of comments, and I did the math, everybody from this wedding Instagrammed a photo and linked to each other. The cumulative reach for this one photo was 240, Instagram followers, on Instagram alone. That is powerful. And the thing is is that I sent Sunny, the leader, lead designer of White Lilac eight options, and she posted three. I got hit three times from a huge source. And what do I do? Well of course I have to link back to her as a way of saying thank you, and to the entire team. That's huge. How much did it cost me? 30 minutes of sleep, that's what it cost me. And it cost me nothing, boo. I mean I had to stay up, and JD's like in the bed, like, "Come on." I'm like, "I'm coming." But we're playing the long game. Do I think I'm gonna book a wedding that instant because of the photo? No. But do I think I'm seeding it, the groundwork? Do I think I'm building relationships with my partners? Yes. Can you imagine, this is just on Instagram? Wait 'til we hit it on Facebook, and then ancillary Twitter. I think it's gonna be powerful. I think it's gonna be a really, really, really great wedding. So I wanna talk a little bit more about what happens the night before I blog a session. This is a pattern, then we're gonna get to the application. The night before I blog a wedding, I send the images to the vendors and I let them know that I'm going to be sharing it. Now I'm going to say that it's been great, because I've been able to develop a following on social media. This following on social media, and I am not just one person; there's a lot of people doing this in a lot of different genres, and a lot of photographers are doing it. So often, photographers, because we provide digital content, have larger followings than say, a wedding coordinator. The wedding coordinator is dependent upon the images from the photographers. So if I have a larger social media following and then I email the team and I say, "Look at all the things I'm doing "to help build your business," I'm hoping that they will reciprocate. And mostly they do. So I tell them, I'm gonna link you on my blog. I'm going to list you on a folder on Facebook. I'm going to tag you on Instagram and Twitter. So they know what's coming, and I'm going to be hopefully preparing them for success. So that's what happens, and that's what we do. Now, there's that initial push, that initial social media push, after the blog post, the sneak-peek, everyone's like, "Great." Now once the gallery is complete from the wedding, I will send my creative team a gallery to the full wedding and I tell them, "Feel free..." I need to smile more. I feel it right now. I said, "I send the gallery to the..." I need to bring it on down a little, I'm gonna smile, be pleasant. I send the gallery to the creative team, and I tell them that they can download the hi-res images un-watermarked, and I tell them that if they use the images to please cite photo credit listed as. And I put Jasmine Star. I'm giving them the option to empower their portfolios without me having to go through, "Pick your favorites, "I'll watermark them, what's the resolution?" No. You take it and take care of me. And so far, I will say that it has worked very, very well in that regard. Now an average wedding gallery for me... I tell my clients that I average around 100 images an hour, our average collection is eight hours. So our clients will average 800 images. When I send the creative team their gallery, in my mind I think, "I have 800 opportunities "to be tapping into their networks." And what does this cost me? Nothing. Take care of other people, and other people will take care of you. So let's talk about the process of sharing. Now the process of sharing has been streamlined, and my communication with the creative team... So, if I shoot a wedding, and I shoot weddings quite often, I'm shooting a wedding and I'm following up with the creative team, I was noticing that I was writing an email after every single wedding. And so I started thinking, I need to stop recreating the wheel. I have a template email that I send to my creative team. So I simply copy and paste and I put it in the email and you just change things. "Oh, we were at Pelican Hill, oh the date, "oh the gallery link." I just make three modifications to the template, I send it to them, hands off. That process for me is so fantastical because they can download the images directly from the gallery when they want to, and share when they want to. I send these email templates, and for a while I had a hard time kinda putting to words what I wanted. I had to explain the download process, I had to ask for photographer's credit, which can be a little bit awkward. So I created these templates. If there are photographers who are kind of struggling with what it looks like to write the templates, I sell my templates on JasmineStarStore.com. Now we're going to the third part. I know, you guys. We're gonna rally. Here we go, here we go. This is actually my favorite part... I mean the other stuff is my favorite part, but it's also a little bit hands-off for me. This is direct, 100% my marketing efforts. What you've seen is we have empowered evangelists, and when I market from my studio perspective, from the Jasmine Star brand perspective, I focus on personalization. Anyone can take great photos. In fact, I'm gonna look around this room, and the fact that you're here, investing in your education, I can confidently say, you take great photos. You probably use a great camera, you probably invested in great pre-sets, you probably have a pretty solid computer. Good for you. But the problem... The thing that's not so good about that is that other people have the same camera as you, they have the same computer as you, they use the same pre-sets as you. They might live in the same town as you. So what is going to be another way to diversify your competitive abilities? I think it's sharing the vision behind the couple and your imagery. I use it as a bit of an advantage. I'm gonna show you how. The primary source of personalization comes by way of my blog. Like I told you, I craft a personal story. Now we know how you write the story. You now know the vision behind the story and you now know how you can apply and write a story if you don't have anything to say. Now once the blog post is shared, posted, I share it on Twitter, I share it on Facebook, and I share it on Instagram. That's my zhuzh. Now I have discovered for me that Facebook, by far, is the most powerful marketing vehicle for wedding photographers. It might not be the most powerful vehicle for florists. It might not be the most powerful vehicle for venues. But for photographers, what I have noticed, and I have substantial followings on each of these social media outlets, Facebook, Facebook, Facebook for the win, again and again. Now I don't take out ads to advertise. When I get an inquiry by way of Facebook, it's 100% organic. That's not to say that I have not taken ads on Facebook. If I take an ad on Facebook it's geared more toward photographers, because not everybody wants to listen. So you gotta get up in their face. But for brides, we're gonna talk about exactly how that happens. Now Facebook is a great way because it leverages the thing that I think I'm good at and the thing I want you to be good at, which is personalization. Twitter is hard to personalize because it's 140 characters and you need to say something nice about the clients, and then you need to add a link and hopefully add a photo. So what it limits you down to is like 20 characters. It's just like, "Had fun." Not the best way to actually share that. Instagram is great, but Instagram you can't like spatter 15, 30 photos. You choose one or two that you really like and that's your go. But Facebook is powerful because it allows me to upload an entire album, a curated version that is personalized. Now I'm gonna revisit The Knot Dream Wedding engagement session so you can see how I did it at the engagement session... Bless you. And you will see how I did it... Are we supposed to pretend like you didn't sneeze? Like I'm just gonna go on and be like, "Yeah, no, what was that?" No, bless you, bless you. We're gonna use this engagement session as an example and then you will also see how we do it on the wedding. What you're gonna see is the same thing. Same thing because it works. Now what I want to point out is the geo-tagging capabilities. So I linked that we were at Rancho Palos Verdes at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. Now when anybody searches for Abalone Cove Shoreline Park, I can come up. That's a free way, right? You just wanna get up in people's business as many times as possible. Now I wanna point out that the reach for this post was over 47,000 people, for this blog post. It was shared 16 times and it had over 1,000 likes. Now the beauty and the beast of the Facebook algorithm is that it can treat you really well the minute that you get momentum to it. And the good thing about my clients sharing it is that they empowered their friends to share it. And that's where the algorithm beat up. Beat up? Built up, excuse me. Thank you. Micaela you're like, "It was built." (laughs) Built up. Okay. So I just wanna lay the foundation, that that's where we are currently, right now. But let's take it a little bit deeper. What we have here is this exact story that I shared on my blog. I copied it into Facebook. Because studies have shown that people don't like to leave the organic space in which they are surfing the web. And if I say, "Hey, go check out the blog post..." I do, but I understand that I am missing a group of people. So I do say, in the morning, I wrote a blog post for Samantha and Taylor, and I add a link. And some people will go to that. And then later on in the day, or maybe the next day is when I upload the folder. So I'm gonna hit my Facebook audience at two different times. I'm gonna be very strategic about how I'm gonna be asking for somebody to click on a link, or to click on an album. Now it's a personalized love story. If you guys wanna read more about their love story, that's fantastic. I'm gonna read the first paragraph. "She was invited to a minor league baseball game "in her hometown, so Samantha decided "a night with friends was what she needed to unwind. "The girls sat close to the field and cheered "for the cutest players, because, really, "home or visiting team mattered less "than seeing men in uniform take the field. "Girls cheered loudly, and when a player noted "they were cheering for the visiting team, "they shrugged and kept at it." Then we go on about how Samantha saw this cute pitcher and she just chose, and he was from the opposing team, she's like, "You're just cute; I'm gonna cheer for you." At the end of the game, his friend says, "You should go talk to her." And he went up to her. She was sitting close and he started chatting and he said, "We should go country line dancing." And she said, "Okay." The next day they went country line dancing. They stayed friends for a year, and when his team came back to her hometown, she was like, "I like you. "We've been texting and emailing, but I like you." And then she hit the road with him and followed him from city to city to city. She met him on an off chance and fell completely and wildly in love, and they're gonna be getting married in June. I could've shared the album and said, "Had such a fun time at Abalone Cove Shoreline Park." But instead, I said these people are the real deal. They met and true love exists at minor league baseball games and on the floor of country line clubs. And it can exist on text messages... Do you have country line dancing clubs? No, I mean, I dunno. I dunno if that's the right term. I was just like, thinking like girls in shorts in cowboy boots being like, you know? Like I don't know if that exists, but it happened for them. And that's the thing that I want to do. And I also linked the team that I'd be working with. Like I said, The Knot, Creative Live, in a separate post on one of the pictures I tagged Jeannie Savage of Details. I did what I said I was going to do. Now the personalization reveals vulnerability. When you personalize photos, you're putting yourself, your narrative onto their story. And sometimes people respond to it, and sometimes people won't. And that's the risk that we take as photographers, as creatives, as writers, as painters, as artists, anytime that you put your thumbprint on something, you take a risk. But by you taking a risk, when you write nice things about your clients, you empower others to do the same. I'm gonna show you how this happened in real life. Margaret Ann Ferguson says, "So wonderful to read about them! "My son and his girlfriend will be at the wedding "as Renee mentioned. "Look for Brian, red hair, 6'2", "and his lovely girlfriend Jenny! "They are a very nice couple." So what I want to note, is a story that I wrote, chances are nine, eight, if I was feeling lucky, eight out of 10 photographers... Sorry, two out of 10 photographers probably would have written what I wrote in that album. Two, maybe. But eight out of 10 friends and family probably read what I wrote on the album. I do not write the story for photographers. I write the story for friends and family who have no idea who I am to personalize our experience before we actually engage. Secondly, I want you to notice that what the story empowered people to do was it gave space for family members to express their excitement publicly. Carol Brasher Sinclair: "Jasmine, how stunning "and beautifully composed these shots are. "I am partial, being his mom, but I think Sam has found "a good one and I know Taylor has hit the jackpot. "I can't wait to meet you and share the joy of the wedding." So. Mother of the groom wrote in. I now know that I will meet Carol at the wedding day and she said nice things both about her future daughter-in-law and her son-in-law, which, as a son, I'm thinking, loosely, he would be like, "Cool. "My mom likes the photos." She probably said it to his face, but in case she didn't, at least he's been publicly validated. Third example. I want you to notice that there are nice comments from their friends. And this validates my work and assures the client that she made a good decision moving forward. Christal writes, "Amazing job. "Can't wait to meet you on the big day. "Thank you for capturing for the world to see "how incredibly beautiful my Samantha is. "If only pictures could show how much more beautiful "she is on the inside. "And there's no one better out there "to love her than Taylor. "He is the husband we have all been waiting for Sam to meet. "He has genuinely made her whole." So these are nice things. I write nice things about the couple, and then their friends write nice things about them. And that's a big love fest. But if I were to put on my strategic marketing no-emotion hat, the more people write on that post, the more that that post gets in other people's feed by Facebook algorithm. Write, write, write, write, write. The more people that like, share, and comment, the higher probability you can to get organic-style marketing. Lastly I wanna note that Janet Carisch wrote, Samantha's mom, "Jasmine, you captured their love on camera." Samantha's mom is undergoing heavy doses of chemotherapy and radiation. She is struggling very much right now. So these photos are powerful. And the fact that I have created an emotional connection with not just one mom but both moms is an incredible thing. When I show up on the wedding day, I now know that as a division of my brand, and I make sure that I respond to family members and friends directly on the feed, when I see them, I will not have to see them and introduce myself and say, "Hello, my name is Jasmine." I can bring them in for a hug and say, "I am so excited. "I see you, I feel you, and I'm here for you." That emotional connection is so deep. It's so powerful, and there is not money that you could pay to create that unless you did it on your own. So we're gonna talk about homework. I know, there's a little "Huh." Huh. I'm hoping that the "huh" is, "Dang, I got some work to do." Okay so what I want you to do is I want you to create ways to connect with the creative team in advance to the engagement session. In advance to the wedding. And then I want you to empower them to share your work. They may or may not. That doesn't matter. You want the decision of empowerment to them. Secondly, I want you to list at least two ways to exceed client expectation during an engagement session and then during the wedding. So we're talking about four ways, right? So two and two. Two ways to exceed client expectation before the engagement session, two ways to exceed the client expectation as something around the wedding. Lastly, I want you to find three ways to personalize the ways in which you share your images. If you aren't blogging, I encourage you to do so. If blogging still isn't your thing and you just don't wanna, you don't want to deal with the Google juice, that's fine. Go directly to your social media, but find ways to write something that personalizes the entire experience, because it is a competitive advantage. That gives you insight into my marketing approach. I appreciate you guys seeing the beginning, the middle, and the end, and I look forward to seeing what you guys do with your marketing approaches in the future. (audience applauds) They like me!

Class Description



AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Create an effective business plan

  • Market your business on social media platforms

  • Work with other vendors to get free marketing opportunities

  • Establish your pricing and communicate it to potential clients

  • Get natural-looking poses from your subjects

  • Leverage natural light so everyone looks gorgeous

  • Cull, edit, and perfect your images in post-production


ABOUT JASMINE’S CLASS:


Being a wedding photographer is stressful work. Your clients’ wedding day is one of the most important moments of their lives. They’ve invested a tremendous amount of time, money, and emotional energy preparing for the one big day, and now they’re counting on you to deliver gorgeous, memorable images of this special day. But if you’re up for the challenge, wedding photography can also be incredibly lucrative, satisfying, and fun.

This comprehensive, 30-day bootcamp is designed to provide you with all the wedding photography tips and tools you need to start, run, and grow a successful business. Taught by renowned professional photographer Jasmine Star, this course will prepare you for both the expected and unexpected, and give you the confidence you need to be the best you can be.


This class will help you:

  • Publicize your business and attract new clients.

  • Gain the confidence you need to sell yourself to potential clients.

  • Build a referral network to expand your business.

  • Figure out your photographic style and capitalize on it.

  • Prepare for all the different aspects of an engagement and wedding shoot.

  • Deal with unexpected events and shoot under pressure.


Jasmine will cover all of the critical business aspects of wedding photography, including developing a detailed business plan, marketing your talents, and setting your prices. She’ll take you on a real wedding event where you can see first-hand how to shoot that special day, including advice on posing, lighting, and timing. By the end of this intensive course, you’ll be ready to develop a rewarding career as a wedding photographer.

 

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • People wanting to start or grow their wedding photography business.

  • Those who want to stand out in a crowded market, win new clients, and convey their worth as full-time wedding photographers.

  • Those who want to build strong, trusting relationships with clients so they will recommend you to their friends and family members.

  • Photographers wishing to gain the confidence they need to shoot under pressure and deliver perfect, beautiful, meaningful images when it really counts.

Lessons

  1. Jasmine’s Background and Wedding Photography Inspiration

    Professional photographer Jasmine Star shares her background in the wedding photography business and explains what to expect in this course.

  2. How to Define Your Photography Style

    Jasmine explains how to discover the qualities that will help you stand out from the crowd so you can win clients.

  3. Shooting with Intent: Romantic + Editorial Wedding Photography

    Jasmine discusses the essentials of editorial wedding photography and how to capture those special moments that create a romantic vibe.

  4. Shooting with Intent: Natural Wedding Photography + Fun Photos

    Jasmine explains how to capture those non-posed, natural wedding photography shots.

  5. Overcoming Shyness to Find Success as a Wedding Photographer

    Learn about overcoming shyness so you can be more confident, interact with large groups of people and do your best work.

  1. The Best Wedding Photography Marketing

    Learn some of Jasmine’s most successful wedding photography marketing approaches, including blogging, social media, and offering sneak peeks.

  2. How to Conduct a Wedding Photography Consultation

    Learn how to conduct a positive wedding photography consultation by not talking too much about yourself and instead listening closely to your clients' needs and desires.

  3. Engagement Session Tips

    Get engagement shoot tips, including telling clients what the goals are, what they can expect to happen, and the importance of timeliness.

  4. Shoot: The Knot Couple’s Engagement Session

    Watch Jasmine conduct a live engagement shoot outside.

  5. How to Deliver and Choose the Best Engagement Photos

    Go over the post-engagement session workflow: expressing appreciation to clients, choosing the best engagement photos, editing and fixing photos, and marketing.

  1. Shoot: Wedding Ceremony Photography

    Learn about wedding ceremony photo shoots and how to capture the romance, emotion, and beauty of the bride and groom.

  2. Shoot: How to Photograph Reception Details

    A great shoot should include lots of wedding reception details—everything from the food to the table settings to the toasts.

  3. Prepare with a Wedding Photography Checklist

    Before you leave your photography studio, make sure to have a wedding photography shot list that outlines how much time you’ll need for every aspect of the shoot.

  4. The Best Lens for Wedding Photography

    Jasmine discusses the best lens for wedding photography and other essential gear you’ll need for a successful shoot.

  1. The Knot Wedding: Wedding Photography Checklist for Photographers

    It’s the actual wedding day for the Knot couple! Jasmine goes over all she’s done to prepare for the wedding day.

  2. The Knot Wedding: Wedding Party Group Photos

    Learn how to wrangle the family, bridal party and groomsmen so you get great wedding party and family portrait poses for your group shots in a short period of time.

  3. The Knot Wedding: Wedding Ceremony Photos

    Jasmine shows you how she handled the obstacles thrown her way when shooting wedding ceremony photos.

  4. The Knot Wedding: Bride and Groom Photos

    After the ceremony, you’ll have a few precious moments to get bride and groom photos. Learn how to use your time wisely and take some stunning shots.

  5. The Knot Wedding: Reception

    See how Jasmine overcomes challenges and walks away with some quality candid shots.

  1. Reflecting on The Knot Wedding: Q&A

    Audience members get the chance to ask Jasmine questions about the Knot wedding shoot and how she dealt with various challenges.

  2. Post Wedding Photography Workflow

    Jasmine describes her workflow, including reaching out to clients after the wedding, editing photos, processing, creating a gallery, and ordering.

  3. How to Market Your Photography

    Learn how to market your photography using blogging and social media to tell the stories of your clients and highlight your expertise as a photographer.

  4. Wedding Albums for Photographers

    Jasmine talks about preparing and selling wedding albums and photo galleries to the wedding couple and how to put together a spectacular album of the wedding date.

  5. How Much to Charge for a Wedding Photography Package

    Jasmine helps you figure out how much to charge for wedding pictures and how she’s handled this sometimes delicate aspect of the business.

  1. Shoot: How to Shoot in Bad Light

    No good luck needed. Learn some techniques for compensating for bad light and how to avoid sacrificing style and aesthetics.

  2. Shoot: Top 5 Bridal Portrait Tips

    Learn the five top bridal portrait tips for taking a gorgeous shot of the bride and making sure she’s a happy customer.

  3. Posing Curvy Brides

    Brides come in all shapes and sizes. Here's some advice on posing curvy brides.

  4. Shoot: How to Shoot Tall and Short Couples

    Jasmine offers some tips on how to deal with tall and short couples.

  5. Countdown to the Start of Something

    Jasmine looks back on the lessons learned from this course and offers words of inspiration and good luck to those looking for success as a professional wedding photographer.

  6. How to Start a Wedding Photography Business

    Jasmine shares her wedding photography tips on how to start a photography business.

  7. How to Do Social Media Marketing Q&A

    Jasmine discusses how to do social media marketing for your business and takes questions from the audience.

  8. Periscope Online Q&A

    Jasmine answers questions through Periscope online.

  9. Check-In Q&A

    Online viewers get the opportunity to ask Jasmine questions.

  10. Check-In Q&A Part 2

    The question and answer forum continues.

Reviews