Skip to main content

What if Advertising Isn't Working?

Lesson 33 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

What if Advertising Isn't Working?

Lesson 33 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

33. What if Advertising Isn't Working?


Class Trailer



Class Introduction


The Gear That Will Save You in Tough Situations


How Lenses Shape the Image and Help Tell Your Story


Light Modifiers for Your Survival Kit


Gear to Spice Up Bland Images: Prisms, Mist and More


Walkthrough of a Difficult Venue


Why Each Room Works and Why It Doesn't


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Dress


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Shoes


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in Difficult Scenarios


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Small, Cluttered Room


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Dark Hallway


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway


Portraits of the Bride in a Small Room


Removing the Surrounding Space for a Bridal Portrait


Window Lit Bridal Portrait in a Tough Space


How to Shoot a Quick and Simple Bridal Portrait


Photographing Guys, Complaining Brides and "Helpful" Bridesmaids




Portraits of Bride and Groom: Ideal Situations


Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong


Bride and Groom Portraits: What to Do If You're Indoors


Bride and Groom Portraits: How to Pose an Awkward Couple


Family Formals: How to Achieve Your Ideal Situations


Family Formals: When Things are Less Than Ideal


Family Formals in an Awful Space


Family Formals Recap and Questions


Photographing the Reception


Reception Q&A


What Can You Do to Safeguard Your Business?


Contracts Q&A


Dealing with Social Media as a Wedding Photographer


What if Advertising Isn't Working?


What to do When Everyone Just Wants More


When Everyone Says I Am Too Expensive


When You Hate Your Job as a Wedding Photographer


Lesson Info

What if Advertising Isn't Working?

I am never going to find my style how many times have you felt that I thought this is gonna be easier I've been in business for a year and I still don't have a style yet my being impatient shouldn't I have this down by now don't worry you're cool I don't think I had a style style until I was in business for six years it's an evolutionary process it's not going to happen overnight I don't see how I can survive in this business I don't know what my style is sometimes clients want images that look vintage sometimes they want modern sometimes they want punchy colors how can I make everyone happy you cannot I had a client who hired me this year went to a couple of weddings to some friends their friends were had very kind of vintage e film style photographers and they asked if I could edit their images to look like those when I shot their wedding can you edit in a vintage style and I had to explain that it's not an editing style it's it's lighting it shooting it's it's everything and they ac...

tually considered firing me because they thought that they really wanted to go with a different photographer instead to emulate that look then they went to a couple of weddings where their friends had vibrant, punchy photographers and decided I was okay so I was fine you can't make everybody happy you can't have a style for everyone it will become too confusing to you and it will become too confusing to your clients don't be afraid to find your style and stick to it get spending money on advertising but nothing works I spend on print ads I spent in newspaper ads in bridal fairs but nothing works how am I supposed to book weddings of nothing that I try works and panicking okay do you know who's looking at your ads if you're spending money putting ads and bridal magazines do you even know if they're reaching the people that you want them to reach that's a hard one to track are you just throwing money at the problem without doing research buying every single piece of advertising out there is not going to help you if you don't know 00:01:59.074 --> 00:02:02. what you're doing are your ads consistent with your 00:02:02.37 --> 00:02:05. brand any time I'm going to take an ad out in anything 00:02:05.64 --> 00:02:07. and I haven't done it in a really long time I hire 00:02:07.74 --> 00:02:09. a designer to design it for me 00:02:11.09 --> 00:02:13. do your ads have any sort of incentive for people 00:02:13.46 --> 00:02:14. to contact you 00:02:15.52 --> 00:02:19. why would they call you what problem you know a very 00:02:19.59 --> 00:02:22. wise friend of mine said and we were talking about 00:02:22.49 --> 00:02:25. advertising your advertising and all of your copy 00:02:25.15 --> 00:02:27. needs to be very clear what problem you were going 00:02:27.09 --> 00:02:31. to solve for your clients what will hiring you do 00:02:31.04 --> 00:02:36. for them choir you the one they need so just going 00:02:36.13 --> 00:02:38. to bridal fair is just putting ads in all of these 00:02:38.12 --> 00:02:40. magazines just sending out facebook ads without knowing 00:02:40.87 --> 00:02:43. who you're sending them to you could literally just 00:02:43.21 --> 00:02:45. be standing in your front door throwing money into 00:02:45.08 --> 00:02:48. the street maybe some of that will stick but without 00:02:48.17 --> 00:02:50. researching who is looking at these ads who's watching 00:02:50.53 --> 00:02:52. these websites you're not even remotely going to know 00:02:52.93 --> 00:02:56. if you're reaching the people you need to reach so 00:02:56.9 --> 00:03:00. I don't run ads I never found any return on the investment 00:03:00.82 --> 00:03:02. it just was never worth it and they're so incredibly 00:03:02.94 --> 00:03:06. expensive for me and bear in mind I'm not a lawyer 00:03:06.62 --> 00:03:10. I'm not an accountant I am in absolutely no professional 00:03:10.16 --> 00:03:12. way capable of giving you legal or financial advice 00:03:12.82 --> 00:03:15. I'm not a marketing genius all I'm doing is telling 00:03:15.57 --> 00:03:17. you the things that I have realized worked for me 00:03:17.56 --> 00:03:20. with the business I run in the demographic that I'm 00:03:20.25 --> 00:03:23. in in new york I've never found print ads to help 00:03:23.82 --> 00:03:26. me at all same with bridal fairs that's a local issue 00:03:27.05 --> 00:03:29. it used to work for me when I lived elsewhere when 00:03:29.06 --> 00:03:31. I lived in tallahassee florida and it was a small 00:03:31.13 --> 00:03:34. market I did bridal fairs all the time partly to reach 00:03:34.3 --> 00:03:36. out to brides partly to network with other vendors 00:03:36.63 --> 00:03:40. but in new york it's just not worth it if there's 00:03:40.41 --> 00:03:43. no return on the investment I spend ninety four dollars 00:03:43.56 --> 00:03:45. and fifty eight cents on marketing per month that 00:03:45.69 --> 00:03:47. is only one thousand one hundred and thirty four dollars 00:03:47.81 --> 00:03:50. and ninety six cents per year and how that breaks 00:03:50.65 --> 00:03:56. down it is my monthly fee for edgar for tailwind for 00:03:56.3 --> 00:03:58. later graham and for my website hosting 00:03:59.94 --> 00:04:02. ninety four dollars fifty eight cents a month that's it I sit down one day every single month and it is social media day I pump up the queue of everything I make sure my later graham is working with any other additional images and I want to put in there I load up edgar sometimes if I've got a really busy month and I want to do more with the current weddings I've got ill due to half days but all the stuff that's rolling out there my images per day all of that I'm doing it in less than one business day per month eyes every six months or so I spend a day or two hatefully writing captions for my website because nothing is going to make you want to punch yourself in the face harder than coming up with two hundred fifty words about a venue in a way that is seo friendly and you just start I mean you start getting really creative with your key words. Best wedding photographer in new york ever you start thinking like what our brides going to be searching for like what are they going to type into google to try to find you and then trying to wrangle keywords around this so I try to make sure I do this in chunks throughout the year instead of leaving this all to just one big chunk in bits and pieces. Part of that is why my friend jen and I are doing the savannah retreat in january, which is to help people get a lock on all of those things that they frantically do all year long. And to create a plan for how they're going to implement these things in their day to day business.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Wedding Photographer Survival Kit Slides

Ratings and Reviews


I found this course extremely helpful. I own Susan's 30 day bootcamp class and I think that this course is a great supplement to that course. I don't work with an assistant so it was very helpful to see how she would approach a scenario without an assistant. It was also great to see her point of view and thought process when scouting locations for portraits and witness her ability to make something beautiful out of "not so pretty" or difficult locations. It helped me to take a better approach to finding the light, and really paying attention to all of the different details throughout a room. Her business tips were awesome too. I could go on and on but maybe you should just get the course. It's worth it.


Good and useful course as typical of Susan Stripling; I also own Creative Wedding Photography. However, all the class materials should reside on the Creative Live website -- not just the Power Point presentation. I understand Susan's desire to drive people to her website to increase visibility and sales of her own products, but the strategy isn't very customer-centric for CreativeLive customers. People shouldn't have to "google" the name of her company to find the information that she references in this course; and then once on the website scroll through outdated or unwanted information to find, as she states at her website, "Below is the list of gear (as promised) that I've mentioned on Creative Live." If people are smart enough to find CreativeLive, they'll be smart enough to find on the web any presenter that they like or want to know more about. The folks at CreativeLive ought to address this type of behavior before it sets a bad precedent for future presenters.


I love Susan. She will give it to you straight! I own her "30 days" class and it's amazing but one thing I took away from this course was when she said something along the lines of, "Those photographers who tell you they hand pick their clients are lying to you!" Haha. There are TOO MANY young and arrogant wedding photographers who think they are rock stars. They really get me down. And that's why I like Susan. She's honest.

Student Work