Category Archives: Guest Posts

The Magic Wand

Gothic Bride Shoot Devlin Photos

The New Year… already? How did that happen? Have you noticed a dramatic increase in enquiries now that the festivities are over with? If you have done your marketing homework like I suggested in this Green Room article on getting your New Year marketing in place, then you might be all set up with a prime ad in a juicy spot on a blog and are just scooping up all those panic bookers, right?

What? It’s not quite working out like that? Really? But didn’t you book the Magic Wand Ad where all you have to do is make it pretty, pay the rate and then it all magically happens? I’m sorry to break it to you but marketing your business takes a bit more effort than that.

At Photography Farm, we spend quite a bit of time talking about marketing. We form strategies and look at the different advertising options available for photographers. Quite a few folk think that I’m going to tell them exactly how I do my marketing and then they can just copy that… but there are a few things wrong with that. First up, you are not me and you do not have the same business as me. I have a very specific ideal client and I only want to shoot 20 weddings a year in a certain price bracket. Therefore I have a very specific marketing plan that reflects exactly this. This is going to be a very different plan to someone just starting out, charging a lot less than me and wanting to shoot a lot more weddings. Your market is different, so is your ideal client and your goals for any one year. The other difference between me and the people who attend the farm is that wedding photography is only 50% of my business and income.

Gothic Bride Shoot Devlin Photos

From the outside it might seem that all I do is run an ad on Rock n Roll Bride and I am all set up with a bevy of potential clients that I can pick and choose from. Now it is true that the only place that I currently advertise is here and it is a large part of my marketing. I choose to run an ad all year so that couples can always find me on the homepage. It works really well for me because my very specific target market will be inspired by reading Rock n Roll Bride. They trust Kat and her judgement so are way more likely to click on an ad and book their photographer, than Google ‘alternative wedding photographer’ and book whoever ranks highest.

With all the SEO trickery that goes on, a lot of us no longer trust that Google will provide us with a good match for emotive services such as weddings. You wouldn’t marry the first man that match.com throws at you, would you? By going through a blogger that they trust, it is like going through a matchmaker instead.

But like I said, this is very far from being a magic wand and it amazes me how time and time again photographers will book an ad on a blog, pay good money and then fail to make the best of it.

Here are some tricks to getting the best out of your marketing campaign:

Where to put the advert

An ad on a wedding blog can be fantastic, clients only have to click through to your site and Bob is your photography uncle… right? But you could be chucking your money into the wind if the blog has too many sponsors, especially all from the same type of businesses. I had an ad on Style Me Pretty for three months and it sure did cost me a pretty penny but I got bugger all from it. Not only was my ad lost in a sea of many others, they also flashed in rotation so you were never guaranteed to be on the page at all.

If there is a feeling that any old company can advertise on a site, again the trust goes down. Look for a well curated collection of ads that are visually appealing and don’t look as if they are just thrown together. As an advertiser, it is preferable not to be competing with lots and lots of ads and to not be lumped in with some badly designed ones.

Gothic Bride Shoot Devlin Photos

The design of your ad

That gets me onto the design of your ad. You are nearly always limited to a super small amount of pixels and it’s easy not to make the most of it. Kat has some awesome tips here that will help you get this bit right.

Make sure the blog is appropriate for your target market

Is it a good match to your style? Does it appeal to you? If you connect with the design of a blog then so will your ideal client. If you don’t want to shoot all over the UK then a national blog may not be right for you. There are several county specific wedding blogs now and they will be pretty accessible on cost because their traffic numbers are lower and their readers more niche.

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What’s Your USP?

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These days it seems that branding is the hot topic within the wedding industry, especially for photographers. We certainly discuss it quite a lot at Photography Farm and we are very lucky to have photographer’s brand expert Melissa Love join us to share her expertise. When I first started shooting weddings, brand simply wasn’t an issue. It was enough to take good photographs and make sure that you were found in the right places. However there has never been more wedding photographers competing against each other for potential business, so of course branding can be one of the elements that can help us to stand out.

But what about a USP? Before working on your brand, have you given any thought to it? I don’t hear people using this term any more, it’s kind of fallen out of fashion along with shoulder pads and pagers. Yet if we all defined our USPs before looking at branding, it would be much more likely that we’d each end up with much more unique brands and websites. These days it seems like there are way to many companies with very similar website designs.

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Seven Easy Tips For Creating an Amazing About Page Inspired by Online Dating

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Almost every photographer I know hates writing their About Me page. I confess, I used to be the same. I can merrily write about anything else but writing directly about myself makes me C R I N G E. I’m putting a cushion over my head now just thinking about it. If you feel the same then think about it this way… your About Me is just like an online dating profile. You’re trying to attract potential clients – but more than that, the ideal match of client for you.

Next to the homepage, the About section of your website will be the most frequently viewed on your site. If a potential client likes your work they’ll next want to know a little bit more about the person behind the lens. One of the worst things you can do is leave this part out. Couples have a lot of choice when it comes to their wedding photographer, so they will more than likely end up booking one that they feel a connection with. According to the amazing wedding industry resource Think Splendid, 45% of couples with premium wedding budgets say the possibility of becoming friends with their wedding professionals factors into deciding who to hire.

Unfortunately there are not many places you can go to for inspiration on how or what to write on an About page. In fact so many people simply look at what their competitors have written and cobble together something similar. I also frequently hear about wedding suppliers posting direct copies from other people’s sites – which seems crazy… more than anything else on your site, your About Me needs to be 100% authentic. I guess it is sheer panic that leads newbies to tactics like this. After all, it’s not very British to want to toot your own horn is it?

When it came to writing my About page I started to think about online dating profiles…. there are loads of resources out there designed at helping singles write a decent one so let’s steal a few tips from them instead.

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Tip #1 Get dressed up

It sounds weird but if you sit down to write in your PJs with unbrushed hair, you’re unlikely to get in the professional zone. Putting on a suit might be too extreme but your favourite top and a squiz of perfume will immediately put you in a better frame of mind to write creatively.

Tip #2 Have a great profile picture

You may be a photographer because you prefer to hide behind the lens or a designer because you like to be behind a computer, but you must must must have a decent photo of yourself attached to your profile. People relate to faces so show yours!

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Why I’m NOT Giving Up…..

crown and glory Kat Alexa Loy-47

Sheesh, I have recently seen sooooo many rants on the internet from photographers giving up because they find it too tough to cut it as a wedding photographer or they are sick of competing with the newbies who “under cut their prices/ don’t know what they’re doing/ use vintage processing/ are ruining the industry”. So here is my two pennies worth… first up a little history.

I started working as a photographer in the early 1990s first in music and then from 2000, the majority of my work has been in weddings. I am still as thrilled to earn my living in this way as I ever was, still as excited about each and every job, from the simple engagement shoot I did in the sunshine on Brighton Beach last night, to the look book that I shot for a collaboration between Rock n Roll Bride and Crown & Glory. I will NEVER tire of taking photographs or being in such a privileged position that people trust me to record their memories on one of the most important days of their lives. I will always be on a quest to take THE perfect photograph that sums up a wedding day.

crown and glory Kat Alexa Loy-99

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Addicted to the Busy

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Are you always busy? When that group email or Facebook event invite gets sent your way, are you never able to go because you have to work?

Weddings are a weird industry, everyone knows that you work a lot of weekends but then it is also expected that you are contactable first thing Monday morning. If your marketing campaign has been successful and the bookings are healthy, you may well find that suddenly weeks and weeks are stretching in front of you with no proper break. Every wedding you take on has a significant amount of admin and for us photographers, there is that mountain of post production. Throw in a few double or even triple header weekends and that mountain can quickly become Everest.

The business is yours and so it’s quite normal to want to manage every aspect of it. There are also certain things you definitely can’t outsource, but if you look at the situation objectively, do you think you could actually be addicted to being so busy?

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It’s Good to Cringe

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Recently, a good friend and photographer showed me some images that he had shot a few years ago. He told me that he was cringing while putting together the couple’s album because they had waited three years before coming back with their selection and meantime his work had, in his eyes, improved a lot. There was absolutely nothing wrong with the images and the couple were clearly still very happy with them if they were investing in an album. Of course they were not the images he would shoot if he did their wedding today but I told him that I think it’s good to look back on your old work and cringe a little. It shows that you are progressing, evolving and developing.

When interviewed on Rock n Roll Bride, Jonas Peterson said “You will never find your style, your style will find you” and certainly ‘finding your style’ is one thing that a lot of photographers, artists and designers seem to struggle with, especially in the early days. However I believe that this constant quest to define and refine your style is one of the things that keeps us in a state of creativity. If we didn’t, our work would surely become stale and dated and we’d probably get very bored. I have been earning my living from taking photographs for over twenty years and I have yet to think “this is it… this is exactly how I’m going to shoot every picture from now on”. I go through phases of being in love with a certain lens, filter or technique but it is never the only way I shoot. By constantly playing and experimenting, learning rules and then breaking them, I’m forever progressing and changing. Any creative should grow with their craft and I very much see it as a journey. The path may be unknown at times but isn’t that all part of the adventure?

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