If you’re trying to get into the world of wedding photography, you’ll soon learn that there’s more to it than showing up at the ceremony with a camera in hand. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes to get those amazing photos and happy clients. In this full-length seminar, Brian Marcus of Fred Marcus Studio in New York shares his tips for running a successful wedding photography business:
Photographers like Brian Marcus make wedding photography look easy, but nothing is as easy as it seems. There will always be ups and downs, mistakes and successes in building a business. The Fred Marcus Studio has been in business for three generations, and they’ve learned from each failure along the way. According to Marcus, these are some of the fundamentals behind successful wedding photography:
Personalize Your Services
- Learn names. Make a list of the most important people (parents, bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc.) if you can’t remember.
- Share stories about satisfied past clients and emphasize how hard you work for each customer. Customers want to know what benefits they will get from your business.
- Do what it takes to keep the couple happy. This means you let them tell you what they want.
- Show albums and other product samples that the couple can relate to. If they’re planning a beach wedding, show them a similar wedding. If the bride has brown hair, show photos of brides with brown hair. Your clients want to see themselves in your work.
- Show your interest and get specifics. Ask questions about the wedding and schedule to get to know exactly what the couple needs from you.
Communicate with Clients
- On first contact, ask how they heard about you. This helps you learn where your clients are coming from and if they’ve been referred by a previous client.
- Make an appointment for an initial meeting with the bride and groom. At this meeting, you’ll get to know more about the couple and their wedding plans, and the couple will get a chance to become comfortable with the photographer.
- Gaining your clients’ trust is more important than the photos you show them. They want to know you will make sure they have beautiful photographs.
Know Your Craft
- Learn simple guiding and posing for portraits. The average person doesn’t know what to do in front of the camera. It’s up to you to make them look good.
- Practice. Hire a model or do a shoot for a friend for free and give them the images. Pretend it’s a bride and become comfortable with setting up shots and interacting with a client.
- Have a plan and a shot list for the wedding. The shot list should include any special shots the clients want.
- Know and use the right equipment so you can take less time to take the pictures.
- Use your time wisely. While you wait for everyone to get comfortable during the pre-wedding happenings, start photographing the details. Ask for shoes, rings, and other symbolic objects.
- Make a good first impression.
- Wear clothing that reflects your level of service. Your business cards, camera bag, and other gear should also fit with your branding.
- Use a meeting space that shows you are a high-end photographer.
- Hire professional assistants who dress well and are personable. Make sure they represent you well.
- Stay organized. Back up all photos, make clients’ files easy to find, and have all paperwork in order.
- Use a great printer. Shop around to find the best products.
- Display high-quality prints and albums in your studio or office. You sell what you show.
- Use quality accessories. For memory cards, Marcus recommends Lexar XQD cards. You need the best performance out of your gear to ensure photos do not get lost and your equipment does not fail during the wedding.
Invest in Camera Gear
- Spend money on a quality camera and lenses. Marcus suggests the following gear starter kit: a Nikon D4, a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, a 50mm f/1.8 lens, and a 17-35mm f/2.8 lens.
- Have lighting equipment available for low-light situations. Marcus uses a Lowel GL-1 Power LED light.
Provide Great Customer Service
- Take care of your customers better than the competition takes care of them.
- Respond to emails right away, and return phone calls within 24 hours.
- Cater to your clients. Work with their schedules. For example, let them meet you when it’s most convenient for them. This might mean you will have to work in the evening when they’re not at work.
- Keep in contact with clients. If you treat them well and keep in touch, they will come back with births, bar mitzvahs, and other life events that they want photographed.
Brian Marcus is confident and professional, and his clients see the quality that his studio offers. Follow his advice to keep your wedding photography business running smoothly.
“Don’t just take pictures; make sure they look good.”
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