10 Tips For Creating A Trash The Dress Package

The funny thing about buying a wedding dress is you wear it once, and it hangs in the closet forever more. I know – that’s where mine is at the moment.

Mine got a bit more use than most, as I pulled it out on more than one occasion when we were first getting started to practice and build up our portfolio doing the crazy things we dreamt up. But for most brides, it goes into the closet, and rarely is seen again.

Which is why Trash The Dress sessions have become so popular, and can enhance the images a bride and groom have from their special day. The day of the event, the bride would never risk getting her gown dirty or wet. But the day after – all bets are off. For many, Trash The Dress is part of the fun of the entire wedding process.

Not only is it fun for the bride and groom, its also a great way to enhance your portfolio, and let all of your crazy ideas come to light. What have you always wanted to do? What photograph would you love to have in your portfolio? Dream away, and pitch it to your next bride to be.

If you’ve always wanted to add a Trash The Dress package to your services, now is the time. Use these 10 tips to help build your own package, and start selling it today.

1. Don’t Include Trash The Dress Sessions in Your Packages

Wedding packages should be just that, photography the day of the wedding. You shouldn’t include engagement images in your wedding packages. And you shouldn’t include Trash The Dress sessions in your packages. Trash The Dress sessions are extra – above and beyond the norm. Not everyone wants it, and if you include it in your packages, you’ll start the bargaining process with certain clientele.

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2. Start With A Small Plan And Grow From There

If you are new to the Trash The Dress concept, don’t start out by having your bride do something completely over the top. Start small and build your portfolio from there. Your creativity will grow as you see the potential.

3. Focus On The Environment

Trash The Dress sessions are all about capturing the bride and groom in unique settings they would never experience during the course of their actual wedding. Lying on the beach watching the sunset. Wandering through a field of wildflowers. Climbing into a mountain stream. Find the perfect setting in your area, and bring your first client there. Ask what they are willing to do along the way – you’ll be surprised. We once had a bride climb a tree in her gown – all because we asked!

4. Build Packages For Your Sessions

Just like your wedding packages, you can have two or three Trash The Dress packages as well. Always build something for people to aspire to: a basic and a premium package gives everyone a chance to experience what you have to offer. Spend some time dreaming up ideas that you would love to do, and use those ideas to build your perfect premium Trash The Dress package.

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5. Sell It At The Same Time As Your Wedding Services

Trash The Dress sessions are designed to complement the wedding album. While I believe you should sell separate packages, you should still sell them at the same time you are selling your wedding packages. Once they decide to use you, upsell immediately. “Would you like to look at our engagement packages? Our Trash The Dress packages?” A bride and groom’s budget will quickly be expended as the move closer to the date. The sooner you can get it booked, the greater your profits will be.

6. Search The Internet For Ideas

Want to know what other photographers are doing in their Trash The Dress sessions? Google Alert it. Simply put in the keyword “Trash The Dress” into a Google Alert, and be notified any time someone posts something new. You’ll quickly find out the latest and greatest within this niche, and be able to incorporate it into your own photography.

7. Focus On The Passion

At no other time in our lives are we as passionate about our partners then we are right around the wedding date. Use that passion and show it off in your images. With just a little nudging from you, you can draw out amazing looks. Instead of posing, tell them what to do. “Put your foreheads together. A light kiss to the cheek. Pull her in close.” You can see the magic unfold right in front of you.

8. Think About Your Final Product

Do you want to sell a 30×40 wall print? How about an album with 24 pages? If you know going into the shoot what you want to sell at the end, you can shoot accordingly. Build your packages around what you want to sell, then shoot to fill your packages with the images you love. Teach your clients about what makes the best image, and sell them on it along the way.

9. Build Your Portfolio For You

Your first client to try this service may not love your “wow” images – the one’s you took just to see what you can do. Don’t be discouraged, or rely on that client to tell you what they want and don’t want. Most people don’t know what they want – you have to sell them on it. If you continue to take and showcase what you want, you next client will fall in love with that vision, and want only that look in their session.

10. Think Marketing Along The Way

The only way to experience a Trash The Dress session is to see how it’s done. Have your assistant video parts of the session, and put it together to form a video you can share on YouTube, Facebook and your blog. Once a potential client sees what is possible, they will have to have it. And that’s a great place to be in as a wedding photographer.

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clientexperience@todaysgrowthconsultant.com' About Virtual Photography

We're the co-founders of VirtualPhotographyStudio.com and have been writing on this blog since 2004. We started Virtual as a way to help photographers stretch beyond a part time income, and develop strategies to become a Five Figure Photographer or a Six Figure Photographer. Ultimately its all about lifestyle, and if your goal is to live as a photographer 24/7, we think you should have the knowledge and the tools to do so. Welcome!

  • Lynn Likens

    Thanks for the pointers! I don’t currently offer TTD sessions, but would love to in the future.

  • William McClure

    I’ve done a few TTD photo shoots thanks to a few photography friends. It’s a lot of fun and it’s also amazing what kind of ideas that can popped into your head (especially when there is a second or third photographer on location). If you’ve never even dreamed of doing a TTD session, I highly recommend you find a friend that shoots or perhaps another photographer that you can join in on a session or two just to get your feet wet (Pun not intended).