The Quick & Dirty Guide to Wedding Photography Business Branding

We’ve written about branding at length before, with talk on finding your own niche and sticking to it, as well as several other techniques to help you stand out on today’s complex photography market. Today, however, we’re going to make everything simple and clear for your convenience, with a quick and dirty guide to wedding photography business branding. We’ll be covering all the basics, from getting your reputation off the ground, to putting it to work for you – all outlined in some simple, easy-to-follow steps. Oh, and good luck!

The definitive guide to wedding photography business branding: Newbie edition

1. Making a name and a living at the same time


Back in the day, when print photography was much more important than it is today, in the digital era, photographers would make a name for themselves by getting gallery exposure, followed up with editorial work. Far be it from us, in our guide to wedding photography business branding, to dissuade you from garnering exposure via exhibitions. But, since they’re less likely to draw lucrative clients today than two or three decades ago, you’d be better advised to get some exposure online first, via curated websites. Promote any exposure you can get on your own social media channels and watch as the work rolls in.

2. Don’t underestimate stock photography


As many a seasoned photog will tell you, stock photography doesn’t sell nearly as well as it used to, nowadays. However, if you manage to get a bit of reputation off the ground, you might be surprised to learn that stock will provide a welcome stream of steady income. The trick to making this work often entails taking up several assignments at once – the pay isn’t big, but it’s dependable, when you do strike a lucrative stock photography contract.

3. Have the best possible online presence


In between running and maintaining a blog, several social media accounts (Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are nearly compulsory) and setting up a professional website, you might even want to look into hiring an assistant to handle the workload for you. At the same time, even if you do choose to go down this route, it’s important to maintain a personal approach to your online presence. In other words, don’t make your fans and followers feel like they’re been talked at by a company, but by a genuine human being.

4. Consider hiring an editor


What’s all this talk about hiring someone else do the work for you?, you may ask. After all, the best way to take care of business is to do it yourself, right? Most of the time, yes – but not all the time. If, for instance, editing your work is not your strong suit (which, incidentally, is something that a lot of photographers struggle with), you should definitely think about hiring someone to edit the photos for you. After all, your end goal is to put your best foot forward, as it were, and make sure that the images that get out there with your name on them are the best possible ones.

5. Work on as many projects as possible


We’ve mentioned this before, in connection with stock photography, but it’s a good rule of thumb to go by, no matter the type of assignment. From shooting weddings pure and simple, to taking on editorial assignments, it’s a good idea to put out as much work as you can. You will thus expand your scope, grow your business, showcase your skill, and make sure you get your name out there, on as many people’s radars as possible. And that can’t be a bad idea, right?

How to Photograph Food at Weddings – The Bare Essentials

We live in a society that seems to be more obsessed with food than ever before. Not only has the cultural trope of the foodie risen to mainstream media prominence, but the endless streams of Instagram hashtags that revolve around food confirms this obsession. In such a food-centric day and age, the question of how to photograph food at weddings may seem simpler to answer than ever before. After all, if your smartphone touting 15 year-old cousin can do it, so can you – a seasoned professional of this visual art we call photography. Right?

Things are obviously not that simple, of course. In order to truly photograph food at events like a professional, you still need to bear a few essential tips and tricks in mind. So, here they are, for your convenience, dispensed in numbered list form.

1. Bounce those whites


There are few things likely to make meals look more unappealing than harsh shadows, the kind caused by natural light in mid-day, for instance. As such, one way to fill in those shadows is to bounce the whites and silver highlights in a picture with the aid of some easy-to-carry bounce cards. Not only will these simple aides make your images look better, they will also restore the level of detail you’re looking for, which you’d otherwise lose to deep shadows.

Such shadows are often unavoidable, especially at indoor events such as wedding parties. If you were shooting in direct sunlight, the situation would probably be different, in terms of contrast, colors and texturing. However, since you’re often stuck photographing courses in light mediated by windows, it’s important to keep things looking soft and delicate. So, if you’re wondering how to photograph food at weddings, one simple answer is to try and soften that harsh window lighting.

2. How to photograph food at weddings? Just focus on the food!


Sounds commonsensical enough, right? When photographing food, you should be focusing on the dish itself, not the props, or other decorative elements in the shot. As such, one good tip is to focus as close to the front edge of the food as possible. You’re aiming for shallow depth of field, which means your aperture needs to be as open as possible. One strategy is to find that one detail of the food shot that stands out most prominently. It can be a sprig of rosemary, a drip of whipped cream, a beautiful slice of fruit – or whatever looks most appetizing to you. Chances are it’s also going to look scrumptious to the onlooker as well. Not to mention you’ll be achieving great bokeh.

3. A bird’s eye view always helps


When the above tip on how to photograph food at weddings doesn’t seem to be working, as there’s no wonderful detail to focus on, you can always shoot straight from above. This way, you can add props and other interesting details – while also avoiding that common pitfall, shooting food that looks like it’s about to fall off the plate. This trick is especially useful for flat dishes, such as pizza, platters, or soup. If you’re working with a taller dish, like, say, a beverage, a layered cake, or a sandwich, you are probably better off shooting from an angle. This will help you reveal all the multiple interesting layers. But overhead photos also allow you to include the cutlery, the way the table is set, and the dishes, too. for weddings and other special events, this is a particularly good strategy, since it allows you to create visually interesting images with no more than a single click.

Got other tips on how to photograph food at weddings? Let us know in the comment section below!

3 Updates on Social Media Tools for Wedding Photographers

We’ve written about social media tools for photographers before, but here are some fresh updates for you, for summer 2014. The wedding season is upon us and we bet you’ll come out at the other end with some great new material to showcase all over the Internet. Check out our three tips, which will hopefully help you make the most of your work, in terms of branding and exposure.

Wow them with pictures


These social media tools for wedding photographers have been hyped endlessly already, but this is one tip that bears repeating: you need to put your content out there on Pinterest and its wedding-focused ‘little sister’, You can target your audience very accurately through these websites and bring traffic back to your website and blog. However, you will need to optimize your pictures, add credits to each image, and make sure your name is included in the file title. This tiny personal branding effort will go a long way in the long run. Pro tip: you will need to be relatively active, especially in the beginning, since these sites are already teeming with great content from your direct competition. Find a way to create content that stands out, such as color-themed boards, wedding guides in pictures, etc.

Follow the right crowd

Since we’re on the topic of social media tools for wedding photographers, we have to acknowledge that there can’t be any talk of social media without connecting, following, and accruing followers. Connecting with the right crowd can be a daunting prospect, especially for an up-and-coming photographer who doesn’t have much exposure. However, if you keep a blog, a website, or at least maintain a social media presence, you might want to get bold about it and reach out to some of the big names out there in the online wedding business. There are a few blogs and websites that we would recommend anytime, like Green Wedding Shoes, Bridal Musings, and Style Me Pretty.

What makes these blogs and websites great? For one thing, they are among the most important sources of images shared via Pinterest, Tumblr, and Facebook. For another, their numbers of followers are impressive to say the least. But, most importantly, they consistently feature great quality content – which is exactly what made them massive to begin with. If you can get them to showcase some of your wedding photography work, you can count on being credited and in seeing a traffic spike on your own website. And if your outreach efforts turn out to be less successful than you’d hoped, you can always promote your work on these websites via paid advertising. It tends to run cheaper than the standard promotional fees on Facebook and Google.

Pay for promotion

The debate on the efficiency of Facebook advertising continues to rage on. Some believe that the decrease in organic reach that the social network has imposed on its users will spell the site’s demise. They argue that Twitter and YouTube are still keeping social media promotion free – and they don’t seem to be losing market share; quite the contrary! On the other hand, another faction believes that Facebook is entirely right to capitalize on its paid advertising potential. After all, they say, “if you’re not paying for a product, you are the product”.

Debates aside, investing in Facebook ads might be one of the social media tools for wedding photographers to consider, if you want to increase your reach and score new sales leads. Yes, it can be expensive, but it’s also easy to refine, in order to reach very specific targets in the audience. You’ll probably need some expertise with CPC and CPM ad campaigns, as well as with SEO and keyword research. Experiment with the keywords that connect with your particular photographic niche, target people in your area, and also target audiences connected with some of the major wedding-focused websites we mentioned above. Throw in a sweet deal or discount for your first clients and you’re all set!

5 Reasons Why Its Time To Dump Pinterest As A Marketing Tool

I’ve been talking a lot about Pinterest over the past few months. Pinterest continues to be the fastest growing online social network, with current stats showing a growth rate in excess of +4,377 percent over the past year. Compare that to Twitter’s growth of 58 percent, or Facebook’s growth at 4 percent. Yep, that seems like something worth talking about.

But is Pinterest really the best choice for you as a photographer? Can you benefit from pinning your images on pinboards? Read on to find out why it may not be the right fit for you.

1. You aren’t a regular visitor to social sites.

Pinterest has many, many categories and posts that are updated literally by the minute. If you don’t visit on a regular basis, you will quickly fade into oblivion and end up at the bottom of your followers’ feeds – a place that does you know good. The less you post, the less chance you have of finding people that love what you do, share what you do, and convert from followers to paying customers.

2. You focus in on B2B niches.

What niche are you going after as a photographer? If you are photographing widgets for the oil and gas industry, they probably aren’t on Pinterest. If you photograph business portraits for CEOs of major corporations, they might not be on Pinterest. If your focus is on the commercial side, concentrating on annual reports and industrialized photography, Pinterest may not work for you. You have to know whom your target is and how to reach out to them.

3. You’re not the content provider type.

When is the last time you changed your website? When is the last time you wrote up a new marketing piece for your business? If the word “years” appeared in your answer, you probably haven’t grasped the concept of content marketing yet. What makes social work is creating content and giving viewers what they want. Some will convert, most won’t. Yet it’s the content that drives people in and helps boost your traffic in the online world. If you haven’t worked with content marketing yet, there are other areas easier to start with than on Pinterest.

4. You don’t have regular access to the Internet.

Are you a travel photographer always out in the field? Is the “field” for you miles from anywhere, no electricity in sight? Do you prefer spending days in the wilderness with only the stars above and the animals as your companions? If you can’t post on a regular basis, it may be easier to add your images to your own sites when you have access instead of trying to market with Pinterest.

5. You market your photography to men.

While men are coming on board to Pinterest slowly, its still predominately female oriented. That’s because of the visual nature of the application, and the fact that females love to share what they love – fashion, foodie, arts and crafts.

Did you see yourself in any of the above statements? If so, you may do better with other marketing tools.

But if you found yourself disagreeing with the statements again and again, it may be time to jump on board with Pinterest.

I’m such a huge fan of Pinterest, I’ve just released my newest ebook The Photographers Guide To Pinterest, available in both PDF and Kindle.

Its designed to provide you with an easy way to sign up for Pinterest, build your account, and quickly create a ton of traffic to bring in people as fast as possible.

Learn more here >>

What’s The Best Way To Promote Your Photography Business – With A Pinterest or Facebook Contest?

The only way to succeed with social media is to have a following. And the more time you spend building your following, the more results you will see.

And people love free stuff. They are completely attracted to coupons, deals of the day, and anything “fun” that will allow them to get a hold of a great product at a great price. Which is why many smart businesses have turned to social media contests.

Dig Deeper: How To Start Up A Pinterest Contest

Dig Deeper: The Guide To Growing Your Facebook Page With A Contest

However, the social media platforms and the rules to follow are always changing. What worked a few short months ago may be “illegal” by today’s terms. If a contest is in your future, it’s important to evaluate your options regularly and choose the right platform to grow – the right platform to attract quality prospects to your studio. [Read more…]

5 Pinboards Every Portrait Photographer Should Have On Pinterest

If you have a Pinterest account, chances are you’ve created a lot of boards for your photography. Babies, kids, families, engagement, weddings. The more active you are on Pinterest, the more boards you probably have.

Yet showcasing your images is only half of what makes Pinterest such a great place for photographers. The other half is about inspiring your prospects and clients to want to come to you for a session, and what to expect when they get there.

Using a Pinboard, you can convey any message you desire. A handful of pinboards isn’t enough. The more the better. And with more you can teach your clients along the way.

If you only have a handful of pinboards, take a look at these 5 ideas to get you going on creating some truly inspirational pinboards.


If you could do any photo shoot in the world, what would it be? What gives you inspiration? What do you wish you could get your clients to do? If you can find an example out there, use it to showcase what your ideas are. Your clients will never have a solid idea when they come into your studio – unless they see it first. Clients always come in with pictures ripped out of magazines or printed from a website, requesting they “look like this”. Create your own inspiration board and direct them in the direction you’ve always wanted to go.

[Read more…]

How You Can Grow Your Pinterest Following By Writing

Pinterest – isn’t that all about images? How can you grow it with writing?

In every presence you have online, its always about the copy. Words play an integral part of how well you do within the site, how much traction you gain through your followers, and how well you rank in the search engines.

With Pinterest, its easy to forget that. After all, you probably spend the majority of your time looking at photographs. Copy – really? There’s copy there?

Yes. Each board has its own name and description. And by using descriptive works from your industry for both the names and descriptions, it will help people find you when they perform searches both on Pinterest and on Google. And because both Twitter and Facebook have a built-in share feature, your keywords matter in those sites as well.

Keywords on Pinterest

Keywords are extremely important when building up your Pinterest profile. You can use words to categorize your boards and to create your posts.

When a viewer heads to Pinterest and decides to look for something, they use the search function in a similar manner to search engines.

When they receive their results, Pinterest pulls based on keywords and relevancy. It pays to know what your prospects are thinking and what to post to make sure they find it.

Test Your Stuff

While building your boards, nothing says you can only post an item once. If you have multiple photographs on your blog showcasing a recent boudoir shoot for a bride to be, use several of the images – and change up the boards and the keywords you use to describe them.

Just like with every other marketing tool and campaign you’ve created, things change. What works today may not work tomorrow. Headlines may attract attention written in certain ways, while other copy may have zero impact. Remember, Pinterest is one big test market. Find what works and try it again.

Work Your Comments

Comments are almost as important as pin descriptions.

Even if you don’t repin and add your own content, adding descriptive words in the comment sections can bring in traffic, increase followers and add more likes and shares to your count. In the social world, interaction is everything.

The Length Of The Post

With Pinterest, its easy to add a word or two and send it on its way. Yet if you take the time to write up a long and meaningful post, it can get noticed. The eye instantly moves to something that stands out from the ordinary. We have to read it.

And when you read it, you’re more than likely to pass it along.

Easy Ways To Make Infographics For Your Social Sites

If you’ve been to Pinterest, you know one of the most popular, most shared items on there are infographics. They are fun to look at, filled with useful or amazing content, and therefore are also fun to share.

Infographics can range from the simple to the complex, filled with basic information or elaborate graphics. The key is getting your message across quickly and with style. Check out one of the recent infographics that went viral on Pinterest.

While you can use Photoshop to do just about anything, there are many online tools that also give you an easy way to get your ideas out there. [Read more…]

8 Things To Help You Grow Your Photography Business On Pinterest

Pinterest has hit another milestone – over 100 million visits per month with nearly 12 million  of them being unique visitors.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, now is the time. Pinterest is used primarily by women, and because of the visual aspect of pin boards, they spend a lot of time on the site.

Currently you can use Pinterest by signing up through either your Facebook account or your Twitter account, giving you double the traction for half the work.  If you connect through Facebook, keep in mind that currently it connects with your personal profile, not your page. So if you want to keep it business related, sign up for a special Twitter account to connect it to.

Then let the pinning begin.

1. Pinterest will start you out with five pre-determined pin boards. You can delete these and create your own. Plan out your boards with your business in mind. So instead of “photography” be specific towards your niche market. Also break it down to give your potential customers ideas as they are searching through your boards: what to wear for a portrait, posing ideas, location ideas. Be specific and use them to direct people to what they like the most. However, don’t just fill it with stuff from your site –  be a resource as well. Its okay to post fresh ideas from other sites and resources online. Be an industry expert and share your talents and knowledge freely.

Dig Deeper: The Code For Blocking Pinterest … And 12 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use It

2. Google recognizes Pinterest profiles, so they can appear on the first pages of search results. Because of how Pinterest interacts with Google, be sure to create boards using your key terms so its recognizable and will deliver you results within the most popular key searches.

3. Currently you can rearrange your pinboards to have them showcased on your profile in any order you choose. Yet the pins within each pinboard are shown in order of when you pinned each item. If you have a closed board concept – meaning you are creating a board with a select number of pins and you know ahead of time what they will be – lay out the order first so they will appear in the order you desire. [Read more…]

Is Your Pinterest Traffic Worthless?

If you look at any business media source today, the focus has moved off of Facebook and on to Pinterest. And for good reason. It’s the largest growing social media site yet.

But don’t let the large numbers fool you. The millions of people that are flocking to it are doing it for their own agenda, not yours. The audience (mainly women) love looking at all of the great ideas posted by other people and sharing them with their own followers. The numbers are there. But there is one thing that may not be there … valuable traffic.

If people are viewing your work just because they love the image, what is that doing for you?

Nothing.Is Your Pinterest Traffic Worthless

Unless you do something with it.

Are you seeing the residual of people talking about and sharing your images with their followers? Or are you getting actual traffic to your site, finding people clicking over to your pages and spending the time looking around at what you have to offer?

The only way to find out is to physically track your statistics and monitor what people are doing. You must follow the traffic, where they click to once they come into your site, and most importantly, do they convert once they get there?

Dig Deeper: How Google Analytics Can Help You Grow Your Business

The key to a successful web presence isn’t traffic … it conversion. If 100 visit your site and 100 convert, you will be successful. If you have one million people visit your site with zero conversions, you will fail. [Read more…]