Over the next five ‘MARKETING YOUR BUSINESS’ posts I am going to share with you the 5 places where almost all of my wedding bookings come from, and tips for how you can make them can work for your business as well.
The fourth of these 5 is Wedding Planners.
In many ways building a relationship with a wedding planner/ coordinator is similar to building a relationship with a venue. The main difference being that an independent planner is not tied to a specific venue, so the location of the venues potentially could be anywhere.
Every wedding I shoot in the US or Mexico is with a planner, whilst in Europe it is still a lot less common. It’s customary to pass 10% of your fee to the planner for the referral. Another thing that is very different to Europe, although I see this beginning to happen and as the wedding industry continues it’s growth, I am sure this will become the norm. But I am more than happy to do this. The planners I am lucky enough to work with are amazing, and the difference it makes to ne working with at an event I know is going to be expertly planned and coordinated, makes it worth its weight in gold.
A few years ago I decided I wanted to start photographing weddings in a town called San Miguel de Allende in Mexico and stared working with a planner, Guadalupe, head honcho at Penzi Bodas. I now do about 10 a year with her, and her weddings are so fantastic and well organised that I work almost exclusively with her in Mexico.
I’m not sure that this could be replicated in the UK right now. I work a lot with Quintessentially events, but it’s still only one or two weddings each summer. It is still worth building a relationship with a least one or two planners, if not more.
If you are on a list of recommended suppliers for a planner, it really says great things about the service you offer. The planner will no doubt come into contact with countless photographers each season, so if they are prepared to put your name forward, then you are doing something right!
If you are just starting out, it may be a great help to your business to contact specific planners and ask them to recommend you. This is the first things I will do when looking to work in a new area. When I decided that I would like to photograph weddings in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, this is exactly how I did it:
- Google ‘Wedding Planners area you want to work in‘.
- Make a list of 10 planners you feel may suit your style of photography and you would like to work with.
- Send an email to each planner asking if it may be possible to come and show them your work.
- Take a presentation of your work for them to see. I generally take a presentation of my recent work on my laptop.
- Leave them with some of your business cards.
When I work with a planner, I try to do and consider a number of things:
- If I would like help or information about the wedding, I make sure it has been arranged before hand, and not left to the actual wedding day.
- On the wedding day, I always remember that the planner is under as much pressure as I am to make the day a success. If there are timings to keep to, I always make sure I leave plenty of time, so the wedding is not forced to run late.
- Before I leave at the end of the wedding day, I make sure that I thank everyone I have worked with.
- When I have finished the pictures I email the planner to thank him or her for her help on the wedding day and attach a link to the photographs. I offer to send them a link to download all of the images for their marketing and promotion.
- If I blog the wedding, I put a mention and a link to the planner.
- When ever I get the chance I will recommend the planner to couples.
I hope this is helpful! If you enjoyed this article, please ‘Like’ it, so that it will reach others.
I would love to get your comments on this article or topic in the comments below. If you have any questions, or feel there’s something I missed out, please do ask!
Next week I will post the fifth and final ‘The Top 5 ways I get my Wedding Bookings’. If you would like to receive these articles direct to your inbox, please sign up to my blog on the left of this page.