Wednesday, February 3, 2016

sharing your photos in the industry


If you couldn't tell from the ice storm that's happening outside right now...it is a wedding photographer's OFF-SEASON. Brides-to-be are bundled up at home with a cappuccino and a bridal magazine, planning their lovely Summer weddings. So what's a wedding photographer to do? GET TO WORK! 

The off-season is a busy time for booking the next season's weddings, planning engagement sessions for the Spring, and most of all, implementing business changes. One of the things I really focused on this year was fostering relationships with other vendors in the wedding industry. And the results have been SO incredible that I had to share. 


Here are a few tips for sharing photos with the talented folks that helped make them possible:

1. KNOW "WHY" YOU'RE SENDING THEM

Picture spending hours and hours creating the most stunning wedding cake, carefully attending to every detail. You take a quick iPhone shot of the cake just minutes before it's out the door and off to the wedding. 

As photographers, we have the power to take photos that people genuinely want! That vendor would be so incredibly thrilled to receive a professional shot of their work. They would not only feel appreciated and valued, but they'd then have the opportunity to share that photo and generate more interest in their business! I love that.



2. TAKE PHOTOS WITH THEM IN MIND

This is something I started doing in the last 2 or 3 years. When I arrive in the morning during bridal prep and I see a bouquet lovingly wrapped by the florist, the photographer in me would unwrap it right away to start shooting. But the vendor in me wonders if that florist might love a shot of the finished product? Maybe it's a photo she could use on her social media, maybe it would be perfect for her website as a way to display her professionalism. 

It's a photo that takes less than 30 seconds to create, but it has the potential to make that florist feel really special. 


3. ESTABLISH THE CREATIVE TEAM EARLY

I ask my brides for a list of their wedding vendors about 2 weeks before the wedding. In order to make sure I'm getting as much information as possible, I list a bunch of categories (hair, makeup, bridal earrings, groom's shoes, etc.) because in the rush of planning a wedding it's easy to forget all of the decisions that have been made! 

I take this list and prepare my blog post ahead of time. I find a website and an email address for each and every vendor, and keep them posted with the link to the blog post when it goes live. 


Tagging the creative team on Facebook means that each time the photos are shared, the other vendors will continue to be tagged. 


4. SHARE IN A TIMELY MANNER

Trust me when I say a vendor will be way more likely to share a photo when it's recent. Their latest work will still be fresh on their minds and the post will feel relevant and come naturally. 


5. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR EXPECTATIONS

Once the gallery is live I draft an email that will be sent to each vendor, including the link where they can download photos, and some details on my expectations for when photos are shared. 

Some photographers will have rules that prohibit you from cropping, editing, or collaging their photos. It's also quite common to see that posting a photo without a specific type of photo credit is not allowed. That has never been the case for me. It is my personal opinion that rules and restrictions can backfire and cause people to get flustered and opt not to share ANY photos, for fear of "doing it wrong." 

When vendors see me tagging them in photos on social media and my blog, they always seem to reciprocate. And each time they do, it's a happy little bonus for me :) If it comes down to a choice between a properly credited photo from a vendor who thinks I'm "difficult," or a photo without any attribution from someone who would be happy to refer me to one of their clients, I'd choose the latter.


Sharing photos is something that has really worked well for me in the past, and it's something I will continue to do. Frankly, it can be lonely to be self-employed! You don't get that lunch-room type of social interaction in this industry, so anything and everything that you can do to foster positive relationships will be worthwhile!

Happy off-season, wedding pros! <3

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