Want to know the key to finding your ideal wedding photography clients? Be true to yourself. I know, it doesn’t seem like it can be that simple but it really is.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through identifying your ideal client, marketing to them, and booking them. By the end, I’m sure you’ll see that the key is really to know yourself, listen to yourself, and make sure everything you build is in line with that.
Don’t worry, I’ll hide some practical and actionable tips in there for you to try but only if you can do so while being true to yourself.
At the beginning of your wedding photography career, you might be focused on simply booking as many weddings as you can in order to make ends meet and gain experience. But there will come a point — and it will come quickly — when you will value working with awesome clients. They can make or break your day, your wedding season, and your ability to combat professional burnout.
Let’s go figure out who those clients are!
Identifying Your Ideal Client
The first step in finding your ideal wedding photography clients is to identify who that is. Warning: if you get this step wrong then you’ll be confused why you can’t seem to find clients that are the right fit for your business. And perhaps it will provide you some relief that your ideal client might evolve as you do.
Marketers always talk about building a client avatar, picturing the perfect client, and describing everything about them. Sometimes we focus on it too much from a marketing perspective and not enough from a good fit perspective. Let me give an example, you might think you need to market to the brides with the biggest budgets but then realize that you don’t own a suit to wear to their black tie dress code enforced wedding, nor do you want to own that suit.
Conversely, you might think you need to market to the laid-back couple with no budget because you relate having no budget to being laid back. But that’s not ideal either, is it? What would be ideal is a couple who values your style of photography and is willing to pay you enough that you can run a profitable business.
So what does that look like? Analyze your style of photography including how you shoot, pose, edit, deal with money, structure your packages, and communicate. I bet there’s a client out there that would resonate with all of that, let’s find them.
Finding Your Ideal Wedding Photography Clients
The next step is to infuse your style and your values into everything you do. Yes, this includes branding but it means branding in a genuine way. If your brand matches your values and that directs everything you do then such congruence will help you attract the right types of clients.
Maybe instead of making sure you have consistent branding across all your marketing platforms, we should make sure your values are consistent across everything you do. For example, say you’re super laid back about the whole interviewing, shooting, and booking process and you make that clear on your website but then you hit your clients with a super overly aggressive contract. That’s going to turn off the laid-back couple you wanted to book, I’m not saying don’t have a contract I’m just saying think about what you put in your contract.
The more consistent and true to yourself you can be across your marketing but also across all aspects of your business, the more you will reliably attract the right clients. This includes valuing yourself. You don’t want to be so desperate to book the right client that you undervalue your work because the right client is one that values your work.
Marketing to Your Ideal Client
Okay, so we talked a lot about your values and how they determine who your ideal clients are. So guess what? We’re going to talk about your client’s values and use those to help decide how to market to them.
Here’s a hint, it’s very likely that your ideal client will share your same values. Another way to look at it is to ask yourself why someone would book you, that will show you what they value. It will also remind you what it is about you that is worth valuing.
Choose your marketing strategies based on your client’s values. One fail-proof method is to utilize and maximize referrals and references from your past ideal clients. Our best clients come from our best clients because they have shared values and they have a recommendation from someone they trust. Similarly, work with venues or other vendors that have similar values and you can pass referrals between each other.
Booking Your Ideal Client
You identified them, you marketed to them, and they came knocking on your door. Now what? The next step is to get that ideal client to choose you over the other photographers that they’re comparing you to.
Sometimes if you’ve done your job right, booking them is as easy as sending over a contract so make sure you’re ready for the times that happens. In fact, making the booking process easy is a good general tip, be sure to eliminate any barriers or friction that will give people second thoughts. We have a simple booking link where they can choose their package, sign the agreement, and pay the retainer quickly and easily.
But maybe the couple is on the fence or you’re not sure how many photographers they’re looking into. Here’s where it’s important to play to your strengths. We are laid-back and approachable, if we have an in-person meeting with a couple we almost always book that wedding and we’re almost as good on Zoom.
Maybe you’re good at high-pressure sales and creating immediacy or perhaps you kill it at befriending potential clients on social media. You want to walk people down a path where they get closer and closer to booking you, so figure out what the steps on that path are.
In summary, the ultimate key to finding your ideal wedding photography clients is to be true to yourself. As creatives we believe that we’re unique and special artists, so be your unique self so that you attract the clients that will value that. Tapping into your shared values will help you build a business that reflects them from marketing to booking and beyond.
I know that this is all fine and good when you’re not desperate just to book a few weddings, desperation can make us do silly things. Yes, do what you have to do to make your budget pan out. But then return to your values.
All clients can’t be ideal, but let’s try to increase the odds by knowing how to identify them, find them, market to them, and book them. So what’s your value-based marketing plan? Why will your ideal clients hire you?!
About the author: Brenda Bergreen is a Colorado wedding photographer, videographer, yoga teacher, and writer who works alongside her husband at Bergreen Photography. With their mission and mantra “love. adventurously.” they are dedicated to telling adventurous stories in beautiful places.