What’s your number one method for marketing your wedding photography?
If you asked me or any number of wedding photographers this question five years ago then getting featured on wedding blogs would probably have been their top answer. There was a point where I would have said it was the holy grail of marketing. Getting a wedding featured on one of the most popular wedding blogs was a guaranteed way of booking more clients.
Confession time: There was a point where as soon as I posted a sneak peek on my social media, I would get approached by at least one wedding blogger asking if they could feature the wedding. And I was pretty damn smug about it all. Wedding blogs need weddings and photographers need publicity so it was all one big lovely self feeding circle… For a while.
So what has changed?
Now wedding photographers could be using any number of means to market themselves but I’m sure that right at the top is referrals and social media. Why I think that this has happened is two fold:
The sheer number of people offering their services as wedding photographers now has increased so much that it feels at saturation point. Type “Wedding Photographer UK” into Google and it currently returns 88,100,000 results. OK there are not quite that many of us but imagine you are a couple starting out on your wedding planning journey. You start having a look on Google to get ideas and immediately feel utterly overwhelmed. So, what do folk do when they feel like that about booking anything? They seek out personal recommendations. It’s why Trip Advisor is dominating the travel industry and why Mumsnet is the go to place for parenting advice. When faced with too much choice, we need filters. We ask those who have been in the same situation before us or who are experts in the field. This is why referrals is right up there as a brilliant marketing tool for wedding photographers
Instagram launched for IOS in 2010 and on Android in 2012. At first it wasn’t a place for marketing your business, it was a place to show the world what you had for lunch and what tricks your cat could do. Then the mighty Facebook took it over, and when in 2016 it stopped showing content in chronological order and was algorithm-fueled instead, it suddenly meant that we all had to up our game to stand out. Every wedding photographer I know now puts a lot of effort into their Instagram accounts. I now directly book couples via my Instagram. For them, looking at hashtags that are relevant to their wedding style or venue is a much more efficient filtering system than Google and, like we spoke about last month, they are using Instagram Collections to collate and save images that they like. As we are all spending so much time on phones, this is just how weddings are planned now.
So where does this leave the wedding blogs and should we as photographers bother with them anymore?
I asked the UK’s number one wedding blogger Kat Williams from Rock n Roll Bride what she thinks the biggest changes have been in wedding blogging in the last five years or so.
“It’s not enough to just be a blogger anymore,” she says, “you can’t just write a few blog posts and expect to make a living from it anymore. As a content creator you have to have your fingers in many, many more pies than you used to and you’re expected to be an expert in each. There’s Instagram (main feed, stories and IGTV!), Facebook, Facebook groups, YouTube, Snapchat… Then there’s written content, video content, podcasts… and ideally you’d be creating unique content for each and every platform. You absolutely can not make a decent living by just relying on advertising revenue anymore. Brands and businesses are much more savvy about what they want and audiences are much pickier about what they’ll even click away from social media to see. I’m constantly having to figure out where to put my content so people will see it, and it’s not just a blog post anymore.”
“However, I still think there is a place for blogs, and hosting your own content on a platform that YOU OWN is still pretty vital.Just look how much people lose their minds when Instagram goes down for an evening, if that’s your WHOLE business or marketing strategy it’s a very scary situation to find yourself in.”
“Rock n Roll Bride is now also a print magazine and I’m personally focusing a lot more that and growing my own newsletter right now. Blogs and personal websites are still great for SEO and searchability, and having evergreen content that people can still find and read. We have old blog posts that still get views from Google every single day. You simply don’t get that from old posts on social media, whatever the platform.”
Like all of us, wedding bloggers are having to evolve to survive and the ones that do are the ones that are still relevant and still worth being a part of. Remember people like filters in a busy market and bloggers all have their own style and therefore attract their own unique following. I do still submit weddings to bloggers when I feel that they are inspiring to their followers. I also shoot for Kat’s magazine every issue and I worked with her on the shoots for her book that she had published in 2019. There are plenty of ways to get your work onto blogs even if you don’t have full weddings yet that might be strong enough for a feature. They all need images to illustrate articles and most will accept really creative styled shoots. Some will even accept written guest post submissions so if you’re a decent writer and you have a unique idea for an article, it’s worth approaching them about that too.
If you are at the beginning of your career, then you won’t be in a position to get referrals and you might not have a lot of content for social media accounts so getting onto blogs can be a great marketing ploy. When I was at that stage, I placed a paid ad on Rock n Roll Bride and I still run it now as well as a paid listing in the London directory of the US based site Junebug.
Submitting does take a little work, sadly just tagging a wedding bog on Instagram isn’t going to get you anywhere. Each blog has its own submitting process, so be prepared to have to write about the shoot or wedding, list the other suppliers and resize your images to their specifications. Then you have to patiently wait for their response before submitting elsewhere. For the biggest blogs, this can take up to 6 weeks but do not be tempted to send it anywhere else until you get an answer as they all have exclusivity clauses.
So choose wisely when it comes to trying to get featured on a particular blog. Ensure that your style is in keeping with their current aesthetic but not so much that your images are going to look like many that they have already featured. Try to be original and send in images that will stop them in their tracks. Think of an interesting hook or story that will give them creative content. If you are not successful, don’t take it to heart. I get knocked back all the time, don’t take it to heart and don’t let it put you off.
Interested in our upcoming Shoot Day for building up your portfolio plus fresh content for your socials? Just drop your name here and we will make sure you are in the know before anyone else …