So you’re a wedding photographer who is having trouble booking weddings. Whether you’re new to the wedding industry, or a seasoned professional, a period of slow bookings is always scary. I’ve photographed over 10 seasons of weddings now, so I’ve seen plenty of ebbs and flows in booking seasons, and I can understand how easy it can be to start doubting yourself when the bookings aren’t flowing. Questions like “Am I good enough for this?” or “Am I charging too much/too little?” start taking over your thoughts and it’s far from fun!
Before losing all hope, check out this list of the 4 most common reasons why you’re not booking weddings:
There’s so much competition these days with newer and shinier websites. If you haven’t updated your website in the last year, chances are it is well in need of an update. Also, if it takes more than 10 seconds for your homepage to load or looks like it was made in the 90s; forget anyone waiting around to check out your website. You don’t need a super flashy website, but it does need to be easy to navigate, quick to load, and have the most important information easy to find while looking fresh and modern.
The same goes for your choice of images and content on your website. If you’re not showing photography and wording that represents the type of clients you want to attract, then your prices may not match your branding and so, in turn, you’ll be putting potential clients off. Have a clear, concise branding color palette and style that flows from your Instagram, website and email marketing.
Editing and curating our own portfolio can be hard, so it can be beneficial to get someone else’s trusted eye to help you narrow down your selections. You don’t want to choose 100’s of favorite photographs, but you want to choose images that inspire and captivate your potential clients. Make sure you’re showcasing the aesthetic that you want to be shooting, and make sure it aligns with your ideal client.
But what if you don’t have images with the aesthetic you want to showcase? Well, this is one reason I suggest assisting, second shooting, and photographing styled shoots. On one hand, by working with more experienced photographers who will allow you to use the images you take for them in your portfolio, you get to showcase the types of clients you want to work with. On the other hand, styled shoots are a great way to capture and share current trends with clients to inspire them in their planning and help them with ideas for their own wedding day. It also showcases your direction and style. Obviously you don’t want your whole portfolio to just be styled shoots; clients need and want to see real weddings, but you also want shots in there that allow clients to connect with a specific style, which may not be the style represented among your current clientele.
You could have the most amazing beautiful website ever, but it could be completely useless if clients can’t find you. If your website isn’t well-optimized, then you need to get it optimized. Your website needs to be showing up in Google search results in order to pull in clients who are searching for a wedding photographer. Relying on one source for potential leads isn’t enough. Having a fully optimized website will allow you to show up in search engine results pages and it’s a must-have for every wedding photographer. After many years of being on Page 1 for a variety of key search terms, I have seen how powerful SEO truly is, and how important it is for keeping a steady stream of inquiries coming in on the daily.
You also want to make sure you’re utilizing Pinterest and Instagram to find your audience and bring them to your website, too. This is where a clear social media strategy complete with effective keywords and/or hashtags comes in. Truth be told, if you aren’t bringing leads in through Pinterest and Instagram, it’s probably because you’re inconsistent and you’re probably not spending enough time on marketing your business. And by marketing, I don’t mean posting to Instagram once a day. Posting to Instagram once a day is *not* a marketing strategy.
We have to be honest with ourselves; we won’t be the only photographer the client will have contacted. So how can we make their experience seamless and enticing to want to book? Make sure your response is unique and not just an email with a pricing PDF attached just like every other photographer they will have contacted. Share a starting price for different collections; don’t force people to dig for it, or be confused as to why you’re not sharing pricing even after they’ve submitted an inquiry with you. Create a personable yet informative email that suits your branding and voice. Make it clear how to proceed and answer all the potential questions they might have. Including something special like a link to a video that showcases how you work and your photography could be something that sets you apart. And always, always, make sure you spell their name correctly.
This post certainly includes a little tough love, but sometimes that’s what we need to get us focused on what needs to be done on the back-end of our business!
Do you need more wedding photography clients? Chances are, if you made it this far in this article, you do. If you’re struggling with wedding bookings and need an outside perspective to help you see what improvements you can make in your business, I’d love to chat with you. Check out my coaching sessions here.
Hello there! I'm Alex! I teach hobbyist photographers how to take better photos and professional photographers how to build a thriving business. Here I share tips and resources to help you grow. Thank you so much for visiting my blog!