We all have them: our bucket list of amazing perfect venues that we dream about shooting in. Venues that we know would be the perfect location to show off our photography style, and entice the ideal clients that go along with it. You may already be attracting some of your ideal clients, but we all have a variety of goals, and if shooting at that beautiful castle or unique wedding venue is on your list of things to achieve, then there are some things you can do to improve your chances of shooting at those dream locations.
As a professional wedding photographer, I have shot in a huge variety of NJ wedding venues over the past ten years, and even a few out of state ones too. When choosing your bucket list venues, keep in mind that the perfect dream venue should be a space that truly complements your photography style, has plenty of portrait locations, and provides the type of lighting that best suits your style of photography. This should be the perfect location for you to create the best images possible, as a venue choice does ultimately affect how clients’ wedding photos will look. Keep this in mind when making your bucket list, and don’t just choose a venue because your competitors shoot there a lot. Choose a venue because of what it has to offer and the value it will provide to you, your business, and your future clients.
Here are a few ideas on how to book a wedding at your dream venue:
- Organize or participate in a styled shoot at your bucket list venue. This will allow you to create images right on site and you’ll be able to use them to promote your work there. I did this when I wanted to shoot at one of my own bucket list venues in NJ – Bonnet Island Estate. Because I had shot there before, I ended up booking future weddings there because my clients liked my work and saw that I had experience shooting there. You can check out the styled shoot I did there by clicking here: Bonnet Island Estate Wedding Editorial.
- Make a bucket list and put it out there! Share your bucket list on social media, on your blog, and in your newsletter. Chances are, the right couple will come across your wish list and contact you.
- Contact the venue and schedule a visit; offer to take photos of the venue for them or headshots for their staff. This also might give you the recommendation from the venue for potential wedding clients coming to look around, or keep you in mind for their own internal events at the venue. They might even let you take a wedding model along with you to give you an opportunity to showcase your talents when shooting at their venue.
- Use the images you take for the venue in a venue spotlight (like the ones I’ve written here) and optimize them for a Google search, so that your blog post shows up when couples search for weddings at that venue. If you’ve made the effort to capture the venue’s different rooms and perfect wedding locations, then you could be the first photographer they contact to capture their dream wedding.
- Shoot at the venue as an associate photographer or second photographer to another photographer who will let you use those images in a well-optimized blog post and/or social media. This will allow you to not only gain experience at the bucket list venue, but you’ll also be able to promote yourself using the images you have taken there.
- Make sure to use the venue hashtag on Instagram, so that couples looking at it will discover your work.
- Engage with couples that post to the venue’s hashtag and/or Instagram account. There may be couples who are planning their wedding and looking for a photographer. Try to offer helpful and genuine advice to connect with the potential client.
- Offer an incentive to couples who are getting married at your bucket list venue. This doesn’t mean you have to discount your services. Instead, offer a value-added incentive such as an extra half hour of coverage for their engagement session or an extra half hour of wedding day coverage.
Try some of these ideas and you may be surprised at how quickly you get your bucket list venues on your calendar in a short period of time. The power of manifesting is really set in setting small-implemented steps towards your goal. If the dream venue isn’t coming to you, you need to go to it! Who knows, you may be on someone else’s dream bucket list wedding photographer very soon!