If you are a wedding photographer and wish to grow your business, the world wide web is a great space to explore. Raj Lalwani tells you how.
Your photography skills are only one of the many factors that determine your success as a commercial photographer. The arena of wedding photography, in particular, is brimming with a number of photographers. In this new age of competitive business, the best way to attract fresh clients is to think ‘new age’. The internet is a magic wand that can help you reach out to maximum people and expand your photography business manifold.
The internet is the easiest and quickest medium to spread the word, especially is you want both quality and quantity.
Most photographers use newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and other forms of media to promote their work. However, newspapers and magazines reach a large mass audience and do not allow you to focus on a select audience, that is the people who really need your services. Also, the expense involved can be high.
Moreover, everyone uses the internet today. This makes it the easiest and quickest medium to spread the word, especially if you want both quantity and quality.
Target a Specific Audience
First, decide your target audience. Who are your potential clients? What location do they stay in? Are you willing to shoot in other cities or would you want assignments only in your hometown? Analyse this in depth and try to guess the surfing habits of your prospective client. Are you trying to target a rich middle-class family in Mumbai, or one in Meerut?
Then decide your plan of action. Whether you are promoting your work on a matrimonial website or using the power of social networking, it is easier to tap websites once you know whom you are trying to reach out to.
Create a Presence Online
Ensure that your target group is aware of your presence and the kind of photography you do. The most important step for a wedding photographer is to develop a website that stands out amongst the crowd. It is usually the first point of communication between a photographer and a client.
However, while making it creative, remember to ensure that it is fast. This is particularly important, because internet speeds vary from region to region. A slow connection will not be able to load heavy pages fast enough. In the bargain, visitors of your site will get frustrated and a potential client may be lost.
Choose the Right Pictures
Be selective while uploading a portfolio on your site. There may be times that a picture may not appeal to you photographically, but the moment would be so lovely that the couple and family would find it heartwarming. Some moments may be cliché, but are considered important to most families. Include these on the site because while good technique is always impressive, the person looking at your site is usually the bride who is getting married or a close family member. If you strike a chord there, they will immediately approach you.
Let Others Follow Your Work
The concept of blogging is slowly becoming popular in India, and so is Twitter, a site that allows you to upload short posts. Not only do these services allow others to follow your work, but it also makes you a lot more accessible. A personal touch always helps your client connect to your photography more.
Make a Personalised Promo
A strong portfolio can help convince a prospective client that you are a good photographer. But in wedding photography, the most significant aspect is trust. Since you are documenting the most important day of someone’s life and are likely to spend at least an entire day interacting with the family and guests, prospective clients should get a glimpse of your personality and people skills.
To do this, simply create a personalised promo! Get an assistant to video shoot while you are working on an assignment. Showcase your style, philosophy and beliefs and even the way you go about your shoot. The way you conduct yourself in the promo is what will help you connect to your audience—so you must seem approachable enough. Intersperse this video with your best wedding photographs, and upload this promo not only on your website, but also on sites like Youtube.
Explore the Power of Social Networking
The social networking revolution is not just about fun and games. Websites like Orkut, Facebook and photo sharing sites like Flickr are a rage, and they are great marketing tools that can help promote your business. Social networking is a boon because it allows you to establish a two-way communication with your client before you actually do business with them.
The main advantage of social networking is the fact that from a few personal contacts, you can make thousands of connections. When you update your portfolio, a number of people get a message informing them of the same, even those who do not know you directly. Be proactive, and always polite—your online personality is a good indication of your offline one.
Social networking allows you to reach out to thousands of people through a few personal contacts.
Let us face it. When anyone wants to search for any sort of information on the internet, the first source is always Google. If you understand how the search engine works, it can do wonders to the number of people who ‘find’ your work. Use keywords to attract maximum people. Tag your images with as many keywords as you can think of. If you tag every picture with terms like ‘wedding’, ‘marriage’, ‘shaadi’, ‘photography’, ‘photographer’, ‘ceremony’, your site comes up often enough in web searches. Also, the title and strap line of your website is important, since this is the first thing that Google picks up while searching and sorting websites.
Innovation is important not only in your photography. An inventive approach to online marketing can really boost your photography business. So go online and start clicking!
Maintain Your ‘Netiquette’
- Be Transparent: Do not withhold any important information about you or your work. Contact information must be up-to-date and easily accessible.
- Be Regular and Polite: Reply to queries and e-mails promptly. Irregular interaction may make you seem rude and disorganised. It is also important to be friendly, approachable and interact with everyone courteously.
- Be Persuasive, Not Irritating: When interacting with others, be persuasive about your work. After all, you are marketing your own work. Be careful not to cross the line and irritate your contacts.