All The Mistakes
I Made

All The Mistakes I Made in my Wedding Photography Business…

Let’s get back. Way back in 2009. Out of nowhere a friend of mine asked if I would like to join him to shoot the wedding of a mutual friend.
I said yes. Zero experience. Almost no gear (one body, one lens… maybe two lenses. No flash.) One could say that I actually never went to a wedding. At least not willingly.
But, I loved the energy. Loved that I can practice my love of street photography. And to actually produce something that will last for generations. It was very fulfilling on many levels. And we actually got paid.
Next year we had three weddings, the year after sixteen, and then it exploded… 2012 – 45 weddings, 2013 – 55… 
But we never actually got to the point where we can do destination weddings. A hallmark of a successful wedding photographer (at least that is what we thought). Maybe we just weren’t good enough. Or maybe it was something else. We did have a lot of media presence back then, some even in foreign media…
In 2016 a ventured on my own. We parted ways. And I am still in this game of wedding photography. And I actually got some destination weddings. But I am stuck at a very low inquiry rate. Because of that the conversion rate is huge. I am working mostly via recommendation from previous clients. And I have the feeling that the Instagram algorithm hates me. Really. I just recently broke 1000 subscribers. After nearly ten years on Instagram.
So, it got me thinking. What am I doing wrong? And came to the following conclusions what I needed to do. So, the following is as much a message to you as it is to me.
I neglected that my partner and I had very different ideas where the business is headed. But also, how to get where we wanted to go. So, of you work with a partner, be sure to have the same goal. I am not talking financially, but more artistically and where you want your business in 5 or 10 years. And how you plan to get there. If you disagree on strategy, marketing, visual expression… maybe it is time to move on.
Social Media
I was a complete fool for not following the clients. When I started Facebook was the beginning and end. Everything was happening there. I completely forgot (or wasn’t aware) that new generations need new platforms. And I only started using Instagram around 2016. And I am still using my private profile. I wasn’t very good at posting regularly or following the algorithm changes.
I can’t stress enough the power of social media. But posting consistently will only get you so far. Try to collaborate with brands. it will bring you organic audience and followers. Try several platforms. FB, IG, TikTok… See what works for you and your brand. My advice is to never pay for advertisement on social media. It will only bring clients that you do not like. Unless you are super lucky. The FB and IG algo shows your boosted posts only to people that click on sponsored posts, but rarely convert. So, you get a sense of activity on your posts, but it is not fruitful.
Because I was stingy and finding excuses, I didn’t go to workshops or helped people when asked me when they wanted me to teach them about photography. A huge mistake. Always be on the lookout for good relationships. Work on it. Never settle and expect people to find you out of the blue. Work on exposure. Send emails to wedding blogs, enter contests, go to workshops, create your own courses, contact vendors, talk to other photographers and videographers… It will pay off in dividends.
If you ask me why I didn’t tag people in images, I would not have a good answer. Lazy? Maybe. Shy? Perhaps. The moral of the story is tag everybody in posts. It works much better then hashtags. Vendors love it when they get exposure and they usually repost when they are tagged. It cost you nothing and you can gain a lot.
Couples (and guests)
Copy paste what I said for vendors. People love it when they are tagged. And they repost regularly. It literally the best way to get new followers/clients. Recommendations and word of mouth marketing is priceless.
Always be on the lookout for what is new. I am not talking about following trends in photography. I am talking about knowing what works and what doesn’t in terms of marketing. Also, see what else you can do that can elevate your photography and make you good connections. Create a versatile portfolio. It don’t have to be only weddings (you can show only weddings). If a large company asks you to do professional headshots for them, do not say no. Do it. Maybe there is a future bride or groom there.
That is it from me. Until next time.