Every wedding, you are given over a handful of incredible opportunities to market yourself… and most photographers are not taking advantage of them. (No, I’m not talking about scattering your business cards on the dance floor as ‘Let’s Get It Started In Here’ plays from the speakers… though that would be incredible. Unprofessional, but incredible.) I’m talking about VENDORS!
A question I hear from photographers often is: “I had a vendor email and ask me if she could use the images I photographed of the _________ (makeup/hair/cake/decorating, etc) for her marketing. What should I charge for something like this?”
Oh goodness… nothing! Charge nothing!
I cannot stress this enough.
When images are provided to vendors, the marketing opportunities for your photography business are endless.
Not only will vendors likely share your images for months on social media, blog and possibly their website – but as a photographer, you come across professional, generous and kind. People want to work with generous, kind people. It’s a fact.
Regardless of how long you’ve been shooting weddings, how large or small of a budget a wedding has, every wedding has vendors. Even if there are no ‘official’ vendors (I’ve had weddings like this! All friends and family helping out, so sweet) — there’s still a way to receive free marketing from your vendors.
There’s an ‘okay’ way to share images with vendors, and there’s an excellent way.
The “Okay” Way
After photographing a wedding day, you receive an email a month or two later from the makeup artist. She got your information from the bride and she’s wondering if she could have some photos?
You reply, “Sure!” and attach a handful of images from the wedding day.
“Thank you so much,” the makeup artist replies by email. A few weeks later, you see your image on the explore page of Instagram, and she’s forgotten to tag your photography company. You message her quickly, “Could you add photo credit to that?” Again, she’s happy to do it. Your Instagram account is tagged.
The Excellent Way
One month before the wedding day, you email your bride a questionnaire about both the timeline of the wedding day, and all of the vendors involved. You ask for the company names, websites and emails of all vendors.
After receiving all of the vendor information, the data is organized in Excel, in every column noting the vendor type, contact name, company name, website, email.
Additionally, you spend time online, researching each vendor’s Instagram handle and Facebook page URL. A few days before the wedding day, an email is sent to all vendors introducing yourself, your photography, outlining the social media plan for the day after the wedding and your plan for delivery of images.
Explain that within 24 hours of the wedding day, you’ll email over 3-5 images from the wedding day and request they share the images on Instagram or Facebook with all vendors involved tagged.
I clearly outline this for them, so it’s easy for everyone to take part!
Communication With Vendors
On the wedding day, if possible, you connect with vendors quickly for a handshake and introduction. The day after the wedding, you send out sneak peek images to all vendors with tagging instructions. After the entire wedding is edited and the gallery is online, you follow up with all vendors involved!
In the individual emails you will write to vendors, you share how delightful it was to work with them, what you loved about their work and a link to the client’s gallery. Take time to explain how to download images from the online gallery (which exact buttons to click!) and where they are allowed to share the images. (Anywhere!) Explain how you’d like to be tagged on Facebook and Instagram, kindly. (Don’t demand, but instead frame it as ‘If you’d be so willing…’ and of course, everyone is!)
Which Way Do You Want To Be Known For?
After reading the 2 different ways photographers provide images to vendors (if they provide images at ALL) it’s easy to see why the ‘Excellent Way’ will make your business stand out from the crowd. Since the beginning of my business, I have made image delivery to vendors a priority. If you can nail your workflow for this part of your business, your images will be the ones shared again and again by vendors. Your business will be the one thought of highly as professional, ‘on-it,’ and generous with your time and work.
So much of marketing for your photography business is casting a ‘wide net’ and seeing what you catch. You may not directly book a wedding from every time you email all of the vendors. But your name will be revered in your local industry after steady, consistent work in this area!
P.S. I want to address all the questions I usually receive, so yes, I do share high-resolution images! No, I do not watermark them. (I’d rather have my vendors tag my account than a watermark.) I use PASS galleries to share my images with both the client and all vendors!