Note: This post was written by Mary Marantz. Along with her husband Justin Marantz, she runs the acclaimed wedding photography business Justin & Mary and provides education for wedding photographers.
Lately, we’ve been getting a ton of emails from photographers who are starting to panic a little. It’s November. It’s cold outside. And it’s feeling pretty darn cold in their inboxes, too. Their inquiries have slowed down and all but stopped, and they’re just not sure if they’ll ever book another wedding again. EVER. And they want to know: is there anything they can do?
If you’ve been finding yourself in the same boat as these guys lately, here are ten things that you can do right now to help turn the tides:
Be thankful for the clients you already have. Tell them you’re thankful. Send them an email, write them a handwritten note, or send them a gift. Remind them (and yourself!) that they are the reason you get to chase your dream.
Pick one venue where you have done some of your best work and would want to shoot there again and again, and make your contact a sample album. Not next month or “at some point” (whenever that is), but today. Seriously, just do it already. Take an hour and design it. Upload the order. Pull the trigger and get it done.
While you’re at it, send some images to your vendors! If you use PASS or a similar program, or if you have a video business card, it’s only a matter of sending an email. It takes 30 seconds, but it makes a world of difference.
Pick that one vendor (planner, location, florist, etc.) who has sent you a lot of referrals or helped you get started and send them a gift — a nice one. They deserve it!
Go through your website with a machete and slash and burn. Get everything off there that is outdated, underwhelming, or just plain bad. If I were going to look at it with you in person and you would tell me that you’ve “gotten so much better since then,” then what is it still doing welcoming brand new clients to your website?
Find some other photographers to hang out with. Go to a meetup, host a lunch, or send out that intro email. Meet up and do headshots for each other. See if anyone is interested in sharing a Google calendar to refer each other (and give really good referrals when you do). There is strength in numbers. Plus, sometimes you just need someone who understands when you say “the client wants to do pictures at high noon on the beach.” Oy.
Make a “best of” folder on Facebook. Add all of your best (truly best, like 50 or less images) work from last year. Re-tag everyone that’s in it.
Re-write your “About Me” page. You know it needs it; I know it needs it. Make a video or write something that will make a potential client fall in love with you.
Run a November booking special. Everyone who books by the end of the month gets a complimentary engagement shoot or an extra hour of coverage. Or the first season of Downton Abbey. You choose.
Get your stuff together, put on your brave pants, and submit some weddings! Take your work to where the brides are. Two Bright Lights is an excellent resource for streamlining this process and taking the guesswork out of it if you need a good place to start.
Above all, stay cool and keep your wits about you if things slow down. Remember, business is a lot like dating: people can smell desperation a mile away! Rock it out, friends!
Mary Marantz is part of the wedding photography team Justin & Mary, based in New Haven, Connecticut. You can find more of her work on the Justin & Mary website and blog.