Whether you just started your photography business, or have been in the industry for a few years, we’re going to teach you the fundamentals of wedding photography marketing.
Included in this post will be free tips and advice we’ve used to grow our wedding photography businesses to full time income generators that keep us happy in our careers, consistently working when and where we want to, and allow us to support our families and lifestyles in the process.
What is wedding photography marketing?
A good marketing strategy will allow you to get in front of potential clients, get more inquiries, and get the bookings you need.
Many wedding photographers are great photographers but struggle to get the exposure they need to get consistent bookings.
While marketing is an area of discussion that could convert into a multi-year college degree program, in our view it boils down to a simple thing: is your photography brand recognizable to an audience that would be interested in hiring you?
Our goal is to ensure that you are getting seen by your ideal clients – the people who are going to pay good money to have you come to their wedding and document it in that way that only you could.
Create a Service Clients Actually Want to Buy
Before we dive into our marketing strategies for wedding photographers, we need to make sure you’re able to sell yourself.
After all, one of the worst beginner marketing mistakes is to start building traffic to your website but leaving potential clients feeling unimpressed or bored when they get there.
There are 3 major things you should do before you start marketing your photography business:
- Choose a Name for Your Photography Business
- Start Your Photography Business Legally
- Set your Wedding Photography Prices so You Can Sell
You can click the links above to read our in depth posts on those topics.
You will also want to make sure that you are beginning to curate a portfolio of example work.
If you are completely new to wedding photography, that’s okay! You can get experience by assisting and 2nd shooting with other photographers, and by putting together styled shoots of your own.
Your portfolio will expand naturally as you get more opportunities.
Having examples of your work will be essential to selling your photography services to wedding clients.
Social Media or In Person Networking – What’s Better?
Social media and networking are both solid marketing opportunities every photographer should take advantage of.
While every individual and photography business may prefer one over the other, they are both essential. This is especially true during the early years of a business where more exposure is beneficial.
Social media is effective for creating instantaneous connections. You can connect with potential clients, your booked clients, and even other photographers and wedding professionals with ease. A simple post on any social media platform will bring you some viewership. You can go deeper by joining groups on social media to engage with clients and your peers.
Some of our best networking relationships started out in social media DMs and groups.
Many of our favorite clients found us through a hashtag search on Instagram.
In person networking is even better for creating one-on-one and stronger relationships. There is nothing better than actually getting to connect with someone in real life. This is why wedding vendor expos still remain popular, even with the rise in social media. As wedding photographers, the best vendor relationships are forged in person, too. Connect with a wedding venue owner, team up with another photographer, meet with a group of wedding vendors at a cocktail social – there’s many opportunities if you know where to look.
Some of our favorite clients were met at wedding expos, too.
Our best marketing referrals come from venues and vendors we nurtured relationships with in person.
Using Search Engine Optimization to Get Found by Clients
SEO for wedding photographers may just be one of our favorite techniques for getting the attention of new clients. SEO is, in fact, one of the most effective marketing strategies for photographers.
Unlike social media, which requires you to post and engage with people on a platform you don’t own, SEO practices allow you to optimize your website to get found by people while they are looking.
Unlike in person networking, SEO doesn’t require constant nurturing to get it to work.
Our SEO strategies for wedding photographers are designed to get you found by clients who want to hire you.
Effective SEO will require some work upfront but can pay off in recurring website traffic and leads for years to come.
In our experience running wedding photography businesses of our own, once we made the shift to focusing some of our marketing efforts to SEO, we began to see huge returns in our businesses.
- Website traffic is up
- Inquiries are up
- Bookings are up
- We can increase prices due to demand
- Our yearly revenue grows
While there are many things you can do to optimize your website to get found in the SERPs (search engine results pages), one of the best strategies for wedding photographers is to regularly and consistently blog.
Generating content that your clients will already be searching for will bring you more exposure at the right time, when clients are already wanting to hire a wedding photographer.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you get found through SEO, you need to check out our Blog Writing Services for Wedding Photographers.
The Best Wedding Photographer Marketing Platforms Available Online
Many marketing efforts you will make as a wedding photographer will involve specific platforms. Let’s talk about the most popular and a few underrated ones.
In our photography businesses, we have used all of these platforms in some way or another. While we do have our personal preferences, you should use the one(s) you like the most, and the ones where you expect your target audience will be showing up the most.
Your wedding photography website should be the holy grail of your marketing efforts.
Whether you are marketing online or connecting with people in person, the end goal will be to get them to your website where all the magic happens.
Afterall, you’ve designed a great website that showcases everything someone would need to know before hiring you, right? You have a solid About page. You talk about your services and what you offer. You showcase a portfolio of photos. You have blogs for people to read.
(If this doesn’t sound like you, that’s okay! Read our Guide to Setting Up the Perfect Wedding Photographer Website).
Your website will ultimately be a filter for your clients to get in touch with you using a standardized contact form. With a good CRM for photographers, you can do things like automate your inquiry response, respond to emails using templates, schedule phone calls and more.
Even with many algorithm changes over the years, we still love Instagram as a marketing tool for wedding photographers. As far as social media platforms go, Instagram feels best designed for photographers to get exposure. Every profile is set up to showcase a collage of images. Even with the intro of videos and reels, users see a static image before things begin to play.
The best feature of Instagram is that potential clients are using it.
Instagram is highly searchable. If you optimize your post with hashtags that get you in front of your ideal audience, you’ll start to see leads roll in.
Even if you’re not feeling super creative to make wild reels (props to you if you are, though!) – just posting the regular work you do can be enough.
If you talk to wedding photographers about Facebook, you’re likely to get a more mixed response.
Some will argue that Facebook is one of the best social media platforms for photographers. This is especially true when you want to use paid advertising to get in front of an audience, as their ad tools for getting to a very specific target audience can be great. In addition, photographers who create a group for their clients to socialize, offer specials, and more can add a level of interactivity you don’t have on most platforms.
On the other side, some photographers feel Facebook doesn’t have enough organic reach. And when posts do reach people, those people tend to be more budget conscious. Plus, Facebook is becoming a place for older users, as younger people are moving away from it as the years go by. This may (or may not) be problematic for you – depending on your ideal audience.
As a marketing tool, we believe Facebook can still be used. Whether in a small way by just cross posting content you’re already publishing on Instagram, or in more elaborate ways like ads and groups.
One of the social media platforms to really come out of 2020 was TikTok – the quick fix we all needed to get through tough times. This platform is designed around the sharing of video, typically in short, bite-sized formats.
For wedding photographers hoping to get in front of a younger crowd, we’ve been seeing many success stories from photographers on TikTok.
Sharing your images and web content on Pinterest is a great way to bring more exposure to your work through their optimized search engine. While there are a lot of tips for growing your exposure on Pinterest, we’ve received inquiries and bookings from couples who found us on Pinterest without even trying to game the system – just share your content.
Wedding Vendor Directories
Directory listings for wedding photographers can be hit-or-miss. They can be a good option, particularly if you can get a free account, for the SEO benefits and potential exposure.
At their worst, wedding vendor directories can be very expensive and even predatory. We suggest these only for photographers who have done their research and understand the pros and cons of enlisting.
In our experience, while there are some major players in this space such as The Knot and Wedding Wire, if you have a local directory OR niche specific directory (such as Wandering Weddings for elopements) – those can be better options.
Having your work published online can be a great way to bring more exposure to your photography services.
There is a wide range of ways this can go – from writing guest posts on related photography blogs (like Formed From Light or SLR Lounge) that include links to your website and images to features in local or international publications spotlighting wedding days.
To give you some examples…
Some places we have had work published include…
- The New York Times
- Business Insider
- Pennsylvania Weddings
- Lehigh Valley Style
- Red Oak Weddings
- Philadelphia Magazine
- The Knot
- Green Wedding Shoes
- Martha Stewart Weddings
Finally, an underrated gem that can be a great marketing platform for wedding photographers is Reddit. If you’re a little nerdy (like us), you probably already know about it – but let us explain real quick for those who don’t know.
Reddit is, essentially, a series of message boards. Users can create their own boards (called subreddits), and these can range from widely popular things like “food” to incredibly niche topics like a specific game or style of wedding.
For connecting with other wedding photographers, we love r/weddingphotography
You can also connect with couples in places like r/weddings
Reddit can help you position yourself as an expert on topics relevant to your ideal clients. While you typically can’t directly market yourself, indirect marketing has its place, can be fun, and can even lead to some results. Yes, we’ve even had clients find us through Reddit!
5 Marketing Strategies for Wedding Photographers
Now that we’ve covered some business fundamentals and platforms you can utilize to market yourself as a wedding photographer, we want to get into some FREE marketing strategies for you.
These are simple but effective strategies we’ve used to grow our own photography businesses.
Blog every wedding and session you shoot
Blogging your weddings and session works is essential.
Some people might tell you otherwise, but we guarantee those people are not getting booked out through this free, organic, and passive marketing method that requires just a little bit of time after each shoot is delivered to your clients.
Here’s why we love blogging weddings and sessions:
- You can show up in search results for wedding venues and other locations that your clients are already looking at.
- You can show expertise by showcasing work you’ve done at a particular location before
- Your blog serves as a secondary portfolio for prospective clients to look through, getting even more acquainted with your work.
- Our wedding and session blogging comprises about 80% of our current inquiry and bookings.
- Blogging will translate into more bookings, more revenue, and more income for you.
If you don’t want to do it yourself and want professional support, we also offer Blog Writing Services for Wedding Photographers.
Connect with wedding venues and get on their preferred vendor lists
One great avenue for getting bookings is to be a preferred vendor at wedding venues you work at. There are many ways to approach venues about this, and each may have their own requirements or processes.
- Share your online galleries and blogs of work you’ve done there before
- Meet with the owners and get to know them
- Create a wedding album and other printed media for them to showcase
Show up on social media consistently
Consistency is key with social media. This does not mean you have to post 37 times per week, but you should create a consistent posting schedule. With our businesses, we typically aim for 2 times a week on most social media platforms. (This does vary as we’ve been taking a little hiatus, mostly because we have so many inquiries coming in from other sources).
The best way to get consistent is to sit down and schedule your posts using an app like Later. You can plan out a week or month or more of posts.
Enable client referrals
One of the most important things we need to do as wedding photography business owners is enable our clients to be our best marketing tool. We can enable them by doing things like…
Blow away your current clients
If you’re clients love working with you and their photos, they are going to rave to their friends & family. (And those people will want to book you, too!).
Ask for reviews
Most people don’t review the things they buy naturally (it’s nothing personal). Asking your clients for reviews is a good way to get them to think about their experience with you (hopefully a great one!) and tell the world.
Receiving reviews not only feels great, but it also helps other people know they can trust hiring you in the future. Some review platforms, like Google Business, also benefits your SEO standings.
Incentivize sharing of your work and information
There are many ways you can incentivize your clients (and other people, too) to share your info with the world. Some examples include…
- Set up a referral program
- Give a print credit for every referred inquiry
- Do a giveaway on social media (in return for sharing your info)
Network with other wedding industry professionals
The wedding industry remains one of the few that is dominated by small businesses. As a result, networking is still really popular and powerful as a marketing tool – since you aren’t needing to impress the head of some multi-billion dollar corporation. Most of the time, you’ll be dealing with mom-and-pop vendors, single person operations, and other small businesses.
Here are some ways networking can translate into a good marketing tool for your wedding photography business:
Go to in person meet ups
Your local wedding vendor network is really valuable. You can find these by searching through Google and looking through Facebook Groups (among other places).
One group we have liked that has chapters around the world is The Rising Tide Society.
Don’t have an in-person group yet? You can be a leader and start one yourself!
Refer other vendors to your clients (and vice versa)
As you get to know other vendors, you can build relationships that allow you to refer each other to your clients. In business terms, this means if you grow, they grow. And if they grow, you’ll grow, too.
As a wedding photographer, having trusted recommended vendors is also a great thing you can give your clients after they book with you to really “wow” them. After booking you, they will still need to hire a florist, videographer, hair & makeup, and more to bring their wedding vision to life – why not be the person they get a recommendation from?
Create partner relationships
When you seriously connect with another vendor, you can grow your relationship even further. The owners of Shoot & Thrive (the site you’re on right now) are examples of that. We own separate wedding photography businesses, but have referred work (among many other things) that has translated into tens of thousands of dollars worth of sales for our respective companies.
Chris is a SEO professional with a passion for helping photography businesses succeed online. With years of experience in the industry, he has a proven track record of increasing website traffic, improving search rankings, and driving revenue growth for his clients.