Trade shows, wedding shows, wedding fairs, photo exhibitions, charity events, events…
The more you are seen to be networking and out and about, the more chances you have of getting work, and wedding fairs are great for this as you have a captive, targeted audience.
Wedding Fairs and Shows
If you plan on shooting weddings, you want to book yourself into a wedding fair well in advance as competition is normally rife and places are limited. By booking up to a year in advance, you also give yourself plenty of time to prepare.
You will need a selection of prints, albums and Photobooks showing off your best work, a whole lot of professional looking business cards, a nice layout for your “patch” and a great idea for your “pitch”!
Dress smart, be polite, friendly and outgoing and professional at all times because this is exactly what couples are looking for in a person they will be inviting to their wedding in a professional capacity.
There is no need to go over the top as I for one sometimes feel intimidated by overpowering sales techniques. Work on the basis that everyone is shy and you will do well.
I like to create an atmosphere in these circumstances (wedding fairs) that makes the couple feel as though they are welcome to browse freely at my stand without me pouncing on them.
Having a second person with you to “act” as if you are busy or “not overly interested” in people hovering around your stand will make them feel more comfortable about approaching you. Obviously don’t ignore them completely, find the appropriate time to welcome them and introduce yourself.
On the other hand, don’t immediately jump on them asking for business or drag them from someone else’s stand kicking and screaming!
Think about cats and dogs for a minute…
When you walk into someone’s house and their dog immediately bounds up to you and won’t leave you alone…how do you feel? You just want the dog to go away right? Even if you like the dog, there comes a time when it just gets on your nerves.
When you walk into someone’s house and they have a cat, the cat will give you a quick, nonchalant, friendly glance to acknowledge your arrival and then turn and walk away slowly. You want to stroke that cat and when you do, it gives you its whole “I’m loving this” routine by arching and purring away.
Be a cat!
Always remember that when a couple choose their photographer it is more often than not based on the person. Most photographers at an exhibition are capable of shooting a wedding, the couple just need to like you. Not all will…bear that in mind and don’t take it personally.
Create a welcome pack for couples. It is a great way of getting yourself noticed and imprinted in the couples mind long after the show has finished.
If you have the budget and confidence in yourself and your work, have a nice, professional, non-tacky, classy looking bag with string handles and put in it things like:
- A small photobook or Calendar with your contact details, short bio, photo and best work included (£6)
- A DVD Slideshow of your best work (£2)
- Some cheap, good looking stationery with your company logo/name on it (pen, mouse mat, fridge magnet etc – £3)
- Total £11 or so.
Give these out to people that are seriously interested in hiring you, not just on show for anyone to grab. If you give out 20 during the day for instance, costing you £200, you may well get at least 5 weddings booked, hopefully netting you at least £5000. The £200 should be part of your marketing expenses from the year and is all tax deductible.
If you come across as nice, professional, friendly and your work is good, they will get home, look through your info pack and remember you over and above most others who maybe just gave them a business card. Speculate to accumulate…
…and people love free stuff!
Photo and Trade Exhibitions
These shows are great but leave your credit card at home! Just kidding but beware as there are so many goodies at these shows it is easy to get carried away!
They are a good place to meet suppliers, strike deals and even meet other like-minded professional photographers and talk geeky stuff. Have a bunch of business cards handy. Network!
They can be a bit overwhelming as there are understandably a lot of egos flying around and so much information it is impossible to take it all in.
I would recommend getting a show guide before attending and plan your visit around what you want to see with regards to seminars, exhibitions and suppliers.
However, that is easily forgotten the minute you walk into these places and see what is on offer!
Use your time there to listen to others. Hang around and see what other photographers are discussing with suppliers, you can pick up some great ideas and titbits of knowledge.
There is no harm in asking for a link exchange either but be subtle and if they say no, accept it but a link from some well established websites would do your site a lot of good.
I like to grab a few magazines and brochures, on one hand I daydream about the kit but on the other hand I like to get inspired by some of the work and get fresh ideas for stock photography, I never stop looking for ideas.
Something worth considering that I think I have mentioned before. Offer your services as a prize in a charity event, it will give you great exposure and you could still earn money from it in the form of reprints etc.
You could also go along to events happening in your area, photograph them for free and give out a leaflet or business cards to the families directing them to website where they can order prints and other products within 2-3 days.
I have some other ideas regarding this but I want to try them out before teaching others to do so…
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