What if you could make an extra $800-$1,500 from every wedding? If you shot 10 weddings, that would be an extra $8,000-$15,00. How would that change things for you? Your business? Your life? Weddings aren’t something you shoot every day. If you're lucky, you might shoot between 10 to 30 a year, so it’s vital that you make as much money from every wedding as possible. Follow these 5 Simple Tricks to Make Extra Money from every Wedding and you can maximize your profits and have that change.
5 Simple Tricks to Make Extra Money from every Wedding
1. Use the Gift Registry, Gively
For those of you that are married, think back to all the gifts you received. If you’re like me, you have no idea what you got and who gave it to you. Honestly, all I remember about that stuff is I wasn’t allowed to pick anything for the registry. Imagine if you could help your couples receive gifts that really mattered, that they would actually appreciate. That’s where Gively comes in.
Gively is a web-based gift registry for photography products or other wedding vendors. That means brides can register for your services or products (extra hours, prints, video), and people give those as gifts instead of silly things like towels or pans. The bride and groom get something they actually want, friends and family feel like they gave something of real value, and you make extra money; it’s the perfect situation!
There are a few keys to making this successful. First, you need to make it clear that you’re helping out your clients (which you are) and not trying to make more money off of them. As early as possible, preferably in the pre-consultation meeting, you need to tell them that this is a special service you offer to help your clients. Explain to them why pots and pans are a bad idea and really emphasize how much more everyone will enjoy giving something that matters, something that will last. Two, make it as easy for them as possible. If it’s extra work, they aren’t going to do it. Go in and setup everything for them, and then have the email template prepared for them to send out to everyone. All they really have to do is put in email addresses or send the link out to everyone. Three, remind them. Brides have so much going on, and they are going to forget things. Maybe two weeks after you set things up, go back and remind the bride. The cool thing about Gively is that in the account, there's a button to email the bride a reminder. Just don’t get too pushy because then it seems like you are doing it just for the money.
Time Invested: 45 minutes or less
$$$ Invested: $9.95 monthly or $79 or $199 for the app
Possible Revenue: $100-$1500
2. Halfway Upsell or Add On
One of the great things about weddings is that there is a large gap of time before the initial booking and the actual wedding. This allows us to sell to our clients in that time period. About halfway between the booking and the wedding is a great time to offer a special to your clients. At this point, the sting of the deposit is long forgotten, so they will be much more likely to buy. If you’re doing things right, you should have a good relationship with them, so they know you and they trust you. Offer them something that they don’t have already and preferably something that’s going to make a big difference in the wedding experience. I offer wedding videos and photo booths, but you could also offer something like albums or prints.
Here are a few tips for closing the sale. When you contact them, make sure you tell them that this is something special for them. Tell them the normal price you charge and then the special price you are offering them because they are awesome! Also, put a time frame on it like two weeks. This creates a sense of urgency and pushes them to make a decision. Another idea is to describe that item as a gift, so they feel like they are doing something for others. This would work well with the photo booth or parent albums.
Time Invested: 35- 60 minutes depending on product
$$$ Invested: None except Cost of Goods
Possible Revenue: $300-$2000
3. Sell to the Family and Friends
When I first started making money from photography, I didn’t offer prints. It was something else I’d have to think about and spend time doing, and I really didn’t want to try to sell people more things. Little did I know how easy selling prints can be and how much money I was leaving behind. If you’re already selling prints, then you’re on the right track, but the extra cash comes from selling to the family and the guests.
People get all dressed up for weddings, are in a good mood, and are around people they maybe haven’t seen in a long time. Most of them would love to have a photo or two to remember the big event. That’s where you come in. You’re already being paid to take photos for the bride and groom, but you might as well offer those same photos to all the guests.
This really isn’t that hard to do. During the wedding, have business cards placed either on the tables or in some central location. Make sure to talk to the bride about this beforehand so she can tell you where she wants them. On the card, you’ll have your normal info, but there will be a web address pointing to where you will be putting the photos. This way, the guests can simply type in the address and be taken directly to it instead of having to search through your website. You can get business cards for pretty cheap, so don’t worry about wasting them or buying too many. As quickly as you can after the wedding, go through and sort them. This needs to be done quickly because the guests will lose interest or forget within a week or two. All you are looking for are the ones of guests because most likely they aren’t going to buy a photo of the bride. Do a very basic edit, and then post them to a selling site. I personally use ShootProof. It looks really nice, allows me pick the web address, and has the option to have orders automatically fulfilled by my printer, meaning I don’t have to do any other work.
Time Invested: 30-60 minutes for card ordering, editing the photos, and uploading
$$$ Invested: $5-20 for cards, $200-300 Yearly for ShootProof
Possible Revenue: $100-$1000
4. Table Group Shots
While you’re at the wedding, make sure you go to every table and offer to take a group shot of them and then smaller groups. Now, for a lot of you seasoned pros, you are probably already doing this, and think I’m weird for bringing this up. This use to be the norm, but a lot of photographers don’t do this anymore, myself included. Like I said before, when I first started, I wasn’t selling prints, so I saw no need in focusing on the guests. None of my clients asked me to do it, so I just never started shooting table group shots. Now, though, I see how this has great potential.
At each table, you have at least 5 potential customers. All you have to do is go up to them ask if they’d like to get together for a group shot or any smaller shots and then take the picture. It can be done really quickly. If you don’t like doing this or don’t have time, bring a second photographer and make them do it. Honestly, it might be worth paying a second photographer to do this even if the bride isn’t paying. This is also a great chance to point out the business cards and tell them about ordering prints. Most people will appreciate you doing this, so even if they don’t buy prints, they might become a customer in the future.
Time Invested: 15-60 minutes (some might be already covered from tip 3)
$$$ Invested: $5-20 for cards, $50-$200 for optional second photographer, $200-300 Yearly for ShootProof
Possible Revenue: $50-$500
5. Create Extras to Sell After the Wedding
Once people have committed to using you as their wedding photographer, it is much easier to try to sell them something else. They feel comfortable with you and trust you because they’ve already bought something and it turned out amazing. After the wedding is another great chance to sell to your clients. It can be done in different ways, but I prefer to do it in person when I am showing the clients the images. This way they are emotional and excited about the pictures, and I’m there to explain things to them and motivate them to buy.
You can offer whatever you want, but I’ve found a few things work better than others. Albums are a great item at this point. Go ahead and design an album layout before the meeting and bring it with you. I use Fundy Designer and it is super easy. The design can be on the computer or you can actual get prints made, so they can hold it and visualize it better. For people that didn’t order one, I would start with something more basic to tempt them in to making that leap. It’s easier to get them to commit to paying an extra $800 versus $1600. For the people that already ordered, design the album with a ton of extra pages. This is where you will make the extra money. When selling, people will resist adding something extra, but they really hate having to remove things. When you make extra pages, the client will have to remove images and that’s painful because they feel like they are now missing out. If you really want to make it hurt, take those prints of the layout and have them cross off images with a marker or crumple up the ones they don’t want. They will be much more likely to keep some of the extra pages.
Another great option is wall art. For this option, it’s best if you are meeting in their home, so you can work directly with the area the prints would hang. If you are meeting somewhere else, have them take a photo of the walls they are considering with a piece of paper on it and email it to you before the meeting. The key to this is to help the clients visualize their photos hanging on the wall. Again, I use Fundy Designer for this. I can take a photo of a wall, and then in the software, I can show what different products would look like on their wall in the right proportion and with their photos. Another option is to go ahead and print off one or two of their best photos in a larger size so you could actually hang it on their wall. With this though, you will be spending some money on the prints, and you will want to make sure you are still pushing for the more expensive products like canvas prints. Either option is very powerful because once they see it, they will realize that smaller sizes just won’t work, and they will want to own it.
Time Invested: 45-120 minutes
$$$ Invested: $324 Fundy Designer, $25-80 for sample wall prints
Possible Revenue: $300-$2000
I know that’s a lot of info and a lot of new things to process and start doing. I’d suggest you start with one of the 5 Simple Tricks to Make Extra Money from every Wedding and see how that goes. Try that for a wedding or two and get it down. Then, you can add another tip when you feel comfortable. I bet in one year you can be doing all 5 tips and your business could change completely! You could go from barely surviving to really thriving. I know that’s what you want for yourself, and that’s what I want for you, so go out there and make some money!