Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m Stephanie, a wedding photographer and educator based in Columbus, Ohio! I love sharing all of my recent shoots as well as wedding planning advice, tips and tricks for photographers, my handsome hubby, my fluffy puppy, and some of the behind the scenes of my business. I'm SO glad you're here! Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to take a look around!
join the sk tribe
Last year, I did something a little radical in my business: I stopped doing wedding photography consultations. Kinda crazy, right?! If you’re in the photography industry or have planned your wedding, you probably know just how common consultations are. They’re industry standard in the wedding world!
I get a LOT of questions of exactly how I did this, how to know if it will work for you, how to make the transition… and every question in-between. If you are super curious how I do this, this blog post is going to break down exactly that!
Before we dive in, I do want to clarify something first. Getting rid of consultations shouldn’t be an excuse to get out of work. To be honest, it definitely saves me time but it’s almost a different kind of work. Instead of having your couples meet with you to know they want to book you, it’s figuring out how to display your brand and personality online. The goal? That they are SUPER comfortable with you before they even chat with you!
I recognized pretty early on in my business that meetings weren’t necessarily my strength… Of course, I could do them, and I did for awhile! But what I was even BETTER at was building a personal brand online. I built it to the point where couples were asking to book without even meeting with me. In around January of 2019, I started transitioning to not push couples to meet with me… And, since then, I’ve done a grand total of ONE consultation (and it was a video call). Plus I have continued to meet my booking goals every year!!
Before I actually share HOW to make this work, I first want you to think about what SEASON of business you’re in. From my experience and the different seasons I’ve been at in my business, I think moving into not doing consultations (in-person or even a phone call!) is ideal for those with:
The whole idea behind all of this is to get someone to fall in love with YOU and what your brand stands for with only seeing your online presence. This is mainly through your website, but also Instagram and other social media channels. This might take a couple of years to build up, but you can always be working towards that!
Okay okay, so you’re reading all this and thinking, WOW, I wanna try this… I say GO FOR IT! You can ALWAYS go back to pushing meetings, but if it sounds like you’re in a place where this will work well, it can’t hurt to try to see how it could transform this part of your business!
Instead of immediately trying to get them to set up a meeting with me, in my response to an inquiry, I start asking questions! I ask a lot of questions that I might normally ask in a consultation. These might include if they want to do a first look, what they’re looking forward to on their wedding day, and more about their love story.
BONUS TIP: If you want to make sure your couples you’re emailing are legit, I will often look them up on Instagram! If they respond back super interested, a lot of times I will follow them and start to get to know them on there!
If they haven’t asked to book after 4-5 emails back and forth, I suggest a proposal they can look over if they’re ready to book. I tell them it’s super low pressure, of course! But if they have a collection in mind and would love to work with me, I can send it over!
Most of the time if we’ve emailed that much and they also followed me on instagram and have fallen in love with me, they tell me UM YES I’M READY!!! And then we move forward with the booking process!
Okay, so if this freaks you out a little bit and you want an easier transition… try changing what you call your consultations. For 2-3 consultations before I started doing what I just explained, I had a short phase where I called my consultations “celebration meetings.” I explained it was a time to get to know each other and celebrate the fact that we get to work together! I found that I easily had couples committing to these celebration meetings. This signaled to me that they were likely ready to book without even meeting with me.
Another thing I want to share here that is SO important is to think about your shooting goals and how you’ll get there. Do you NEED to shoot 40 weddings per year to pay your bills? If you start making this switch and you’re not hitting it, you might need to really focus on your personal brand. Or, think about ways to up other marketing avenues… This might be things like connecting with more vendors, changing your Instagram strategy, or blogging more strategically. If you’re not booking how you want to, it’s okay to add consultations back in to reach your booking goals!
One cool thing that’s actually happened from eliminating consultations is how it’s actually been a SERVICE to my couples. They have busy lives too! And, if you’re at a place where they KNOW they want you, you’re actually helping them. Trust me, they love not having to attend yet another wedding meeting. I found a lot of my couples (especially out of town couples!) really appreciate that about my process!
Now I want to speak to the person who is maybe thinking, “I don’t really think this is for me”. Or, the person who’s new in their business. Here’s some tips for restructuring your consultations to be booking the way you want to and save time:
When it comes to reducing consultations, I want to encourage you that it doesn’t have to be a forever change. If it doesn’t work, you can go back to meetings! However, if you find that your strengths aren’t meetings and you know this would be an amazing change for your business, I invite you to take the chance! See how it can change your business. It was so eye-opening to me the hours I had to pour into growing my business once I eliminated meetings!
Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m Stephanie, a wedding photographer and educator based in Columbus, Ohio. I love sharing all of my recent shoots as well as wedding planning advice, tips and tricks for photographers, my handsome hubby, and some of the behind the scenes of my business. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to take a look around!
join the sk tribe