Guest blogger and Marketing Manager for Spinning Your Dreams Wedding Photography, Laura Clarke, gives us an insight into the world of weddings and how to achieve an individual and standout brand in a saturated sector.
Spinning Your Dreams is husband and wife team, Julia and Martin Webb. Eleven years ago they started out on what has turned out to be not only a fulfilling profession but also a way of life, they simply live and breathe weddings.
“Wedding Photography is our passion!”, explains Julia, “We have been photographing weddings together for just over 11 years, from Shropshire and surrounding counties into The Midlands and further afield, even working in France occasionally. We are happy to go anywhere we are wanted, if logistically possible!
1. The wedding industry can be very competitive, how do you get your name out there and get your message across to people?
When we started, promoting your wedding photography business was a different ball game Facebook and social media as a whole had yet to blossom. More traditional marketing activities were your only option. When Spinning Your Dreams first started out, we focused on making a name for ourselves locally then building on that. Instead of opening a high street studio presence, we attended many local wedding fairs and through that we got serious about networking with other fellow wedding service providers; cake creators, dress makers, flower arrangers and most importantly at the time, venues.
Since then we have been lucky to have gained clients via word of mouth. We were asked to do the wedding photos for one chap and ending up photographing his two brothers’ weddings after that. The knock -on effect can then be the Christening photos and even 60th birthday parties all for the same family, simply from offering a stellar professional service.
Since starting out, our logo and brand image has changed a few times to keep up with the trends in design. Our current logo was designed five years ago, but has stood the test of time and still looks fresh and modern today. The colourways are used across our online and offline printed marketing items, flyers, business cards, letter head and so forth. We believe a streamlined consistent branding is important to give a professional image.
2. In the period that you have been in the business, have you noticed any industry changes and how have you dealt with these?
Oh, there have been many changes in the wedding photography industry since we started. The tendency for guests and even the bride and groom themselves, taking instantly viewable photos of their big day on their mobile phones has caused the most impact. This has seen a huge decline in the demand for a proper traditional wedding album. We have done our best to embrace people taking their own photos on the day - no point getting grumpy about it, we even offer the guests a chance to snap away after we have got our shots! After all, nothing quite matches a professionally captured photo using high-grade camera equipment.
We offer our clients a print-ready DVD of some 800 photos of their special day (pictured below). This is not something we had to offer 11 years ago, but now people obviously want to be able to email photos across the world and share them on social media. So, I'd say we haven't shied away from embracing change and feel we have evolved in line with trends as they emerged. We know this is a constant process and we do our best to keep informed and keep moving forward with our clients expectations and demands for recording their special day.
3. What advice would you give somebody starting out in your industry?
Creating a brand image is important, but in this day and age networking and gaining a quality reputation is a must. Start local and slowly work your way outwards. Decide if you're offering high or low-end service. Are you just doing it at weekends for some extra cash or full time? Sell yourself honestly and really the biggest hurdle is infiltrating an already much established and saturated market. Think of a unique service you could offer, that none of your local competitors do. Think of add-ons you can offer to set yourself apart from the pack. We brainstorm constantly on how we can offer something unique and special for our couples. Take a look at our website to see our latest offerings!
4. How has stationery helped you to do this?
In these digital days, it is important not to overlook the impact of printed marketing materials. Therefore we still have printed flyers to hand out (see photo above) or leave at venues and other places. We also take out occasional adverts in printed magazines and brochures (see below).
Giving out business cards isn't something that has been superseded with a digital alternative, sure you pop your Facebook, Twitter, email address and website details on your business card, but there is still something to be said for physically being able to hand over your card. Across all our printed items, we stick to the same logo and colour ways to make our brand stands out. Spinning Your Dreams is synonymous with pastel pink, gold and grey these days!
5. What's the best part of your job?
I'll let Julia answer this one, her passion for her work is most delightful: Our wedding photography business gives us immense pleasure. We enjoy working together and running our business very much. It’s a total joy to be there on such fabulous days! We love being with our couples and their family and friends on such a special day, where not only is there a great deal of financial investment in the day but also loads of emotional investment too, usually spanning the many months of planning! We understand that and it is our pleasure to make our couples dreams for their big day come true!
It's safe to say that Julia and Martin both get high job satisfaction from being involved in the recording of peoples wedding days. They go the extra mile and take a vested interest in the smooth running of the day, even though there are often highly experienced wedding coordinators on the day too! During preparation time with the Bride, Julia keeps an eye on the time, advises on what needs doing when and takes candid shots as things happen. Meanwhile, Martin is with the guys at the ceremony venue and helps with the ties/cravats, even taking the button-holes to the Church if that helps logistically! As I said, they go the extra mile.
6. Any advice for brides?
I think something a lot of couples planning a wedding get bamboozled by is the question: How much should I invest in my wedding photography? Wedding magazines and wedding Planners used to say a few years ago, allow 10% of your wedding budget for your professional wedding photography. Things have changed dramatically since digital photography has become widespread amongst wedding photographers, new and old to the profession. It is very important to compare like for like, but so difficult when all wedding photographers offer and charge something totally different for wedding photography, we know it is a bit of a nightmare to compare!
We offer a no obligation service for people to enquire about their requirements. We are always happy to talk to you about a bespoke wedding photography quotation as all wedding days are unique and your specific requirements can always be accommodated for. We believe there is no one-size fits all package – there is always an element of tailoring what we offer on a client-to-client basis.
It is crucial that wedding photographers are fully insured, fully equipped and fully experienced. It is worth checking with any photographer you contact with a view to booking for your big day don’t take any chances with your wedding photography!
The running of the day itself is also something Julia gets asked about frequently. Brides to be often ask: Does the wedding photography take up all the time between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast? Over to Julia with her expert wisdom on this one!
This is very much your choice! After the ceremony, the wedding party and parents’ photographs need only take about 20-30 minutes. You and your best man, your bridesmaids, your ushers and your parents, sometimes grandparents too. These are usually done at the church: grab that traditional confetti shot and go! After those photos, our clients brief us as to which, if any, group shots they would like. We pin down all the timings and the list of required group shots at the site/briefing meeting. We can always be used as a resource for help with the planning/timings of the day. Often there is around 60-90 minutes before the wedding breakfast and there should be chatting, mingling and yes we will say it, celebratory drinking time, during that section of the day!
For more gems of wedding wisdom, check the Spinning Your Dreams FAQs page.