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Most commonly, we see more and more talented wedding professionals coming to the wedding industry every year like clockwork. Every single year, it’s seemingly becoming more and more saturated. Do you feel that way? If you do, you have to look at your perceived value of your wedding brand.
If you do feel that your market is totally saturated, you’re probably right, too. Especially when it comes to photography. The equipment itself is becoming better, and things are becoming more affordable — which creates a lower barrier to entry to get into the business of being a wedding photographer. In the PNW, I see a lot of talented photographers moving to town or within the first few years of their career who have an amazing style, and they are entering the market with low rates (sub $2,500). (Again, “low” is a subjective term and a perceived value… keep reading.)
With a lower barrier to entry, that will create an influx of new solopreneurs gunning for more bookings. The same bookings that you want.
Don’t sweat it, though. There are plenty of engaged couples to go around. You don’t need to feel worried that everyone else is “taking your jobs”, or that they are your direct competition. I truly believe you have ZERO competition. And it all starts with your mindset practices.
Are you quick to discount your rates as a way to drive in new leads from social media? DON’T! I would rather see you offering your services for 100% free rather than see promotional discounts during peak engagement season. In peak season, there are a lot of engaged couples who are ready, willing, and able to pay your full rates. Don’t be so quick to discount your rates. Give them so much value that they think even at your full rate that they are getting an amazing deal.
If you feel you aren’t getting traction based on your pricing alone, you’re also most likely feeling confused about what’s going wrong inside your business… and you’re wondering why you aren’t getting lots of leads. That’s okay. We’ve all been there. And that’s what I want to help you with. I want to help give you some clarity and direction.
Personally, I coach quite a few wedding photographers and I see their rates start at as low as $500 to photograph a wedding day.
Low rates like these hurt your brand and your perceived value. And it will be very, very difficult for you to get bookings that you are wanting to get. And even if you happen to get a few, they will most likely not be your ideal client, and your brand will suffer for an extended period of time because it will now be known for being a super low-budget service provider. And nobody wants to be known for that, right??
Think about it from the client perspective. Think about what YOU would look for if you were engaged.
If you saw two photographers with similar styles, and one was $3,500 and the other was $500, what would your gut reaction/instinct tell you? Who would you guess has more experience? Who would you guess delivers a more reliable, consistent product? Who has better customer service? Who offers a higher quality service/product? Who’s simply better?
Personally, I’d go for the $3,500 photographer – hands down. I’d feel way more comfortable with that decision, because something doesn’t sit quite right with seeing rates as low as $500 when every other quote I’ve been getting is $3,000-4,500. Something is definitely wrong with that $500. I don’t know what it is, but I wouldn’t even bother inquiring.
That’s what perceived value does to/for your brand.
Everything you can do to increase your perceived brand value is crucial to your success, your ability to raise your rates (and book at those rates), and build your business with a fully booked calendar each year.
When it comes to something as important as a wedding day, most couples want to do things “the right way,” but also not go over their budget. They might stretch it a bit, but they don’t want to feel like they are “skimping” on the things that are most important to them. And photography definitely isn’t one of them.
So, if they aren’t wanting to skimp on these super important aspects of their wedding day — why is your rate $500? You will get more inquiries with a higher rate simply based on perceived value alone.
And if you are just starting out, do styled shoots. Work as a second photographer. Get your portfolio built QUICKLY. Take those images, put together a gorgeous website (don’t skimp on this), and market it. Get it seen by your ideal client. Ditch that old website that looks like it’s from a freebie template in 2005. Personally, I highly recommend you choose to go with ShowIt.co and pick a template from what they offer. That’s what I did, and I love it so much. Way better than any other website template/host that I have had in the past… and I’ve had a lot.
If you brand yourself well and build yourself a proper attraction marketing funnel, you will get those inquiries that you are wanting.
If your work is beautiful, but it’s displayed poorly – you will get fewer inquiries.
If your website is beautifully designed, but your content isn’t optimized and you have a super slow website – you will get fewer inquiries.
If you showcase a lot of your work, but nothing about you… you are losing out on a lot of what makes you “different” – and you will get fewer inquiries.
There are a lot of things that you can do inside your business to increase your perceived value. This definitely isn’t a full list of them, but it at least gets your mindset switched around to focus on the key strategy – to increase your perceived value.
There are a LOT of engaged couples out there. More than enough for all of us. And again, you don’t have any competition. You just need to strengthen up your branding, marketing, and sales skills. I can help you get there. I’ve got an action-oriented online course to help wedding pros (of all kinds) get more bookings (check that out just by visiting my home page), and I’ve got a free FB group for you to soak in a lot of content.
Remember, perceived value is everything. It’s so important as you move forward in your business.
Let me know how I can help you.
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- With Susan Stripling
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- with Arne Giske