Chapter 3: Blogging
You should blog because it’s free marketing! And that is super important especially when you're starting out and your income is modest. It only costs your time. And while time is a valuable and scarce resource for a business owner too, here is why it is worth it: You don't own your Facebook timeline nor you Instagram gallery. If the platform changes (which they do all the time) stops being free, or shuts down completely, you have lost all your followers. Your website and blog are YOURS. So if you ever want to put your eggs in one online marketing basket, it should be your blog.
When I create a blog post from a wedding, I want to tell a story with the images in the same way that I do when I create a book for the couple. In addition to being super sharp on the culling to highlight the very best images and focus on the emotion of the day, I consider setting the scene one of my most important jobs.
I know some photographers who are super sharp and never share more than 10 photos from each wedding, and I know just as many who show up around 200 images from each wedding. It very much depends on your own taste and style. If your thing is to shoot the whole day but create a handful of "hero" images that you work on in detail both on the setup on the day of and in editing, then show those hero images in a blog post. If story-telling is your thing, then show the full story, which can still be just 100 out of the 800 you delivered to the client. 100 images is more than enough to give a virtual stranger a sense of the day and showcase your ability to capture it with sensitivity and attention to detail.
I found it way too difficult to cull a 16 hour wedding day down to just 30 images, so I think my average is around 80-100 images for a full day wedding post, and around 50 for an elopement shoot, making exceptions for those this-just-blew-my-mind kind of magic unicorn days where e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. just falls into place and you know you just created something truly amazing and took a step up the ladder of your personal development as a photographer.
For images for my blog I use Blogstomp software and have done so for the past 8 years now. It makes it super quick to setup both single horisontal or vertical images as well as lovely looking diptychs (two vertical images side by side) Blogstomp automatically creates a folder on your desktop with the images you have "Stomped" and you can then easily upload them to your blog.
When you are being flooded with enquiries then you can definitely get lazy and just let your images speak on their own. But while you're building your business, it's important to step out of your comfort zone and actually write about the couple in question, their day, your experience with them. Not only will this boost your SEO juice over time if you write cleverly, it is also an excellent opportunity to speak to new potential clients, to connect with them, and in some ways influence how they choose to create their future day. I absolutely hate writing myself, so I completely understand if it feels like too big a task to do this, but I will still insist that you just suck it up and see it as one of those things that have to get done in order for you to making a living out of your camera and creativity.
Again, only show what you want more of. Your blog is the perfect place to highlight vendors, fashion, venues, shoot locations, trends etc that you just LOVE and want your future couples to incorporate into their day. When I decided that I wanted to attract a very relaxed untraditional bride, I created a few blogposts about dresses over a period of 2 months. One about my favourite two piece dresses, one about non-white dresses, and one about online shops I love which sell dresses that are not wedding dresses per se but just super beautiful dresses that can easily be worn on your wedding day. Now, non-wedding dress dresses are a relatively normal sight, but back then it wasn't. And since then I have photographed numerous brides in untraditional dresses, many of which were found or purchased via my recommendations. It does work!
Have a look at the ideal client profile you created way back in the beginning of the course in the Branding section. Write a list of blog post ideas for yourself based on your ideal client's likes and interests and style. Here are some overall areas to consider:
Recent work: Which includes your wedding shoots for sure yes, but also any portrait sessions, styled shoots, personal work, travel images, whatever fits into your brand.
Personal experiences: Don't be afraid to share, but try to always end on a positive note.
Answers to FAQs: help your potential clients get the information they need as they plan their day. Create valuable content for them.
Why you love your work and how you got started: let them see your story and your "why", and they’ll feel more connected to you.
Recommendations: Like I mentioned above, share valuable resources with your readers and share the love online with other people in the industry. Link to your favourite wedding planner, dress designer or shop owner etc and do an interview or have him or her create a guest post with helpful tips and advice.
Behind the scenes: depending on your target client it often helps to remove that veil of perfection that we so easily impose upon ourselves and others when interacting and sharing online only.
Sometimes it can feel like there just isn't time to blog. BUT the problem is that while you are actually not blogging because business is booming and your work is in demand, to potential clients scrolling through your site and seeing that your latest blog post is 6 months old it looks like you have nothing to blog, aka you are not shooting, not active, not attractive! So try to blog consistently, even just once a week will be great, even when you feel like there just isn't time. A great way to get this done, now that we all have the luxury of being able to schedule stuff online, is to dedicate half a day one day per month to create 4 blogposts that you then schedule for automatic posting once a week. That way you don't have to keep ending up pulling your hair out in frustration and having to come up with something to write about last minute before you had promised yourself you would post something.
If your client type is someone who loves to see their own images online (my clients are usually quite private and don't like it) creating a blog post and having them send all of their guests, friends and family to your site to view the best of the best from their day, will boost your ranking in search engines + put your work directly in front potential new clients. Most couples have a few friends who will be getting married within 2-3 years.