Chapter 5: Wedding Blogs
Three times over the past 10 years, I have paid to be included on the recommended listings pages of different blogs. And my work has also been featured on numerous both Danish and International wedding blogs, including some of the biggest in the industry (for free of course).
I often get asked by new wedding photographers whether I think it is worth the money to invest in advertising or listings on wedding blogs. And there are many elements of my answer to this. Especially thinking back to how limited my own funds were in the beginning of my career where each and every expense felt like jumping off a cliff with your eyes closed, having no idea whether this investment would pay off or not.
Where do you live and work?
Some blogs only allow you to be listed in your own area, or you have to pay double or tripple to be listed in multiple areas. If you live in a very small country like I do, but are going after international destination jobs, it will probably bring you little to no business to be listed in your own area. If you live in some of the big wedding countries, like the US or England or France or Italy your investment will more likely be worth it.
Does the blog have any restrictions on the number of photographers listed or criteria for being included?
If you are just going to disappear among hundreds and hundreds of other photographers with a similiar shooting and editing style, you are not very likely to book a wedding, and even if you do there is very little chance that the couple will be super invested in your collaboration as you have probably "won" the booking more by coincidence or luck than because they found you and really want YOU. The more exclusive the "club" the better.
Do you have enough cashflow to just consider it an investment in your brand's reputation?
Being on the list of one of the very popular/high end blogs can certainly add some weight to your brand and also boost your self-confidence, that you have been selected to be included.
Are the style of the blog and the kind of people they feature/their readers your dream clients?
If you decide to invest in this I highly recommend choosing a blog that is a PERFECT fit for your brand/personality/style and the kind of people/clients you DREAM of shooting. There is a BIG difference between the brides and readers on Style Me Pretty and Junebug Weddings and Once Wed and Green Wedding Shoes etc etc.
Also make sure that your website and portfolio matches the tone/style/atmosphere of the blog. If a potential client who, for example, LOVES Magnolia Rouge and the kind of light ethereal film photography in natural scenery they post, then follow your listing link and land on a cool website full of dark moody photos, or a website full of vibrant chrystal decorated indoor ballroom weddings, you will confuse them and they will never book you.
Will you pay for just a listing or does the price include any mention or introduction of you on the blog or it's social media platforms?
Very few blogs do this, but there are a few (often smaller "local" blogs) who actually work to promote the people who buy a spot on their listing. And in that case a personal stamp of approval by the blogger can make a huge difference. Readers usually trust the voice, opinion and authority of the blogger they follow.
If you decide to spend money on a spot, make sure you also commit to the time and work it takes to make your listing stand out.
You will most likely be able to pick around 5-15 of your favourite images as well as a little piece of text. Make sure the words grab the reader/your potential client right away with the first sentence. Write something unexpected and personal. And make the text about them and how you can service them instead of being all about you.
When choosing your images, make sure they truly are the best of the best. If a few of them are weak don't include them just because they are pretty or because there is room for them. It should be one strong impactful image after another. And if, possible, try to show something else than what everyone else on the listing is showing. Stand out.
Wedding bloggers everywhere will probably hate me for this, but my ultimate advice after almost 10 years as a wedding photographer is that it is far better to get a shoot or real wedding published on the blog than paying to be listed.
Getting featured is completely free (but requires a lot more time and work and the perseverence to keep submitting even after the 20th 'no thankyou'). Getting a wedding or shoot of yours featured puts your work right in front of potential clients' eyes.
When you choose to submit a wedding to a blog:
Read the submission guidelines for the blog in question and follow their requests 100%!!!
Don't submit to more than one blog at a time. It can be annoying to wait, but it is the only decent way to do it, and you will avoid suddenly one day having two editors who want to publish the same shoot. Often, if you get a shoot published on a really big blog, smaller blogs will still be willing to feature it too, after a certain amount of time has passed. But some of the bigger blogs require exclusivity.
Never ever mix up two blogs that sound alike, or two editors' names etc. It is simply rude and a sure-fire way to never be considered.
Often the smaller blogs will yield more actual bookings than getting published on huge international blogs. years ago, when I got notified that one of my small styled shoots that I planned and executed all on my own was accepted at Magnolia Rouge, I was over the moon!! This happening was a seriously big dream of mine coming true. Once the publish date came around I spent all day at my computer ready to announce and share the news on all my platforms. The day came and went and nothing happened. The next day I gently emailed the editor asking if I had misunderstood. It turns out she simply forgot. What was a huge deal to me, was kind of unimportant to her. She did put it up within an hour of us emailing, but the text accompanying my photos was bland at best, and she did not share it on any of their social media platforms and, even worse, posted another wedding/shoot on the blog just a few hours later which meant that my shoot wasn't even at the top of the blog for more than 2-3 hours. Needless to say I was extremely disappointed by the whole affair. I have had my work published on many really big international blogs since then, but the best results have always come from getting my work published on smaller national or local blogs.
Here is my very best advice, that may not boost your ego the way you are looking for, but will give you the best chances of booking more good clients and making money:
Submit to local/regional/national blogs
Write respectful personal emails to editors (you can follow them for awhile on Instagram and include a relevant remark about their latest holiday location or other thing they've been up to)
Be kind and graceful when you receive a "no thanks"
Include all relevant information about the wedding/shoot at the beginning so it is basically a ready post (names and location, thoughts behind the shoot/wedding, all contributors with names and links, special details about the day)
If it is a real wedding make SURE your couple is completely okay with it
When a submission is accepted, make sure you set aside time to share it on your own blog and other relevant places online, and thank the editor/blog for the feature) (always be kind and share the love!)