6 Things You Need to 'Unlearn' About Wedding and Portrait Photography

To be honest, I’ve heard myself using some of these excuses. But if you want to make money so you can get out there and have fun shooting, you need to “unlearn” these 6 so called “facts” about wedding and portrait photography.

Unlearnt Item 1 - You need to sell portrait sessions for $10,000 each to be profitable

Woah! Definitely not true. And in fact, if you burn your clients with prices that are too high, you are going to kill your repeat business. The key to profitability is working smarter, so that you’re making as much money as possible, but in the least time frame as possible. Review each of your products and look at how much time they take to produce, not just what they cost. And focus on selling pieces that are “time profitable” that can be turned over quickly.


Unlearnt Item 2 - You Need to Win Awards to be Successful

Well, we are living proof that this is not true. In fact, up until 2018, we hadn’t entered or won an award in over 10 years. Awards are nice because they drive your passion and creativity. But they are not an essential part of a profitable business. Selecting a photographer is an emotional decision. Focus on creating an emotional connection with your potential customers, rather than shoving awards in their face.

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Unlearnt Item 3 - You Need to have thousands of followers to be profitable

Check out my 5 C’s to getting Clients. Social Media is only 1 small part. What you do need to have is exceptional customer service skills and a strong method for delivery. Then you will create genuine raving fans who spread the word for you both on and off line.

Don’t get me wrong, social media is still incredibly important. But if your photography goal is the financial freedom to live your best life, focus on creating a niche tribe who love what you do and serve them well. This is what will turn into paying jobs.

Unlearnt Item 4 - You should target your wedding photography marketing to engaged couples.

Woah! Biggest NO of all. If your target just those you are already engaged, I’m sorry to say you’re already too late.

Wedding photography is all about emotion and fulfilling a client’s lifelong dream, which as the word suggests, is something they’ve been dream about all their life. A bride doesn’t get engaged and then start thinking about their wedding photography. Chances are her friends are also engaged, they’ve been looking at wedding and fashion photography for years, and have been getting inspiration for their big day on social media for years.

This is where building your online followers is important. You’re aim should be to build a tribe of followers who are emotionally invested in you, and connected with what you do, so that when their time comes, they automatically contact you. Not only are you top of their list, the emotional investment comes into play and they’ll be willing to pay a bit more for you, than for the person who is further down their list. This is your ideal, drema client. Some one who has been watching you for years, loving you, and looking forward to day it’s their turn to book you!

Expos and advertising still have a place in your marketing mix, in terms of a “Call to Action” moment, but their importance has been significantly decreased in recent years.


Unlearnt Item No. 5 - Size Matters

As a non-photographer, tbh, I tune out during the whole jpg v raw debate. Yawn…. And that’s how your clients feel about it too.

Yes you want to look professional and you must deliver a quality product. But you don’t need to bang on about it to your client.

Their aim is to have memories that last a lifetime - that’s the benefit to them, and that’s what they care about. The detail about how that’s achieved, doesnt interest them. Whether it’s the smile on their 6 month old sons face, or the first moment when her Dad sees her in her bridal gown. Or it’s a Wow shot that encompasses the beauty and lifelong dream that her wedding day is. That’s what matters to your client.

Not the number of megapixels that your camera captures. (Of course you need to be able to answer this question, but it wont be the reason why they book you)

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Unlearnt Item 6 - My Clients Only Want “Shoot n Burn”

Presenting your photos beautifully is the easiest and funnest way that you can make the money you need to live the life you want. Have you ever thought about the creativity and effort that you’ve put into creating a beautiful moment, only for it to be supplied as an online link to the client, never to be seen or heard of again - or at best, has a lifespan of 24 hours in the client’s instagram feed.

The personal reward I see our photographers get when their work is properly presented, is immense. Not only does it drive sales, it drives your passion. And once the ball starts rolling, it picks up speed! You need to have printed products to be able to sell printed products. I always have multiple acrylic blocks, double volume albums, frames and portrait books surrounding my clients when they’re in our studio. So that they know it’s normal to purchase printed products.

Your client cant imagine how they’re finished product will look. You must have printed samples right there for them to touch and feel, and then show them how they’re photos would look using programs such as Fundy and Proselect. Companies such as Seldex offer great discounts for Studio Samples.


Feeling inspired and want to keep learning, check out my blog post on my 6 Fave Aps I cant live without. Seriously time saving stuff that will not only free up your time, but also your mental brain space.

Rachael BentickComment