- 1 Should You Choose To Specialise In This Fast Growing Wedding Photography Niche?
- 2 Why Choosing A Niche For Your Photography Helps You Grow Your Business, Fast
- 3 What Is An Intimate Wedding?
- 4 Why Shooting Intimate Weddings Is Becoming Popular
- 5 How To Market Your Photography Business To Find Intimate Wedding Clients
- 5.1 How To Price Photography Services For A Small Wedding
- 5.2 Marketing To Niche Photography Clients – A Micro Business Plan!
- 5.3 How To Get Your Photography Published On A Blog
- 5.4 How To Use Social Media To Attract Intimate Wedding Clients
- 5.5 Creating An Opt-In Your Photography Clients Will Love
- 5.6 Build A Network Of Complimentary Suppliers
- 5.7 Other Marketing Ideas
Should You Choose To Specialise In This Fast Growing Wedding Photography Niche?
Why more photographers are starting to specialise in the intimate weddings photography niche.
As a slightly introverted wedding photographer I used to struggle severely with wedding hangovers (and even anxiety before the ‘big day)’. So the intimate weddings trend is like music to my ears! No more over-peopling 🙂
Read on to find out why more photographers are opting to specialise in small and intimate weddings, with my top tips on how to attract intimate wedding clients.
But first, you need to know whether choosing such a specific niche for your photography business is right for you. Here we go!
Why Choosing A Niche For Your Photography Helps You Grow Your Business, Fast
Intimate weddings have been around for a while, and are only set to grow into 2020, according to this Brides article, meaning lots more opportunities for photographers to be able to specialise in just this area.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and make a name for yourself, often the best way to to that (and to attract the high-end client) is to create a niche service or attract a niche audience – this means focusing your service, and becoming known for a particular thing.
For example, Jose Villa is known for film photography, Elizabeth Messina is best known for her romantic, feminine images.
You can become known for many niches! And the best part about choosing to specialise in a particular photography niche is that you really get to tailor your business and make it about something you really love, vs just shooting anything and everything that comes along.
The Most Popular Photography Business Niches
Examples of photography niches that are currently successful are those that focus on
- particular kind of venue (‘Vineyard Weddings’)
- a particular location ‘(New York Weddings)
- a particular style (‘fine art weddings’ ‘reportage weddings’)
- the kind of wedding or client you want to work with (Alternative weddings or festival weddings, whimsical weddings, for example).
Specialising in intimate and tiny weddings is the kind where you become known for working with a particular wedding client.
How To Decide On The Right Niche For Your Photography
Choosing a particular photography niche to specialise in enables you to gain recognition faster, command higher prices, and is a much faster route to establishing yourself as a leader within a very competitive, general industry.
Think about it – if a publication wants to hire a ‘luxury high end wedding photographer’ would they really be likely to pick for someone who touts themselves out at the cheapest price, shoots the budget venues, cheap dresses, has cheap DIY branding and in short is a NOT the kind of photographer they are looking for?
That’s why specialising in a photography niche can help you stand out, quickly. And it’s not just so clients are clearer about booking – it’s also much easier for you to market and promote your business if you work within a niche.
You’ll never run out of topics to write about and share if you’re a ‘whimsical woodland wedding photographer’ specialist, for example!.
The best way to do choose a photography niche can be to combine more than one niche, for maximum results.
For example ‘Goth weddings in NYC’ or ‘Fine Art Intimate Weddings’.
When I shot weddings, I would always struggle the day after with a ‘wedding hangover’. This had nothing to do with alcohol, as most wedding photographers will testify! But the feeling is very similar to the day after a big night out.
I ended up feeling wiped out for an entire day, barely even able to string a sentence together. Because everyone else used to talk about it, I used to think it was entirely normal. It didn’t even occur to me there might be another way of working; one that didn’t involve you feeling like the missing dead the next day.
But over time I started to really resent that ‘missing day’. I hated that I would spend the whole of the next day feeling like a wreck and not able to be fully present with my kids. I felt like I was losing time with them while they were little.
But since having time away from shooting weddings, I began to reflect on how I could have managed my energy levels better. I started to learn what kind of wedding was best suited to my personality type and the way I like to work.
I realised that as I am an introvert, shooting a large, flashy wedding was definitely not suited to maintaining my personal energy levels and happiness! My happy space was always when I got to spend plenty of time with very relaxed couples, which happens much more often at a small and intimate wedding.
Thankfully, I guess other people have started to realise too that large scale weddings with masses of people aren’t always the best choice for them, including brides and grooms. In fact, tiny weddings are becoming a massive trend. That’s great for those of us who are introverts who want to feel good the next day!
If you’re also an introvert who prefers working with small groups, enjoys small weddings with plenty of time for creativity on the day, and a relaxed shooting environment, you’re going to want to read on!
In my opinion, there is no better photography niche to consider specialising in than intimate weddings.
What Is An Intimate Wedding?
The intimate and tiny wedding trend looks set to grow even more in 2020 and beyond! There’s even an entire site dedicated to intimate and small weddings (see it here). But what defines an intimate wedding, exactly? Is it budget? Size? Amount of guests?
Well, it could be any or all of these things. Usually, an intimate wedding is a wedding where the couple has a minimal amount of guests, usually under 20, and sometimes just the couple. Intimate weddings are also called tiny weddings, a small wedding, minimal weddings.
While some people opt for an intimate wedding to save money, more people are opting out of the traditional large weddings in order to focus on other things. Usually couples want to be able to relax more, enjoy the day without the feeling of having to ‘get round’ to everyone, and to be able to create more sacred and special memories.
So get intimate weddings that are expensive and elaborate, just not swamped by hundreds of guests. Small and intimate weddings generally focus on the couple. They are also often popular with couples opting for a destination wedding.
Why Shooting Intimate Weddings Is Becoming Popular
More and more photographers are expressing their desire to shoot smaller weddings. Specialising in the intimate wedding photography niche is perfect for photographers who are more introverted, who like more time with their clients, who don’t enjoy the hustle, bustle or grandeur of larger weddings, and who like feeling like an honoured guest rather than someone hired to do a job.
Couples having a small wedding because they want to preserve the focus on intimacy and preciousness are more likely to be selective when choosing their photographer – they’re not going to likely want to hire the kind of wedding shooter who loves bellowing at the top of their voices and shooting with giant long lenses when they’re focussing on beautiful, peaceful, affairs.
Intimate weddings are a growing movement thanks to the millennial generation. Millennials love to travel, and they are also frequently budget-conscious, and environmentally conscious too. Intimate weddings are perfect for destination brides, budget conscious millennials, and those who are being conscious of environmental impact.
They also tend to have a focus on meaningful moments and details, rather than purely a focus on flashy detail because Pinterest told them to. Millennial are driving force behind the tiny wedding trend, and this emerging photography niche.
So tiny weddings are becoming popular for these reasons – and for the same reasons, some photographers love to shoot them.
Is specialising in intimate and tiny weddings right for your photography business?
If you love meeting people, love being part of a busy day, and you’re the kind of person who buzzes the day after shooting a wedding, deciding to focus on intimate weddings might not be the right choice for you.
If you are more of the introvert, creative type who loves focus on details and moments and wants more time with the couple than shooting great aunt Ethel and her next door neighbour, then considering focusing on intimate weddings might be a great choice for your business.
Specialising in this photography niche might help you to maintain your energy, creativity, and love for your work.
This One Thing Will Determine How Successful You Are As A Tiny Wedding Photographer
(or any specialised photographer)
Choosing to specialise is not an easy move to make and will involve a lot of mindset work, because your head (and most likely your competitors) will try to convince you you won’t get booked when you go niche and specialise.
You’ll likely be told that you will lose clients, but in reality the opposite is true.
After all, if you were a gothic bride getting married in New York, would you opt for Joe Bloggs Cheapo Hobbyist Photographer, or someone who shared your lifestyle, vision, and most likely your own artistic sense of style too?
a-ha! Here is where your brain tricks you again! You will most likely say ‘I’d pick the most suitable person for the work, so it depends’! Nope. Research has shown that psychologically we naturally associate ourselves with people we feel are most like ourselves.
This is why a ton of my brides worked within fashion, business, and theatre. Despite not targeting ‘fashion industry brides’ or billing myself as a photographer for ‘the fashion industry’ I did talk about my previous accessory brand and my previous study on my blog and social media, and my clients frequently mention that’s the reason they book me even today.
My coaching even now gets booked by mainly women seeking more time freedom so they can spend more time at home with their kids, because they can see that’s what I’ve been able to do with my own businesses.
People will always book people like themselves, if given the chance. So you have to give them the opportunity to be able to get to know you, using your content and marketing.
Choosing to specialise in a photography niche helps to inform your clients quickly whether or not they’ve found someone like themselves – if you’ve chosen to specialise in tiny weddings and you have a LOT of content about budget saving tips, or beautiful locations, or whatever else your target client is interested in – you’re telling your clients you share the same interests; i.e, you’re alike! this will ALWAYS increase your bookings, by the way.
You won’t necessarily entirely exclude other clients when you do this either. They can still see you’re capable of creating beautiful work – but you’re much more likely to attract the type of client you want.
In this case, intimate or tiny wedding clients.
The Disadvantage To Photographing Small Weddings That Most People Won’t Tell You
Choosing to specialise in any photography niche can be a scary decision. When I chose to specialise in shooting primarily film-based weddings, I knew I’d have to increase my prices by a lot in order to cover the cost.
Other photographers told me I would never get clients at the price I wanted to charge.
Thankfully I didn’t listen and managed to create a thriving and great business based on the niche I chose (eventually leading to the business I have now as a coach and trainer. None of that would have been possible if I had not followed my heart and specialised in the area I loved most)!
So if you choose to specialise, you’re going to need to be brave enough to commit to your choice until you start to see the results, which may take a while, especially if you’re just starting out. You’ll most likely have to endure the haters who envy your bravery, or feel unsettled by your choice.
Whether you take on other wedding photography work outside of your photography niche or not is up to you – there is no right or wrong way to do this. But you will most likely get hired faster if you can get in front of clients who are looking for you. The same with marketing any photography business!
Really, deciding to specialise is about being brave enough to do something different, usually before everyone else is doing it. Right now the buzzword is ‘destination weddings’ – so the photographers choosing to champion and celebrate their local area are going to be the ones that stand out when every single photographer looks like they want glamorous, overseas shots!
Intimate wedding photography is the same – if you choose to specialise in shooting tiny, bespoke weddings, you’re choosing to stand out in a sea full of people refusing to.
You can make money either way of course! It’s just about knowing what you would prefer to shoot, and what makes you happy.
Can you commit to making the choice to specialise, when everyone else will tell you that you’ll lose clients, lose reputation locally, etc?
Can you be brave enough to commit to your choice while you build your business under your new brand?
Is your desire to shoot intimate weddings big enough to help you reduce everything else you are shooting?
How To Market Your Photography Business To Find Intimate Wedding Clients
Becoming a photographer who can successfully work within a micro niche is about understand how to target your client, get them to find you, and the convince them to book you (and not Generic Photographer who shoots corporate headshots to pay the bills most of the time).
To be able to secure those bookings, you need to know your target client.
Most importantly, you’ll want to know WHY they chose an intimate wedding. When you know this, you will be able to market directly to your client.
For example, a client who chose a small wedding because she wanted to keep her overheads under 5k, is going to need an entirely different version of marketing than one who chose a destination wedding and is flying over 20 guests to Italy to stay in luxury accommodation for two weeks.
Once you understand who your target client is, you can tailor your marketing accordingly and be more confident in putting yourself out there in front of them.
Most photographers have started to understand that you attract clients most like yourself. That’s ok, but it’s much better to remind yourself that you need to target the kind of client you want to be.
Let me explain. If you’re targeting someone just like you – with the same or similar interests, worldview, opinions, perhaps location, etc – you’re going to come across a problem when it comes to income.
Because if you’re wanting to get through to your next level of income / business, and you have bigger income goals you want to reach, you’ll price your products and services at the level you believe YOU could pay – because you’re targeting someone ‘just like you’, right?
Instead it’s much better to target someone ‘just like you’ but the best version of yourself. Meaning, with the income goal you WANT to have, rather than the amount you would currently be prepared to pay.
That way, you are targeting the kind of client you really want. (Rather than a reflection of where you’re currently at).
This has nothing to do with being inauthentic by the way – as a species we are always naturally looking to grow and get better at something (it’s how you got better at photography in the first place).
You’re not being inauthentic, you’re just looking to gain clients that reflect the best version of yourself.
You, but with the income you really want.
How To Price Photography Services For A Small Wedding
Now we are really getting into generic-info territory, but I wanted to address a particular question about pricing intimate and small weddings.
Should I Charge Less To Shoot A Small Wedding?
I used to think I should charge less if there were less people at an event, because well, I was there for less time. It was less stressful, less work, and probably less images to work with afterwards.
What I didn’t realise was that I was not factoring in my experience, skills, equipment and business costs. Instead, I was reducing myself down to price = amount of hours worked.
Which is great as a basic business model, not so much if you want to be profitable. After all, if you’re shooting a tiny wedding, you’re still not out there shooting something you could otherwise be paid much more for, right?
Don’t drop your prices for a smaller wedding. Sure, it’s less ‘work’, but the longer term impact on your business is the same as if you were shooting a wedding for 500 people. You most likely paid to learn the skills you have, to run your business, your marketing costs remain constant, and so on.
Plus, you are only going to struggle to attract higher paying clients if you repeatedly discount and cut yourself out of your profit.
Marketing To Niche Photography Clients – A Micro Business Plan!
Here is what I would do if I was looking to specialise in smaller weddings. I would make sure I knew my target client first, as per the above. So let’s assume I already know her.
My client is someone like myself, who wants a meaningful, intimate, destination wedding in Italy. 20 people maximum, sat outside under twinkling stars. Although budget would not be my number one concern, I would be looking for value. Above all I want to provide my guests with a magical, characterful experience in Italy.
So now I know my client, here’s how I would target them –
How To Get Your Photography Published On A Blog
I would look to get published in every publication about Italian weddings. This could be anything from blogs to magazines, personal blogs, local supplier blogs to international wedding blogs. This will not only help get found by my clients in search results, but also boost my own SEO.
For example, I might want to get found in search for ‘Wedding Photographer specialising in Small Luxury Weddings In Italy’.
You don’t even have to have shot a tiny wedding in Italy to get featured! You could do some research and submit written articles on best venues, for example. It doesn’t even have to feature your own photography. Though obviously, it will help you more if it does.
How To Use Social Media To Attract Intimate Wedding Clients
I would set up my social accounts so that they all educated on the topic of small weddings. (In particular small weddings in Italy). I’d write about how to find value in expensive areas of Italy. Posts about top restaurants and wedding venues for small weddings in Italy would also work. I could write blog post content on the value of small weddings.
In short, you want to create a whole ton of content directly targeted at your client. Which is why you need to understand their needs!
I would also include personal posts. This could include memories of trips to Italy, smaller weddings, Italian dishes my grandmother used to make, etc. I don’t have an Italian grandmother, but you get the idea 🙂
Creating An Opt-In Your Photography Clients Will Love
Most likely, I’d also have a brilliant email optin on the subject of ‘Creating Your Dream Small Wedding In Italy’. Or ‘The Most Picturesque Places For Your Small Wedding In Italy’. This would help identify me as a specialist who shares my clients interests and passions.
You could even collaborate with local suppliers. If you get them to share it on their sites, this multiplies your visibility!
Build A Network Of Complimentary Suppliers
And finally, I would look to make contact with wedding planners and other suppliers. Especially those specialising in small or intimate wedding, in Italy (or wherever). Specialising in niche weddings will help you stand out to new contacts too.
To contact them, you start by relationship-building. This is a whole post in itself, but the general idea is this
- offer value (eg look to see how you can help people. Even if that’s something as ‘minor’ as commenting on their posts / socials
- Say hello (basic, but people often miss this in their desire to promote themselves)
- Don’t be offended when busy people don’t reply, it’s usually not intentional and a follow-up works
- offer more value (reviews, testimonials, comments, support, etc)
And then over time, continue to build the relationship. No, it’s not an instant strategy. Yes, it totally works. Remember – people need you as much you need them! Bloggers need content and readers, wedding planners need photographers, so do venues. And so on.
Other Marketing Ideas
That’s how I would reach tiny wedding clients, by getting visible via SEO, publication, and using a network of contacts. This would all be based on a content-first strategy.
Note – not once have I said I would talk about my services, prices, or anything else. My marketing goal would be to appear / get mentioned everywhere.
You could also look at adding Youtube videos into the mix. Youtube is still hugely underused as a marketing tool by wedding photographers, which is a huge reason to use it.
Bonus points if you film your channel videos from Italy! 😉
So, this that’s how I’d get started changing my photography niche, by changing my marketing. And how I’d start to quickly gain more happiness and joy shooting small and intimate weddings!
Have you shot a tiny wedding, or would you like to? Leave a comment below!
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