This ties into my previous post about vendor love. I was inspired by recent brides who would e-mail me and ask if I had a picture of a certain room at the venue they had booked showing it all set up for a wedding so they could visualize how to set it up for their wedding. As photographers we often photograph a particular venue several times and we are used to seeing how it has been set up and can imagine it. I think it can be really challenging for a bride who isn't as familiar with a venue to envision how a room will look on her wedding day and to plan her decor accordingly. I am a big fan of covered chairs at ceremonies or those pretty bamboo like chairs but it is hard to shell out the extra money for those if you can't see what a big difference they make. Brides are often planning their wedding over a year in advance. They may see their venue in winter but are planning a summer wedding and it can be hard to imagine what the snow covered patio will be like in July. My point is our photographs can serve a purpose in helping a venue show a potential bride what a particular site looks like in different seasons and set up in different ways.
I asked the on-site wedding planners at the venue I had photographed if a book showing off the venue during a wedding would be useful to them to show to their potential clients. My question was answered with a loud "YES!".
I recently put together a Couture SOHO book with 200 images from a venue that I have photographed quite a few weddings at. I was careful to choose images that showed off the rooms at the venue throughout the different seasons. I showed pictures of ceremonies with chair covers and those without. And while I focused a lot of my images on the decor of the venue I also felt it was important to show images of the couples, the bride's dress, the cake and all the details that make up a complete wedding so couples could really get a sense of how it all worked together and gain some inspiration from what others have already tried at their chosen venue.
I set up a meeting at the venue with the on-site wedding planners to show them the albums that I put together for my couples
and to present them with the book I had compiled that showed off their venue from a variety of weddings. They told me they felt it will be a valuable resource for them. Especially when a bride comes to see the outdoor patio in winter they can show her the pictures I have of a bride walking down the aisle in the summer so she can visualize her wedding day a little bit better.
Typically most couples will book their venue first and then start looking for a wedding photographer. By giving the venue a book of my photographs that is helpful and useful to them in showing off their venue I also have the possibility of couples seeing my work who may not of otherwise heard of me. It is an opportunity to reach people that I would not of reached in any other way on my own. To me the book I created is an investment in my relationship with the venue and in reaching clients that may not of found me otherwise.
If you are just starting out it is helpful to know that a lot of venues will have lists of vendors that they recommend to their clients. In most cases you will have to have photographed a wedding at the venue previously and proven yourself to be self sufficient, respectful of the venue rules about where you can and can't photograph and handled yourself professionally before they will add you to their referral list. A great deal of my client leads have come from being on those lists. I took the time to go around to all the venues I wanted to work at and introduced myself. When I did eventually get the opportunity to photograph at their venue I made a point of following up and showing them my work from my first wedding there so they could see the quality of my work from a wedding they had worked on themselves.
Think of ways in which your photographs can be helpful to other people working in the wedding industry and put your photographs to work for you! Obviously there are lots of options out there when it comes to creating a book for your venue so pick the book that works best for you, your style and your budget.