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Cococello is Deb Pang Davis. Independent print and digital designer, educator and soon-to-be-author.

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Should You Separate Wedding Photography From Editorial? Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I offered my take on whether wedding photography should be mixed with editorial photography in a portfolio and/or website.

And I left ya’ll kinda hanging with “The challenge and the key is in how you market.”

So... if weddings are a part of your arsenal, this is a great time to think about strategy and prepare your marketing mix for next year. (The wedding season slows down for most this time of year... take time to focus on you! Be ready for 2011!)

The first step?

You have to know whether wedding photography is one ingredient in your special blend, or just part of your fallback plan.

The Passionate Photojournalist: When Weddings Are Your Fallback

Susie Photojournalist identifies more to editorial photographer than to wedding photographer. Sure, she wants to get wedding jobs to help pay for expenses et al and she plans to put those resources to market more heavily as a photojournalist; a story teller.

Susie Photojournalist, here are a couple of options:

1. Create and organize with a group of other photographers who share the same goals and have a similar passion. Pool your resources, talents and save time by marketing together.

Or, join an already established wedding collective or build a relatiionship with a wedding rep who can help by taking the marketing out of your hands. They take care of all the nitty gritties and you make beautiful pictures!

Here are a few examples:

Our Labor of Love homepage

2. If that option doesn’t appeal, be sure to create a separate wedding portfolio site on a different domain than your photojournalism portfolio

But...

This doesn’t mean you have to “hide” your story telling images from your brides or from your journalism clients.

Create a bridge.

Design an ad on your blog that promotes your “other side” either in your sidebar or as a link to from your About page.

Remember Susie, weddings supplement your income for your true passion. Sure, your editorial clients may not mind seeing your wedding photography but your brides may be turned off by your photojournalism work*.

The Lifestyle Photographer: Weddings Are Another Opportunity to Do Your Thing

Tom Traveler is a lifestyle photographer who loves shooting weddings and last week I suggested that Tom should weave his wedding photography into his portfolio, his website.

If your wedding photography and your editorial/commercial work is edited in a way that conveys a style, a mood, no art buyer, art director is going to poo-poo your wedding work—if the mood you are communicating is what they are looking for.

In a greater overall strategy, your carefully selected wedding images can appeal to a range of editorial/commercial clients—beauty, fashion, travel to name a few.

Any bride that comes to your website will probably love the range of what you do. Weddings today are just as much about fashion, interiors, food and travel as it is about the wedding.

One example is Elizabeth Messina of Kiss the Groom who was recently featured in PDN.

Her site and her blog convey a wonderful mood. Her brand is distinct and she has an impressive fan base. Elizabeth’s way of seeing, her sensibility can be applied to more than just weddings.

Kiss the Groom wedding photographer blog

Another example is Seattle based wedding and lifestyle photographerSarah Rhoads.

I love Sarah’s energy and personality. Sarah (and her husband) have done a great job creating the Sarah Rhoads brand. Their website (OK, I'm not crazy about the Flash and still... ) is a wonderful experience. 

Sarah Rhoads Wedding and lifestyle photographer

So Tom, edit your images carefully, be consistent and take the time to organize your content in a way that clearly communicates information and mood; your brand.*

(*Remember: Branding and marketing is unique and very personal. There are exceptions to every rule!)

Questions to Ask Yourself

You’ve heard me say it before: The way you market yourself depends on what you love to do and where you want to go.

So let me offer a few questions to help get you started so you can align your goals with your marketing efforts:

  • Think about your personal goals and your business goals. Where do they intersect? Be honest about what you really love to do. What comes naturally; what feels good?
  • Who is your audience? Who would you like to attract? Who are your fans?
  • What kind of information will your clients (current and potential) be looking for? Do your websites provide that information clearly?
  • Are the photographs you present consistent with the type of work you would like to be hired for? Does the editing clearly and consistently communicate what you offer?
  • Is your current marketing structure sending mixed messages? Is there anywhere a visitor would be confused about your services and offerings? What are they?

These are big questions–don’t worry if you can’t answer them in one fell swoop (or many swoops).

Of course, these are just some of the questions I work through with my clients, together.

For the rest of you, I’m busy putting together a strategy session (I’m hoping to come up with a better name!) where we can jam for an hour (or maybe two) and you can pick my brain on the right marketing mix for you.

In the meantime, got any questions for me? 

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