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Booking More Weddings

Lesson 18 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

Booking More Weddings

Lesson 18 from: Master the Business of Photography

Sal Cincotta

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Class Trailer

Day 1


Class Introduction


The Agenda


Why You Will Fail


The Changing World We Live In


Biggest Competitors For Weddings and Portraits


Day 2


Defining, Understanding, and Connecting to Your Clients


Day 3


Legal Issues


Day 4


Shoot and Share vs Shoot and Sell


Day 5


Pricing Your Work Part 1


Day 6


Pricing Your Work Part 2


Day 7


The New World of SEO


Day 8


Social Media - Facebook


Day 9


Social Media - Instagram & Pinterest


Day 10


Building a Better Portfolio & Attracting the Right Clients


Day 11


Proactively Developing Vendor Relationships


Day 12


Get More Publicity


Day 13


Booking More Portrait Sessions


Day 14


Booking More Weddings


Day 15


Understanding the Initial Sales Consultation (In-person vs Skype)


Day 16


The Engagement Shoot - Shoot To Make Money.


Day 17


Engagement Pricing and Sales


Day 18


Destination Shoots


Day 19


Working With & Training Second Shooters


Day 20


Growing An Alternate Brand


Day 21


The Wedding Day Timeline


Day 22


Managing The Wedding Day


Day 23


Post Wedding Sales and Pricing


Day 24


Post Production - A Real World Workflow


Day 25


Wedding Albums - Their Importance, New trends & Selling Them


Day 26


Ways Not To Suck At Customer Service


Day 27


Video - The Future of Story Telling for the Photographer


Day 28


Packaging & Final Delivery To Your Clients


Day 29


Lessons Learned - Where I Have Failed Over The Last 8 Years


Day 30


The Journey Of You


The Journey Of You: 30 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 60 Day Plan


The Journey Of You: 90 Day Plan


Student Examples


Interview with Warren McCormack


Interview with Lenny and Melissa Volturo


General Q&A


Lesson Info

Booking More Weddings

And today guys, what it's all about is getting out there getting creative thinking differently about things and over over the break we were talking internally and and just everybody sharing their ideas about what they're doing it's really interesting to see right my way is not the only way it's just looking to a spark interest but as long as you're thinking differently about things and trying there's always you're trying you're going to be successful right run into a new wall that was something we were talking about over the break you've got if something's not working stop doing it you know it's not working you gotta let go just stop doing it it's not working it didn't work today didn't work yesterday it's not going to work tomorrow right it's like the definition of insanity right stop doing the same thing and expecting a different result but it's hard it's definitely hard I think as humans we're creatures of habit we tend to go back to what we know because we're afraid of the unknown ...

and I think that's part of maybe for me as I share my own journey with you through just the life of being a photographer and an entrepreneur I think part of the part of the thing that I've learned tio I don't know enjoy is the unknown I love taking the risk and then hopefully seeing the reward so I've kind of been trained the other way where is I love going if you're not uncomfortable my thought processes you're not you're not growing so you've got to get to that point where you're kind of uncomfortable so let's dive into you know booking more weddings and talk about some ideas they're behind it first of all, what is the opportunity we've talked about this before two point one million weddings per year lots and lots of opportunity that air sitting sitting out there but you have to go after it okay the weddings aren't going to come to you you got to go after the after the wedding's um rob we we talked about we talked about the domain names and last night you went out and you bought what was it s o it was new york new york wedding photography or n y c wedding photography dot dot photography I'm sorry was booked but you went out there and you bought a variant of that domain what was was new hyphen you're hyphen wedding dot photography right and so there you go so when we were talking about those domain names all you gotta do is go out there and really get aggressive with it and come up with something and create that landing page that's the key just owning the domain name isn't gonna do anything for you it's doing something with that domain name creating that landing page getting into rank high and then of course driving traffic bacteria sight all right, so you got to go after it now traditionally, we're typically waiting for that opportunity to come to us and we've got to stop doing that. We have got to control our own destiny that's what this is all about and so again the opportunity website referrals, bridal shows and that's fine, those will always work to me. Those are the most traditional ways to go after wedding photography, right? I'm always going to do my website ceo I'm always going to do, you know, a certain level of facebook or google adwords stuff like that, but I'm definitely gonna dio bridal shows and then, of course, referrals referrals from existing clients referrals from vendors. That is what I would call traditional that's the traditional way of growing your business, but sometimes that traditional way isn't moving fast enough. It's not aggressive enough and when you're in it, you're an upstart for as a wedding photographer that is definitely not going to get you where you need to be, right? So you've got to go go, go to establish your name and this was something I was talking to some people offline in my market in st louis two thousand seven, two thousand eight when I started up there's one photographer, I'm not going to name him because doesn't matter there was one photographer who was everywhere literally everywhere I went to his name was I admired this photographer so much I loved his work I love this style of style was very great was very much what I wanted to be as I was an aspiring photographer, right? Er and so you fast forward to two years ago he went bankrupt better file for bankruptcy was on the local news was a big deal. It was really interesting to see because over the course of my career I couldn't get into any of the venues because he was there on then slowly but surely he was disappearing from venues, venues we're no longer referring him and then it made it made local news where it was on the station where he went bankrupt and was crazy for me to see that this happened to him where he was running a seemingly successful business. This being that I'm telling you about, I'm paranoid about it because I don't want to ever take anything for granted nor should you that's I think what happened was you got too successful he got too cocky, he got lazy and ultimately lost track of what was what was the right way to run his business and we have to be conscious of that right that's why that hustle is in me I never want to fall backwards always want to keep moving forward so keep that in mind in a competitive market which is everywhere in the united states everybody's a photographer everyone in the world for that matter everyone's avatar for so we're in this competitive marketplace right now you've got to be more than just a camera or guy or girl with a camera we've got to be more aggressive we gotta go after it, we've gotta hit it hard on dh we've got to come up with new ideas, so these are five or six ideas I forget how money I put in here it's supposed to be five, but I put more I think I get carried away last night these air five ideas you absolutely can do immediately and we're going to talk real world case study because we've got people doing him I have a studio that came out and it's consulting with us in st louis they spent two or three days with us, we help to revamp their business. This was an idea I gave them, they walked away from that meeting and in two weeks the results are going to blow you away. So we're going to target engaged couples in your market on facebook earlier in a previous second I showed you how easy it was to create a campaign and add set and different ads to go after your clients and to identify engaged couples by their status in twenty five or fifty mile radius we're going to drive them to your site to collect names the goal of the campaign is win a free engagement session this is nothing short of brilliant and you'll see why in a second we're going trying to your side to collect names this is where wordpress comes into play onward press it's very easy to create a form that's collecting names we actually have a plug in is called a ninja forms there's a host of plug ins out there you don't have to use an injured forms such as what we used you don't have to be a programmer you can set it up and what you want to do is collect their name email phone number make it super simple for them the register crater landing page put some graphics there put some copy there explained the competition to him you have to have terms and conditions because they're signing up to be in your mailing list so if you don't have those terms and conditions you're going get marked a spam you already run the risk of getting marked his spam but make sure those terms and conditions or they're okay that they agree to be on your mailing list and they can always opt out we'll talk about that in a second now you have all their information remember what we're giving away here free engagement session okay that's the ultimate goal so you have to create effective copy things like that and so here's what we did lenny cultural photography he's out of florida he did this ok so we came my studio he took it to heart these were the kind of things he was doing the traditional stuff he was doing bridal shows he was doing seo and he's getting frustrated he's like hey man it's not working or business is really slowing down I don't know what to do I might tell me what you're doing what you actively doing he's like we're doing everything you tell us to do a story got this is my conversation I consider lemmy a personal friend he's like he's like I'm doing everything you're telling me d oh it's a great tell me what you're doing it really came down to almost nothing he was literally just going through his his day and the reason I'm sharing this story with you is not to throw lenny under a bus it's to share with you is you're sitting there and you're nodding your head going no I'm doing everything I'm doing everything know you're probably not he was doing bridal shows he was doing his search engine stuff but we can't just do that we have to keep thinking outside the box and so broke through he agreed he wasn't doing enough to keep marketing the business he walks away he does this he ran the ad for four days okay on facebook you can control what you're paying per day he paid twenty five dollars per day he engaged engaged females fifty mile radius right so obvious homebase any female that had the status set too would get engaged he uh he ran this ad resulted in one hundred sixty five clicks to his website okay thirty sign ups so not everybody who clicks through to go to your website to win a free engagement session is gonna actually register but one hundred sixty five people did click through thirty people actually signed up so we collected thirty names he booked one wedding four thousand dollars this is real this really happened is a real studio he's your peer is from shutter fast I'm not just making some guy up as I stand up here this is a real guy who went out and did what we're telling him to do the results were almost instantaneous if you're telling me I could pay uh basically a hundred dollars is what he paid that cost him one hundred dollars and he booked a four thousand dollar wedding if he gets nothing else out of it I will take that cost of acquisition any day of the week how much does it cost you to be the bridal show how much does it cost you to be in a magazine? It doesn't cost you a hundred dollars I know that and so this is a way that can parallel all your other marketing efforts so as you're in the magazine as you're ah you're working on your ceo as you're working your vendor relationships this is another prongs that you should be going after I would have let this keep running right this should this should have stopped after four days I know why it stopped because he was probably starting to freak out about all this stuff but these air his results but he also picked several winners right so if you do something like this you do a campaign like this there's not just really gonna be one winner ok as far as I'm concerned he had thirty people sign up help thirty people winfrey engagement sessions give all of them a free engagement session some of those engagement sessions are going to result in zero sales guarantee it doesn't matter all they're getting is the session if any of those sessions spend money any of them this campaign has paid for itself I mean a hundred times over absolutely incredible not only if they spend on the engagement session what's the conversion rate but just you was just too simple math here he's got thirty people after four days if he can get ten of those thirty to do the actual engagement session okay he's gonna have sails off those they're not going to come in and do an engagement session and not by any pictures it's not gonna happen okay you maybe you're gonna get one or two out of ten that won't buy anything makes no sense but it could happen and then off those ten that shoot engagement pictures with him how many are we gonna be able to convert they've now worked with him they now like his style now he can come back in and say hey, look guys if I could get you two to actually book your wedding with me we'll give you fifteen percent off any wedding package right since you've done your engagement pictures with me we'll give you fifteen percent discount on any wedding package that you sign up with us I understand how this is all working every single one of you every one of you can walk out of here tomorrow and implement this you don't have it's not gonna cost you thousands of dollars right? Cost him one hundred bucks and look at the results now the best part about all of this I mean I guess the best part is is you booked a wedding? Okay, but the best part of all of this is that he's got those thirty names now we can continue to market to those thirty names and if he would let this ad run longer here to pry had one hundred names two hundred names and now that you have the other thing you can add to this is uh I said if we go back to the previous slide name email phone number, wedding date at the wedding date to the list and so now, if we've got name, email, phone number, wedding date, we can now put promotional campaigns, email campaigns that are marketing to them and maybe you just send out at once a week. You send out an email blast to this list week one ok, is your sending out an email blast saying a block in your package by the end of november? Get ten percent off any wedding package? The second e mail blast goes out it's education, you're not asking for anything. Top five tips to to better engagement pictures top five tips to better makeup on your wedding day top five tips to better wedding photography right, then the third e mail goes out on week three now it's asking for the business again book by the end of november, ten percent off any package get two extra hours book by the november received two free hours, five hundred dollar value. You see where I'm going with this? If you would just run this campaign and just drove people to your facebook page or just drove people to your website, you don't have their names and without their names, you can't keep marketing to them, and so when you start looking at this and asking yourself, okay, what's, the cost of acquisition bali paid a hundred bucks and you got thirty names. To the cost of acquisition their brightest called three bucks a name I'm willing to pay three bucks a name to grow my business there's I don't know any other place not in a magazine not a bridal show anywhere where you're gonna get that kind of r a y on your investment and so this is a real world scenario and I think it's a really really great idea I can't believe it man when he when he called me and started like he was so excited uh so let me know the results of this I just couldn't process it michael so we're looking at doing this is just a session so no negatives that's right? Ok no negatives. Great question. I'm glad you asked it you are not going to do a free everything for people that makes no sense right? You should be explaining on your landing page you know what? What? They're registering tto win and when you announce the winner and you say congratulations suzy right you have that email you've won a free engagement session valued at two hundred ninety nine dollars or whatever your session for years, right mind engagement sessions there two hundred ninety nine dollars when I was starting out my engagement session was one ninety nine s o but congratulations you want a free engagement session please contact us this is actually probably important within the next twenty four hours or we're gonna offer this up to someone else right you have to have some called action or you're going to be getting a call like six months later hey I want a free engagement session can I convert that to a family shoot right no uh that's so you have to have some kind of exploration or terms and conditions on the whole things I mean that making sense I'm glad you asked that question all right again at home in your workbooks you're going to look at this workbook that we've created for you is a beast right there is a lot of pages in this workbook it is the blueprint for your business you should be writing down ideas your head should be spinning a cz we talk about all this stuff on what you're going to do and when you're going to do it here's another idea connect with a local jeweler so I shared the same idea with lenny he went often implemented it I'm so proud of him because he's not just sitting back waiting for things to come to him he's getting out there and hustling connect with a local jeweler your target here is a groom to be all right so we're gonna take it we'll take a little detour everybody's always going after the bride let's go after the groom let's see if we can get a couple of grooms to convert every engagement ring gets a free engagement session so at that whatever julie you're gonna work with any engagement ring soul comes with a free engagement session and there's a number of ways we can implement this right you're gonna run into some hiccups it's not gonna be clear some jewelers don't want to be giving out don't want to give out information so we'll work through all that navigate through it but and today focused on the idea create a point of sale this has to be a joint promotion if you're not getting anything out of this deal it's not worth doing it with jeweler has to be joint promoted right? So you've gotta have a point of sale display in there by the cash register by the engagement ring case something to that effect this becomes a win win for both you and the jeweler in fact throw throw something in there for the jeweler if the jewels going now we don't we don't really want to do that we don't want we want to solicit to our clients make it more appealing for the jeweler why not photograph all of his engagement rings for his website? Why not? Why not do ah jewelry shoot for him by maybe he's got neck classes and things like that think about how this relationship can start to evolve I work with the jeweler in st louis every time he comes to a photo shoot, he shows up with him armed guard it's really, really cool. T c because the arm got guard. Is this like, five foot two guy, but he's packing like three. Fifty seven magnum. So you know, he's, a little guy, big gun, I don't know. And so it's really interesting to see. Every time he shows up, he shows up and he's got like, this box last time he showed up about a half a million dollars worth of jewelry in this just tiny little box. And this particular jeweler we work with specializes in anti jewelry meaning buy jewellery worn by like sophia loren, things like that. This is what this guy specializes in, and so he'll show up, and we'll use stuff like this on our shoots with a bride or something like that. He's actually linked some of his jewelry to our high and bright for their wedding. You imagine that relationship? You imagine having that conversation with a bride where I just go? Hey, I could get you this very unique piece for your wedding day. Now, of course she has to have insurance and things like that. But it's really, really cool to be ableto work that that relationship. Now, what do I do in return for him? Every picture I take or his jeweller's featured he gets that picture, but then I also isolate his jewelry and start handing him some of those images for him to use in any of his marketing and store up on his walls, whatever the cases right, so again, you're starting to see how this ecosystem works. One idea that we talked about like, you know, it's several segments ago is now rearing its head again, and we're talking about how to do this in conjunction with working with a local jeweler is this making sense? Right? So they have to have something the groom that is to take away the groom absolutely has tohave you've lost it, you have to have a way to connect with this group. It's not gonna be on facebook, facebook doesn't make sense to go after the groom you really want to go? You really want to go after them at that point of sale because there's like a cool thing going on, I haven't really had a whole bunch of request for it, but like photographing the actual proposal that's a really cool things, right? So when I got when I proposed to my wife taylor michael course in tino gladly enough is an educator and a writer in shutter magazine shows you how relationships work he we were on a photo shoot in san francisco and tell her I had no idea I was going to be proposing and so on that photo shoot I knew I was gonna be proposing obviously I had the ring he was there and I shared it with michael's so that he could capture and document the whole thing so not many guys think that way tohave that documented so don't get your hopes up that this is going to come some you know, massive trend we're guys where we don't we're not wired that way right guys and girls are completely wired differently so but if you can get access to that groom early on you haven't opportunity here big big opportunity so poke some holes in this kid give me ideas let's do like round robin let's learn together work together just don't all talk at the same time audio team will be like freaking out all right brought rob what do you think that can we work this? What? Some road blocks well, I mean, I think one of the the the problem the biggest roadblock and this one might actually be to get a jeweller on board your toe actually and not even even if you get him on board it's having him remember to every single time you know when someone comes in he's a sales guy so he's kind of like hot on the sale and I love what you're saying this is why I want to talk talk this out as a group, right? So just so everybody at home understands the way I work best is with my team especially back in st louis is four of us there's myself, my wife elissa and then lauren I consider that my core team there's really nothing that goes on inside my business that those four people aren't involved in, so just because I have an idea, my team is not like, oh that's brilliant absolutely brilliant sal, you're you're amazing no it's actually quite the opposite most of the time I'm the moron in the room they want to tell me why it won't work and they start poking holes in it and so this little dialogue that I'm having with you and it's not over I want to keep going back and forth is very much the way I have conversations with my team I'll say them, what do you think of this? And then all of a sudden somebody will poke holes in it, but what about this? This and this? I'm like, oh that's a good idea and then I start poking holes in what they're poking holes in and it's that dialogue I think that creates a high performing team it's that dialogue that it's allowed my business to grow who's your court scene you've got to think about that right? So I know it's kind of a segway and we're not really talking about that but who is your cortina? Who can you trust? Who can you trust? A really smack you in the head when you're saying something that's wrong right and not just blow wind all the time so let's keep hold on johnson let's keep going back and forth so in the spirit of all this the conversion rob is going to be getting getting the jeweler to say yes right or to remember to hand stuff out I agree with you that's why we have to have a point of sale there if we don't have a point of sale display you are absolutely right he's never going to hand out business cards he's never going to remember to tell him there has to be a point of shell that's sitting in the jewelry case we're sitting on top of that jewelry case so I like that there's our there's our way of overcoming that johnson situation the contact was not the jeweler but it was a hairdresser because hairdressers know about them getting in engaged beforehand so we actually did photograph the event of the engagement uh the the their first engagement okay and it was incredible off him proposing him proposing to her but it came through the hairdresser hairdresser so therefore just know that there's other links right so you could take I see what you're saying we can take the same idea and then apply to other connection points in the engagement change I love it let's keep poking holes in this is there what other reasons can we come up with? B I'm teaching you guys how to be critical thinkers here don't just keep smiling at me and being like this is awesome south I don't want it to be awesome I want you to poke holes in it because if you poke enough holes in it we get to a better a better idea together so I'm trying to teach you how to think critically about it, wendy another hole that I possibly would see is I don't know if many grooms would initiate a photo session um our experience has been that usually it's the women that seek out the photography session very true so I just see a little bit of ah I rode back with that one yeah, yeah no you're spot on let's let's rewind and talk about that we're not giving up on the bride the bride is always going to be the dominant force in that picture's in the chief memory officer if you will right so the bride if you look at it that way is in charge of memories whether it's for the wedding, whether it's for when we're having when they have kids right there's that somebody in that family is that cmo, that chief memory officer and in the spirit of all that I'm not saying this is going teo supplant all that what I'm saying is it's another prom right as we go after right? I want to make sure my name and my my marketing is everywhere out there, so but if I could get two or three leads in a year from this jeweler and establish relationships where I'm getting, I'm allowed to borrow jewelry other things start coming off all this that's where it starts becoming more and more powerful because we can take this a whole other direction once you have this relationship with the jeweler what's another big holiday for jewelry stores valentine's day but christmas uh, mother's day not now we start having things that we can do with that jewellery store you know, holidays, it could be anybody who buys ah higher and necklace gets this anybody around mother's day anybody who buys up, you know, five hundred dollars parent hearings or more gets this there has to be value to this. You can't just give this away to somebody who buy something for fifty dollars in the jewelry store that's not your client, by the way because they're spending fifty dollars, in apparent earrings they're definitely not gonna spend a thousand dollars on portrait no you know, I'm just rethinking that, though, on the flip side is that if you really got a jeweller, that was really I'm bored and excited about the relationship with you. That could be a cool, whole new market that you could begin to grow and having it be exposed to the groom, you know, maybe it's, just something they never even thought about you. So this dialogue has now converted you and from being a little more skeptical about to be in a little bit more optimistic. Right? So you're kind of skepticism, uh, that's one of it's, uh, it's a it's a listers word. Yeah, let's say you do something like this and it's a grand success and you have a lot of people. They have their engagement sessions that call you. They want to do it. Now you have the issue of you have to go shoot these engagement sessions. There may not necessarily be a wedding tied in the immediate future. Maybe they're not looking for the wedding photographer right. Yet? So the only way you're going to get a return on investment of your time is going to be your cells after that? Sure. So how do you process that if it's a large success how do you process that many in person sales because you're starting it up on the galleries is proven to be useless by all accounts no, you would never throw it up on a guy s e I mean that's a waste of time something at that point you know, how would you I guess what would you do that to try? And are you worried about being too busy? Well, I worry about doing a lot of the potentiality of doing a lot of engagement shoots with no return on investment on sale because you don't have time to do that many in person sales with the shooting you have to do is sail yes there's no scenario where you're not doing the cell so if the biggest challenge with this for you or anybody out there is like holy crap, I did twenty of these now which by the way is not going to happen if it does, I want ten percent of all sales, but if the biggest challenge for you all of a sudden you're doing twenty of these a week right calls are coming in like crazy, that means a lot of invasion rings are being sold that means going to booking a lot of weddings I don't see that happening I think more more realistic is it for every ten that grab that card and really buy a ring I would say your conversion rates gonna be about fifteen percent right that's more realistic so for every hundred rings they sell, you're more than likely going to get about ten to fifteen that follow up on this we see it with everything we do client for life is a perfect example of every wedding that gets client for life with us ten percent actually take advantage of it with our high school seniors if we give away a free family session it's in that ten to fifteen percent range that actually take advantage of it the thing is though but let's follow along on your idea here if you get super super busy with this your r o I is in this is in the sail from the engagement look we run a fifteen hundred dollar average maybe you're not running a fifteen hundred dollars you don't have to be maybe running in eight hundred dollar average if you if you were to do ten of these that's eight grand to me that's a that's an I r a y that's well worth it right you want that that those sessions coming in and piling up and then that's really short term are why the reality is if I book if I shoot ten of these what's your internal conversion rate so forget how many are calling you from the jewelry store once they get to you from the jewelry store let's say you shoot ten for every ten you shoot how many are you going to convert to do their wedding? It should be damn high if it's not high your mitt you're doing something wrong, right? They've now worked with your studio they shot with you they seen your work if they're not converting and booking for the wedding, that means they don't like you or they don't like your work it's one of the other bright or you've just made it inherently difficult for them to convert and that's why say once you do, it will give you a we do this session hey, if you book you're reading with us, we'll give you fifteen percent, okay? So now I'm getting really excited about that because if you have the capability to do video during that session, one of the pull through is you could uses that, then we'll use that in your video at your wedding if you hire us if they taking through that, okay, so if when you go out to do the thie engagement shoot through this offer, if if you as a photographer have the ability to have a second person, they're doing video sure for this too? Now you can say, hey, I've got this video with this too if you choose to you know hire us to do your wedding now then we'll use this portion of the video from your engagement shoot is part of your I love it a complete story for them the best thing you said the winnie that I think I hope everybody at home is processing is if you can get a jeweller who's on board with this they're gonna make your life easy and we do we have a jeweller that we work with lenny is working this he's got a jeweler whos I'm on board with this very excited about it that's the key if you just run in and you know you might have to talk to jen ten jeweler's before you find one and work your personal networks maybe maybe you've got a friend whose cousin is a jeweller right so work your personal relationships to find that person who sees the value in this which you don't want to have happen is you just walk in and you go to every jeweler and you go hey here's what I want to go in there like yeah okay that's not what I want that's actually not beneficial to anyone I want somebody who looks additions like this's cool yeah because if they're excited about it they're telling everybody about it and the other thing you may have to tie onto this is you may have to go in one morning and just educate their salespeople on what this is all about so that they could get customers excited about it because now they can use this hey guys if you spent by this ring for five thousand dollars okay here's something else I could give you I give you this three hundred dollars session for free if you buy it before december fifteenth something to that effect right they're going to call the action in place so this this is an idea I love the internal dialogue right? Because it's a check it checks that my idea will work won't work you're telling me why you don't think it will work I'm pushing back on you and it's making it a stronger idea yeah another ad on you could do is offer the people at the jewelry store their own chutes family first right? I love it now you guys are thinking like entrepreneurs now I'm feeling confident in you guys after going through the segments that I can just airlift you into a situation and you're kind of like but wait there's more but wait there's more right you're not going to hit a lot of people business people they literally just get they kind of walk into this wall and they just stop right there we're not down the wall they can't get through it now you're saying things where you're going hey wait you know what else we can do? We can photograph all your staff wait you know what else we can do we can do your team head shot ah head shots for the whole team wait we can do this so now you're going into this jewelry store and you're going look dude I don't just want stuff from you I want to be your partner I want to work with you I want to grow with you that's the value of the relationship that is brilliant what you guys are all saying here so I'm really proud of you guys pushing back on this idea and making it better but what what do you doing? You're taking all the tools that we've been talking about over the course of all the segments and you're finding ways to spin off into these other ideas so this is really cool stuff all right how about a boutique bridal show? This is something you're seeing mohr and more photographers do right everybody hates the big bridal show they call it a cattle call tire kickers all sorts of things like that great why not spin off and put together your own boutique bridal show and so you've seen lots of people jules gray she went off and did it she's a shutter fester kind of alum and she went off and put it together and she did her own bridal show okay and now you can make that brownish or whatever the hell you want it to be congee one of each vendor one or two of each vendor no cattle call just a really niche play boutique experience and you're working with your vendor so the bridal show could be free. You don't have to be paid to be part of this bridal show. Other vendors don't have to pay to be part of this bridal show it's really five, six, ten vendors coming together bringing their list together so the florist will bring their list. The catering hall would bring their list of all their brides and we'd have this kind of open house night and we would bring them in and a really cool way up. Lighting music is playing maybe got a harp player right in your local market. You've got a quartet or harp player who's playing have them in there have a flores providing this but it's one of each category, and now you're actually creating your own network, you're creating the network. This is powerful stuff. Once again, I'm controlling my own destiny. I'm not waiting for someone else to control it for me, and so each vendor promotes to their list, and by the way, you should have your own list because you should be running the facebook campaigns. We're talking about collecting names of people who have been recently engaged, so now you actually have a list to promote, bring to the table. Can you imagine if I went to the hilton hotel in st louis and I'm like, hey, I got this great idea I want to borrow your facility, we're going to kind of like a little boutique bridal show we're gonna have brides can but hey, I want the facility for free well, we'll let you be part of it hilton you could be there we won't bring in any other caterers but here's the thing can you promote it to your list of names? Because I don't really have names, right that's not gonna work. And so the value is you bringing your names to the table, the floor springing their names to the table, the hilton bringing their names to the table, their sales leads. All of you collectively combined this and there's a campaign that goes on around this. And now you can put if you can put fifty to one hundred people in a boutique show who that success that is massively successful because in a small boutique show it could just be the size of this room that were sitting in here right now, right? It could be just this big I can have the caterer, the florist, everybody now is people are coming in it's more about cocktails, it's more about schmoozing it's, not a cattle call if you've ever done a real bridal show literally people are just walking by boost grabbing flyers, throwing him in the bag, eating their free food. I don't even know if half of them are getting married, they go when they watched the fashion show, and then they leave. You've never made a connection with them at all. Now, with these little booty shows, you have an opportunity to connect with a handful of people in a completely different way. So this is an opportunity for you, there's no cost. You're not paying anything to do this it's more sweat equity. So you've now got a hustle. You're going to build relationships, you're going to talk to the catering facility. You going to talk to you? It could be anywhere, by the way, if you got a studio that's big enough, you could have it at your studio, but more likely you're inhabited the catering facility that's, the place that makes most sense jewel host this event at the catering facility on do it that way, and then you're going to get that venue to help promote and host they're gonna have the biggest lead list and then ultimately what you can do that will really make the event different than most events out there is making an educational event have breakout sessions, and so we did something like this up in new york city it was a very small then I didn't I didn't host it someone else hosted it we were part of it. There was one vendor in every category okay, they the event was held at a candy shop was really cool was in ah, what is it? Is ralph lauren's daughter? Do you know anything about what I'm about to say? Ralph lauren's daughter owns a candy shop in new york you know? Okay, I think it's ralph lauren's daughter owns a candy shop so we're in her candy shop it was it was a show um and there was one vendor in each category and there were probably one hundred twenty people in that room wedding's happening all over the world that I now had access to. I probably had a very short conversation with the majority of the room, but here is the coolest part of all. They had little breakout sessions where four of the vendors were given an opportunity to stand up and talk for fifteen minutes. Okay? And so now you could talk for fifteen minutes about your business, but it couldn't be I'm south and kata I'm a wedding photographer you should hire me look how great we are instead, the concept was here the five things to consider when booking a wedding photographer so it had to be educational right here's five tips to getting better engagement pictures by the caterers stood up top five trends we're seeing in the marketplace today, uh, they had a planner who stood up and she talked about ideas for planning and designing your wedding, and so they turned it into this educational event, and it was so well received, it does not have to be complicated. It does not have to be elaborate. It just has to be thought out and put together. And I'm telling you, you can do this. Yeah, I'd like to poke a hole in this wall from first hand experience. So myself, one local deejays in indianapolis and one of our planners, we got together, we tried to do this eight months ago, every literally we went to every venue that we could, we got shut down the board, just because in my market, we aren't names were the new kids on the block. No one gave us the time of day, everything that I could think of, everything you just said are things that we tried to dio, and it just didn't happen, sure. So ideas here? Yeah, let's, keep poke poking holes, so you're if I'm I don't wantto put words in your mouth. If I'm understanding correctly, you're telling me it failed because you are on your own unknown, where I feel like ultimately that's, what happened, so when we approach this we wrote it we actually a plan what we look to attain we were in the range of bringing in one hundred people having it very simplified and doing something that was about educating our brides what you're telling me you have this great idea right and the reason it failed because you couldn't get a place to host it right? Rent the place out, right? You see him saying what we tried and they won't even rented from a cost perspective what they were looking for in order to for someone catering they were looking at, you know, thirty, forty dollars per person and it just wasn't a budget that we can attain and without entertaining the idea of having food and drink at the event, no one would do it. All I can say to you is you're you're going to continue hit roadblocks, right? You've got to keep pushing until you tell somebody just keeps it literally threatens you with a lawsuit to not let you back in the premises, right? I mean, I'm being dead serious, right? If you just take no for an answer, I mean let's, just rewind two to segment ago where I was telling you about our chicago shoot and how they kept telling me no, no, no and then I just get making it impossible for him to to say no that's where you got to get right? So just keep keep don't quit on this because I really do think this is a good idea and the reason I was expecting you to really tell me another major reason or flaw why this won't work if the only roadblock you're hitting is you just can't get a catering facility or a reception hall to say yes, I say you just keep trying until you get somebody to say yes, and more importantly, maybe just straight up ask the question, why ask them why? Why do you not want to be part of this? Because, first of all, I don't think anybody's ever asked somebody, but that point blank of a question, because I would want to be curious. I don't really understand why catering facility wouldn't want to be part of this. I would think they would want to be part of it. You're looking to drive traffic, and so somewhere along the line, there's a disconnect between your idea and the receiving of the communication, especially if you're telling me, like you're knocking down ten, fifteen, twenty doors and there going no, no, no, you know what I mean, let's, keep working this offline because I think this is a good idea, I'd really be curious offline to hear more about this story on why you truly believe it's failing? Because that's not a good enough reason for you to fail. You agree, it's not a good enough reason for its trust me, we put a tremendous amount of effort into this and we got nowhere. Okay, hours and hours wasted. So let's, let's, make sure, um not wasted your learning, right? So don't don't give up on the idea as long as you're learning and you're trying something new. Now if you went to ten venues and you're not getting feedback, I think that's where the missus, right? If you're just hearing no, but you're not really understanding why. Then you're going to go to the next venue and pitch the same idea. That's getting shut down, but we still don't understand why it's getting shot down and so I want to make sure that we get to the root of why it's being shot down because ultimately you're right, you don't have budget. I could walk out here tomorrow and I could be like a thousand dollars. Yeah, that's fine. We'll rent the facility for thousand dollars. Find a hall that's not tied to a caterer. They gotta have that in indianapolis. They have it everywhere. Where there's just halls maybe it's ah like a place they do galleries like gallery expert exhibitions you see what I'm saying and I just go find a gallery exhibition you just go screw you catering home I'm going to bring in a straight up cater who wants to be part of this event so hilton hotel that's fine don't give me your ballroom but I'm going to rent out this this artist space maybe there's art on the wall maybe it's your art who knows but not you start see what I'm saying hit that wall just kind of spin off go try something else right don't just don't get hung up on that so this idea can work I think you can have some legs we good yeah question so taking off that idea I've done shows that we're actually wedding type shows and a car dealer and a ferrari car dealer I also did another one interesting yeah I also do another show that was at an art gallery and another one at I've got a vision but I can't think of one of us but I'm saying is think outside the box doesn't necessarily have to be involved with the wedding function I think that click for michael when when I said go look for the art exhibition halls or something like that I think that's when it finally clicked right you're hitting this one roadblock find a way find a way around it the bridal show being such a traditional thing it's always the same place it's always the same themes and when we brought in this new idea of what we wanted it was just kind of like no well, I want nothing to do with this and an art expert I'm doing yeah here's the thing here's the deal you'll do it once it'll be successful right or twice it will be successful and the next you know, everything changes then everybody wants to be part of this kind of little booty micro uh, event. By the way, can you think of another boutique event that's following this model? I'm teaching you what's that I'm thinking of boudoir event I'm teaching you a business model, right? Creative life, creative life I got this kind of micro event it's not a true conference parade of live shutter fast shutter fast of micro vin okay, these air these air there is a market for it. It's proven? Yes, there's always going to be the big monster trade shows that people eh, the imaging the w p p ay the photo applause was aren't going away those air there but people want something different they want something that's more intimate, something that's more they feel more connected, more community driven, right? These are words that we're all familiar with and so this idea that I'm pitching to isn't so far fetched when you just look to your own lives when you look to things that were all seeing and being part of like shutter fast like creative live we get it, we respond to it as for tarver so why would we think our client base wouldn't respond to this concept of a micro event that's a little more personal a little more involved previously on the one big wedding show that your studio is sponsoring we had your own app and you know, that was great for all the people who were there but you know, everyone here could do that on a lower scale using sticky arms where you could have you're branding your photo and then every other towel could be a ten percent off for that particular vendor and every other photos yours I just feel like I want to do like a giant group hug right now like I'm like so proud of you guys after like, seriously, just all of us being here for, you know, straight up day and a half and you guys were like, turning into like many entrepreneurs right? You're like we can do this, we can do this we can do this yes that's what it's all about right it's not about my way man, if my job is just to sit here and you know spawn some ideas for you and then you take them and run with them this has been incredible for me to watch this what's happening right here this is what happens with my team this is what I define team as it's not sounds way it's our way because the minute you can get your team to rally around an idea okay? It takes on a life bigger than its own but if there's any dissension within the ranks okay you two are my case study for that right now uh whenever there's dissension in the ranks the idea will never go where you want to know if you work with your spouse okay? And I'm not going to stand up here and be like yeah, every idea I have my wife loves doesn't happen nor does every idea she have I love right? It just doesn't happen but what we're committed to as a team as a unit is to getting to the place of agreement if you don't have your team in this in sync there's always gonna be a problem with execution because people just aren't behind the idea. And so this conversation and dialogue were happy having I'm hoping you're learning from that's so much bigger than this yeah great duty problem so you go you do it whatever I could care less what I'm so proud of and watching here happening right before my very eyes you guys are becoming critical thinkers being a critical thinker is more important than any single idea and that's that's the most exciting part for me so let's keep going with this? What about just traffic generation? And so there is a point where we just want to drive traffic to our actual sight. There's nothing wrong with that there's nothing wrong with traffic generation. And so again, everything I'm talking to you about here in this particular segment is one of a multi pronged approach I'm not saying we don't do bridal shows, I'm not I want to make sure nobody hears me. We're still going to broader shows, we still have to focus on our ceo. We still have to focus on uh, you know, all the basic stuff our vendor relationships are referrals, all those things have to be core these ideas I'm giving you now our other prongs, other facets to growing our business so that if any single one doesn't work backup plan, backup plan backup plan if you put all your eggs in one basket and I know you all know this, right, you run the risk of that failing, and then you go to the bridal show and you go okay, sound my plan for twenty fifteen is I'm going to six bridal shows, but what if the broad shows don't work? Are you going out of business in twenty sixteen? Is that it? You're folding up shop you're just like screw it I'm not doing weddings this year no thes air ideas that should all be happening in parallel that's the key here and so traffic generation uh let's go after engaged couples on facebook the campaign could be a simple eyes how will you remember your day? So I'm giving you taglines here take the taglines use them in your ad campaigns how will you remember your day? Does that make you feel it forces you to think about things if your bride you're going, you're seeing this beautiful image in the ad campaign and you're being asked just a very pointed question how will I remember my dad? And now we get into copy photography is the only thing you will have when your wedding day's over it's the one keepsake you will have for generations to come simple pointed copy right not I'm bob power for I like taking pictures I was looking me on a beach somewhere who cares, man, nobody cares you guys air not understanding business, you're not understanding fundamentals, but when you buy a cup of starbucks, do you really care about the ceo of starbucks? You care what he does, I don't care what he does in his free time just go make coffee give me what I need right? Same thing for photography I understand we have to add that personal element to it but really we need to understand marketing and so here we come back to marketing right? I'm touching I'm pulling on the heartstrings here, right? I'm touching on something that the bride should be thinking about ultimately how will you remember your day? Call the action campaign book by the end of the month receive ten percent off any wedding package this is a campaign you could pay five ten dollars a day you're driving traffic to your side it showing up in news feeds on ultimately you should be driving them to a landing page on your site so that you can you can put some copy together top five things to consider when hiring a photographer that's where this would go so now she's reading this she's seeing some of your beautiful images even if it's only generating two or three hundred klicks to that landing page how many clicks are you getting today to your website? Probably not that many would be willing to pay five ten fifteen dollars a day to get that kind of traffic coming to my site because there is going to be a conversion is going to happen about this this is I think this is also a really cool idea target engaged couples once again the campaign is before you book your photographer things you should know before you book your photographer right it's more of an awareness thing again educational where the trusted advisor were experts here the things you should know before you book your photographer it's a click campaign on facebooks and we cover that facebook module we showed you all the different kind of campaigns you can have. This one is a click campaign we're driving them all right. It should be a well designed piece about wedding photography top five things you need to go insider before you book your photographer now you can also do something here with this where uh they have to register to get the free down. Have you guys seen that? I see it everywhere all the sides to do it. Everything you need to know about the stock market become a millionaire in stock market click here to download you got to give your name, email address it's a given finds don't typically resisted and if they do that's fine with the move on so you're giving them a packet of information it should be well designed right shouldn't just be a web landing page with a bunch of tacks. It should be a well designed multi page marketing piece it's in pdf format you have no print costs, I put your engagement images in there think about when you open up a magazine like shutter magazine the way things are designed, you've got copy there over pictures, quotes for pulled out that's how it should look, it should look really, really sexy that's what we're looking to dio and so let them register for that and download that they're now showing you that they're interested in understanding the things I should consider in that pdf piece on that website or in a subsequent marketing campaign, right? You now have their contact information and you can say hey, ten percent off book your wedding by the end of the month. Contact us for more information. We'd love to be part of your wedding day the scene where this is all going these are the kind of things we got to start doing. This could also be tied to a separate landing page doesn't even have to be on your own web site. It could be a separate landing page. Remember, we were talking about those domain names, right? Say louis wedding for talk dot photography those who may needs maybe that's, where we're using this domain name is to generate traffic to that list, so that site turns up on page one of seo top things to consider when hiring a wedding photographer write st louis wedding photographer so now we're tying all this stuff together all works together, it is an ecosystem, I promise you, we got one more for he rock I told you I got carried away last night just in putting ideas together that I felt like we were really, really just rela in the whole thing I call this share the love okay? So when we share the love campaign, we're gonna target existing clients or brides and probably end or bright so our existing clients are existing brides were going to target them this is purely a referral plane we're just looking for referrals, so if all these ideas I gave you some are going after the bride, some are going after the groom okay? Summer going after just lead generation for your sight and now this one is we're targeting the referrals of our existing clients so it's a multi pronged approach we're not relying on any one thing I can't stress that enough no someone getting married share the love we love weddings and we love referrals that's your tag line okay super simple we'll have to put a whole bunch of copy on there no someone getting married share the love we love weddings and we love referrals get a free sixteen by twenty for prints or campus how easy is that your many clients who have that have come through your studio that are happy and love your work but they just don't think about it when their friends get engaged or get or get married they just forget they're not paying attention anymore. They're too busy with life and all that other stuff, but you start sending out stuff like this, right with some some level of frequency, maybe even every six months you're tickling them, you're tickling your list and now you're getting them to think, oh, yeah shit, I forgot susie's getting married. Hey, susie does her up on facebook calls her up on the phone, caesar in the office, right? And she hands your hands or this card and now you're giving away a campus hey, sixteen by twenty four campus is gonna cost about a hundred bucks. I would pay a hundred bucks to get a free wedding any day of the week, any day of the week. This making sense again, who gets a sixteen twenty four, sixteen twenty four goes to the actual broad and so to the people person who referred them to you, right? Not to the person who books you. And so I'm looking for referrals here. So if my old bride sends me her bride made for the wedding that's the part that's, the person I'm gonna give that that canvas to write, so really it makes sense, so guys invigorated, excited, we got ideas, we're going to go off on do things to make lots of money, make business maybe you can be on my core team. So if anybody on my core team misbehaves, will we'll kick him off? You guys are pushing back. I like it.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Master the Business of Photography - Workbook
Master the Business of Photography Slides
5 Tips to Finding and Booking Your Client

Ratings and Reviews

Brandon D

Sal isn't disgruntled and angry like someone below said, and he doesn't have time for people constantly whining about why their business isn't going good. He's from Brooklyn, so he can come across as harsh at first, but after watching several of his classes and even getting to meet him in person and talk a bit I can tell you he is a really nice guy who truly does want you to succeed. He was very encouraging to me after I thanked him for helping me and my business get to where it is now. Growing up, I can remember photographers grabbing us and posing how they wished. They are often in a hurry to get things right, such as at a wedding, so I am not sure why one reviewer stated he would dismiss them. Sounds like he is just looking for a reason to feel powerful. Anyway, this is a great class to get you on track with your business. Yes, its a bit wedding heavy, but the concepts are the same no matter what. Just apply them to your niche and you are good to go.


Amazing course. Sal is such a great photography educator. Terrific course. I'm not usually big on watching business courses, but this course as taught by Sal was terrific. Down to earth, entertaining, packed with real life experiences do's, don'ts and lessons learned. This courses business A to Z and Sal is very entertaining to watch/listen to. Thanks CreativeLive for getting Sal.

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I have been a long time fan of Creative Live and have sat on the fence with all of Sal's classes because I already attend Shutterfest every year and get loaded with valuable information there, so it was hard to pull the trigger on a $300 course that was filmed 5 years ago. Also, in my earlier days of hearing about Sal, I'd heard a lot of negative opinions about how he comes across. Still, I'd heard he's a marketing guru, and my background is in marketing as well, so I really wanted to see what this class was all about. Now that I've finally gotten it, I'm completely blown away. There is just SO MUCH MATERIAL in this class that its actually difficult trying to decide what to implement first! It is good stuff too. It is all about marketing, sales, and workflow. If you're looking for a class teaching you how to take better photos, this one is not it. This is the class that teaches you how to get your work where everyone is seeing it and convincing people to book you and tell their friends about you! Now as far as others have already said... this class is definitely geared toward wedding photographers. Yes there are bits of information that work for other types of photography, but it is so heavily wedding oriented that there might be a better fit out there for another type of photographer. If you do weddings though, this is an amazing class! As far as Sal's personality goes.... he's a New Yorker transplanted to St. Louis. So expect that NYC no BS type of attitude. Susan Stripling is another one of my favorites and she is similar in attitude (and also extremely talented), so if you like her, you should like this. If you have a hard time with her, you might have a hard time with this. Regardless, its stuff y'all need to hear and implement to be successful. Obviously because the class is a bit older, you may have to make small tweaks to a few things (even though he says don't jack with the recipe), but the marketing principles are solid and timeless. Shoot this course is worth it for the SEO advice alone. Just buy it already!

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