When you fly commercial airlines these days, they always seem to make a point
to say, "We know you have a choice in airlines, thank you for choosing
us!" There are a lot of wedding photographers for prospective clients
to choose from, but then again there is lots of business to go around. With
the low-end wedding market taken over by "Cousin Jerry" with his
digital camera, today's wedding business is pushing to greater and higher
levels of technology, style, and service. To grow your wedding business today,
we asked a handful of top photographers how they do it.
Shutterbug: How did you develop and refine your style? How
important is your style to differentiating yourself from other wedding photographers?
Andy Marcus (www.fredmarcus.com):
My late father, Fred Marcus, taught me the majority of what I know in photography.
His lessons, mostly hands-on during the course of weddings and sales calls to
clients, has helped me define and made me able to redefine my style. I think
one has to always be aware of the likes and dislikes of your customer. One must
be aware of current trends as soon as they become apparent, if not even creating
them yourself. Most important is to remain consistent in the work that you do.
I think one's style is very important in separating you from the rest
of wedding world.
© 2007, www.fredmarcus.com, All Rights Reserved
JB and DeEtte Sallee (www.salleephotography.com):
Developing your style is a crazy thing. For the longest time we struggled to
find ourselves in our photography. We finally relied on what we learned in school.
We studied fine art photography and used to shoot a lot of architecture and
landscapes. We now have intertwined that original style with our weddings. I
think photographers just starting out should concentrate on doing things that
appeal to them and not try to duplicate what has worked for other successful
photographers. When we started photographing what we loved to do, and making
custom, artistic albums, our style developed and now we can be differentiated
from other photographers in the area. If you do not find your own personal style
you might not stand out in the crowd, especially in a world where everyone with
a camera is a photographer.
© 2007, Sallee Photography, All Rights Reserved
Andrew Niesen (www.lacourphoto.com):
At LaCour we focus on our approach, rather than our style. Style, as we see
it, refers more to the compositional and aesthetic elements of the images that
we create. While this is important, what sets us apart from other wedding photographers
is our approach to photography. Our reactive, documentary approach to wedding
photography is fundamental to the experience that our clients, and future generations
of their families, have with the images that we create for them.
SB: What do you recommend are the best ways to find wedding
clients who are drawn to your particular style or approach?
David Crane (www.davidcrane.org):
When I started I shot only for friends or got work from word of mouth. Referrals
are still one of the best avenues to get clients. Over the last several years
the Wedding Photojournalist Association (www.wpja.com) has done a great deal
to advance the style of wedding photojournalism and is a great source for both
photojournalists and potential clients interested in this style of photography
for their wedding.
© 2007, David Crane, All Rights Reserved
JB and DeEtte Sallee: One of the best ways to find those
great clients is through our city's bridal show. Some photographers do
not think these shows draw in great brides but we have to disagree. Our best
clients have come from these shows because it creates a sense of urgency when
all the brides are around crowding our albums and making great comments. We
also like to have the chance to hand select our clients.