116: How to Make More Money as a Wedding Photographer - Catherine Guidry Photography

July 27, 2022

116: How to Make More Money as a Wedding Photographer

I know you’re probably thinking, “Cat, it can’t be that easy.”

It’s not easy, and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. It also doesn’t happen without taking EXCELLENT care of your clients.

There are ways you can be consistent and intentional with your business to become more profitable and sustainable.

I started my business in 2008 photographing friends. In 2010, I went full time, and since then, I’ve successfully scaled my business and have photographed over 500 weddings. I’ve figured out how to better serve my clients and make money so I can sustain this business for a living.

I’m excited to share with you what I’ve learned so you can begin to scale your business and become more profitable. Read on for my 4 best tips.

Provide a Product

Trust me: offering products to our clients is SO important.

If you’re photographing any sort of a session or event for a client, you should offer a product for them. This is two-fold: you can make more money on the service you’ve provided, but more importantly, your product will allow your client to enjoy these memories over and over. Win-win! 🥳

I know we’re in a digital era, but listen: think about the photos you remember most from your childhood. Chances are, you’re thinking of the beautiful prints hanging on the wall of your childhood home or the photo album sitting on your parent’s coffee table. I bet you can picture those photos now! 🖼️

Having these prints for the client to look back on for years to come is so important. Even if they’re a digital-based client, you can make sure they print out their images on their own.

I personally provide clients with an online gallery. Clients can use this gallery to directly access my lab to design and print their own books and products. If they want me to design products for them, I also do that.

I encourage you to offer products for your clients. It will leave your business in a better financial position, and you clients in a better OVERALL position in terms of enjoying their photos. 📸

Offer Additional Coverage

For example, if you’re a motherhood photographer and you’ve booked a newborn session, offer to also photograph their baby at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, and a year. Sounds like a steal, right?!

If you bundle those together and offer those at a discount, the client might be motivated to book these all at once. That’s an upsale, but it’s also advantageous to the client – they have a consistent photographer, it’s set up in advance, and it’s easy. I can assure you, as a mother… the easier something is, the better! 🙈🙈

If you’re a wedding photographer booked for a wedding, offer to photograph engagements, bridal luncheon, or rehearsal dinners. Then, when you see their timeline for the wedding, you can offer to stay more hours to cover any other events as part of their engagement.

By offering these services, the benefits are two-fold: they’re able to get more professional coverage, and you’re able to book more services from them. I promise your clients trust you – they will appreciate you taking care of them and capturing their memories! 💌

Be More Efficient with your Time

Because ⌚ is 💸, right?

Let’s say a client pays you x number of dollars for a session and you spend 12 hours photographing, editing, and organizing everything for that session.

Now let’s say the same client books you for the same pay and you spend 6 hours on those tasks… you’ve just doubled your hourly rate. See where I’m going with this?

I use a client system called Dubsado. Check out my affiliate code here. I also offer contract templates, email templates, and lots of other things in our educational shop, which will save you time! Check those out here!

I know from starting my business from the ground up that those things take time. You won’t have it all figured out at first, so little by little, you will want to develop systems that will save you time, like:

  • Editing styles to keep your work consistent
  • Reusing email templates or contract templates
  • Systems like Dubsado to manage clients

You want to get to a point where everything in your business is streamlined and organized. The better organized you are, the more financially stable and sound you’ll be.

Outsourcing

I outsource a lot in my business. I’m a one-woman operation 💁🏼‍♀️ and I cannot run everything myself. I need help – so I hire out contractors and companies to help me run the business. 

A few examples of that are:

  • Dubsado, which helps me manage my clients 
  • Quickbooks, which helps me manage my finances
  • A Virtual Assistant (VA), who helps me cull down the photos from thousands to a final set for the gallery
  • A editor, who helps me with the images so that I can focus on the final review, refining of the images and delivery
  • Online galleries, which help me deliver photos in a fast, beautiful, and efficient way 

Honestly? I’ve found that I’d rather pay someone to do something if it allows me to focus on what I’m good at (more specifically, photography and client management) – and I want you to consider doing the same. 

In business, I want to make sure I’m focusing on the things that only I can do. If there’s something someone else can do, I will consider outsourcing that. 

I’m THE photographer and THE artist. I want to be interacting with my clients and photographing them. That’s what they hired me to do and that’s where my gift is – I want to have the time to focus on that. 

Your time is precious. Your gifts are precious. If you’re a photographer and that’s what you want to be doing, consider hiring other people to help you hire the backend of your business OR using companies that will run allow you to be more efficient on the business side of things.

Network

If you want to grow your reach and your business, get out there and meet people! 👩👨🧑

Try to get in with local photographers and planners at networking events. Even if you’re working destination weddings and flying state to state, make a point to stop at different businesses and say hello. Meet other planners and visit venues – even photograph them if you can!

You want to make those strong friendships for many reasons. Just like anything in life, you can’t do this alone. 💞

Your Next Step

I hope these strategies will help you build your business so you can do this for a living. When I first started my business, I dreamed of doing this full-time. Now? It’s a dream to help others (like you!) do the same thing! 

While we’re on the subject of money, do you ever struggle to price your products? Do you use other people’s pricing without really being sure WHY or if those prices are right for you? 😓

I created my Pricing Guide to help you: 

  • Understand the WHY behind your base prices 
  • Decide what to charge for your photography 
  • Cover your expenses to remain profitable and sustainable 

Check it out below ⤵️