Today’s Top Tip for growing your Bridal Beauty Business is Networking with Wedding Photographers.
What’s the best way to network with Wedding Photographers?
I’ve developed some amazing working relationships with photographers I have met at the wedding day preparations, which has led to them referring me to their brides. I think that generally, the first suppliers that brides book will be their venue, (both ceremony and reception) and then their photographer. Having a good referral relationship with a photographer is a great step for increasing your enquiry rate. The best way to do this is to make the photographer’s job easier.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, is to have your bridal parties ready on time for the photographer. I remember when I was first starting out, and a very highly regarded photographer with a full trophy cabinet of awards called me to give me instruction on having the bridal party ready and I distinctly remember her saying “We don’t want anyone still with hot rollers in their hair or half their makeup done when we arrive”. I could have taken offence at someone trying to tell me how to do my job, but instead, I took it as a learning opportunity and made sure I did what they requested. This lead to them eventually referring a lot of work to me.
Bridal Beauty 101. Scheduling: When you’re working out the wedding day schedule with the bride, firstly find out what time the photographer needs her ready, and work BACKWARDS from then to establish your start time. This way you will make sure you are finishing up in plenty of time for the photographer. I always allow an extra half an hour “buffer” too, as there will often be distractions during the morning (like when the flowers arrive, its nice for all the girls to look at them together and practice holding them. Its good to be able to say to the girl in your chair “Get up and go look at the photos with the other girls” A small thing, and it probably only costs 5-10 minutes. The last thing I want is for my bride and her bridal party to feel rushed. I always try to create a relaxed, stress free environment for them.
When the photographer arrives, introduce yourself. I always speak to the photographer and let them know where I’m up to as often the photographer will arrive 30-60 minutes before he wants the bridal party ready, to take some shots of the flowers/dresses, jewellery and shoes etc. So I might say “This is the last bridesmaid in the chair, and then I will have everyone come back for touch-ups, so I’ll be done in 30 minutes.” The photographer will usually want to get a photo of the bride having her makeup done and nicer for the bride if it’s a “staged shot”, so she isn’t having a photo done with just half her makeup on, so I will ask the photographer if they would like to do that, and let him or her know when the bride is coming back to the chair for touch ups. For hairstylists, the big moment is when the veil is going in. Some brides and photographers like to have the hairstylist fitting the veil; others like to stage a shot with the bride’s mother or one of the bridesmaids fitting it.
At an appropriate moment (usually when I’ve finished and while the girls are getting dressed, so the photographer is standing around for a moment too), I will ask for his or her card, and offer them one of mine. After the wedding I will send them an email saying it was nice to meet them, ask how the hair and makeup lasted throughout the day (because, you know, we learn through feedback!) and tell them I’d love to work with them again. You’d be surprised how few artists bother to do this, and what amazing results you’ll have if you do.
This is the time to ask for copies of photos from the wedding. In my experience, I’ve found some photographers are more than happy to give you photos, others are not. Back when I started, in the days before digital cameras and social media, I would often pay for photos from the photographer, especially if they were a great photographer and I thought the bride would add to my portfolio. I remember once paying $75 for two images of one bride. It seems quite excessive now, but at the time, it was a worthy investment. These days its easy to follow (stalk) the photographer on social media, and get your photos from there, however, I still believe you should always ask permission before sharing photos or copying them from the photographers social media profiles.
I’ve seen a lot of makeup artists complaining in the forums about struggling to get images from the photographer. Remember the photographer is under no obligation to provide photos to you, and if they do it is a huge favour. He may have taken over 1000 images on the wedding day, and you are asking him to go back through those photos to select a couple that best show off your work. Your portfolio is your resume, and investing in your portfolio is a smart move. I believe it was Sir Richard Branson who said “You’ve got to spend money to make money”. Offering to pay for images is sometimes good business… if you’ve got a stunning bride and a good photographer, you may book tens or hundreds of brides if their images raise the level of your portfolio.
Lastly, always credit the photographer. Always. In your social media, and in your website. Often wedding photographers will watermark their images, which, while frowned upon in the commercial/editorial world, is very acceptable in the wedding industry. Don’t crop out their watermark… So long as its not right across the bride’s face, its no harm to you, and remember, if you look after the photographer, they just might refer their future brides to you!
I hope you got value from these tips, feel free to share this post, and comment below with any questions you might have.
This article was written by Sue McLaurin Makeup Artist and originally published as “Networking with Wedding Photographers” on the Bridal Beauty Pro App blog 27 June 2017