Off-Season as a Wedding Photographer can be seen as a much-needed break for some industry pros. What if you could actually be missing out on valuable stuff while you’re binging the latest series on Netflix? Most couples find themselves couped up inside during winter (this year more than ever). Proposals are still going ahead. Wedding slow season is inevitable, but what if you could actually be missing out on potential clients? Do you give in 100% to that break? Don’t get me wrong, you totally deserve a break. It’s actually a key ingredient to success. However, feelings of discouragement can fill the mind of even the most talented photographer during the off-season.
Just as the weather changes outside and summer turns to fall, so is the wedding industry. This season was cut off shorter than most, even after starting months late. If you’ve been in the industry for any length of time, you’ll start to see a pattern with the wedding photography market. Popular months during summer have weddings versus the months that couples are planning or getting engaged. It’s natural for every wedding photographer to have a busier time of year. Regardless of how long you may be in the business, encountering slow seasons can still be discouraging.
Though you may not be booking and shooting as many weddings this time of year, you can still bring in future business and keep yourself busy. Here are a few ways to keep your wedding photography business alive during even the slowest of months.
Prepare for Engagement Season with a solid marketing plan
Off-season as a wedding photographer is the perfect time to prepare for the upcoming engagement season. Statistics show from Wedding Wire, that almost half of all engagements happen between November and February. This, however, coincidentally, is also most wedding photographers’ off-season. It’s the perfect time to start brainstorming any future marketing ideas into actual campaigns to capture those newly engaged couples. Creating incentives for couples to book a consult with you is key.
Understanding that couples are excited, but can easily get overwhelmed not knowing how to start “planning”. Spend time getting to know your audience, especially in the DM’s. Getting comfortable reaching out or commenting on potential client’s posts is a non-sales-y way to get them to check you out. If someone follows you and likes a few things on your page, your bound to see who they are, and bam, that’s your in. Chances are they will hopefully like you and trust you as long as you’ve got a strong presence online. Showing up can be half the battle. Easily won with some effort.
Work on Generating Income while you sleep
Generating income while you sleep, or otherwise knows as Passive income projects are great for photographers looking to expand their service-based photography business. Consider a coaching or tutoring business or creating an online course. By having a good passive income project, you’re able to work hard on a product that you can sell to people in need. There will always be a photographer who is “behind” you and could use some help but may feel intimidated to ask someone who’s miles ahead of them.
A constant trickle of income is what differentiates passive income from active income. Being able to work on a product once, then supplement your wedding photography income with your passive income is freeing. Often, the extra time you have during the off-season is the perfect time to see any projects or products you’ve had on your mind come to fruition.
From experience, I have asked photographers if they would be interested in mentoring and getting help and been given a mixed response. Some are delighted to help while others don’t want anything to do with you. It’s sadly the reality sometimes of any community. By offering this service up as an option you are saying that YES, you are willing to trade some time for money or even a course that can help.
Work on Social Media Marketing
One thing that can always suffer during the off-season is Social media. Knowing what to post can be hard even when you have plenty of new material. Off-season marketing is different than traditional marketing because you should be focusing on educating clients or improving skills. Social media is highly dependent on your ability to build strong relationships online. The best place to start is by showing up and being yourself. Building trust will only help you grow. Slow season is the perfect time to kick up your social media presence to help prospective clients feel more connected to you. This is a win-win because in turn can help clients want to book you. Try making a content calendar and adding extra time to be spent on social media and connecting with your target audience.
Expand Your Network during Off-season as a Wedding Photographer
Lastly, if you’re feeling alone during the off-season as a Wedding Photographer know that you don’t have to. One of the most beneficial activities you can do for yourself is to connect. Reach out to wedding vendors, new and old. Reach out to photographers you know or don’t. Not only will networking help this feeling, but you’re also building more trust. You’re not alone, promise. Tis’ the season as they say, but you could end up making valuable contacts that could refer you.
Never underestimate the power of meeting someone. Today, going for coffee doesn’t seem fitting during the pandemic, offer up a zoom chat. This way you can both show up in your lulu’s and still have fun. A cool option is to deliver coffee or a treat to their home to make it a ‘virtual’ coffee. Try finding local Facebook groups that are centered around the wedding industry in your town or photography groups based on where you live.
The off-season is not uncommon, and sometimes, we have to remind ourselves that it’s part of running a successful wedding photography business. Utilizing time more efficiently is key to coming out of the off-season with a thriving business and more potential clients on the horizon.
For more resources check out “What to do during a Pandemic as a Photographer” for more insights into what we’ve been up to.