1. Do you ever struggle with making wedding photos unique when shooting in the same spaces/venues? If so, how do you find inspiration?
This is an awesome question! In a mid-sized town like Hattiesburg, the list of wedding venues isn’t the longest, for sure. But I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s a struggle. In fact, we try not to focus on where we are and but instead, how we can tailor the couple’s wedding photographs to them.
For example, we photographed two couples at the same wedding venue – one couple was outdoorsy and loved nature, the other was from New Orleans and they were classy and elegant. Knowing this, we made sure that we took as many photographs of our outdoorsy couple outside and around the grounds but for the Nola couple, we gave everything a Vanity Fair twist by breaking out our light kit and backdrop.
2. My achilles heel is marketing and getting my name out there. How do you market to your brides?
I know this is hard to hear, but the wedding photography business is all about referrals! There’s no secret formula to a successful photography business, unfortunately. So the best marketing you can do is by working on your customer experience. The better and more comfortable your bride feels, the more your name will get out there! We’ve tried a few traditional forms of advertising like print and even a billboard, and really, those avenues haven’t brought us as much business as our referrals.
And make sure your web presence is strong!! A great website / blog site is key! The ProPhoto Blogs (via WordPress) platform is made just photographers and it’s a great investment if you’re not ready for a huge purchase like a custom website.
Two things that we did do early on to get our name out there, that was absolutely pivotal, was 1. Creating relationships with vendors by getting to know them and collaborating with them on side projects and 2.just putting ourselves out there. We reached out, and yes we got rejected/ignored, but we also created some great relationships with some great people.
Last but not least, keep educating yourself! A great place to start learning is Hey, Sweet Pea – they have great and affordable social media/business classes that I think you’ll absolutely love and learn a lot from!
3. What’s your most used camera and lens of choice?
I am addicted to my 50mm f/1.4 and I use a Canon 5D Mk II. However, we’re looking to upgrade our 50mm f/1.4 to the 50mm f/1.2 L series soon! (Which is just a personal preference for me, since I use the 50mm for virtually everything! The f/1.4 is a great lens for a quarter of the price.)
4. I am a graphic designer who’s passionate about my work but I’m afraid to start putting myself out there, for fear of not being skilled or good enough. How do you know when you’re ready?
I know how you feel. Absolutely. It’s what every young, budding artist feels. And you know what, fear can be paralyzing. Here’s what I say – Rip the Band Aid off. Putting yourself out there will benefit you, no matter what happens. You’ll be stronger for it, more experienced and you’ll be ready to take on each and every challenge. Internships are exactly what you need to start with. As an intern, your job is to learn. No one is going to expect you to know everything, or they might not even expect you to know anything!
When we studied photography in MA, I emailed a lot of professional photographers in New York City and Boston about internships. Out of all the emails I sent, I think I got 3 or 4 responses back. One of them was Don Flood. He’s a pretty amazing celebrity/fashion/beauty photographer. He was even MORE amazing for emailing me back and saying that I could come sit in on a editorial shoot (I think it was Elle or Her World) with him at Milk Studios in NYC – the model was Helena Christensen, a supermodel! He was so nice to me and it was an experience I will never forget. Granted, I felt absolutely out of place in the whole situation and totally uncool, because I was this eager 19 year old, but still, I got to see and feel what it would be like to be on a professional set.
Don’t ever be afraid. Take that leap and stand strong. That’s how you learn.
5. What action set do you like to use?
We use a combination of VSCO Adobe Lightroom presets and Radlab/Alien Skin Exposure (Photoshop)! We do make tweaks to our presets and since VSCO has like 5/6 packs of presets, it took a little while to find our favorite set!