This Marketing Tool Will Change Your Wedding Business!

There are some marketing ideas out there that work for some people, some that don’t work for others, and some that simply aren’t great ideas. However, what we are about to share with you today on the latest installment of our Tuesday Tips and Tricks post WILL benefit your business and is a sure way to amp things up and get your momentum going (or keep it going) and the return is invaluable! This has worked awesomely for us and is in part one of the reasons that we do not spend any $$$ on advertising.

Today we are going to be talking about Wedding Slideshows! Some of you may have heard of doing sideshows at weddings and for some of you, this may be a brand new idea, so we’re gonna break it down!

We first heard of this idea from a photographer and entrepreneur who we respect and admire, David Jay, and since we began doing this back in January 2008 it has brought us tons of amazing clients and got our name out to many more!

What are wedding slideshows?

– This is when you set up your laptop/iPad/small viewing screen, and display in slideshow form pictures taken earlier that day at the wedding

Why does this work?

We cannot stress enough how amazing doing these slideshows can be for your business. How many times have you gone and shot a wedding and people come up to you saying, “Man, you are AWESOME – you did such a great job,” but you’re thinking to yourself, “You haven’t even seen the pictures yet. They could stink for all you know!” What’s great about doing wedding slideshows is, 1) it’s not only a fantastic and unexpected surprise for the bride and groom but, 2) wedding guests actually get to SEE your final product. Not only do they see your professionalism and your awesomeness, but then they actually see the work RIGHT then and there. How many times have you attended a wedding and even remembered who the photographer was much less seen any of the images from the day? That’s what we thought. :) Producing a slideshow at a wedding gives the client and potential clients the entire package. They see you shooting, interacting with the guests and bridal party, and then they get to see your work first hand. We have booked countless weddings and gained tons of momentum (remember that word) with our brides by doing this.

Here are a few tips for doing a wedding day slideshow that have worked really well for us:

1) Shoot in RAW + SM JPEG

2) When you have some down time (normally during dinner), copy all of the small JPEGs off your cards onto your computer. Small JPG’s barely take up any extra space and are plenty big for running a slideshow that looks fantastic on your laptop. (Then feel free to turn your camera off RAW + SM JPEG)

3) Pick out your favorites, anywhere from 10 + (we tend to pull 35-50 images), and do whatever you need to do to them. (*Additional tip – make sure to not only just pull cool images but real moments too. The moments are what really relate to people and bring out the emotional response that your looking for). We do all of our image picking and the slideshow through Lightroom 3 which makes it really simple and easy. (If you’re worried that you can’t pull out 30 images, at least do SOME – even FIVE images if that’s all you can do – your bride and groom and guests will still LOVE it. Don’t let it stop you!).

4) Don’t over edit your shots. These don’t have to be final images, they just need to be great moments. Nobody will know if their are some blown highlights or if an image needs a little more contrast. Just get them up there. The average client does not see what you see because they don’t edit photos every day!

5) Once your images are ready, run them on a continuous slideshow (Lightroom lets you do this) and you’re ready to go!

6) Put the slideshow near a higher traffic area (DJ likes to say if you set the slideshow up near the bar one of the perks is the images look better and better to everyone as the night goes on! :)

7) Never put your images on anything bigger than a laptop and NEVER force anyone to look at them. You don’t want any part of the reception to be about you and you definitely don’t want to directly market yourself by making someone look at them (like by having the lights turned down and doing a slideshow that everyone thinks they are supposed to watch). Instead, let it be a cool surprise for the bride and groom and their guest that they can look at if they want to. If they like it, then they will tell their friends about you, and that is the type of marketing you want. You always want someone ELSE to sell you.

8) Make sure to include your branding in the slideshow – either have your logo be one of the slides or with Lightroom, you can let it always be at the top or at the bottom of the show.

9) You want to take advantage of having your work out in front of everyone and let them know who you are, but you also don’t want it to seem like you are just there to market yourself – you’re there for the bride and groom, sooooo we have found instead of laying out business cards, what works really well is to create an Event Card for guests to grab.

Event Card = a wallet sized print that has instructions for guests to find the couple’s wedding gallery when the images become available online. If you shot an engagement session of the couple, put one of their images on the event card. More cards get taken if wedding guests see their friends on the card (*Additional tip – make sure the shot you use is more of a close up shot as opposed to a far away shot. That way, in dim reception lighting guests can easily see that it’s the bride and groom). If you did not shoot an engagement session of the couple, use a generic image. We get these printed at a local lab and they look awesome.

Generic Example:

10) Have a Call to Action in the actual slideshow. Yes, the event cards may be laying there, and yes, the couple’s photo may be on the event cards, but oftentimes guests need a little assistance in knowing that the cards are there and that they can actually take one. After the last slideshow image, the next slide they see instructs them to grab a card below, and THEN the next slide they see is our logo. (*Additional tip – we found that if we put our logo before the “Call to Action” slide, people would see our logo, and then look away totally missing the instructions to grab one of the event cards. Put the Call to Action first and then your logo).

This is our call to action image we created and put in the slideshow:

11) Just a reminder that the most powerful marketing is when other people sell you, NOT when you sell yourself. That is why wedding slideshows can work so well! Try to refrain from running around telling the guests that your images are up for people to look at… also, don’t run to the DJ table and have him make an announcement. Guests will see the slideshow and organically they will head on back to their table and say, “Oh my gosh, did you see the wedding images from today that are up already?? I’ve never seen that before – it’s Soooooooo cool! You have to go and check it out.” That is the beauty of the slideshow – people start selling you… you don’t have to do a thing.

The Social Proof Theory starts coming into play here (aw yeah, look at me using my Communications degree!)… The Social Proof Theory essentially states that people will do what they see other people doing. So a wedding guest is walking by and they notice a group of people huddled around looking at something, more than likely they will do the same. Pretty soon, in a really cool and organic way, the whole reception will start buzzing about YOU and your awesome photography (and of course how FAB the bride and groom look)!

IN SUMMARY

The great thing about this is as your work is put in front of the wedding guests (many who may be getting engaged, are engaged or at least know someone engaged) they see your work, know who you are now, and will be drawn to your business even more once they go to your site and get hooked on your blog as they are getting to the client’s gallery. Clients tend to breed more clients just like themselves, so if you are doing weddings with awesome clients, chances are, more clients just like them will come out of it.

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Below we have for you the wedding images that we put on display at this past weekend’s wedding for the sweet couple – Ryan & Sarah Addison. (Disclaimer – this is not the Lightroom slideshow that we showed at the wedding. We do not put music to the slideshows. We built this slideshow through an online slideshow building program for blog purposes. As mentioned above, we use Lightroom to display our slideshows at the wedding and keep them on continuous play.)

Here are the wedding guests and bride & groom Sarah and Ryan looking at the wedding images!

Are these tips and tricks blogs helping to take your business to the next level? We are holding 2 business & marketing classes – in Nashville & San Francisco. Don’t miss out and sign up now before the seats fill up!

Who else out there has done slideshows at the wedding and how has the response been for you?