If you’re an experienced wedding photographer looking to break into the destination wedding market, this post is for you. You likely already know that you want to connect with luxury destination wedding planners – after all, they are working with the couples that you are dying to book – but you’re not quite sure how to start. Like so much else in life and business, starting is often the hardest part. If you are spinning your wheels and tempted to send out one hundred cold DM’s, I think there are much more effective strategies. Today, I want to share with you a few things that destination wedding planners look for when connecting with wedding photographers so that you can network the right way and find all the success you desire in your business. I will be cheering you on!
1) Always approach networking as a win-win
Too often I talk to wedding planners with an inbox full of vendors who have reached out offering little to nothing in return. They just want to be added to their preferred vendor list. Instead, I would encourage you to approach wedding planners you would love to work with in the spirit of what you can do for them. Can you interact with their Instagram posts showing that you want to support them? Are they asking for advice in their Instagram stories and do you have some insight to share? If the wedding planner you want to work with is local, can you offer to meet for coffee and/or snap some branding photos of them?
2) Invest in yourself
This might sound a little cliche but honestly, too many wedding photographers are trying to skip this step. In a saturated industry, you may need to put your money where your mouth is. Whether that’s investing in destination wedding styled shoots, or joining a mastermind where your ideal vendor partners are hanging out, do what you can to get yourself in the right rooms. I am always going to advocate for you to be authentically you, and experienced wedding planners will be drawn to your honesty and willingness to invest.
3) Amplify any opportunity
If you have a chance to work with one of the destination wedding planners on your vision board, make sure to take full advantage of the opportunity. Send them the sneak peeks before they ask for them. Send them the full gallery so they can add your artist’s touch to their portfolio. If at all possible, try and capture a few behind-the-scenes photos of them working on the wedding day. If you can, send a gorgeous branded thank you card in the mail. Remember that wedding planners often love beautiful details, and these thoughtful touches don’t go unnoticed.
This might go hand in hand with networking, but you may also want to consider offering their couples a little something extra as a courtesy (or a thank you) for working with a wedding planner. This doesn’t mean you have to discount your services either. Showing couples that they are getting a little something extra because they’re working with a wedding planner makes them look good, and will be so appreciated.
4) Have a beautiful website.
Perhaps this goes without saying, but investing in a website that reflects not only your work but also your expertise is incredibly important. For a better user experience, you may also want to consider a separate page or opt-in form for destination wedding planners. This could mean a separate service page just for wedding planners, or it could mean an email opt-in with more details if you want to keep track of who may be inquiring.
On top of making sure that a wedding planner has access to the information they need to refer you quickly, you should also make sure that your website is showcasing the branded experience you want to be known for. This goes hand-in-hand with being easy to refer – no wedding planner wants to apologize for your bad website before they send clients your way.
If this one feels like a call-out, head here for ways you can work with me. As a Showit Design Partner, this is my specialty.
Working with luxury wedding planners
Whether you are dreaming of photographing editorials, luxury weddings in Lake Como, or even entering the education space as an industry leader, working with wedding planners is the next stepping stone to getting the kind of clients you’ve been writing down in ideal client exercises. I’ve worked with many wedding planners and wedding photographers as a Showit Design Partner and one thing I know for sure is that if you have big goals, networking is the way to get you there. There truly is nothing greater than strong vendor relationships in the wedding industry.
If you are reading this and you know that you want to elevate your brand and online presence this year, I would love to hear from you. You can connect with me directly here, or in the meantime, you can always find inspiration over on Instagram (make sure to say hello!).
If you are a wedding photographer looking to work with luxury wedding planners, make sure to save this post and return often! I’m here to support you.