This week we continue our series with Ready Steady Pro Community Member and guest blogger Libby Clark. Libby has kindly agreed to open her diary and provide us with an insight in to her own search for a wedding photographer. Being a wedding photographer herself this series will offer us, the readers, an idea of the thinking process that our clients go through when looking for that one, all-important vendor: their wedding photographer.
Part One of the series was very well received, where Libby discusses budgets and lessons that can be weaned from her search to benefit her own business, so without further delay here’s the second installment:
Thanks for coming back to read part two! Apparently I’m not as bad with words as I thought so here is part two:
Last week I discussed “The Budget”. It opened my eyes as to how wrong my own pricing structure probably is! As much as we like to think all couples have an endless amount of money to spend on their wedding I’ve realised they often don’t – because I’m one of them. So as I mentioned last week my own wedding photographer budget has been set at £1,800. With that established it was time to start looking for a photographer, properly.
The next part of my journey has so far proved equally interesting (and challenging!)
Part Two – Where Do I Start?
Last week I mentioned that I’ve been guilty of using keywords that I just expect my website to be found when used. I don’t know why because having recently searched “wedding photographer Swindon” I’m ashamed to say Waitrose had a result before I did! In fact I gave looking for my own website after looking through 22 pages of the search results. So this week I learnt why SEO and keywords are so important. My search for a photographer started as it did probably do for almost all couples:
- Open Google…
- Search “Wedding Photographer”
Why did I do that? I genuinely didn’t know what else to type and where to start my search! Using Google is how I’d hope my couples would find me, so why wouldn’t I find a photographer this way?
There were pages upon pages of photographers listed in the search results that all featured because of just two key words: ‘Wedding Photographer’. As it so happens the first few results are photographers I know. They get regular bookings and do this full time (Most likely because they’re at the top of Google!) But I don’t feel relieved I have a lovely list to choose from, I feel somewhat overwhelmed. There are so many?! Where do I start?!
Ok, let’s try again. Let’s narrow things down:
- Open Google…
- Search “Wedding Photographer South West”
The results aren’t much better really, I still have a massive list to go through but there are more in my area of the country now. Kind of.
I live in Wiltshire but we’re getting married in Gloucestershire. To those of us who live here we are South Westerners. To the rest of the UK however we somehow fall into ‘the bit between the South West and The Midlands’ and suddenly I’m thinking about the fact that if I find and love a photographer in the deepest depths of Cornwall we’re going to have to pay for their travel and accommodation. (Quite rightly though; I don’t expect them to travel all that way for nothing.)
That’s where I’ve probably got one up on those couples planning who don’t have a clue about the industry as my expectations are probably a little more in line with the accepted norm. This was my next lesson as a photographer:
It’s really appreciated if you make it clear what areas you cover at no extra charge and, if you do charge for travel where that starts. If you are based in Cornwall I doubt you’d be happy to travel up to Cumbria at no extra cost!
By now I’ve been mindlessly clicking on random photographer’s websites for a couple of hours but no one is really doing it for me. I’m going to need a rethink. I know I’ve fallen into the trap that I expect all couples do: search terms that cover far too much for their brains to consume. Time to sit down and think about what we want and use keywords.
Next week… What Do I Want and How Do I Find It?
About the Author: Libby Clark
Libby is based in Swindon, UK and has been shooting weddings for five years. Find out more about Libby over at www.libbyclarkphotography.co.uk
Be sure to join the discussion over in the buzzing RSP community and subscribe to Ready Steady Pro right here to receive part two of this series direct to your mailbox or to be notified when part two is available for reading!