We’re back this week the 3rd installment of Guest Blogger Libby Clark’s diary series, opening the pages on her own search for a wedding photographer. We’ve spoken about the budget, we’ve touched on how difficult it can be to find exactly what you’re looking for in a saturated market and even how with tools such as Google we’re still presented with far too much choice! Today however Libby dives further into her search and details exactly what she is looking for and what she is doing to find it. So, please do enjoy part 3 of A Wedding Photographer’s Search for a Wedding Photographer, by Libby Clark…
Last week’s post certainly provoked some discussion and food for thought in the Ready Steady Pro Facebook group. I talked about the search terms I found myself using, mostly broad searches that weren’t getting me anywhere. So I had to do some more in depth searches.
Part Three – What Do I Want and How Do I Find It?
This week was all about using keywords and different search methods. I decided the best thing to do would be to write down what style we were looking for. As a photographer this is where I knew I was going to struggle. We all have our own specific style and we wouldn’t use it if we didn’t like it. So what I’m looking for is someone who photographs the way that I do and better, but I have that budget of £1,800 to keep in mind. I might be able to sneak that up to £2,000… maybe.
Our theme/style for the day itself is very rural, involves cider, lots of natural colours, flat caps and flowers. In my head I see lots of light, soft images of the blushing bride (that’s me!) looking whimsically into her new husbands eyes with the sunlight behind them. Soft and warm colours… *sigh*. Sorry I went into a daydream of prettiness there!
So how do you sum that up into keywords? I guess I can add vintage to the list so I search “Wedding Photographer Vintage Style Gloucestershire”.
Now that’s a bit better. The first thing I see is a website that lists local photographers and I notice a few more keywords in their first paragraph; reportage, documentary style, posed photographs. This also reminds me of fine art, classic, unique, street and a few more keywords I can add to the list. I just need to narrow down which.
When I shoot I like to do so in a documentary style but the couple photos are the perfect opportunity to be a bit more creative with lights and angles. Without going into another daydream we want someone to capture the true essence of the day so we’re definitely looking for documentary style with a fine art twist. That might be hard. Do people even do that? I do so I hope others do!
Ok, good. I have some more keywords:
“Wedding photographer vintage style gloucestershire documentary fine art”
Bit of a mouthful I must admit but hurrah! I have far fewer results and I go ahead and click on one. So far, so good. For the most part I like what I see on the home page slideshow even though I’m a little frustrated it’s not loading very quickly. I’m not very keen on the second photo I see though. The guy has a slightly awkward look on his face and doesn’t look comfortable. Stuart hates having his photo taken and will only let me do it so I’m really aware I need to find someone he can be comfortable with and relax.
I did some assistant and second shooting work last year in return for some mentoring and one of the things I was told was to only showcase the best of the best. Nothing mediocre.
I can see why now, maybe it’s my overly critical eye but I’ve noticed this one error and I’m about to discount the photographer because of it! I think about the fact I’ve done exactly the same thing and tell myself not to judge so quickly and carry on looking.
This is the next lesson:
People can make decisions in 50 milliseconds. You have 50 milliseconds to make people go WOW and encourage them to keep looking.
I think if I’d seen the second photo first I wouldn’t have gone much further but thankfully the first photo caught my eye so I’m going to look past the second photo. The next few won’t load properly. I’m getting a bit annoyed at this point but when they do eventually load I do rather like them. The photos fit our style with rural, gorgeous backlit couples. Unfortunately one photo is so crowded with confetti I can’t see the couple. But I’ll keep looking, I’ll just remember to give the guests small handfuls of petals rather than a full box! I then notice that this photographer has been featured on one of my favourite wedding blogs and was a regional finalist for a Wedding Industry Award. I’m not fussed they didn’t win it but I feel a bit more confident about them now.
You might have noticed at this point I’ve only looked at the home page. I’ve not even looked at the portfolio so the next lesson I’ve learnt is this.
Your home page is THE page. I’ve always used mine as a bit of an introduction to the rest of my website which is clearly the wrong thing to be doing. This is what your clients are going to base the majority of their decision on.
I’ve now spent a few minutes here and I’m still liking what I see enough. I suddenly remember the “bounce rate” I’ve seen on Google Analytics telling me how much time people are spending on each page before they leave. I’m lucky if I get a full 10 seconds on my home page! I’ve given this photographer at least 5 minutes of my time so far. I finally scroll down past the slideshow and see a short paragraph. I wasn’t going to read it but as it’s above the links for the other pages I’m going to. Ooh, they describe their style as “fine art mixed with documentary”! I’m a little excited now so I click through to the gallery.
After a few minutes of looking I decide this photographer, as good as they are, doesn’t quite fit my style. I think I want more of a fine art approach than I initially realised. But the point is I took my time, I didn’t go to the home page and move away 50 milliseconds later. The website was really easy to follow and I wasn’t wondering where I had to go to find things.
Next week… Where Else Can I Look?
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!