The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast

Escape the Saturated Cycle as a Wedding Photographer

February 21, 2024 Episode 149
Escape the Saturated Cycle as a Wedding Photographer
The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
More Info
The Wedding CEO: Photography Podcast
Escape the Saturated Cycle as a Wedding Photographer
Feb 21, 2024 Episode 149

This episode outlines four ways wedding photographers can break free from the saturated market and make their businesses stand out. 

Alora discusses common mistakes such as underpricing services, copying other photographers' brands, using non-engaging captions on social media, and only providing a pricing guide to clients without any customization. 

She also provides solutions like calculating rates based on personal and business expenses, crafting unique brand stories, creating engaging brand-related content, and offering custom proposals to clients.

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We help Female Wedding Photographers Make $100k with 1/2 of their weekends free.

📣 Join the Waitlist for The Wedding CEO
☁️ Want to work with me 1:1? - Apply for my Private Coaching
📸
Free Class: 3 Secrets to Documenting Editorial Weddings
🌟 Rate and Review the podcast. Thanks, ILYSM 🫶🏽 - Apple - Spotify

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✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Show Notes Transcript

This episode outlines four ways wedding photographers can break free from the saturated market and make their businesses stand out. 

Alora discusses common mistakes such as underpricing services, copying other photographers' brands, using non-engaging captions on social media, and only providing a pricing guide to clients without any customization. 

She also provides solutions like calculating rates based on personal and business expenses, crafting unique brand stories, creating engaging brand-related content, and offering custom proposals to clients.

---

We help Female Wedding Photographers Make $100k with 1/2 of their weekends free.

📣 Join the Waitlist for The Wedding CEO
☁️ Want to work with me 1:1? - Apply for my Private Coaching
📸
Free Class: 3 Secrets to Documenting Editorial Weddings
🌟 Rate and Review the podcast. Thanks, ILYSM 🫶🏽 - Apple - Spotify

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✨ My Favorite Things ✨

Welcome to The Wedding CEO Podcast, where we discuss all things marketing, sales, and scaling, so you can become the CEO of your life and business. I'm Alora Rachelle, and I've been a wedding photographer for over a decade, and now I'm sharing all of my secrets so you can stop sacrificing your time and make more money like a CEO.

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Hey guys, welcome back to another episode. In this one, we're going to be diving into why and how you can escape the saturated cycle as a wedding photographer. If you have listened to any of my episodes ever, you know that I'm always talking about the saturated market and how it's just an overused term, but it's something that we can ultimately conquer with these four things that we're gonna talk about today.

Of course, as usual, let's just dive right in. Number one, I believe that in order to escape the saturated cycle, which is basically contributing to why you don't stand out from your competitors, why couples are price shopping between you and seven other photographers on their website tabs. It's because of these four things, and we're going to dive into it. I'm going to also give you the resolution. I'm not going to leave you on a bad note. I'm going to tell you how we can help you fix this. 

Number one, when you stay underpriced, you contribute to the saturated cycle. So what does that mean? I personally think that when you just pick a price and the price takes off, you book a bunch of inquiries and, oh my gosh, this is it, this is my price, I'm going to keep it this way forever. That's because the scarcity mindset of, I'll never be able to charge more because my clients are booking at this rate, and this rate is what my business is worth. Now, you might be listening to that like, oh my gosh, Alora, you just spoke to me. I know, because I was you, girl. I literally said the same thing to myself daily. I cannot raise my prices. This is what works. I would raise my price and then I would decrease it because I would get crickets for seven days, which is not enough time. But it's always like, it's been like seven days and nobody's inquiring. Let me just take it back down to 3,500, right? Or I would raise like 100 every year. I was like, I was 35. Now I'm 36, 37. Eyeballer. And I understand. I'm laughing because I did that for so long. It was about, I think it was two years where I did not touch my prices. When you're underpriced, you stay booked a year or so in advance or six months in advance that you don't even have the time to raise your prices if you're constantly booking clients at this really affordable average pricing rate. You won't be able to raise your prices because you're constantly booking. You don't get to focus on your pricing. You don't get to focus on raising them. Your expenses, because while I'm booking all these clients, and I'm stuck here, and then by the time you want to raise your prices, somebody's booking the following year, right? You just kind of stay stuck in this very slow price raising schedule. Then you wonder why it feels like you have a pretty good business. Well, people are booking me, so that makes me feel good. All of this always tailors into mindset, but I digress. This makes me feel good. I'm a great photographer. I keep getting inquiries. I keep getting referrals. I'm just going to keep this pricing because this is what's working and I don't want to break my business. I don't want to stop the inquiries. I need the money. You know, I get it. I do. 

This is how you contribute to the saturated cycle. Eventually, new photographers will emerge and they will either price like you or price above you and then take more of the dream, luxury, mid luxury clients. You'll be like, well, why are they booking and I'm not? Because you have consistently stayed the same and couples know when you don't believe in your business. I feel like I need to dedicate a whole episode to that. So let me write this down. But you need to believe in your business. Everybody can smell the lack of confidence.

Number one, your eyes are looking everywhere, or when you talk about pricing, you stutter. You're like, I mean, I could take off 500 if that makes you feel better. It's just like, then why am I paying high ticket if I can get this at a discount? My first inclination is like, if I can get something at a discount, I'm hyper fixated on the discount, and I will not be paying full price. Let me know if you are the same, but if there is a discount like Sephora. There's a discount at a favorite place you like to shop anything. I'm hyper fixated on this price. I'm either getting this price or cheaper. The value has gone down for me, because now I know I can get it at an affordable price. Mind blown. I know.

The second thing is when you copy another photographer's brand, you contribute to the saturated cycle. I said it. I did. I know. I have a whole episode dedicated to trend chasing and why it's the worst thing you can do in your wedding photography business. I'm saying that with the radio voice so that it sticks. Stop copying your competitors. Stop looking at what's working on Instagram and completely doing the exact same thing as them. Is that something you want to do? Ask yourself. Honestly, ask yourself, do I really want to create images like this? Is this even me? I understand there's a personal brand, and I understand there's a business brand, and those things can be separate. Necessarily, you can be like, well, my business isn't like me but I do like shooting this. I feel like, as a photographer, and I don't know if this applies to any other industry, but I was a wedding photographer for 12 years. I knew the biggest part of me was my business. The biggest part of me was my brand. All of my brand personality attributes—me liking lavender lattes, me loving interior design, me loving ramen, which I think back in the day I was obsessed with pizza. I still am. Personally, I love wood fire pizza. Wood fire pizza, my first love. Give me a mushroom pizza with this creamy Parmesan. Yes. Okay, but I don't talk about that as much, you know, because I probably eat ramen way more than I eat pizza. But you can build a brand on those things. I'm more referring to the way that your clients see you. I know in the past editorial wasn't as much in style as it is now, and I've been doing editorial for a while. I don't remember anybody doing editorial, and I was terrified because it was mixing something that didn't belong with each other. It's kind of like a high school musical. Where they were like, you have to be a jock, you have to be a nerd, and you have to be a popular person, you can't mix them. That's how I felt about my photography style. I cannot mix luxury with documentary. That's not possible. They don't belong together. But I wanted it so bad. 

For my wedding, my photographer didn't pose me at all because she was strictly documentary. But I wanted the posing. But I also wanted the moments. I became exactly what it is that I wanted. If I ever copy another photographer's brand, which I have, to be fair, the fine art, I tried it. I felt like my images were so flat. I felt my couples had no personality, no differentiation, no life to them, and I did not like my work. That's how you really know it could be unintentional because you're on Instagram, you're on Pinterest, you're constantly influenced by information and knowledge. Sometimes you got to step back and be inspired by other things. If you were a bride, or if you are going to be a bride, or you know what you really would want for your dream wedding, what style is that? Okay, because that is ultimately you, like your wants, your needs, your desires. 

Crazy thing is, there is a dream client looking for the same style that you want to create. It might not make sense. It might be terrifying to put it out because you're like, nobody's doing this. For a while, messy film shots, nobody was doing that. It's like, well I have to get the must have photos. I have to get very clear and straight and symmetrical. John Dolan blew that theory right out the water. I mean, he shot a political wedding. I think it was, was it Joe Biden's granddaughter? With his style. And he did not care. He did Gwyneth Paltrow. She was like, just show up. Don't pose me. I already done that all my life on the red carpet. Just come. Capture moments. You have no idea. If you just be yourself, you could literally create something so beautiful. Okay, I'm off my pedestal. That one took a minute.

The third thing is when you post your couple's photos and just caption it, 'Vibes' or 'Wow, what a vibe', 'Oh, love this', 'They're amazing'. You're contributing to the saturated cycle. I'm sorry, but we're doing a live training on this actually right before our launch for The Wedding CEO. It's called "Converting Content in 30 Minutes". We're literally going to dive into how to create content that is storytelling. Do your couples want to be a vibe or do they want their story told? And it's just that simple. Like you can just take that framework on its own and run with it. 'Wow, what a vibe' content is not going to make me go on Instagram and be like, yep, that's my wedding photographer. Can't wait to book them. Be one of those vibes. Vibes is all I want. Sorry, guys. This mushroom coffee has me wired up, and I'm not even finished with it yet. I'm still staring at it, and I'm probably gonna have to take a break.

Number four, when you respond to your clients with just a pricing guide, you contribute to the saturated cycle. Now, I was on a podcast recently and they were like, how do you present your starting rate to your couples if you don't have a pricing guide? Let me expand on that because there's so many ways you can do this. This is my personal way. I would give them a very loose pricing package, like, to choose from. But then when we get on the phone, I would break it down. Then we would build something completely custom and then I would send that over as the custom proposal. There's a whole sales psychology system backed with that. But you can give them a pricing guide. I think it's more important to get them on a call first and then walk them through it. But to each his own. There's some people who are like, this is my starting rate, this is my flat fee, and we can add on anything a la carte. So potato, potato. 


Inside The Wedding CEO, we teach these four main concepts to counteract all these four common mistakes that we see when our students come to us. 

To counteract the underpricing, we teach you how to price in a way that keeps you in business and out of bankruptcy. Most of our students come to us charging so low and overstuffing their packages so much. I call this "the undercharger overstuff" because why are we giving them everything for 2,000, for 1,500, for 3k? Even 3k is not enough for your highest package. Raise it. Do something else. Go through our hourly pricing calculator and let's make sure that based on your personal life, your business expenses, like you can even afford that package, right? We had one girl, and she literally was going in the negative for her highest package, which was the most booked package because it was only 1,500.

Number two, we give you the tools to understand yourself as the creative and to bring your unique skills and expertise to the client experience. Instead of copying another photographer's brand, we need to dig deep within ourselves as the creative, which we give up power away so much. That's why we started in the first place. Did you start because you saw what somebody else was doing and wanted to exactly be them, or because you had a special magic about you that you wanted to share? I believe that everyone has a unique story to tell that's going to create their brand promise. Their why—why they did this? why they got started? You can literally create a unique brand where clients are like, I want to work with them. Their story speaks to me, their brand speaks to me, I feel like we're the same person, this is the person I want to capture my lifetime memories, you know. So even ask yourself, what is your story? How can you share it on a platform? How can you show it? How could you bring something to the table that nobody else is?  You will never need to copy another brand again, ever, because you will have this innate sense of self where you're like, no, this is what I'm doing and this is what I'm not doing. These are my non negotiables. These are my passions, my values, all of those things. We give you this deep dive guide where it's going to be your therapy. You're welcome. You're going to pretty much write a full explanation about every part of your story as the photographer, as a person, and you're going to bring that into your business, right?

Number three, we help you create content from your brand story. Like I mentioned, the live class that we're teaching. If you didn't check out last week's episode, dive into the brand story training. Go ahead, take off a sheet of paper, listen to it while you're doing laundry, whatever the case is, create your own. But we're also going to teach you how to create content in 30 minutes just from your brand story. You can even create more, but 30 will be like the very bare minimum. It's easier, it's even easier probably to create 30 to 60 pieces of content. They will all be based on your dream client's wants, needs, and your own experiences.

Number four, lastly, we're going to deep dive into the custom proposals so that you're not just responding with a pricing guide. I believe a basic pricing guide isn't just enough. We believe that you can send out packages, but give them the option of custom and let them create something that usually ends up being more than what their initial budget was on the contact form. Don't forget to check out the podcast episode labeled "How Custom is a New Luxury." I'm going to walk you through that whole concept there. 

If you loved this, if you learned something, I hope that you take these four things and do your best to escape the saturated cycle so you can start getting inquiries because you're not blending in with anyone else. You're being your own unique self as a wedding photographer, as the industry leader. Can't wait to see it. 

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If you're listening to this before I host my free masterclass called "How To Make 100k With Half Your Weekends Free", join now. Link in the show notes. Then even if it's after 12pm, you can still get the replay and you can get the replay link in your email. I'm going to show you exactly how we help our students go from ghosted, to booked, while raising their rates and consistently booking their highest package.

It's literally the dream and one training and then we're going to open the doors to The Wedding CEO. All the information will be in that masterclass. 

Sign up. Link in the show notes. I'll see you inside. 

Thanks for listening to today's episode, and I will see you in the next one.