Business + Marketing

Create a Wedding Photography Experience That Caters To Your Couples

February 3, 2020

By Jai Long

© Free the Bird

I remember back when I was a young electrician, before my photography career, and I had a mentor that was ridiculously successful with every business he created. Words he spoke to me that I will never forget, just before I made the leap into the wedding photography world: “A business must be needed or loved. And a luxury wedding photography business is definitely not a life necessity, so in that case, it must be loved!”

If you’re a photographer, you might think that photography is at the heart of what you do, but let me tell you, 80 percent of what we do as creative entrepreneurs is giving a service, and the remaining 20 percent is actually making the art. 

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This makes customer experiences as crucial as perfecting your photography skills. You need to learn how human beings work, how to build trust with them, and how to be in the right place at the right time. If you manage to ace all of them, you can create an amazing experience for your customers that is even more important than your actual photos, your end product.

Think about it this way: If you order food in a restaurant, it doesn’t matter how good it tastes—if the staff ignores you or you have long waiting times, your experience can drop from 10 to 1 in a heartbeat.

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Remember: the way you deliver what you do is the most essential part of any customer experience.


You’re probably thinking, “Well, how do I find out what my clients want?” Or maybe, “How do I find out what will give my clients a good experience?”

I’m guessing you might not have the budget to spend thousands of dollars on market research and target audiences. I don’t either! A great (and free) place to start is with yourself. There might be a few differences with your audience—background, ideologies—but you’ll definitely have one thing in common: the love for your art. 

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Make a list of all the services you provide—weddings, family shoots, commercial work, brand campaigns, etc.—and then with each of those services, write out what you would want as a client. Straight away, you’ll be able to have a deeper understanding of what your clients might want, because it’s what you want, and it’s what you want for them as well.

As much as knowing what you like and knowing what works can help you, another useful life experience is to know what you don’t like and look at your negative experiences with other businesses. You can learn a lot from these experiences.

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Next time this happens, try and pay attention to how each encounter has made you feel, why it’s made you feel that way and how the situation could have been prevented. Then take a look at your own business. See if there are any similarities or warning signs. That way, you can ensure that none of your customers have that negative experience. 

Great customer service isn’t just about preventing negative encounters, though; overdelivering and knowing when to overdeliver is a huge part of the customer experience. “Underpromise and overdeliver” is very often misconceived as “underpromise and… then just deliver.” There are a lot of businesses that follow the latter and don’t understand or put their energy into where it counts. 

Adding Very Personal Touches to Your Wedding Client Experience

Identify those moments that have made you feel amazing as a customer. Was it the fact that someone showed enthusiasm about the vegan burrito you had for lunch? Or that they threw in an extra couple of free samples? Or maybe it was when they literally made a table out of thin air for you when they were fully booked?

Whatever it is, whether it be making sure you reply to that email within a few hours instead of days, or interacting with them on social media as their friend; flex those empathy muscles, get creative and show them just how passionate you are about creating the best experience they could have.


Now that you’ve got a good understanding of how you will serve your clients, now comes the age-old decision of how much to charge them. When it comes down to it, your pricing should mirror the type of client you want to deal with.

Do you want to shoot yacht party weddings or serve your Average Joe-sephine? Note that it might be hard jumping into a price bracket without much experience, as well as pretending to be someone your not. It’s best to target people that you know you can relate to and get on with on a certain level, then strategically raising your prices.

There’s also the issue of undervaluing yourself. Clients don’t respect people that give constant discounts compared to those that charge a pro-level amount.

Trust me on this: Be confident in what you charge, because the less someone values you, the less they will value the work that you do for them.

Don’t get insecure about your pricing. Not everyone is a bargain hunter. There are a lot of people out there that enjoy having nice experiences and are happy to pay for you to provide it for them. 

Setting Smart Goals for Your Photo Business in 2020

You want to get your service to a point where your clients aren’t thinking about whether it was worth your fee; rather, they are ecstatic that all they had to do was give you money and they get the incredible experience you gave for them.

Let your clients know that you’re on their side. Follow them back on Instagram and react to one of their stories. Don’t surprise them and invoice them extra costs (extra hours, additional shots). Make sure your packages include these extras. You’re an expert; of course you’ll know to make room for them. 

Jai Long is the wedding photographer behind Free the Bird, based in Melbourne, Australia, and a Rangefinder 30 Rising Star of Wedding Photography in 2015. An author of educational ebooks for creatives—like this one we excerpted—he hosts a creative-business podcast for photographers called Make Your Break.