Business + Marketing

Navigating the Micro Wedding for Your Photo Business

June 24, 2020

By Jacqueline Tobin

© Trene' Forbes

When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down states and people were forced to hunker down and self-isolate, the ramifications for wedding and event photographers were HUGE. Their livelihoods exist off of traveling, documenting large group gatherings, and being far less than 6 feet apart. But the virus put the kaibosh on all of that and, as states that opened early are now reporting second waves and spikes in new cases—including Arizona, Florida, Texas, and Utah—some wedding photographers have started to implement new ways to keep working and staying profitable, including offering innovative packages for much smaller-scaled nuptials.

In the past three months, Rangefinder has reported on the scores of ways photographers have managed to stay creative while in quarantine, inventing second streams of revenue and strengthening their brands moving forward.

Enter Micro Weddings, a smaller and shorter celebration that typically has a guest count of 20 or less, and a much more simplistic timeline.

Micro Weddings are big in D.C. now, a smaller-scale celebration.
© Trene’ Forbes

Says Baltimore, Maryland, wedding photographer Trene’ Forbes: “I’ve always photographed small and intimate wedding celebrations, however since COVID-19, most of my wedding business has slowed down, and the majority of my couples have postponed until 2021. That’s why I decided to pivot to micro weddings and elopements primarily, because a handful of my couples’ ultimate goal is to be married now.”

Forbes currently offers Micro Wedding and Elopement packages on her website. They can include an officiant, getting ready coverage, couple of hours for ceremony, formal portraits, and any other things the couple wants captured, within a 1- to 4-hour time frame. There’s also the option for decorative florals and digital invitations and thank-you notes.

“The responses have been phenomenal and coming in often,” says Forbes. “Most couples really want to have their large wedding, but the reality is that it isn’t possible right now. Just the other day my team captured a wedding because the bride wanted to honor her June date even though it’s now been rescheduled for the fall. I find some couples are going with the original date and planning something bigger in 2021.”

Navigation the Micro Wedding
© Trene’ Forbes

And lest you think micro weddings are a temporary solution to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Forbes says she thinks they will actually become a big part of her business in the future, too. She’s even updated her website with a micro-wedding link so couples can find them easily. “Prices vary by market,” she add, “but you need to base it off your hourly rate and what others are doing in your market.”

Since late May of this year, Forbes has photographed 6 micro weddings and is booking more and more each day. “I would say we should do about 20 micro weddings in 2020.”

Very few people attend a micro wedding; that's the point.
© Chip Dizárd

According to wedding photographer and videographer Chip Dizárd, also based in Baltimore, photographers based in Washington, D.C., where many of his and Forbes’s clients have their weddings, just found out that even by August, large indoor gatherings will not be allowed.

Having already worked as a second shooter with Forbes in the past, the two are now collaborating on DC Micro Weddings. As Dizárd writes to potential clients on his own website “In these times of uncertainty, there’s one thing that’s true—life is still happening. I want to help you honor your wedding date by providing quality Live Streaming services that allow you to remember your special day for all the right reasons. No need to postpone or reschedule your wedding; instead, celebrate in an intimate setting with friends and family able to watch live.”

Dizárd says that this DC Micro-Wedding experience allows a couple to focus on what matters—”you and your partner, while I work intentionally to give you a reason to smile years later with a service tailor-made for your special day.”

a smaller celebration and ceremony.
© Chip Dizárd

The key to a well-planned out micro wedding, it seems, is all in who you team up with. “I’m working with an awesome group of vendors,” says Dizárd, led by D.C. Event Planner Andrew Roby, Designs by Oochay for the flowers, Edward Underwood Photography & Trene Forbes Photography, and Blue Lace CakesFingers In Ink for the invitations.

Dizárd coordinates and publishes the live stream of the ceremony, then acts as the second photographer to Forbes for the portraits. “Trene’ and I work together often so this was a natural progression,” says Dizárd. “The other vendors were a result of wedding planner Andrew Roby putting together a package as well, but we do our own thing, too. 

“Live streaming is an integral part of the Microwedding experience as it allows guests who can’t travel to experience the ceremony,” says Dizárd. “It also gives the bride and groom a chance to talk to the guests directly at the camera, In cinema terms we call that ‘breaking the fourth wall.'”

Adds Forbes: “I would pair with a good team or assemble their own team. Give couples options like including live streaming as this is a BIG part of the day for family and friends that can’t make it due to COVID and travel restrictions. Many people, especially older people, won’t travel right now. I
know micro weddings and elopements may become the new norm and a huge part of my wedding business.”