Getting Your Photos in Newlywed Hands Before the Night is Over

February 7, 2020

By Kenny Kim

© Kenny Kim

The bridal party snaps photos that they will inevitably post to social media later. Just make sure you offer the couple your pro-quality photos first.

When you are at a wedding as a guest, you do not want the celebration to stop. I have been to many when the band plays the last song on their set list and everyone chants, “One more song! One more song!” They gladly oblige, and the whole party crowds around the dance floor, trying to savor that moment with the newlyweds as long as possible. Even after the music is over, the adrenaline from the celebration is still running high and you start to ask where the after party will be. Unless it is prearranged, it usually happens at another bar or venue near the reception. The location is not that important—as long as everyone, including the bride and the groom, are there to continue on the celebration.

I have attended several of these after parties myself—especially at destination weddings. Often, the brides and the grooms will ask me to put down the camera and come out to just enjoy the night with the rest of the wedding party. After parties are a great opportunity for me to partake in the celebration with the newlyweds while grabbing a drink or two with everyone there. I have also made some good connections that led me to building friendships as well as future photography jobs.

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However, at one wedding after party, a reoccurring activity caught my attention: Almost everyone there was on their phone, perusing through social media to see what others had posted from the wedding, in addition to posting ones themselves. It was an epiphany moment; I realized for the current and generations to come that this was another way for them to experience the wedding at another level. They were eager to share their experience, not just with each other but with people from around the world that weren’t there.

It’s not just the guests. The newlyweds want to do the same. Because they were busy throughout the day, they probably did not collect any photos or videos of their own to share. They will go find that content at their friends’ accounts, or ask to share the photos they captured from their phones. I will often see their Facebook or Instagram profile changed that evening with a poor-quality photo their friends shared. They do not care about that quality, and neither do the audiences on social media that are looking at them; what matters to them is that they get the photo up on their accounts as soon as possible.  

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A recent study showed that almost 70 percent of brides want to see their wedding unfold in real time on social media, which is no surprise given that most of my clients are now millennials and Gen-Zers.

I realized then that I was missing out on a huge marketing opportunity for potential clients and myself: The real “after party” was happening on social media, and I needed to be there for it before everyone else got there.

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I made some changes when it came to delivering to clients:

Sending Key Moments

Immediately after the wedding, the first thing I do is select some images of the key moments from a couple’s wedding day and share them when I get back from the wedding. I am selecting these while all the images are being downloaded and backed up to my computer and Drobo storage system. That way, clients can still enjoy the rest of the evening but will have ample content that they can use when they are ready.

Getting Them Your Work First

Couples will use whichever content they can get their hands on, so it is imperative for us, the professionals, to provide the content before anyone else. It can be photos you have taken with your pro camera, or even some fun, short video clips you may have captured on your phone that day.

Posting Online

I simply tell them that they can do whatever they would like with them, and if they do not mind to tag me so I can partake in the fun. They are evangelizing your work to the people that were at the wedding, and those who couldn’t attend will see your images too—most likely, some will have been eagerly waiting an update.

While is it good to post some on your own account, do not focus so much on sharing them right away. Let the clients have that experience first because you want all the online traffic to go to them instead of you. This is free advertising without doing any work!

Communicating Ahead

I recommend starting out by providing clients with about 20 to 30 images from that day—you can do more, but that should be enough to help them relive the day. One thing to note: Let your clients know that you will be doing that prior to the wedding day so they know to wait for your images instead of using someone else’s.

You can encourage them to share the images to social and also to create a hashtag for their wedding so that all the images will get populated under one term.

Try this simple method at your next wedding and you will see increased traffic to your account, referrals and, most importantly, happy clients who are in love with their photos!

Will you be at WPPI 2020 in Las Vegas? Come and attend my master class, How to Start & Maintain a Successful Destination Wedding Photography Business, on February 26! I will delve more into this as well as other creative and unorthodox marketing tactics.

Kenny Kim has grown his internationally recognized studio since 2006. He is a regular face at WPPI and also the author of two books (published by Wiley Press), comprehensive must-reads for beginning wedding photographers.