By now, most of us have probably heard about the enticing “destination wedding photographer lifestyle” and how wonderful it is to travel and see the world while photographing gorgeous weddings, couples and locations.
This is all very possible and it does happen, but it’s not entirely what it seems. There is always a story behind something, and the glamour of destination weddings is no exception.
Faced with logistical challenges, cultural differences and even legal barriers are all very much a thing and something not many talk about. BUT, If you reckon you can handle all of this (and it’s not impossible 🙂 ), then this post might be just for you.
As a business, you’re probably not unfamiliar with the fact that you have to spend money to make money. Otherwise known as investments. It may seem scary at first, especially since most of the time the ROI (Return of investment) isn’t always immediate. It takes time to see results.
One of the best ways to land destination jobs is to have a portfolio of some work from that area that you are targeting.
Couples who are getting married overseas and who are a looking for a photographer want to know that you are able to deliver. It’s sounds funny but it is in fact a deciding factor.
The investment would be to fly out to Mallorca (or wherever) and spend approximately 1 week there (up to you). You’ll be able to take that time to Get to know the area, know what the travel costs would be, find awesome locations and even meet local vendors.
But the most important part of going to Mallorca is to:
Build up your portfolio with shoots from Mallorca
The more shoots you can setup, the better. Of course, don’t over load yourself and make it all realistic. Creating shoots can be as complex or as simple as you like – but in either case, the benefits still remain the same.
Setup a couple shoot (Simply find a couple there or bring friends with you) and go out and shoot with them (Read this post).
Or, setup a full on styled shoot where you get to connect with some local vendors (Hair & Make up artists, Venues, Dress labels etc…) and put together an inspiration shoot.
Or both? Thats entirely up to you and if you follow our guides on how to do just that – you will see that they’re really not that hard and daunting. The first challenge you will face, however, is that you will likely have to arrange everything from home as you may not be in “Mallorca” to set it up.
At the end of it all, once you come home with a bunch of great images – you now are equipped to setup your landing pages and put all that effort into marketing yourself for that destination.
Couples who are getting married in Mallorca want to see and be inspired by photography there. If your work shows up in Google, Pinterest, Instagram and the like for Mallorca - their eyes are on you.
We mentioned above that you could create a simple couple shoot in Mallorca or you could go ahead and do a full on Styled Shoot with vendors and the like. The choice is up to you and how much time you allow yourself in your destination of choice.
Couple shoots are by far a lot easier to setup and execute. They only really require a couple (obviously), some styling (clothes they wear), a location & a time.
If you’re an organisational guru, you could technically setup a couple shoot every day that you are in the destination, or every other day. Easily multiplying the amount of portfolio material you get at the end of your trip.
Styled shoots are obviously a lot more demanding and require a lot more organisation in order to happen properly. BUT, the benefit of this is that you are creating inspiration for potential clients.
You are creating content that they are exactly looking for. “Mallorca Weddings”. If you’re connecting with local vendors, and the locations you choose to shoot at clearly say “Mallorca”, you’re definitely going to catch your clients eyes.
Bonus: If you're into travelling, why not create a photo story of your trip & share this on your blog too? More content = better
If it’s not clear already, then the next phase of your task is to market the heck out of these. Send them to the vendors, the couple, the location; pretty much anyone involved and ask them to tag you if ever they share your work on their social media or websites.
Make sure your SEO on your website is on point and follow the latest and greatest tips & techniques. Simple things like correctly using Heading tags (H1, h2, h3 etc…) can make a big difference. There’s a plethora of tutorials and information online about SEO.
With that in mind, create some beautiful blog posts and update your website with these new images. Quick note: sometimes less = more. Don’t put everything there. Only the absolute best.
You could even create some landing pages specifically designed, optimised for seo and targeted to weddings in that location you shot at.
Next, share them on your own social media. Be consistent and use a tool like “Planoly” to help layout your grids before you publish them. A nice looking grid is absolutely crucial to leaving a good impression & gaining that valuable follow.
Submit your work to wedding blogs and feature accounts. These places are always on the look out for decent content to share and while they can be quite picky on what they choose to accept; it really doesn’t hurt to try. Even if they don’t accept your submission – try another place.
Finally, it can be hard to build up the work to market with. You will hit a few bumps in the road and have some steep hills to climb but we’ve all been through it. The key is to keep on going.
Even if you don’t land your destination jobs immediately after publishing your content online – thats okay! It will come. Just be persistent with your marketing, with your content creation and your social media posting and eventually you will pop up in the right place, at the right time, for the right couple.
We know this. We went through it. We do it. We are destination wedding photographers because of this.
Thank you so much for reading through this, and as we always do here on How I Shot This, we totally encourage discussions, comments, suggestions and sharing of your own tips & advice!