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8 Ways to Boost your Income as a Wedding Photographer

If you’re a wedding photographer reading this, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that being a wedding photographer is one of the best jobs in the world.

Working only a handful of days a week, having time off when most people are stuck doing a ‘normal job’, having small overheads, getting paid similar hourly rates to lawyers and surgeons, and all the while, making your clients cry with happiness – what’s not to like?!

After a while though, we all take our jobs for granted. Wedding photography, like any other job, can occasionally suck.

Aside from the struggles of maintaining motivation while shooting weddings full time, one of the biggest areas of worry for us wedding photographers is how to make moreincome.

If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you’re a wedding photographer like me who already knows how to book lots of weddings – I wrote a whole book on that exact topic if you’re not already at that level yet.

I wrote this post to give you some ideas on how to make more money as a wedding photographer without even booking new clients. 


Do me a favour: DON’T skim-read this post. If you only read the titles of each point, you’ll completely miss my message. Also, DO keep an open mind. The advice may sound ridiculous at first, but remember that each point has worked for me in the past to increase my income as a wedding photographer. Take the advice that will work now for you, and humour me with the rest – one day it might make more sense to your situation.


1. Offer more to past clients

Most wedding photographers treat past clients like finished jobs. They deliver the photos, then it’s sayonara and onto the next job.

As long as your client is happy with your work, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this way of doing things of course, and I did the same thing for years.

However, if you’re intent on increasing your income as a wedding photographer before you even book the next wedding, you’ll have to change this way of running your business.

Big businesses have known for years that it’s way more expensive to find new customers than to retain old ones. In marketing talk, it’s acquisition vs retention.

A CPA, or Cost Per Acquisition is the cost your business incurs to find one wedding job. As wedding photographers, we can think of this as any money we’ve spent up to now on building our business, marketing, advertising, the time spent dealing with the client, shooting their wedding, editing, delivering photos etc etc.

Clearly it’s rather abstract for us, but what’s more important here is to realise that after we’ve invested this much time, money and effort into getting a client, we need to squeeze the most out of them – give them everything they need, plus a load of things they never knew they needed! That’s what I mean by ‘retention’, in this case.

OK, so let’s get down to actionable advice. How can we make more money from our past clients, by genuinely helping them? Here are some ideas:

i) Albums

Hear me out here. I’m not talking about trying to sell a client a wedding album right after the wedding. We all know the old “wow, you had so many great photos from your wedding – it’d be a shame not to put them all in one of my amazeballz albums!!” line never works. They’ve just blown all their cash on their wedding! – you really think you can schmooze them into spending another couple of grand?!

For weddings where the couple receives money as gifts from guests, they may want to spend it on an album, but let’s face it – if it were you, wouldn’t you rather blow it all on your impending honeymoon?!

I gave up trying to do wedding sales after the wedding a long time ago. What I’m talking about here is months later. A month before their first anniversary is a good bet.

Reach out to the groom, and ask if he’s put together an album of their wedding pics yet. You already know the answer to that one! Then offer to do it for him, just in time for their anniversary.

Funds should be replenished by now, which sorts the money issue out, plus it’d be nice to throw in a discount (“anniversary gift from me!”)

From the groom’s point of view, he’s about to get major brownie points from his wife for his small investment, with absolutely no effort on his behalf (us lazy men love this kinda sh*t)!

Obviously you can try and approach the bride with the same method, or even both of them if you like – it doesn’t matter how you go about it, but at the end of the day you’ll have two clients that are ecstatic about their beautiful album (full of photos they probably haven’t looked at for months), and you’ll have added to your bottom line.

It goes without saying that you’ll need to make the actual album design process as easy and hands off for your client(s) as possible. My preferred method of doing this is to let them choose their favourites in a ShootProof gallery, then design/proof the album with SmartAlbums2, and finally order via VisionArt.

Whatever way you do this, try and suppress the feeling of ‘making money from your past clients’. You’re providing them a service, and being rewarded for it. They’re paying for your skills as an artist, and they’re happy to get a beautiful product they couldn’t have created themselves at the end of it. Don’t feel guilty about it!

ii) Prints

Much the same as the process above, you can and should offer your past clients prints from their wedding. The key here again is in the timing– too soon after the wedding may not be appropriate, nor effective.

You can offer prints in conjunction with the album, or offer prints if the client(s) turn down your album offer in the example above.

Again, you’re providing a service and a product that helps/delights your clients. Don’t feel slimy about ‘selling’ – you should feel proud that you have the ability to offer something like this as an artist.

The smoothest way I’ve found to sell prints is by using the client’s ShootProof gallery – I wrote more about the method here.

iii) Anniversary/Maternity/Family Shoot

I have to be honest – I haven’t been so proactive with this last tip, but I do know that many wedding photographers are boosting their income by being their wedding clients’ ‘photographer for life’.

If you intend to offer your photography services after shooting your clients’ wedding, it’s great to plant the seed nice and early. Maybe at the end of your next wedding, ask about their future plans, and maybe the topic of babies will pop up! Even if it doesn’t, mention that you’d love to keep in touch and photograph all their big life events.

Even when you deliver the wedding photos, mention it again – “keep me posted if you ever decide to grow your family ;-)”, or whatever. Make sure you’re in the back of their mind when cool shit happens in their life that should be photographed.

If your couple is really young, or you feel that talking about kids isn’t appropriate/relevant, suggesting a one year anniversary shoot can be a popular one. Again, remember to discount: “happy anniversary!”

 

Hopefully this has given you some ideas on how you can continue to make your past clients happy, by offering products and services you may have formerly thought relevant only for new clients.


2. Capitalise on your existing photography knowledge

OK, now for something from leftfield. Consider this – you’re an expert in your field. Maybe not to other wedding photographers, but certainly to the average photography beginner.

Think about all the time you’ve spent educating yourself to this level of wedding photography – all the hours on YouTube, books, courses, second shooting, etc etc. We’re all still learning, but my point is this – you already have SO much knowledge about photography.

If you’re at a point where multiple clients are paying you for your photography, and you’re delighting them all… well guess what, you know a sh!t-tonne more about photography than someone who’s just picked up a camera!

It’s easy to feel inferior as a wedding photographer. We all compare ourselves to our peers, and that’s not a bad thing per se, but I’d like you to think how you can help a beginner photographer, and get rewarded for your time.

Now, I’m not saying that every half decent wedding photographer can effectively teach photography to a beginner – that’s up to you to decide. I’m pretty crap at teaching (verbally), but do ok with writing, so I’d choose that avenue.

So now we realise what an asset we have with our existing knowledge and experience, how can we market and capitalise on it?

Well, there are several services that spring to mind that let you do this pretty easily – Udemy and SkillShare are two good ones you should sign up to if you fancy writing down what you know about photography to help a beginner, and selling it as a course.

If you’re a crap writer, or prefer to teach by speaking, Clarity is an ingenious way to monetise your time spent educating over the phone. It’s geared more to tech, but creating a page as a photographer, then linking to it from your photography site can be effective.

When you’ve worked out what and how you’re going to teach, you can put the word out on Facebook too – you may be surprised how many of your FB friends would love to learn photography from a pro.

If you’ve ever been asked by a guest at a wedding why their photos are blurry, or what ISO ‘does’, you’ve probably realised that the average camera owner knows nothingabout photography. As someone who charges for photography, there’s a good chance that you have something of use to them – charge accordingly, and make some extra cash without booking another wedding.


3. Increase volume without sacrificing time

After we’ve been shooting weddings for a while, it’s tempting to try and increase your fees to the point where you can decrease the number of weddings.

If you’re a hugely popular wedding photographer, this can occasionally work well. You’re so in demand, and offer a service/product so different to all the others out there, that clients will pay much more than the average to hire you for their wedding.

Clearly this is a rare case, and is getting rarer and rarer due to the sheer number of talented wedding photographers out there.

What I advise you to consider is to lower your prices.

Spat out your coffee at the screen? I’ll give you a minute to clean up that mess…

After years of edging your pricing up and up as your experience grows (and rightly so), it may seem completely illogical to reduce your prices in an effort to shoot more.

Let me spell it out to you so we’re clear here: one very obvious way to increase your income as a wedding photographer is to shoot more weddings. Aside from the tactics outlined in my book More Brides, the quickest way to do this is to charge less.

When you’ve successfully increased the volume of weddings you shoot, you’re always able to go back to increasing your pricing, aided by the increased marketing visibility that shooting more weddings brings.

OK, so now you’re on-board with the potential to increase bookings by reducing your pricing, how can you make sure you don’t get burnt out? After all, isn’t everyone’s goal to work less and earn more?!

In a word: outsourcing. What’s the most time consuming part of being a wedding photographer? For some people, myself included, it’s the wedding itself. Unless you’re willing to pay an associate photographer, those 8-ish hours are an unavoidable ‘cost’ of running your business.

The second most time consuming thing? Editing. It may even take you longer than shooting the wedding itself.

I don’t want to preach too much about outsourcing your wedding photography editing as I appreciate that it’s not for everyone. However, what I do want to drill into your heads it that you should definitely consider it, especially if you want to scale your business.

I tested ShootDotEdit’s services for a couple of months in order to write this review. That was 2 years ago. Now I’m happily using them for every wedding I shoot, and relish the hours/days/weeks that I would have wasted clicking away at adjustments in Lightroom…

[Click here to get 1 month of free edits thanks to ShootDot Edit]

Outsourcing your edits is a huge step to take for many wedding photographers – I get it, I was like that too. One day though, you’ll realise that your clients are still delighted to receive your photos whether you’ve edited them, or an outsourced editing expert has edited them… it’s kind of a sad day and a happy day at the same time!

You’ll realise that your editing style can be replicated quite easily, but you’ll also realise that you can pay someone to do half your job, and still make money and please clients.

Don’t feel guilty about outsourcing your wedding photography edits. You’re still the artist. You’re still in control. The outsourced edits are a base on which to add your final edits, to cull, crop, sharpen, export, deliver – whatever you choose to do yourself, you’re still in control and it’s still your final product.


4. Sell your gear

Just spat your coffee all over your screen again, didn’t you?! “Sell my gear?! WTF?!”

OK, this point is stretching the notion of increasing your income as a wedding photographer, but it’s still a viable way to make and save some money.

When you were first starting out as a wedding photographer, what did you do? If you’re anything like me, you found another wedding photographer whose photos you liked, found out what gear they used (hence my idea for my site, Shotkit!) and then bought the same stuff. Nothing wrong with that, right?

This usually meant 2 of the same camera, 2 of the same flash, and either a couple of expensive f/2.8 zooms, or a couple of expensive f/1.4 or f/1.2 primes. Did you even consider any slower glass? Nope. Did you even consider a different backup camera or flash? Nope.

My shopping list looked something like this: Nikon D750 x2, Nikon SB-700 flash x2, Nikon 35mm f/1.4, Nikon 85mm f/1.4. Maybe yours was something similar…

After a good 4 years shooting like that, I had no complaints. Then in walks the Sony a7III (reviewed here), and the allure of shooting mirrorless forces me to sell most of my Nikon gear and revaluate what I actually needed to shoot a wedding.

After buying one Sony body, it suddenly occurred to me – do I really need an identical, $3k camera as a backup? Do I really need to shoot with a camera on each shoulder? Do I really need the fastest glass possible?

I realised that I was shooting with my other camera with the longer 85mm lens for about 10% of the wedding (during the ceremony), and nothing else. It didn’t make sense to buy another expensive camera just for that. However, I still needed a backup camera, so I kept one Nikon D750, and a 35mm f/1.8 lens I’d bought in the past for this review.

Then I realised that f/1.8 was more than sufficient, and 1/3 the price of the equivalent f/1.4 lens. So for the Sony, I invested in slower glass. Instead of the f/1.4s, I got an 85mm f/1.8 and a 35mm f/2.8. I also got an f/1.4, but I’ll be selling that as it’s now redundant.

My point of this long winded story is simple. Take a look at your gear, then take a look through your Lightroom catalog. Take a note of the ISOs you’re shooting at, and the apertures you’re using. If like me you find that during the day you can’t even use f/1.2 or f/1.4 as it’s too damn sunny outside, and at night your fancy camera can eat ISO12800 for breakfast at 1/500, you probably don’t need such fast glass.

Before you punch the screen, I get it. There’s more to fast glass than the ability to shoot in less light, and the shallower DOF. The whole image is arguably nicer… but just consider if it’s worth that extra cash you’ve got tied up in that expensive chunky glass.

Have a browse through the wedding photographers using f/1.8 lenses on Shotkit – their work is incredible, and you’d never know they’re not using the most expensive glass.

Consider selling your fastest lenses and downgrading to slower versions – more cash and lighter camera bags await.


4. Offer more to existing clients before their weddings

When you’ve booked a wedding, what do you do? High five yourself, then move back to editing your last wedding? Nothing wrong with that, but you’ve missing out on another way to make more as a wedding photographer.

Just because a client has booked you and chosen your most basic package, doesn’t mean that they can’t afford anything else.

Similarly, just because a client has chosen your top “only there to make the other packages seem cheaper” package, doesn’t mean that they aren’t potentially ready to spend even more!

The slimey marketing term for this is an ‘upsell’ – a product or service related to the customer’s previous purchase, that adds value in some way. Usually these are provided right before or right after a customer makes a purchase – think of the “do you want travel insurance/extra baggage/priority boarding/inflight foot massage” questions you get when booking a flight.

I consider that it’s much less stressful and annoying for your client to offer these additional services way after they make their booking. I like to keep the options at the time of booking quite simple – extra hours of service, albums and engagement session are the only add ons.

No matter what you’re offering the client at this stage of their booking, there’s always room to add more value to your service later down the line… and all before their wedding has even taken place.

Now, I’m not advocating that you try and sell a load of unnecessary crap to your clients, or try and push an album on them even when they’ve chosen not to have one. The last thing I want you to do is to annoy them after they’ve taken a leap of faith and booked you.

What I want you to have a think about is what other awesome services or products you can ‘announce’ to them, to help make their wedding even better, and to help earn you some extra cashola. Here are two examples that I’ve come up with:

i) The Pre Wedding Interview

Pick up your camera. See that red button marked ‘record’ – ever pressed it? Neither have I :p

Us wedding photographers use 50% of our cameras every day, and don’t even give it a second thought. By investing just a tiny bit of time into learning how to use your camera to shoot video and record audio really well, you’re able to create a brand new income stream.

Now before you roll your eyes, I’m not talking about videoing a wedding here. Let’s leave that to the experts. What I’m talking about are the small, simple video jobs that any photographer with a good camera can learn to do very quickly and with minor investment. One of these is the pre wedding interview.

With this, you’re using your camera to film your clients individually in an interview style, capturing the video and audio to be played at some point during the wedding, or simply given to the clients as a video file after the wedding with the photos.

I’ll write a whole post detailing this process soon.

ii) The Mid Wedding Interviews

This one’s a great little add on to your existing photography services, and something your clients will love. It involves approaching guests at some point during the wedding day (cocktail hour works best) to conduct a really short interview – basically asking them to give a message to the newly weds.

Even if the clients have already hired a videographer, it’s very unlikely they’ll be doing this, and you can explain this to your clients if they have any doubts about your services over lapping.

I’ll write a whole post detailing this process too.

 

If you have a good think, there are lots of ways to add to your services as wedding photographer and offer fun things to your existing clients. If selling to them weeks after they’ve booked you makes you feel a bit slimey, you can make it sound more like an announcement than a sales pitch – “I’m now offering this awesome new service – just thought you might like to know!”

I’d recommend you do the first time for free, just in case you stuff it up. This works especially well for the mid-wedding interviews, as you don’t even need to tell the client you’re doing it.

If it works well – awesome! Deliver the product for free, and your clients will be your raving fans forever, and you’ll also have something to show the next client as an example.

If you screw it up, you’ve lost nothing. Practise a bit more then try again, until you reach the stage where you’ve confident to charge.

At the end of the day, I just want you to remember that your clients don’t just want amazing photos – they also want their guests to have an amazing time too. If you can suggest services such as the interviews that will entertain them, they’ll be more than happy to consider paying you to make it happen.


6. Market your services to vendors

After you shoot a wedding, do you ever get vendors asking you for images? Maybe the florist wants to use a photo you’ve taken of the bouquet on her social media, or maybe the venue wants to do the same.

If you’re not a dick, you won’t try and charge them for the photos. We’re all in this together – vendors should help other vendors. Allowing vendors to use your images (with proper crediting, of course), can lead to better relationships with those who may eventually refer you a wedding, and increase the exposure of your photography. Trying to charge at this point is short-sighted, and pretty mean to boot.

Did you ever consider though that all those vendors you’ve provided free photos to in the past might actually want more professional photos for their websites or social media?

You might have heard somewhere that after you’ve given photos away for free, that it’s hard to charge for them in the future.

This may be somewhat true in some cases, but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that all small businesses are happy to pay for professional photos that they can use to generate more revenue for themselves.

Why not try to offer a ‘social media image package’ to your vendors – 50 images of their products ready to use on social, for $500, or whatever. Or do their staff profile photos for Linked In. Or some behind the scenes shots for their blog.

As a wedding photographer, you’re more skilled than you think. Sure, you may not know how to do perfectly lit, focus stacked product photography… but that’s not what most brands want these days.

Bouquets, rings, shoes, dresses, cakes, invitations – there are so many things you shoot every day without blinking an eye, so why not offer that as a service to small businesses that need great images.

You can either reach out to a load of vendors to offer your services from scratch, or simply mention it in an email the next time a florist asks to use your shot: “sure, go ahead and use whichever photo you like! By the way, I’d love to shoot a series of images for your next Instagram Story and Facebook posts – would you like me to send over the pricing?”


7. Market your services to other wedding photographers

Woooooah there!!! He didn’t just say…wait…. WTF?! Not to other wedding photographers??!

OK, take a deep breath and read what I have to say here. This bit of advice to make some more money as a wedding photographer isn’t as nasty as it sounds.

Right off the bat, I’m not talking about workshops here. Just because you’re pretty handy shooting a bride, doesn’t mean you’re in any position to host a workshop. Let’s move on…

Next elephant in the room – presets. Every wedding photographer and his/her dog has a preset these days. Are they a viable income source? Sure. Will you be vilified in the community? Probably. Let’s leave presets alone for the time being too…

What I’m talking about here is offering skills you possess that could be genuinely useful to your fellow ‘togs. Things like logo design, stationary design, PDF design, website design, copy-writing, SEO, etc etc.

If you look behind the hood of a lot of the successful wedding photography related services out there, you’ll find a wedding photographer running the show. Actually, it’s usually an ex-wedding photographer, thanks to their new income…

From my point of view, I’m rubbish at design, so I’d be happy to pay another wedding photographer to design me a new logo, if they were offering that service (and obviously if they were amazing at it).

Similarly, there’s a ton of wedding photographers out there who suck at writing their About Page – maybe you could charge to have a go at it for them.

Will it feel slimey posting in a wedding photographers’ forum that you’ll design a logo in exchange for cash… even though you’re a… shock horror… wedding photographer too?! Yeah probably. Will the other wedding photographers mind? Probably not, especially if you rock at designing logos.

Don’t over think it – if you’re better than the next guy at something, offer it as a service. Fellow wedding photographer or not, if the service is amazing, who cares?!

And yeah, you’ll get some haters and the usual “here’s another photographer trying to cash in on other photographers”, but they’re just jealous you’ve got da skillz to pay da billz.


8. Write a gear review

Caveat: if you’re a crap writer, move on – nothing to see here.

OK with the keyboard? Well you’re in luck, because writing a review on a piece of gear that you already own can be a great way to create some passive income, or even get your work out in front of new eye balls.

First off, the quick buck – most sites pay for good reviews, including my own (click here to email me if you want to write for Shotkit).

If you want something a little more long-term, I recommend you consider writing an affiliated review.

Being an affiliate for a product may sound slimey (damn, there’s so much slime in this post!!), but I think of it like this – if you genuinely use and love a product, why shouldn’t you be rewarded for promoting it? You’re helping the person who reads it, and you’re helping the person who made the product – you deserve some commission!

There are lots of products and services that you’re already using that have what’s called an affiliate program. Every time someone clicks on your affiliate link and purchases said product/service, you get a small cut.

Then there’s the big dog, Amazon Associates.

There’s no secret that I keep the lights on at Shotkit by using Amazon affiliate links. If you write a review on your own website and include your Amazon links, the benefit runs deeper than you may think – you’ll be rewarded on any purchase the link clicker makes in 24 hours. People may enter Amazon off your camera review, but if they do their Prime shopping, you’ll earn a small percentage of the whole thing.

There’s also B&HPhoto, and all the other big photography vendors out there who also pay a commission in a similar way.

Now, I don’t want to get your hopes up too high. To generate any affiliate sales, you do need a bit of traffic to your review. Simply posting the review in on Facebook probably won’t cut it.

There’s a whole host of things that you can do to guide visitors to your review, and I won’t go into them here. Just concentrate on one thing – if you write a review on a product that’s genuinely useful, honest, and is deeper or generally more amazeballz than any other review on that product, you’re off to a great start!

Try googling any photography product with the word ‘review’ after it – you’ll notice a distinct lack of actual photographers reviewing the product well. That’s an opportunity for you to create something that fills the void, and potentially turn it into a nice little passive income earner.


If you liked this humongous post full of tips to boost your bottom line as a wedding photographer, you should check out my book More Brides – it’s full actionable, out-of-the-box tips, tricks and downright hacks to help you book more weddings.

…and if you’ve already got the book, do me a favour and share this post with your wedding photographer buddies. We’re all in this together!


Wedding Photography Tools & Services

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TOOLS on More Brides

I put together this list of wedding photography tools and services to show what I use everyday in my wedding photography business to stay as efficient and productive as possible.

As the founder of Shotkit, I have the advantage of being able to try out many different tools and services.

Whilst I test pretty much all of them, I only publish reviews on a handful of those that I like the best, and often end up implementing in my own business.


My Favourite Wedding Photography Tools

The tools and services listed below are ones that I use every day in the running of my wedding photography business.

Some of them I pay for, some of them are free, and some of them generate a small affiliate income if you decide to use them following my recommendations.

Whether these wedding photography tools are affiliated, free, or paid, I’d still be using them everyday as I believe they’re the best at what they do.

Leave a comment if you’re a happy user of any of these tools and services too, or if you’d like to recommend anything other than what I’ve written about here.


Business Management | Studio Ninja

I started off like many other people using a combination of Excel and Google Calendar to manage my wedding photography business.

When my business started growing, I realised I needed something more efficient, and switched to Tave.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about Tave, and used it happily for 2 years. Then I came across a smaller, local client management software for photographers called Studio Ninja.

I immediately fell for its simple interface and reduced feature set (compared to most of the other CMS out there), which meant I could concentrate on only the things that really mattered to running my business.

Studio Ninja support is also second to none, with the co-founder Chris really listening to users, and implementing frequent feature upgrades that address the most common user concerns.

If you’re looking for a photography business management tool that’s simple and actually quite fun to use, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Use Coupon Code SHOTKIT to get 50% off for the first 12 months


Client Gallery/Print Sales | ShootProof

Moving forward to 2018, I want to deliver 100% of my weddings via online gallery/download. I’ve done the whole ‘fancy USB/packaging’ thing, but writing personalised notes and finding the time to post everything really slows down my delivery workflow.

ShootProof is for me the perfect solution – well designed galleries and simple client downloads. It also happens to be the best way to sell prints to my clients too, adding a completely hand-off (passive) income stream to my business – read more about how to earn money in photography via print sales.

Try ShootProof for FREE for 30 days here.


Outsourced Photo Editing | ShootDotEdit

If I didn’t have kids, I’d probably still be editing my own weddings. However, there comes a time when you realise that spending time with family is worth so much more than spending time in front of Lightroom.

Outsourcing the editing of your photos is a huge step for a creative, but once you’ve taken it, there’s no turning back.

Being able to cull my images, upload them to ShootDotEdit, then get them back within 5 days completely edited is amazing. All I need to do is one more pass over them for minor adjustments or heavier Photoshop editing (rare in my case), then it’s on to the delivery stage of my workflow.

Whether or not ShootDotEdit is the best photo editing service out there is debatable, since the quality depends largely on the employees and their skills at retouching. However, for me at least, it’s the best solution for my wedding photography post production workflow. Make sure you use the ShootDotEdit discount below.

Use Coupon Code shotkit18 to get 1 month FREE


Album Design | Smart Albums 2

Let’s be honest here – no one really enjoys designing albums. It’s a massive time drain, and the whole back-forth of the client feedback process absolutely sucks.

I use SmartAlbums 2 to retain a level of sanity when designing and proofing albums. I let my clients choose 100% of the photos (I tried the ‘design it myself and upsell’ route but it wasted too much time), then it’s just a case of drag and drop. Check out my full Smart Albums 2 review to see how I do it.

Designing a full album of 30+ spreads takes less than 20 minutes, and is actually pretty fun too. Then the proofing/feedback process is all handled online within the Smart Albums 2 portal, which also works really well.

Download a FREE trial of SmartAlbums 2 here.


Slide Show Software | Smart Slides

Another product from the crew at Pixellu is SmartSlides. I don’t provide slide shows to all my clients, but when I do the occasional one, I use SmartSlides.

I used to use Lightroom’s built in slide show creator, but that was pretty crappy.

SmartSlides is by far the easiest and quickest way to create a great looking slide show, and they even provide an ever-expanding catalogue of copyright-free background music to go with your slide shows.

Here’s a review of Smart Slides.


Business Generation | Facebook Ads Course

There are lots of things that I do to book more weddings, most of which I’ve outlined in my book More Brides (and many more in my forthcoming book More Brides II).

However, this Facebook Ads Course by Andrew Hellmich has moved the needle more than anything else I have paid for in the past.

It’s hard to explain all the benefits of this Facebook Ads Course for Photographers without giving the game away, but just take a look at the testimonials to see just how powerful it can be to create more business for your wedding or portrait photography business.

Get the Facebook Ads Course for Photographers here.


Website | WordPress

I’ve used WordPress for all my websites and love it. I know there are several other popular all-in-one website builders out there that are popular amongst creatives, but imo WordPress trumps them all.

I’ve written a guide on how to start a photography blog using WordPress which you can follow to learn more.

Get WordPress here.


Website Theme | FloThemes

Your wedding photography website is like the shop front to your business, so you better spend some time and money on getting it looking good.

I held off using FloThemes (and many of the other all-in-one WordPress themes) for quite some time, simply because they were so ubiquitous. Instead I chose to mess around with a number of free and premium WordPress themes for photographers.

Then I realised, everyone was using them because they’re great. Simple as that! So I hopped on board with their Crowd 2 theme, and after a week or so of fiddling around and migrating my old content, I’ve got 90% of the way to what I want it to look like.

Check out my review of FloThemes for a deeper dive into what makes it so good.

Get a 25% DISCOUNT on any FloThemes product using code: shotkit25


Pricing List | FloHub

I used to send any wedding photography leads to a page on my website which showed my wedding collection pricing. Then when I realised how bad it looked on mobile, I started to send them a PDF.

Then when I couldn’t be bothered editing the PDF for each client who wanted something different, I started to search for another solution.

FloHub is the best looking solution I could find – it makes your price list interactive, and appear way more professional than anything else out there.

I’ll be honest – I find the user interface pretty bad (for me the owner), and building my FloHub price list was a hugely frustrating and overly time consuming experience, but now I have it done, it functions well and looks great.

Get a 25% DISCOUNT on FloHub using code: shotkit25


Website Hosting | SiteGround

For complete transparency, I don’t use SiteGround any more as my website host for my wedding photography site or Shotkit. I used to, but now I’ve moved on to a custom hosting solution provided by Chris at Webster Park Digital.

For FloThemes websites, the vast majority of photographers I’ve spoken to recommend using SiteGround as the host. Even FloThemes recommend using them, so that should be reason enough to give them a go.

When I used SiteGround as a host, I was very impressed by their high level of service, the speed of my images loading, and the ease of use of their backend. The only reason I switched to Webster Park Digital was because of the high-traffic of Shotkit, and my needs for a more personalised set up.

Chris wrote a whole guide to the best website hosting for photographers that you might want to check out.

Incidentally, if you just want the cheapest website hosting, I’d recommend Bluehost which always seems to be offering huge discounts on their hosting packages.

Check out the latest discounted hosting packages at SiteGround here.


Image Compression | JPEGMini

Being able to reduce the size of all the JPEGs I deliver to my clients and use on my websites without altering how they look is game changing.

I’m now able to use less storage space (both locally on my Macbook Pro and online), have my sites run faster (due to lighter images), speed up my workflow in general, and even save money.

I particularly love the way that the app can be minimised to float dormant above other windows until you need to drag images onto it for processing. (Read my JPEGMini review.)

Seriously, spend the money for JPEG Mini Pro and never give another thought to your finished images.

Get JPEGMini Pro here.


Site Speed | WP Retina 2x

This is a WordPress plugin not many people know about. It allows you to upload retina-ready (big-ass!) images to your site, but then only show a smaller (lighter) version of the image to those users who are viewing your site with non-retina screens.

As creatives we assume the whole world is viewing our sites in glorious high res on expensive 5k iMacs. However, this is probably only true 5% of the time.

By using WP Retina 2x, I can make sure everyone has as fast user experience as possible when visiting my wedding photography website. Money well spent.

Get WP Retina 2x here.


General Productivity | Keyboard Maestro

Text replacers like Keyboard Maestro save so much time. On a basic level, they allow you to type short ‘strings’ (a series of characters) which ‘expand’ into longer phrases, saving you the time of typing everything.

You can also set this up using the General > Keyboard > Text shortcuts settings on your Mac or iPhone.

However, if you really want to streamline your workflow, investing in something like Keyboard Maestro is a good idea. You can then set up ‘macros’ and other nerdy things that happen when something else happens.

For example, I have a short cut key set up that when pressed, all my USB devices are ejected at the same time, or another one that when pressed opens up a certain Excel sheet and positions the cursor in a certain spot ready for me to type.

I feel like I’ve only really scraped the surface of what’s possible with this tool, but it’s already saved me hours.

Get Keyboard Maestro here.


Harddrive Management | CleanMyMac

This Mac app isn’t really essential to wedding photographers per se, but I do think it’s essential to anyone who uses a Mac… which I guess means the vast majority of wedding photographers!

CleanMyMac sits dormant in your Mac menu bar monitoring various hard drive related things until you need it. After launch the app, you can perform a scan of the hard drive, which reveals a load of random crap that’s taking up space unnecessarily.

It’s not uncommon for CleanMyMac to find over 10g of unnecessarily files from your Mac – it’s up to you whether you want them removed, but in my case, I’ve always deleted everything it finds. For those of you like me using 100% solid state drives in your Macs, this is a massive cost (and speed) saving.

Long story short, CleanMyMac gave me another few years use out of an ageing Macbook Pro, saving me thousands of bucks in upgrades. It’s one of those unglamorous tools that really pays for itself many times over.

Get Clean My Mac here.


Online Storage | Dropbox

Dropbox doesn’t really need any explanation – it’s everyone’s favourite cloud backup solution. I spent years on the free Dropbox plan just deleting things as I went, but have finally ponied up for the paid plan so I can back up my whole life and not have to think about it again.

As upload speeds here in Australia are so crap, I only back up things under 1gig, such as smaller versions (JPEG Mini’d) of all my wedding JPEGs for clients.

When I’m shooting a destination wedding in a country with good Internet speeds, I’ll backup an entire RAW folder of images to Dropbox too, just as another fail safe until I return home.

Get some BONUS Dropbox storage here.


Photobooth | Gifyyy

I decided to include this here even though it’s more of a physical product, because quite simply, it helps me make more money in my wedding photography business.

The Gifyyy is an animated photo booth – simple to set up and operate, and lots of fun for wedding guests. It also includes very powerful marketing functionality that allows you to connect with guests after an event, creating more business for your brand.

I put together a long-winded and detailed Gifyyy review over on Shotkit. TL;DR – Gifyyy may be expensive, but you’ll make back way more money than your investment in a very short time indeed.

Get a $100 DISCOUNT and FREE $295 Workflow kit here.


Inspiration | PhotoBizX

As photographers, we get inspired from everywhere, everyone and everything. However, the one podcast I always listen to when I have some time in the car (usually on the way to shoot a wedding), is PhotoBizXposed.

Andrew Hellmich leaves no stone unturned as he finds out everything that makes a photography business successful, whether that’s wedding, portrait, boudoir, commercial or any other genre of pro photography. He actually interviewed me here, back when I knew way less about running a wedding photography business than I do now!

The free version of the podcast is great, but to get all the meaty tidbits that can really help with your photography business, I recommend shelling out for the premium version.

Get a month of PhotoBizXposed Premium for ONLY $1 here.


Schedule Management | Calendly

If you’re tired of the back-and-forth that comes with trying to schedule phone calls, meetings, or even shoots with your photography clients, I highly recommend Calendly.

Being able to limit the number of choices for clients to get in touch with me to only business hours each day by offering a selection of time slots is a great help in managing my work:personal lives.

I’ve only needed to use the free an for the 3 years I’ve been using Calendly, but would happily pay for this service if they took away the free option – it really is that useful.

Get Calendly here.


So that’s pretty much it. Aside from all the camera gear I use to actually shoot the wedding (which you can check out here), all the tools and services listed above help me generate enough income to work a few days a year and enjoy as much time as possible with my family… and managing Shotkit too of course!

Leave a comment with any tools I’ve missed that are helping you do what you do as a professional wedding photographer.

Outsource your Edits – 1 Month Free Offer

For the past couple of years I’ve been using ShootDotEdit to handle my wedding photography image edits.

I still pull the odd image into Photoshop, or spend a little more time fine tuning in Lightroom, but I’d say that between 80-90% of my images come back from SDE and get uploaded directly to my client’s gallery.

This obviously helps enormously with my wedding photo delivery times, allowing me to get entire wedding galleries to clients in under 10 days… sometimes in less than a week!

With outsourced image editing, it’s a win: win. Happy clients, happy you.

Imagine how long you normally spend editing your images.

Now imagine having all that time back 🙂

Outsourcing your image editing allows you the freedom to focus your time on other areas of your wedding photography business. Or maybe you prefer to just use your new found free time to hang out more with your friends and family…

 

ShootDotEdit Discount Code

Follow the instructions below to use your ShootDotEdit Discount Code to receive an entire free month of unlimited image editing.

Each ‘event’ you upload is limited to 700 photos, but in your free month there are no limits to the number of events uploaded.

Normally I’d recommend waiting for your busiest month to take advantage of this offer, but truth be told, I don’t actually know how long it’s going to last.

So best bet – jump on board now.

Even if you’re still on the fence about having someone else edit your images, now is the best time to try it out – there’s nothing to lose. If you don’t like it, you just go back to editing your images yourself.

Here’s how to get the free month:

Instructions – follow carefully!

In order to qualify for the one month free plan, you need to do 2 things:

1. Click this link

2. Sign up, then choose the Roll Over Plan

3. Enter the discount code: shotkit18

(see the screenshot below for where to enter the code)

Let me know what you plan to do with all your free time 😉


A Guide to SEO for Wedding Photographers

SEO FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS

This is a guest post by Flothemes which was originally titled: Everything a Photographer Needs to Know About SEO.

Most of these key topics and tactics are evergreen, and we’ve been debunking and recommending you to implement them for months now.

Make sure none of these tips skipped your SEO To Do list.


1. Use Alt Tags and Alt Titles

What is an alt tag? Why use it and how will it benefit my SEO?

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-alt-tags-and-alt-titles

It’s very simple, Google can’t read or understand images. Alt tags and Alt tiles are a description for your images, they translate your image for search engines. Without them, your images are pretty much non-existent for the world wide web.

For more details about choosing Alt tags and Alt Titles, check our Ultimate guide to saving Images for the Web, under #3 Image SEO.

Now imagine, your potential client, a bride is beginning her planning for the special day. She runs a search on google for specific keywords. Since you are using alt tags, a series of your images pop out in the search result. She loves them and pins them to her inspiration board on Pinterest. Three awesome things just happened:

1. You got found, so you have a potential lead.
2. Now your work is also on Pinterest, which means other brides and potential clients may stumble upon your work (read as: more exposure)
3. You just earned new backlinks (read more about backlinks below)

You can also read more about Alt tags, alt titles and the importance of labeling images before importing them to your website in this article by Yoast SEO.


2. Optimize All Images Before Uploading Them to Your Site

We cannot stress this enough. It’s not just recommended, it’s crucial for photography websites!

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-Optimize-Images-before-uploading-to-website

If you keep your images in original sizes or high resolution, and upload them in those immense file sizes to your website – you are slowly killing your website, the user experience of your site and your business overall.

Why? Because the heavier your website gets, the slower it loads for your users. Nobody is going to wait 50+ seconds for your homepage to load (perhaps only your mom). The story gets even sadder when somebody tries to access your website from their mobile, it takes forever, it consumes their mobile data and they will eventually get frustrated and exit your site for good (remember, over 60% of web traffic comes from mobile these days).

There is no point in uploading 4K images, for a little iphone or ipad screen. Think about it, how many of your potential clients, not peers, not publishers – regular people who are interested in your services own a 4K screen? Not many.

This is why it’s important to keep your images optimized. Don’t worry, if you follow the guidelines from our Ultimate Guide to Saving Images for the Web, you will significantly reduce your image sizes without any visible changes to the quality and crispness of your photographs.

Just for a test, go right now to tools.pingdom.com, enter your website link and run a quick test. Pay attention to your load time, page size, performance score, etc. As an example, we used the website of our dear clients Days Made of Love (built with Trento theme).

A good loading speed for your pages is anything below 5 seconds. A good page size is anything below 5MB. Looks like Fanis & Jenny are doing a wonderful job with keeping their site light and beautiful.

SEO for photographers, pingdom-test-seo-tips_

Scroll down, snooping for more information. If your site loads slow, or has a very large page size, pay attention to the file sizes. identify the troublemakers (see image below), optimize them, and re-upload to your site.

SEO for photographers, pingdom-test-seo-tips_1

As mentioned, you will find a more thorough guide on How to Optimize Your Images for your Website here.


3. Create Backlinks

A backlink is a lead from another website to your website.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-build-quality-backlinks

There is only one golden rule you need to follow when building your backlinks – Quality over Quantity. One single backlink from a popular, trustworthy and relevant website can add a lot more value than 50 backlinks from spammy, dodgy websites.

Long gone is also the trend for backlink farms (yes, you could pay for batches of backlinks, also coming from unreliable sources). This type of behaviour will only hurt your ranking, if not get you completely penalized by Google. So invest some time into reaching out and building relationships that can get you mentions and features with quality backlinks.

But to be honest, as a photographer you already have access to so many opportunities for building backlinks. Think about it, you work with tens of vendors for each wedding (videographers, makeup artists, event organizing teams, desert and candy bar companies, florists, venues, musical bands, etc). Be nice, and while blogging about the event, mention and give credits to each and single one of them. Most will return the favor and share your work on their blog or social media (all backlinks), bringing more quality traffic your way. Simple.

Another strategy, requiring a bit more time, patience and effort is submitting your work to popular wedding and bridal magazines and online blogs, such as Junebug, Style Me Pretty, Green Wedding Shoes, etc.

Sure, it’s not easy getting featured on these sites, but keep trying and refining your portfolio. You will get featured sooner than later, and these are powerful links, since they are from the same industry as yours and weigh a lot due to relevancy. Therefore they will have a bigger impact on your SEO and ranking.

One of the easiest ways to get backlinks, is to be active online, on social media, on various relevant platforms from your industry (the blogs you want to be featured on), on websites like Quora and Reddit. Comment, engage in relevant discussions, be genuinely helpful, share your thoughts, opinion and experience, and drop a link to your website here and there. If traffic is good for these discussions, you’ll surely get new users coming to your website soon.

Eager to dive deeper into the world of backlinking strategy? Learn how to identify quality backlinks first. Also, check out this tutorial explaining how to check backlinks in Google Webmaster Tools.


4. Create content for your viewer

Content is crucial when it comes to SEO, or as people say, “Content is King”.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-blog-like-a-pro,-drive-traffic-to-your-site

We can’t stress this enough. Don’t blog just for the sake of having content on your site, do it with a purpose. It should be informative, entertaining, new, curious, sad or fun. If you’re blogging about a wedding, write about your experience, tell a story, describe the couple, the venue, the atmosphere and people.

These blog posts aren’t only good for showcasing your work, and pinning keywords for SEO – they also help users learn more about your personality, your values and philosophy. This is how you spark their interest and connect with them.

Do check out these 6 steps to becoming a Pro at Blogging, or follow the list of top recommendations described below:

– Use catchy titles. Write articles for the title, not just for the keyword. It’s preferable to use your focus keyword in the title, but not crucial. Don’t sacrifice your titles’ catchiness and ability to attract more readers, if the keyword simply doesn’t fit in there.

– Avoid keyword stuffing. Google got really good at understanding keywords (synonyms and similar/related word combinations). If you use the same keyword everywhere (keyword stuffing), it will be perceived as spammy.

– Focus on using just 1-2 keywords (and their synonyms) throughout a blog post. If you try to include all your keyword list into one article – you will dilute your content, thus reducing your chances of ranking higher for any of these keywords. Keep it simple. One post can be focused solely on promoting your destination wedding photography work in Italy (or even more narrow – Tuscany). Another article will promote your wedding photography work in France, or Scotland.

– It’s highly effective to use your keywords within the first 200 characters of your blog post, then a few times throughout your article, and finally one more time in the last paragraph, at the end of the post.

– Pay attention to your blog post’s structure. Make sure it’s easy to read and navigate through. Break up content into short paragraphs and sentences. If possible, add an image(s) every 300-400 words, to break up long texts. You can also use supporting content such as videos, slides, social embeds, quotes, etc.

– Make good use of Headings (H1) and subheadings (H2, H3, H4), structure is important for user experience.

– As explained in the Backlinks section (read above), mention and link back to all the vendors and brands that were part of this event. Some of them may reach out to use your images for their own portfolio and social media. Guess what, more exposure and backlinks for you, as they will surely include the photo credits.

– We’ve talked about Image Optimization, alt tags and alt titles in the previous sections. Just make sure your alt attributes also include your keywords.

– Write everything in your own words and style. Don’t copy paste paragraphs from other blogs.

– And finally, always write for the client. Not for Google. Readers need to understand, like and want to share your articles.


5. Avoid Duplicated Pages (aka. How to rank fast for multiple destinations)

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-how-to-rank-for-multiple-destinations

A few years ago it was popular to duplicate your pages, add a few new keywords to it and try to rank higher for multiple keywords at once. Don’t do it. You can get penalized for this. There is a smart way. Create similar pages (can be multiple blog posts) but create unique content for each of them.

Feature your own work, weddings, elopements, style shoot, images you took at a workshop, or on your holiday trip. As long as it’s your images, and there is a short story with those key destination words – you’re on the right track.


6. CDN

What does CDN mean? How does it work? Do I need it?

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-why-use-a-CDN

Well, there are Pros and Cons to getting one. Easiest way to explain you the benefits of a CDN (Content Delivery Network), is through an example: let’s say you’re a wedding photographer based and working in London.

Most of your clients are also located in London and nearby. You have a good hosting provider, with servers in the UK, therefore your website is served very fast for everyone based in your country. However, if a potential client tries to access your website from Amsterdam (even thought it’s not too far away) – it will take longer to load.

Your site speed decreases even more for someone living in Cape Town or Indonesia. This is where a CDN comes in handy. Basically, it’s a network of servers that delivers a cached copy of your website all across the world. Remember site speed is important for SEO.

Apart from boosting your page loading speed, CDNs are also used for creating multiple domains for downloads. Web browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, etc) can open only 4 connections at a time for a single domain. This means that if you need to load 20 different files from one domain (read as website), it will do it in batches of 4. When you’re using a CDN, you have 8 connections, allowing you to load content much faster. The caching for the CDN is much faster as well.

Therefore, if you want to get more international clients and destination photography work – you’ll need to compete with local photographers from those areas, and have a beautiful BUT ALSO a fast performing website. This ensures not only a pleasant user experience on your website, but also impacts your ranking for Google and other search engines.

You can also check out this article by WPBeginner explaining what a Content Delivery Network is and how it can help your SEO.


7. Get Good Hosting

Invest into a good hosting provider. It will pay off in the long run. Don’t pick a shared plan that doesn’t use the latest technologies, doesn’t have the latest PHP versions, and doesn’t use SSDs on their servers. Hosting should never be a decision based solely on cost.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-choosing-a-wordpress-hosting-provider

There are many hosting companies comparable on cost, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for you could get one with slow loading times, site downtime and bad customer service.

Check where your provider is based and where are their servers located. Make sure that it allows you to use an SSL certificate, in the case that you need have a secured, verified website.

Your hosting will affect your site’s loading speed as well as your site’s security. Make sure you do your homework and know how to choose the right hosting provider for your WordPress site.


8. SSL Certificates

Though moving to HTTPS is still a small SEO ranking factor – we’re pretty positive it’s going to grow, you only need to look at browser providers adding the warning sign to sites without HTTPS to know.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-SSL-certificates

Online security, website verification and SSL certificates got a lot more important over the last few years. But before shopping for an SSL certificate (yes, there are various types), you need to understand why and when it’s important to use HTTPS on your website.

Basically, if you have an online shop, or are collecting sensitive, personal information from your users – you must guarantee that all these details will be encrypted and securely stored on your site. You can do it by getting and implementing an SSL certificate.

There are paid and free options available (sometimes offered by your hosting provider). Since it’s a more complex and tedious process, we recommend seeking help from an expert – to avoid any website errors or issues. Think of it as of a new website. Your url changes from http to https. All your old links need to redirect to your new website, otherwise you’ll be loosing a lot of traffic.

Note: After implementing the SSL certificate, you’ll need to reach out to your hosting provider and check if everything was done correctly. You’ll also need to update your Google Analytics and Google Web Master Tools to add the new https url (it’s recommended to keep both http and https).


9. Low Bounce Rate

Your bounce rate is a great indicator of the quality of your website traffic.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-low-bounce-rate

Bounce rates show how many of your website visitors “bounce” away from your site as soon as they’ve accessed it, without clicking through to the next page. If your bounce rate is high, you’re probably doing something wrong. You’re either sending the wrong type of users to your site (from social media, publications, guest blogging, etc), your current website/homepage doesn’t trigger interest and motivate users to continue browsing, or it’s slow and people become impatient and leave.

Not sure what your bounce rate is? It’s easy to find out. Go into your Google Analytics account and find the info under Acquisition >> Overview. A bounce rate somewhere between 40-70% is considered to be average.

If it’s over 70%, you may want to follow these 9 techniques to improve your bounce rate. If it’s extremely low – below 5%, put that Champagne bottle back in the fridge. Most likely you’ve misplaced or added twice your Google Analytics (GA) code to your side. This article will explain how to check whether you have a duplicate GA code on your site and how to remove it.


10. A SEO Friendly Homepage

Obviously your homepage is the most visited page on your website.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-SEO-friendly-homepage

Based on the way it looks, feels and works, your site visitors decide whether they want to stay and keep browsing (yay for low bounce rates) or leave you site for good. This means you have to put some thought and logic into crafting your homepage, so it’s user and SEO friendly.

Here are a few things you have to keep in mind when designing your homepage (listed in no particular order):

– Use Call to Actions to encourage users to visit your subpages: your portfolio, your blog, your about page and obviously your contact page to submit an inquiry. Make sure they are visible and attention grabbing.

– Show your Latest Work. Recommend 3-6 fresh articles or galleries for your user to check out.

– Full screen sliders – keep them short and impactful. Don’t add 20-30 images, nobody will have the patience to see them all scroll, and it will slow down your page loading speed. A selection of 5-7 best images is more than enough to create a good first impression.

– Use headlines. Make it crystal clear for your audience what’s this website about, what is the product/service and the benefits? Figure out what most of your clients want and need and promise to deliver that. If possible, mention your area of work and the type of photography you do – so your site visitor knows if you are a good fit for them, immediately.

– Don’t forget to include your main Keyword(s) on your homepage. It can be in your headline, page title, a short intro paragraph, your brief about section, etc. Just make sure it’s there.

– Social Networks and Newsletter opt-in. This is not mandatory, but if you want to build a relationship and continue a dialog with your site visitors, offer them an alternative way to connect with you. If you’re building a mailing list, include a subscription form on your homepage, and make it visible. If you’re active on social media, add social icons to your page, linking back to your accounts.

– Usually, right after you capture a user’s attention with your work, they want to find out a bit more about you, the owner. Therefore, including a photo of you, a short bio or a welcome message is always a good idea. It helps users put a face to the brand and learn a bit more about your personality. Include a Call to action to your about page for further details (yay for lower bounce rates again).

This is a list of elements we recommend including on your homepage, for better performance and conversions, but know that there is no single golden rule. If you’ve found other methods that works best for you – keep and polish them out. Also, for inspiration check out a few Homepage layouts built by our designers for our theme demos: TrentoCrowdOsakaCube, etc.


11. Plugins

For SEO purposes, there are 2 plugin categories that you need to know about and use.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-SEO-&-Caching-plugins

SEO Plugins
Simply installing and activating a SEO plugin won’t be enough. Take some time to read and learn about its features and capabilities, set it up correctly, and only then start enjoying its effects. Out of all available SEO plugins, we recommend one of the following two:

– Yoast SEO – It allows you to add keywords and meta descriptions to each of your pages. Also this is your solution to choosing proper description and featured images for your site and pages, when sharing them on Facebook. You can check out their own documentation or follow the steps describe in our Guide to Your Yoast SEO plugin.

– All in One SEO – Another great SEO plug-in, allowing keywords, meta descriptions and social sharing options. WP Beginner provides a good article on setting up All in One SEO.

Caching Plugins
Caching plugins can help you speed up your website’s loading speed.
Note: Some hosting providers do not allow caching plugins as they already provide caching. Check with your hosting provider if it’s ok to add a caching plugin to your website before proceeding to install one.

– WP Super Cache – Here’s a guide on how to set up WP Super Cache correctly.

– Better WordPress Minify – It allows you to combine and minify your CSS and JS files to improve your page loading time. Note: If after minifying you are getting javascript errors, then you may need to manage enqueued files order manually.

– WP Performance Score Booster – it adds expiry headers to all WordPress files, making them more cacheable.

Bonus: Too many plugins can also harm your site performance and loading speed. If you’re a more advanced user, here’s another way to leverage browser caching.


12. SEO Friendly Permalinks

Permalinks allow you to bring more structure and cleanliness to your website page links. A clear url structure also helps search engines link easier to your website.

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Luckily, WordPress makes it very easy to define and adjust your permalink structure. Access Settings >> Permalinks in your Dashboard, to find the following setting window.

SEO for photographers, permalinks

For SEO purposes we recommend choosing the Post name option. This makes your url readable for users and search engines, and allows you to through in your keyword into your post url.

Voila, your url turned from something sloppy and ugly, such as “https://yourwebsite.com/?p=123Bghd&sd36” into “https://yourwebsite.com/your-awesome-page-including-keyword/”.

Wondering whether you should include categories or dates into your permalink structure? Read this article by Yoast about the Perfect WordPress SEO permalink structure.


13. Your 404 Page

Ignoring your 404 Page or leaving it as it comes by default from WordPress is a big mistake. Errors happen, pages get lost or deleted, but if somebody bumps into a 404 on your site, it means they are interested and were looking for something (probably some of your older content).

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-404-page-design

Use your 404 Error Page as an opportunity to convert lost users into fans or leads. Use design, humor, and your favorite images to intrigue and drive more traffic towards your website.

Not sure how and where to start? We’ve compiled a list of inspiring and fun 404 Page design examples, as well as a list of plugins you can use to create your own 404 Page. Enjoy!


14. Internal Linking

This is a good way of keeping users longer on your website, by offering them some recommended additional galleries/articles to check out. It’s also a great trick for improving your bounce rate.

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Interlink similar and related posts, offer more inspiration and showcase more of your work. It can be hyperlinks inside your text (best is to have a keyword in there too), or a “You’ll also like..” type of block section at the end of your post.

SEO for photographers, internal linking

image source: www.moz.com

For better results, don’t just keep this advice in mind for your future blog posts. Do it now. Pause reading this article. Open your last blog post, and try to link it to some of your older related galleries or articles.

If you’re really curious to see the results, add a utm tag and check out in a month – how much traffic came as a result of this exercise.


15. Local SEO

If you’re aiming to get visibility and good ranking for your local area (city, state or country), you need to be reading, learning and working on your Local SEO. This is how smaller businesses usually manage to compete with larger brands, and it’s a strategy based on a few key elements + Google Ads if you must.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-local-seo

Local SEO of course includes the keyword startegy that you’ve already put into place, but also is highly influenced by reviews you collect from clients. Ideally you’re collecting Google reviews via your Google Business Account (assuming that you have a Google Business Account).

Specialized platforms for reviews, such as Yelp can have a good impact on your Local ranking. As well as Facebook reviews. The last ones are much easier to gather, since that’s where most of your clients “live”.

For the first two, you’ll most likely need to send your customers a link, and ask them to Rate You and leave some feedback. Many photographers don’t feel comfortable or like asking for reviews, while Facebook feels more natural, and users usually do it without being asked.

And lastly, there are paid options to get ahead of competition and rank higher than competition in your local area. These are Google Ads. Google doesn’t hide its paid advertising, but being ranked in the top 4 on the search results page does offer you a competitive advantage.

SEO for photographers, local seo

Read more about optimizing your website for local searches in this article by Moz.


16. Mobile Site

It feels weird still stressing this, but if your site not responsive, getting a new responsive photography website should be the first thing on your To Do SEO list.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-speed-up-mobile-site

Since Internet usage on mobile devices has increased with over 600% since 2010, there’s a good chance that at least one third of your site visitors access your website from their mobile device.

You can actually check these stats from your Google Analytics account, under Audience >> Mobile >> Overview.

SEO for photographers, Google Analytics, mobile site overview

Always do a check on various devices, when launching a new site or updating your existing one, to make sure everything looks good and works properly. If your website building platform allows, customize your mobile site, hide certain page blocks, so your user doesn’t have to scroll forever and ever on their tiny screen.

We’ve actually introduced this type of mobile flexibility with some of our latest themes to offer our clients more freedom and control over the experience they provide their users on phones and tablets.

Worth reminding you here is that you MUST optimize your images for the web before uploading them to your website (see point #2 for more details).


17. Send Your Sitemap to Google

If a page is not indexed, it won’t be found by Google or your potential clients.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-how-to-submit-sitemap-to-google

Google has its own crawlers that visit your website and index changes and fresh content, to serve it on Search Result Pages. However, there is no need to just sit patiently and wait for it to happen. You can manually submit your sitemap to Google, so the indexing process happens faster.

All you need to do is access your website’s sitemap via your Yoast SEO plugin, and submit it through Google Webmaster Tools Console. Use this permalink to get your sitemap – http or https://yourwebsite.com/sitemap_index.xml

Login to www.google.com/webmasters and follow these steps:

– Go to Crawl >> Sitemaps
– Click add / test sitemap (button in the top right corner)
– Enter sitemap_index.xml in the value field
– Hit submit

SEO for photographers, Google Analytics, send your sitemap to google

That’s should do the trick.

Since Google is the preferred search engine when it comes to SEO efforts, we’re guiding you only through these steps. However, you can always submit your sitemap also to other search engines. Yoast describes on their blog how to submit your sitemap to Bing, Yandex and other search engines.


18. Removing Old Plugins, Content & Creating 301 Redirects

First of all, check your website for old, unused plugins or extensions and get rid of them, as they may be slowing down your website. Outdated plugins may also put at risk your website’s security. So do take this seriously.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-how-to-remove-old-content-and-create-redirects

Back in 2011 Google introduced Google Panda, a change to its ranking algorithms, meant to identify “content farm” types of websites, and lower their ranking – in order to promote high quality content on high quality websites. What does this have to do with me, you ask? Well, if you’re keeping a bunch of old content on your website, which brings you low to no traffic – these old posts may hurt your overall website ranking (via Google Panda). So better remove them, and create:

– 301 redirects if you have a newer, relevant article on that same topic.
– 410 if you have nothing to replace it with, but want Google to stop indexing it.
– 404, especially if you’re following point #13, and crafting a fun and highly converting 404 page.

Here’s a tutorial by Yoast, explaining how to create a 301 redirect, which is also called a permanent redirect, and lets Google and other search engines know that the the old url needs to be assigned to the new url you redirect your users to.

But keep in mind that 301 redirects are great when you can replace an old post, with a newer one on the same topic. Otherwise, if you’ll be redirecting users to a random page (even if it’s your homepage) – you risk bumping up your bounce rate, since users will be accessing for one piece of content, not finding it, and exiting immediately. In this case, a 410 or 404 are a way better alternative.


19. Fixing Broken Links

Some of your old content may have been removed, or the websites/articles you have linked to – might have been deleted.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,fix-broken-links

Broken links happen, and it’s not always in your area of control. Ignoring them on the other hand will harm your users’ experience and Google Ranking. While you can go ahead and do a manual check, scan each page, click on each button and hyperlink – there are easier and faster ways.

Free or paid online tools, that do the check for you (ex: Dead Link Checker). Identify the problematic urls and create a redirect for them. If they are external links, make sure to update, or remove them.


20. Multi-Language Sites & SEO

Multi-language websites are a bit more complex and complicated to implement, if you want to focus it around building your SEO strategy. You need to be careful with the structure of your website links. A common mistake is doing 2 languages on the same page. Better invest a bit more time on building 2 separate pages for each language.

Luckily, with WordPress you can easily create subdomains or configure 2 separate domains for each language version of your website to use the same shared database. This offers easier management and control over your websites. Meaning, if you tweak the design or an element on one of them, the changes will be applied to both.

For SEO reasons, it is also recommended to link pages to their equivalent in the other language (a feature that not many CMS platforms allow, but WordPress does).

If you want to dive deeper into the multi-language SEO world, build a solid strategy, find proper keywords for each language and test them out, read this comprehensive Multilingual SEO article by Ahrefs.

Note, that it’s also worth investing into a specialized plugin, such as WPML, especially now that all our new themes (Trento, Kyoto, Crowd, Osaka, Cube, Rosemary, Monte) are compatible with it.


21. Being Active on Social Media

Nope, it’s not just a Marketing and PR move, it’s SEO as well. As mentioned earlier in this article, being active on social media, participating in discussions, and occasionally (when relevant) linking back to your website or a specific post on your site – will bring quality traffic and new leads to your website.

Besides, being consistent and posting regularly on social media keeps you connected to your audience, and keeps reminding them about your brand and awesomeness.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-being-active-on-social-media

Facebook’s and Instagram’s algorithms try to calculate what type of content you’d be interested in, based on your past engagement with different people and pages, posts that you’ve liked and commented on. For this reason, you only see certain updates in your news feed, while the rest of the information stays hidden (you need to manually visit brand pages and friend’s profiles to see their recent posts).

If you’re active on social media for a month or two, then suddenly disappear for a few weeks – when you’re back online, posting, you may notice a significant drop in your post reach and engagement. This is why we encourage you to analyze your insights for each platform (which is super easy to do, with Business accounts), identify the time slots when most of your fans are active online, and post then.

Do it regularly. Treat each social media platform as a separate “individual” and adapt your posts for it – image size, text, with or w/o hashtags, etc. Be sure to respond to your followers’ comments, and engage with the posts that others share. It will pay off, both SEO wise, and number of followers/engagement rate wise.


22. Using Keywords in Your Domain Name

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-using-the-word-photography-in-your-domain-name

We get this question in almost every SEO Facebook live video and SEO consultancy call, so we’d like to debunk it. It’s a Myth. Google doesn’t really care if you include the word “photography” into your domain name (website url) – so it’s up to you.

We’d recommend promoting your brand name through your domain name, to strengthen brand recognition and awareness.


23. Run Speed Checks Occasionally

Just as you do occasional checkups at your doctor, your need to monitor your website’s state and performance. Especially after some major updates of your theme, WordPress version, plugin updates, new hosting provider, etc. The updates may include new features, bugs or load java script differently – which may impact your website speed and ranking.

A few great platforms to run a quick, yet thorough site speed check are:

Pingdom
GTMetrix 
Google Page Speed

Watch out for page loading speed higher than 5 seconds, page size larger than 5 MB, and other low performing or troublemaking indicators.


24. Paid Advertising (optional)

This is not a Must Do SEO thing, but it can bring value and have an impact on your brand recognition and website traffic. It’s not for everyone, but you can explore its possibilities – out of curiosity or need.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-paid-advertising-for-SEO

Today, you can run ads almost anywhere, on any website or platform – Google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, you name it. Most of these will ask you to install a Pixel to your website (a code snippet that will track your website traffic). The pixel makes re-targeting users that visited your website super easy and simple.

Facebook’s pixel and Ads Manager is particularly advanced. It allows you to create Custom Audiences, based on the users’ behavior on your website, as well as Lookalike audiences, based on your fans, your site visitors, their purchasing power, occupations, location, and many more. To dive deeper, read this Facebook Advertising Guide by AppInstitute.

Instagram ads can be set directly from your Facebook Ads manager, so you have that covered. For Google Ads, we recommend seeking help from an expert, as Google requires you to pass a tests and get Google Ads certification.

Metrics

What’s the point of investing so much time, effort and money into SEO, if you don’t measure and analyze your results? Perhaps you don’t need it in the first place? We recommend using various tools, such as Google Analytics and Webmaster tools, to get a precise picture of what’s happening on your website, and make decisions based on gather data, rather than gut feeling.

Everything-a-Photographer-Needs-to-Know-About-SEO,-Tracking-metrics,-analyzing-results

Ideally, you’re checking the stats before you implement these tips and strategies, and then after.
Here are some of the tools we use at Flothemes and love:

1. Google Analytics (GA) – analyze everything that is happening on your website, traffic amount, where does it come from, where do your users live, which device do they use, how many bounce back, which pages are most viewed, etc.

2. Google Webmaster Tools – a toolset that allows you to easily communicate with Google, adjust and fix (in case of any issues) the way Google sees and indexes your website, adjust your internal or external links, check what type of keywords users searched for when landing on your website, what’s the clickthrough rate for each of those keywords, as well as other type of useful data. You can also integrate your GA with Google Webmaster Tools.

3. Hotjar or CrazyEgg – heat mapping tools allow you to see and analyze how people behave on your website, what do they look at on your pages, which buttons and links do they click on, what do they try to do, what do they skip.

This can be an eye opener and help you discover bumps or opportunities for improvement on your website (placing call to actions or your most popular/relevant content to places where users look and click the most) for better user experience and conversions. Both, Hotjar and CrazyEgg have a 30 day trial period, where you can test them out, and decide which one you like better.


A Few Last Things..

If you’re reading this, you’re a super star!

You’ve just got more SEO savvy. Now it’s time to apply this knowledge, strategies and tools on your own website. Join the Flothemes Facebook group SEO for Photographer, to share questions, experience and get daily improvement advice.

One final note. Nobody, and we do mean NOBODY CAN PROMISE YOU A HIGHER (OR TOP 3) GOOGLE RANKING, for any cost. You can’t simply buy your search engine ranking. It’s a long term, ongoing process that requires your constant time, attention and devotion.

If somebody is offering you top ranking for a price, it’s probably a scam. What they can do, is improve your current site performance, which in turn will positively affect your ranking – but it’s not a guarantee of a first page, top ranking.

We don’t mean to discourage you, SEO is important, but it’s a process, not a tangible product. You can’t buy it like coffee. Now, our talented creative hustlers, time to roll up your sleeves!


Guest post by Nata Leto of Flothemes | www.flothemes.com</p


30 Free Lightroom Presets for Wedding Photography

Lightroom presets for wedding photographers

You’re probably a bit dubious about a post entitled ‘Free Lightroom Presets for Wedding Photography’. After all, who in their right mind would give out free wedding Lightroom presets, when so many photographers are making money by selling them?!

If you’re a professional wedding photographer like me, you’ve probably been tempted in the past to invest in any number of wedding photography presets for Lightroom. God knows there’s a lot of them!

I won’t name any names here, but let’s face it – lots of famous wedding photographers are profiting from their fellow photographers in the industry by selling Lightroom presets, that may, or may not help them achieve their ‘look’.

I’m not against people trying to make a living, but what I do doubt is whether a preset can actually satisfy other photographers who want a one-click solution to their editing problems.

So the question still remains…

Why the hell would I give away a set of free Lightroom presets for wedding photographers?!

Allow me to explain…


Free Lightroom Presets for Wedding Photography | Why so free?!

I could quite easily have charged money for these Lightroom presets. I could have priced them below all the other wedding presets out there at the moment, and made quite a tidy profit.

However, this didn’t sit well with me.

You see, let’s call a preset for what it is – a one-size-fits-all adjustment to a photo. One click, and it’s applied. There’s nothing dynamic at all.

It takes seconds to create (just adjust your sliders in Lightroom and then save it as a preset), and can be duplicated infinitely at zero cost to the producer.

Then it’s just a case of whacking a price on it, adding it to a web page with some beautiful wedding photography, and kerching! – money in the bank!

This is all well and good, but presets by their very nature assume that the end user will be shooting in the exact same way, and in the exact same conditions as the photographer who created them.

Unless all these shooting variables are consistent, the end photo will never look like it’s ‘supposed’ to – not even remotely.

This isn’t the preset maker’s fault, and it’s not the preset purchaser’s fault. It’s just a sad truth, and wedding photographers with more disposable income than sense (I’m one of them – just check out my bag collection!!) don’t care about these details – we just want a quick way to edit our photos and make them look awesome 🙂

So, that longwinded ramble is my way of saying…

I don’t like charging people for something that may not help them achieve their goals.

SIDE NOTE: I am happy to charge people for something like my book More Brides (get it here), since I 100% believe (and guarantee) that it can help you triple your wedding bookings and make more money as a wedding photographer!

… but Lightroom presets for wedding photography??… hmm… #YMMV.


30 Free Lightroom Presets for Wedding Photographers

Ok, there is something I want from you in return for these free wedding presets. It won’t cost you a thing, but there are 2 steps to getting your mitts on the presets!

Step 1: Click the button below to share this post to Facebook.

Step 2: Enter your email address so I can send you a link to the presets.

That’s it – no more surprises, I promise!

Do both those things and you’ll receive a link to download a bunch of free wedding photography presets that may or may not help your photos look like the examples below!

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Examples of the Free Wedding Presets for Lightroom

Remember, if you want to get the most of these wedding presets, think of them as a start to your editing – not the end.

Hover over each presets in the develop pane of Lightroom (buy Lightroom here) until you find the one you like the look of, then apply it, and start your editing from there.

Then adjust the white balance, the contrast, the exposure… just anything you want to make the photo look yours.

Don’t get lazy with these wedding presets just because they’re free – you still need to work at them to make your final image ready to deliver to your clients.

Have a play around with the before/after images below – the left hand side are all straight out of camera RAW to JPEG conversions. On the right hand side you can see the result of applying each of the free More Brides Lightroom presets.

 

Lightroom Wedding Preset #21 | Cold WB

 

Lightroom Wedding Preset #01 | Soft Contrast

 

Lightroom Wedding Preset #25 | B&W Soft

 

Lightroom Wedding Preset #30  | Soft Colors

 

Lightroom Wedding Preset #13 | Toning Vignette

 

These wedding photography presets for Lightroom were created by www.fixthephoto.com and have been licensed for use by More Brides.

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