How do I become a wedding content creator? If you have a passion for content creation and love weddings, then becoming a professional wedding content creator (YES! They do exist) could be perfect for you. But, just like any other for any other wedding industry supplier, stepping out into the industry can be the hardest step of all.
Where do I start, how do I get noticed, and how do I even book my first couple? These were the very same question I faced over a decade ago when I started my journey towards becoming a professional wedding photographer, and I doubt I was alone!
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While there certainly are differences between the role of wedding photographer, wedding videographer and that of wedding content creator. There are undoubtedly similarities in our challenges, especially when starting out. Below I will share some of the hints, tips and industry secrets we have picked up over the past 13 years that will hopefully get you on your way to being a successful wedding content creator.
- Wedding Content Creator, It's Not Really A Thing Is It?
- But Surely It's Not Something People Are Willing To Pay For?
- So How Do I Become A Wedding Content Creator
- Starting Out As A Wedding Content Creator
- Building Your Brand
- A Guide To Your First Wedding
- 5 Quick Tips
Wedding Content Creator, It's Not Really A Thing Is It?
Yes, while the role of wedding content creator is undoubtedly a recent concept, it is indeed real and makes a lot of sense for many couples.
When planning a wedding, we are often torn between the idea of an unplugged wedding and yet wanting to capture as much as possible. Even the world's best photographer (according to my mum) can't be in every place simultaneously. Omnipresence is a difficult skill to master.
As a result, friends and family often turn to their mobile phones in order to capture those grammable moments for our weddings.
A wedding content creator's role is to try and bridge this tricky path by capturing and curating content in almost real-time. Replacing neither the photographer nor videographer but instead offering a different dimension to the wedding story.
But Surely It's Not Something People Are Willing To Pay For?
Are people willing to pay for it? This has probably been the one question asked about every medium ever used to capture a wedding. The answer is almost always yes, but the technology and price point must first come together to make it possible.
First, a quick history lesson. I promise there's a point.
The origins of when wedding photography started are vague. While the first camera invented is credited to a Frenchman called Joseph Nicéphore in 1816, photographic film, which enabled improved portability, wasn't developed until much later in the 1880s. And while Queen Victoria and Prince Albert did pose for photos in their wedding outfits in 1854, this was some 14 years after their wedding!
For many, Europes Royal families were the social influencers of the 19th Century. What they chose to do, others would try to emulate. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would go on to set many traditions that many still follow today, including the white wedding dress and the idea of wedding photography.
The idea of "wedding photography" would gradually grow in popularity over the next 100 years. For many couples, however, photos of their wedding would remain financially unobtainable. However, by the 1960s, film and photography equipment was becoming more affordable, portable and easier to use. This affordability and practicality led to a rapid increase in photographers utilising cameras for the first time and looking to photograph the world around them, including weddings.
The idea of wedding photojournalism started in the 1960s when entrepreneurial photographers would gatecrash weddings (yes, really!) with the hope of selling their photos back to the couple. While the gatecrashing element would die out, the idea of wedding photojournalism would not and go on to transform the industry. Wedding photojournalism was an idea that allowed both couples and photographers to move away from the traditional posed style of photography to something more creative and a way of documenting the day.
The first filmless or digital cameras started to appear around 1975. Still, film would be the preferred medium for many years. The technology was too expensive and imaged of poor quality for most professional photographers to take it seriously. By the early 2000s, film photography started to give way to digital, as the technology became more affordable and sensor quality improved. By the end of the noughties, digital was rapidly outpacing film, which was now in steep decline.
Affordable digital photography rocked the industry once more. As equipment costs came down and digital storage improved, photographers were no longer limited by the rolls of film or the number of photos they could take. As a result, the number of pro and semi-pro photographers working within the wedding industry increased, leading to increased competition and creativity.
By 2010, however, mobile technology was starting to catch up for most non-pro users. By 2020, however, standalone digital cameras were quickly being overtaken by smartphones and their inbuilt camera technology.
While this is a brief history of wedding photography, wedding videography follows a similar path. What is clear from the above is that neither technology nor couples' expectations remain the same. Instead, there has always been a demand to capture more of our story and to embrace the technology that allows us to do so.
In recent years the photo and video quality achievable with our phones has reached the point where you can no longer easily see they were taken on a phone. With quality no longer being a barrier, there is a market if you can offer your couples something unique.
Once considered by many an unaffordable luxury, it would be inconceivable for most couples not to have their wedding photographed today. The same is true for video, and it is not irrational to believe it will be true for social content in the future.
So How Do I Become A Wedding Content Creator
In most areas, the wedding industry is highly competitive. With photography and video, it can take years of hard work to get noticed and many more continually growing and improving to build a business successfully. It is hard work, with minimal reward, especially early on and no guarantees of success over the horizon. For many starting out and struggling, charging lower prices to get clients can be tempting. Rarely, however, is this model financially viable, and many will leave the industry before achieving the success of which they dreamed of.
Fortunately, the role of wedding content creator is far less competitive, for now! And while the number of couples looking to employ a wedding content creator for their wedding is currently small, it is an area of rapidly growing interest.
If you want to start, your own business passion and motivation will be critical to any success. It can be easy to become distracted or look at what others are achieving and wonder why your not having the same success but a determination to make it work, to learn and improve, will get you there.
When starting out, booking any client at any cost may seem necessary to get your business started. The reasons are apparent; it builds my portfolio, could lead to referrals etc. However, the reality is this type of booking rarely leads to the kind of work we want. It will unlikely allow you to reflect your own style and personality and what makes you unique to your ideal clients. Furthermore, once you start down the path of measuring your success by the number of bookings you have rather than quality, it can be challenging to stop. Ultimately leading to a calendar with jobs unlikely to fill you with passion and can soon turn your dream job and passion into work.
Before you start looking to book your first client, sit down and try to imagine who they are and what their wedding would be. Is it a festival theme or something more traditional? Are they small intimate gatherings or lavish events? The more of a story you create around your ideal client avatar, the easier it will be when you start looking for where to find them & to market to them successfully.
Is your style and what you offer likely to appeal to your ideal client? If yes, great, move on to the next step. If not, you should look at what you can change. Doing this now can save having to try and re-invent your business later on. However, always be bold and learn, adapt and improve what you're offering your couples.
Starting Out As A Wedding Content Creator
Knowing where to start can often be challenging. So once you know your ideal clients and what you have to offer, how do you convince them to book you?
Even if you have been an active content creator for many years already, weddings are live events with lots going on. There is only one moment to get that photo, that video or grammable moment. There are few chances for do-overs, lighting rarely behaves how we want, and yet we must consistently create beautiful memories for every couple.
Before starting out, the one thing you can't have enough of is experience, but how do you get the experience? Most wedding photographers and videographers will often look to try and shadow or assist someone more experienced before shooting a wedding of their own. But for most wedding content creators, this is not really an option. So unless you are lucky enough to find someone local providing wedding content creation and willing to take on an assistant, where do you start?
Fortunately, it is more than just couples looking for social media wedding content! Wedding venues, florists, decorators, and even photographers and videographers all need content for their own social media. Use your client avatar to reach out to the suppliers you think your ideal client would use and ask to shadow or work alongside them.
Creating a network of contacts within the industry will be helpful as you are starting up and can become an invaluable source of enquiry in the future. Initially, you may need to consider trading your time for experience, i.e. working for free, but as your experience grows, so should your value. Even if you are working for experience, always treat it as a paid shoot. Act professionally and use it as an opportunity to build relationships with everyone you come into contact with. You never know what doors they may open in the future!
Building Your Brand
Once you have started to create content, you will want people to be able to find it! You will also want your clients to feel like they are dealing with someone who is professional and knows what they are doing, not someone who is just starting out and desperate for bookings.
As a wedding content creator, inevitably, social media will be where you post most of your content and interact with your clients. But for most couples, however, a website will be essential to help build trust and ensure them you are genuine.
If you have no experience building a website from scratch, don't worry. These days there is no need to worry about coding, and a great-looking website can easily be created with one of the many online hosting companies.
One of the biggest and most straightforward to use is WIX, the same platform on which we built our first site back in 2009. However, today it is even easier to get up and running quickly using their ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence), which can even build a website for you!
While other companies are available to help get you up and running with your first website, WIX is regularly voted one of the highest-rated website builders.
Another great option and popular with many wedding content creators is Squarespace. Squarespace has been the go-to website design platform for wedding photographers and videographers due to its world-class templates, designed specifically to present visual media. Using their website builder, you can create a visually stunning site complete with menus and navigation with absolutely zero coding experience.
In addition to creating and adding your custom domain https://yournamehere.com you can use their free logo maker to bring your new brand together.
For content creators, Squarespace now also includes its own Video Studio app. Designed to allow you to quickly create and share engaging videos to tell your story, grow your audience and drive sales with the Squarespace Video Studio app.
What about SEO (Search engine optomoisation)? Good SEO is critical if you want people to find your webpage or article online. However, for most wedding content creators, an exceptional social presence will be far more important than your website ranking page one on Google! Focus on building your following where you want to be found, and then use your website to build trust once they have found you. Good SEO will never hurt, but don't worry about this too much early on.
Good CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is one area that is often overlooked yet essential in presenting a professional image. Early on, it is tempting to use paper diaries, even post-it notes, to try and keep yourself organised. As your business grows, however, keeping track of bits of paper becomes more and more impossible. It is better and easier to implement sound systems early rather than later.
One of the best CRM systems we have found and used ourselves is Studio Ninja. It is an all-in-one solution that can progress leads, send quotes, automate emails, manage your diary, and process payments. Designed by photographers for photographers, it has all the tools needed for managing your wedding content businesses as you start to grow.
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GUIDE TO YOUR FIRST WEDDING
So you have followed all the steps above, gained some experience, promoted your business, and now someone has actually booked! So what do you do now?
First, don't panic. This is a moment to be celebrated and what all your hard work has been leading up to. So breathe, grab yourself a glass of wine (or preferred beverage) and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it!
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE
At your first solo wedding, you are definitely going to feel the pressure. It's your chance to get all those moments you have dreamt about, capturing those photos and videos that will have you trending all over social media and couples queuing to book you.
Stop! The first thing to remember is that this day isn't about you. This is about the couple getting married. Whilst in the midst of wanting to create the best content possible for our couples, it can be easy to forget what it is they want. Focusing on them is the best way to ensure a happy couple who will not only provide you with great testimonials but is willing to recommend you to everyone they speak to about their wedding.
If you have ideas you want to try, then talk to your couple in advance, but be prepared for them to change their minds on the day. Weddings can be stressful, even for the couple, so sometimes even great ideas need to be abandoned.
If you are starting out, then keep things simple. Focus on getting the great content you know the couple will love rather than the creative material you want to try. Then, as you work through more weddings, you will learn what is and isn't possible and can start to experiment with creative elements.
The goal of your first wedding is simply a happy couple who love your work. Survive this, and you can work towards being the creative genius you dream of being.
2. SCOUT THE VENUE
As you are starting, it's unlikely that you will be familiar with every venue. However, if you find yourself booked for an unfamiliar venue, don't be afraid to get in touch and arrange to have a look around. It can be a great way to get to know the staff (they are usually too busy on a wedding day), and they tend to know all the best places.
Preparation not only means that you can get to know how the venue works for a wedding but helps you decide where you want to go and where you need to be. It is one less thing to worry about and helps keep those stress levels in check.
3. IDENTIFY THE KEY PEOPLE
While the couple are the two prominent people at every wedding, there can be several people they consider as equally important. These include close friends and family, although it can be dangerous to make too many assumptions. It is vital that you know who the people are that your couple feel are essential to the wedding, as they will want them to play centre stage in the content.
Pre-wedding questionnaires for your couples can be a great way to get these names in writing before the day. If you are using Studio Nija, this feature is built right in. When speaking to your clients, however, do not be afraid to ask who these people are and how they would like them involved. Even if they can't give you an answer right away, it is a great way to get them thinking early on in the process.
4. FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE VENDORS
One of the questions we always ask in our pre-wedding questionnaire is, who are your other vendors? And we do this for a couple of reasons;
It is a great way to know who we are working with. Whenever we work alongside another content creator, such as a videographer, we like to reach out and start talking with them early. On the wedding day, we already know what they want to achieve and discussed key moments like the first kiss, confetti throw and first dance. We have discussed where each of us needs to be, what will work and what won't, and can generally function like a team.
As a wedding content creator, you too, will have moments and shots you want to capture. Discussing this early with everyone involved means that you are less likely to be fighting for the ideal position and are instead supported in getting the content you need.
It would be naive to say that every supplier you speak to will fully understand your role as a wedding content creator. The industry takes time to understand anything new, and wedding content creation is defiantly new. But speaking with the other suppliers early allows you to explain your role and for them to ask any questions or raise any concerns well ahead of the wedding day.
Wedding days don't just happen. They are created by a network of suppliers, all adding their own touch and sprinkling of magic. Few ever get to see their results being enjoyed. Asking for and keeping in contact with the other suppliers allows us to share our content with them and tag them in our social media content.
In turn, they will typically tag us when they use any of our content for their social media and promotional materials. Therefore not only is our work seen by our followers on social media but by those of the other suppliers as well, massively increasing our reach.
Networking is hugely underrated. Not only is it a great marketing tool and a way to gain additional referrals, but you can make some great friends in the same industry.
5. FAMILIARISE YOURSELF WITH THE ORDER OF EVENTS
This is another excellent reason to use a pre-wedding questionnaire. As you work more and more weddings, you will likely get a feel for how most days flow. There are, however, always those weddings that either don't conform to the norm of having surprises planned!
As a wedding content creator, you will want to know where and when you need to be in advance. Speaking to your couples in advance is an excellent way of finding out what is planned and when and if there is anything you need to be aware of. Recording it in a pre-wedding questionnaire is a great way of ensuring you don't forget.
6. YOUR GEAR & BACKUP
A wedding is a live event, you can't press pause, and you rarely get a chance of a do-over. Therefore, if a couple has booked you to capture any part of the day, you need to be 100% certain you are able to do so.
As a wedding photography and videography team, we always have multiple backups and redundancies. This includes cameras, lenses, memory cards and enough batteries to power a small town.
As a wedding content creator, you will most likely rely on your phone. But what happens if it is lost, stolen or broken? Do you have backups so that you can carry on without your clients even noticing? Just because something has never failed before doesn't mean it won't choose the most inappropriate moment to do so now! Regarding gear, consider the worst-case scenario and then one step further.
In our cameras, we always write to two memory cards. This ensures that if one is corrupted, we always have a backup. This type of backup isn't always possible with phones, but cloud storage should definitely be considered.
5 QUICK TIPS
- Leave twice as much time to get there. You never know if you will get stuck in traffic etc.
- Invest in your own education and learning.
- Learn your equipment
- Have empathy for your clients
This is the role you have been working towards and wanted. Once you achieve it, give yourself time to relax and enjoy it! Network and become part of one of the many wedding professional communities so that you can continue to share and learn. Be part of the day, talk with not just your couple but their guest and be involved. Prepare as much as you can, and don't be afraid to double, even triple-check your preparation. Know how you are getting there and who your points of contact are. Ensure everything is fully charged and ready. At your first few weddings, please keep it simple. Learn the basics before trying to wow.
As you gain experience, you will learn to feel more relaxed before each wedding, although the stress never really goes away 100%. But as you learn and become more confident, your own personal style will start to develop further.
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3 responses to “How To Become a wedding content creator In 2023”
Great post on wedding content creator!
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