Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
If you’re wondering whether or not blogging is dead for wedding and portrait photographers in 2022, we’ve got some facts that might surprise you! Today we’re continuing our “Free Marketing Tactics” video series and talking all about how something as simple as blogging could change your business in the long-run!
A couple of weeks ago, in Part 8 of this series, we shared our second Marketing Tactic all about how we turned old friends and family on social media into paying wedding photography clients. But this week, we’re going to discuss how — for a few hours each week — you could begin building up a following that could translate directly to booked photography jobs. So let’s jump into the 4 reasons why we think — even in the social media age — wedding photographers should still be blogging.
The very first reason why we think you should be blogging is simply to celebrate, and really love on your clients. Early on in our career, Sarah and I committed to posting a new blog on our website for Every. Single. Client. That we photographed. We would dedicate this small post on our website to them and their love story (or the story of their family or upcoming graduation), and make them feel like the king and queen of their wedding day or portrait session.
Now, we obviously make an exception if our clients specifically ask us not to share their images online. And later on in our career, as we began specializing more fully in weddings and engagements, we stopped blogging the occasional family or senior session that we would sometimes shoot in our slow season. But from mid-2018 through last year, we committed to blogging 2-3 times a week, every single week. And even to this day, we still blog every surprise proposal, engagement session, and wedding that we photograph. And we do it — first and foremost — because we know our clients love it!
And even though we still post to our blog at least weekly, for years we were shooting enough that even just blogging our clients work kept us busy 2-3 times each week. But if we didn’t have 2-3 shoots each week, then we found other things to blog about. (But more on that below.) Now, if you’ve been following along with our For Photographer Blog for a while, you know that we talked about blogging a bit in Part 4 of our “Post Production Secrets” video series (HERE), although in that post we talked more about the HOW of blogging than the WHY.
But one thing we DID mention was that — especially for wedding photography — a blog also serves our couples by being the perfect bridge from sneak-peek to final gallery. We usually post 5-10 photos in a sneak peek the morning after our weddings, then the final gallery, which often has 1,000 images or more, typically comes 6-8 weeks after the wedding. So our clients’ blog, which usually consists of 25-50 of our favorite images, is usually posted about a week or so after their wedding, and serves as the perfect hold-over for our couples. It also encourages them to share our images, hosted on our website with their friends and family, while they’re still SO excited about their wedding photos!
And why is blogging better than just directly sending your couples a small gallery of those 30-50 images directly? Why do we bother with the trouble of posting them to our website and writing up a story of their day? Because the images showcase our work, but the words we write showcase us. It helps people who have never met us before to understand who we are, and what it’s like to talk with us or even work with us.And in an industry where your personal brand is SO important when it comes to setting yourself apart from ALLLLL the other wedding photographers out there, a personal and sincere blog may be just the thing to show your own heart for how you serve your couples.
And that actually ties right into Reason #2 for starting a photography blog: building a following. While we know that social media has largely replaced the world of blogs and chat forums from the 2000’s and early 2010s, wedding blogs miiiight be the exception. Last year, our average wedding blog got around 150 views on our website. But some of our highest-performing blog posts have thousands of reads. That’s thousands of people who were so interested in what we posted on social media (more on our social media strategies HERE), that they clicked or tapped a link, opened our blog, and spent time reading our words and viewing our images.
We already know that our past clients absolutely love seeing a curated selection of their wedding photos and reading a short write-up about their day, and that they love seeing it within a week or so of their wedding or portrait session. But because of the audience we’ve built by consistently blogging week in and week out, we know it’s also good for future clients as well!
Now, we know that blogging 2-3 times every week isn’t realistic for everyone, either because you’re shooting so infrequently that you don’t have enough content, or because you’re shooting so much (and maybe working another job) that you just can’t find time to blog every session. But even if you blogged once per week or twice each month, you can build still begin to build that momentum and create content that others will want to see. But like we mentioned before, your clients’ sessions and wedding days aren’t the only thing you can blog…
While there have certainly been seasons where we were shooting 2-3 times each week, that obviously hasn’t been every week for the last 4 years. So if we have a week coming up where, even after blogging our clients’ sessions, we still have room in the blogging calendar, we’ll create a post about something else that fits our brand, and is either helpful and informative, or entertaining and personable.
So the first category is helpful and informative. On our website, these fall under the “For our Clients” section of our blog, and it’s where we write out helpful advice to our current and future couples. So whether you’re recommending local engagement session locations or giving wedding day timeline tips, these blogs are both helpful for your current clients, but can also attract people to your blog who don’t yet have a wedding photographer.
The other category are things that are more personal, and purely entertaining as opposed to educational. This is where you can write whatever you want about your personal life, and give your ideal clients an opportunity to fall in love with you and your brand! For us, these are our travel blogs, our annual Behind-the-Scenes blogs where we look at our year as wedding photographers, and our renovation blogs, where we share our home renovation stories. These all have very little to do with wedding photography, but are often some of our most popular posts in a given year.
For us, we’ve had some incredibly popular posts in both of these categories, and since they aren’t about a specific wedding couple, a well-written post can attract visitors to your websites for years! Some of our most popular blogs of all time are from a For-Clients series we first posted in 2018 and then updated in 2020 called “A Guy’s Guide to Proposing Well“, which still gets dozens of views every single month. And by the way, we made sure to link lots of examples in these last few paragraphs in case you want to check out some examples!
The last reason why we think newer photographers may benefit from a blog is for what’s called “Search Engine Optimization”, or SEO. This is a BIG buzz-word, and the exact way that Google decides which websites to show to searchers when they look up “Charlottesville Wedding Photographer” or “San Diego Family Photographer” is both a proprietary secret, and changes over time. But there are a few general things that we do know about SEO.
One of them is that when someone searches for something on Google, Google wants to show them relevant websites. And one of the ways that it determines what’s relevant is to see what’s frequently updated.
In other words, if your blog is hosted on your own personal website like ours is, each blog update tells Google, “Hey! This website about wedding photography is up-to-date and bringing relevant information to users! Next time someone searches for ‘Charlottesville Wedding Photography’, be sure to show them this one!” On the other hand, if your website hasn’t been updated in a year or more, that communicates to Google, “Hey, this website is probably pretty outdated, or is only updated rarely. Don’t bother showing it to anyone when they search.”
Honestly, this alone should be enough reason to begin blogging! Over the years, Sarah and I have booked more than $70,000 in portrait and wedding jobs from clients who discovered us on Google, and we haven’t paid a single dollar in Google advertising. Instead, we’ve spent an average of 3.85 hours per week writing blog content. So, if we attribute all of our SEO to our blogging, that’s something like making $100/hour every time we write a blog!
At the end of the day, just like with any marketing tactic, this is not a magic money machine, or the type of thing that will get you instant results. Building a blog is a slow process that builds on itself over time, so decide how often you would want to blog, then dive right in, and stick to it!
If you’re interested in learning more from us personally, and joining a community of other photographers also striving to grow their businesses, click here to join our Facebook Community, Mastering the Wedding Photography Biz with Hunter and Sarah!
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