Becoming a luxury wedding photographer doesn't have to feel impossible. There are many concrete steps you can take this year to move your business towards a luxury realm. And before you ask, yes...these are all steps I have done to move my own photography business from booking $5500-$8000 weddings a year ago, to now booking $13,000-$24,000 weddings one year later.
By the way, the title for this blog post came directly from my 101 Blog Title Templates for just $3.95.
The first step in moving towards a luxury wedding photography business is to understand what luxury is, and more importantly, what luxury is not. These descriptions have been based on the luxury clients I have been booking, and do not, in any way, represent every single luxury client.
Luxury clients are not: All the same, typically "flashy", unkind or entitled, expecting to have what others have, wanting to be "best friends" with every wedding vendor, exclusive.
Luxury clients are: investors in artwork, often more private, willing to invest in quality, expecting to outsource many daily tasks or projects (example: wedding planning).
Step No. 01 | Skill Over Personality
Make your brand more about the artwork + skill, rather than about your own life/brand personality. Don't get me wrong - your personal style and your brand personality are still important. But when creating a luxury brand, you want the first thing clients see to be that you are the top expert in your field; that you're able to create artwork that is one-of-a-kind, and not a replica of anyone else's work.
About two years ago, I was heavily focused on creating images that fit well into a "type of imagery I considered luxury". This included the film-look, the Contax 645 creamy skin tones, then staged or posed images of the bride and groom, etc. In so many ways, I was putting the imagery I wanted to share, that I wanted to take on the back-burner in order to create what I assumed was luxury.
Step No. 02 | The Networking Part
Here's the topic we simply cannot skip over. Relationships are key in moving towards the luxury realm of the wedding world. But hear me when I say that you don't have to become 'someone else' in order to do this. Leaning into your own personality, and finding ways to positively relate with others will allow you to grow into a community you feel truly connected to.
Here are a few ideas on ways to up-level with others around you:
- Consider looking outside of your local market. Don't limit yourself to one city, and consider looking across the globe to find others who are doing the same thing (or similar paths) to you.
- Join E3 Community: This online, paid community has been one of the most beneficial steps I've taken in moving towards the luxury wedding industry. If you're interested in joining, please reach out to me here.
- Find a mentor who is slightly above where you are, and offer them value. Find ways to assist photographers, to offer some sort of service in return for getting to work alongside them, or see how they run their business in some way.
- Ditch the crowded Facebook groups. These can create many overwhelming and limiting beliefs about the wedding industry as a whole. One of the best things I have done is ditched (or at least silenced) so many crowded photography/wedding Facebook groups.
- Create a small accountability group with likeminded individuals (and no, this doesn't have to be a paid group). Invest in one another, help one another up-level together, refer one another, and find ways to help each other improve.
Step No. 03 | Simplify + Curate
This topic is completely underrated. When marketing to the budget or middle tiers of the wedding market, there can be a sense that "more is more is more". If we're charging more, we need to be providing more PDF's, more phone calls, more meetings, more imagery.
Luxury is the opposite of this. Luxury provides streamlined services. Luxury doesn't require too much of its clientele. Luxury has no unnecessary "fluff". Take a look at your own branding, your own website, your own work. Is there something you can do to simplify your process? Does your Instagram have too many images (or some images you aren't necessarily thrilled with)?
Take these steps today to start moving towards luxury:
- Simplify Your Website: Get rid of unnecessary imagery. Get rid of any text or extra pages that make your website feel complicated or confusing. You can view my current photography website here.
- Curate your Instagram + Social Media: Go through your entire Instagram (yes, all of it). Archive images you aren't proud of. Get rid of imagery or items that signal budget or middle-tier. Do this at least once every quarter. Confused on how to ensure your imagery looks luxury? Grab the Instagram Curation Guide to learn more.
- Simplify Your Process: Are there countless steps in your client process? Is it seamless and easy to book you? Do you send too many PDF's, or require too many unnecessary meetings before the wedding date? If you're looking for a way to simplify your inquiry process, considering grabbing this Canva Pricing Template, or this ShowIt Custom Pricing Guide Template.
CHECK OUT THIS TIK TOK FOR ONE ADDITIONAL TIP.
Becoming a luxury photographer takes patience, a positive mindset, and continued practice and guidance. These are the first few steps in moving this direction. Continue investing in yourself and in your business, and you'll start seeing concrete results.
Looking for more free education? Check out this recent blog post on How to Make Passive Income as a Photographer.