Top 10 Bridal Show Wedding Photography Tips
Top 10 Bridal Show Wedding Photography Tips
It is that time of year again. It’s January and in the Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton wedding markets that means Bridal shows…and lots of them. Over the next three months there are at least 12 huge Bridal shows which I can name off the top of my head and smaller ones at various reception venues. Since, this is the fifth year where we are going to be setting up our bridal booths and I wanted to present my top 10 insider wedding photography tips for brides looking to survive and thrive during their Bridal show visits.
Tip #10 – Research the vendors
You need to know all of the participating vendors at the show that you are planning on attending. At the bottom of this post I have links to the various bridal shows in the area. Click on them to check out the participating vendors. Do some research on your vendor of interest and highlight them. When you get to the show, you’ll just cross the vendors name off your list when you talk to them.
Tip #9 – Stop by the booths for information only…unless you LOVE the vendor.
The bridal shows are usually not a place to book your vendors. This is a general rule, but there are exceptions. You need to use this opportunity to ask about photography services, answer your questions and then follow up. There are going to be over 500 people at a bridal show and with all the commotion around you it will be hard to hear.
Tip #8 – Have your questions ready
You have to have your questions ready for each vendor when you stop by. You probably won’t have time to hear a 2 minute in depth recital of why they offer the best service in the world so identify your top photography questions. For example I expect to receive the following questions:
1. Do you offer two photographers?
2. Do I have rights to my images?
3. Will the studio owner shoot my wedding or a junior assistant whom you’ve trained be sent.
4. Do you provide Live Photo Booths with onsite printing?
5. Tell me about the new Slow Motion Video Booth?
Tip #7 – Don’t come to the show early…unless you have to
You know that everyone will be arriving early. There will be a long line of people waiting to get in outside the show area and anticipation will be at fever pitch. If you wait 2 hours after the show opens, you’ll be able to walk in quicker. After you walk in see the following tip.
Tip #6 – Expect pandemonium
Unless you’ve been to Bridal shows before, you will feel overwhelmed with the amount of activity and dazzling displays from area vendors. Expect to be targeted (in a nice way of course) by the vendors. You’ll get a lot of shouts of “Do you have a florist (DJ, Limo, Cake, etc) vendor yet?” or “We are offering a special today” or my personal favorite of handing out literature to every single bride who passes by the booth. I personally avoid these approaches and prefer the soft approach of one to one interaction when YOU decide to stop by.
Tip #5 – Create special emails to provide to vendors
Here is how it works: Setup an mail account to collect all of you wedding related emails. Just like a business, you want to keep your personal and business transactions separate. You should likewise separate your wedding planning from your personal day to day emails from family and friends. This wedding email should be provided to all of the vendors with whom YOU ARE interested in working. This email is given out on your terms when you are serious about a vendor otherwise, just get their info and tell them you’ll contact them online when you are ready.
Tip #4 – Visit vendors during the fashion show
Best times to check out the vendor Bridal show booths are during the Fashion shows. Since everyone will be at the stage, very few people will be on the show floor and you’ll have 30 minutes pretty much to yourself. You can also stop by during the last hour of the show when the traffic has subsided considerably. Also, don’t stop by the last 15 minutes of the show, especially on Sundays. Many vendors start breaking down their booths about 15 minutes before the end of the show.
Tip #3 – Use Good bag, bad bag strategy + notes
The last thing you want to do after a successful Bridal show visit is to come back and dump all of your show material onto the kitchen table and start sifting through your papers. I guarantee that you will not remember whom your favorite vendors are if their are pilled up together in one big bag.
Come ready with multiple bags. One bag will be used to store your preferred/favorite vendors while the other will be thrown away from vendors who shout at you or push literature in your face. If you have a number of people in your group, then give one bag to different people so you can keep things straight.
Make sure you jot down notes about each vendor with whom you’ve spoken. It can be as easy as putting a number on the back of the vendor’s brochure. You can use a scale of 0-10, where 10 is a must have. This way when you sort through all of the vendors later, you’ll recall the interaction faster.
Tip#2 – Print your labels
Labels are used to passing along your wedding information to vendors. No need to write your contact information 50-60 times. Get the label and you are done.You labels should have your name, wedding date, and maybe your wedding email (Tip#5 above) and phone number.
Tip#1 – Be timely
This is the most important tip of all. You need to understand that your vendor availability is based on first come first served. If your wedding day is on a Saturday in popular June or October months and you are looking for a great wedding photographer 5 months out, then you may be out of luck. Don’t be surprised that popular dates fill out quickly. You may be able to book a multi person company, but the quality won’t be the same as that of the studio owner. If you looking for Friday, Sunday or December weddings you may find more availability everywhere…unless you are looking for your wedding to be on Saturday 12/13/14 which may be booked years ahead.
I hope these tips help you out and I wish you success as you attend the upcoming shows.