This is a guest post from our dear friend and client, Petar Jurica. Petar is an established wedding photographer and educator from Croatia. Today, he’s sharing an important reminder for all photographers. When it comes to sharing your work online – treat your blog like a museum wall or an art exhibition! Not all your weddings and client photoshoots should make it to your blog, and that’s okay. Your website is not a proofing platform, it is your MARKETING & SALES TOOL! Show only your best, strongest work.
“Although the average user today hangs around on your website only for a few seconds and their attention span is as short as an espresso, I still believe that good old fashioned blogging is the best way to present our work. I see my blog as a museum. As a curation of my best work. Just as painters fill many canvases, but only a few of them are promoted at exhibitions and walls of museums, I am guided by the same principle when showcasing my weddings. I am very selective about what to hang on that wall.
The blog has the ability to showcase a full story, to show our strength to potential clients. At the same time, compiling a new blog post brings a special satisfaction to the artist within me, that painter. Creating a new blog post is like hosting my own little exhibition.
In the next few lines, I will try to show you my approach and what tips and tricks you can use to improve your blogging. I also want to point out the importance of envisioning a blogpost storyboard before the actual wedding. It can really push you to think outside the box.
#1 Blogging begins on the wedding day
It all starts there, on a Saturday morning, while you are entering a bride’s childhood home, or a fancy hotel room on the 5th avenue, or a castle in Provence… Remember that on the wedding day you are shooting for your clients, but also for yourself – so that you can present yourself to future couples scrolling through your website and blog posts.
Approach a wedding as a story that you need to tell, not just a few fancy pictures for Instagram. For me, it helps to imagine it as a movie (as I’m a huge film buff). It has a plot, characters, location and a love story that needs to be told. You can also see it as a novel that you need to write out on a blank piece of paper, or as music that needs to be composed. Look at it beyond photography, as an idea to awaken all of your senses. Go beyond just the visual. When you enter the bride’s house in the morning, or step into the garden of the venue – stop for a second, put your camera down, look around yourself and close your eyes… feel! Feel the wind on the treetops, hear the raindrops, the laughter of the bride’s niece running around. Imagine the shriveled hands of her grandmother, which carry the story of her lifetime… Feel the connection and the love between those family members and friends. Don’t focus just on the couple, but rather try to reflect on all those aspects and parts of your couple’s life. Then, open your eyes, take your camera and start creating. Combine all those thoughts and senses into a Hollywood blockbuster or a Sundance-worthy artistic film.
#2 You are the director
I’d like to share a few rules with you. Rules which I adhere to every Saturday.
First, don’t over-shoot and over-show. Imagine you’ve finally booked a wedding in your dream city or at a venue you’ve always wanted to photograph at. You arrive, shoot the heck out of it, and because you are so pumped about it, you end up putting 20-30 pictures of the city or venue right at the beginning of your blog post. Your potential client lands on your article, and has to scroll and scroll through venue pictures to get to the actual story. What’s the problem here? The intro to your movie is too long, and some may switch the channel before even getting to the good stuff. Keep the storyline focused and concise. Include 5-6 pictures for each stage of the wedding. That’s more than enough to set up the scene.
Here’s an example, where I start with the city, then enter the bride’s house and show that transition by connecting all the chapters of a wedding story in a seamless way.
Include other elements to give a better feel of atmosphere. If it was a rainy day – try to capture it and preserve that feeling. Show the view from the bride’s window so she can remember that nervous feel of excitement she had before her dad knocked on the door and they stepped into the aisle together… Look for all those little things that seem ordinary at first sight, but can be an amazing asset in building the atmosphere.
The details that we most photograph at weddings are rings, shoes and dresses, but they can also be some non-traditional symbolic details that have a connection to the couple and to that day. These can be – the hair of the bride’s niece on that windy day in New Zealand, the image of a father looking at his daughter, but without showing directly his eyes. This is very powerful to me, because it shows the love of that man, but also his fragility.
Include other unconventional, non-wedding style pictures. We’re used to photographing those nice table setups with all the flowers and the pretty cutlery, but have you ever considered coming back to that table at the end of the evening and photographing all that is left behind? The burned candles and the wine stains? I believe that those can also speak to the couple, and remind them of what a good time they had.
Look beyond the typical pictures that we always take. Try to create something out of the ordinary, focus on the simple things that are full of life, but are often overlooked. They can be a great asset and help your blog go to another level.
Tell stories in a different way.
#3 Publish only the best work
Add to you blog only those weddings you are 100% satisfied with.Let me be honest with you, in some years it can be just 1-2 weddings. Even if my clients are happy with their wedding photos, and I always give my best, I am also very critical of my work. Every next wedding that will be up on my blog must be better than the previous, in terms of location, light, energy, story.
Imagine it as the shop window of your favorite store. They don’t showcase every piece of merchandise they have. There are only a few, awe-inspiring and attractive items behind the glass, teasing you to come inside and explore. The same principle applies to the weddings on your blog. We are all impatient online. If something does not draw us within 3 seconds, we move on. Therefore, you have only 3 seconds to enthrall the couple to stay on your page.
If you want to be seen in your best light, show your best work only. Post about 5-10 weddings, not every wedding you’ve shot. Couples don’t count how many blog posts you have on your page, they are interested in the quality (yeah, it might hurt SEO, but I am willing to take that risk).
#4 Your blog, just as good wine, needs aging. Give it time.
Enjoy compiling your blog. It’s your best work. It’s the time when you ticked all the right boxes, when the light was perfect, the energy, the details and the people all fit wonderfully together. Enjoy the process of presenting each story in its best possible way.
I love those days when I create a new blog post. For me, it’s a late night with a glass of beer and my favorite music in the background. After I add the last photo into the scroll, I leave it there for a few days, and don’t look at it. I give it time to mature, like a wine… I come back to look at it again in a few days and if it speaks to me, if it sparks an emotion – I hit the publish button. I’ve made many blog posts which I looked over again and wasn’t totally satisfied with how they turned out. There are wedding blogs that I’ve rearranged or decided not to publish. As I said, it’s our museum and only the best pieces should be on our walls.
#5 Make it timeless – don’t include dates
I don’t assign dates to my blog. If for some reason you didn’t blog in a while (didn’t have time, didn’t have material), it won’t be noticed by couples. Your favorite wedding from 2015 can still be the centerpiece on your home page and represent you in the best way, without giving the couple the idea of it being an old wedding – or make them wonder why you didn’t blog this year. Without dates, all the blog posts are fresh as spring flowers on your table.
#6 Include a call to action
The trends in web design are changing frequently, and the current tendency is to keep scrolling without clicking anymore, as everything is available on one page. Therefore, WOW your viewer with amazing photos and stories on your blog, while they are in that emotional state, and offer them a mean to contact you immediately. Include some type of call to action – a link to your contact form, an email address, your phone number – whatever channel or combination you prefer. Make yourself accessible (and be responsive after they contact you).
It’s important to present yourself as trustworthy and as the right photographer choice. Include a testimonial from the couple whose wedding you’re blogging. Mention the other vendors and share your article with them, so they can post it and increase the reach of your work. A wedding is a team sport.
#7 Be patient and have fun
If you are just starting your wedding photography career or want to bring it to a new level, don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Enjoy the process and keep creating. In the beginning, you won’t always be satisfied with the results, but given time, practice and perseverance, you will start nailing the frames and stories you are satisfied with. You will manage to shape and show your ideas in a way you are proud of. From my experience, you only need to try hard, give your best at any wedding and be patient… and the rewards will come.
The majority of the education, podcasts and workshops today are focused on marketing, social media, customer care and that’s totally fine, as we are entrepreneurs. But don’t forget to also invest in your product – your photography. Shoot often and not just weddings, but everything. Watch movies, go to museums, read books, listen to music, go to concerts – close your eyes and imagine. Build yourself as a person who is hungry for art, as that’s what fuels photography. That will help your product shine on the walls of your museum…”
Was this a helpful reminder?
Sometimes, while jumping on the pursuit to improve your business, strengthen your SEO, use the right keywords, optimize images, grow you email list, etc – you forget about the basic and most important aspect of your job. You forget that photography is more than just posting a set of images online. It is a storytelling tool. It’s meant to trigger emotions and make the viewer wonder how did this given moment in life feel, what did it sound like, what was the main character thinking about? Was that person worried? Were they happy or over-thrilled?
When an image, or a gallery of photos stops you from scrolling and makes you wonder what’s happening behind the scenes – that’s a big win!
We hope you’ve enjoyed this inspiring article by Petar Jurica. You can connect to Petar via his website or Instagram account. And if you’re looking for more educational content, interviews and tips on how to improve your business workflows, your marketing, client communication and life in general – check out this page and create a better 2021 for yourself and your brand!