As a wedding photographer for over 14 years (and counting!), I spent most of that time relying on wedding bookings as my sole source of photography revenue. I would book one client, then the next one, then the next one. I would panic when bookings slowed down or paused for a time—but the stream would always start up again, and everything would be fine.
Then, the pandemic hit. My entire spring and summer wedding schedule—the income I had banked on to pay off massive home loans as my family’s sole breadwinner—evaporated overnight. I fell to my knees, every disaster scenario possible running through my head. Six months later, the nightmare continued when all my clients pushed their fall weddings to the following year. At that moment, I swore I would never again rely on a single income stream to provide for my family.
I began educating myself on diversifying my income as a wedding photographer. Then, I began implementing those new income streams into my business. The results blew me out of the water. I wasn’t just adding a couple hundred here and there, but TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars to my yearly revenue. It was a total game-changer—and the best part was that it felt effortless while aligning with my values as a business owner.
I implemented four new income streams into my business: wedding add-ons, portrait sessions, wedding albums, and print sales. In this series of blogs, I’m taking you through each one, explaining how these sources of revenue have changed the game for my business—and how they can do the same for yours through just a few simple steps. Are you ready to leave behind the hamster wheel of always waiting to book the next wedding? You’ve come to the right place!
Increase Photography Revenue with Diversification
Before we begin discussing wedding add-ons and how they can amplify your income, it’s crucial to understand why income diversification is so important for wedding photographers. If you’re anything like I was, you’re probably constantly on the edge of your seat waiting for that next client to book. It’s exhausting—and it’s unsustainable. However, once you’ve established multiple income streams, it doesn’t matter as much when one dries up or slows down for a time. You’ve planned for that exact moment!
Beyond the numbers, diversifying allows you to provide higher-quality service to your clients. Every moment leading up to and on their wedding day is a moment they’ll want to remember, and you have the skills to document them beautifully! By making yourself available for events beyond the wedding day, you demonstrate care for your client.
And, by selling wedding albums and prints in your sleep, you care for yourself by establishing a more consistent income stream—minus the time tax! It’s also important to remember that selling to existing clients is much easier than selling to new ones. Your couples already know and love you and want to support you, so give them that chance!
Examples of Wedding Add-Ons
Besides the original booking collection for your wedding clients, you can create opportunities for them to purchase more items along the way. Ultimately, these will contribute to the value of their overall experience with your business! Examples of these add-ons include:
- Engagement session
- Bridal session (for my fellow Southerners!)
- Rehearsal dinner or welcome party coverage
- Bridal luncheons or farewell brunches
- Additional hours of coverage on the wedding day
Lately, as families tend to spread out more across the country, couples are more likely to turn what was once a one-day wedding celebration into an entire weekend affair! Their families and friends have traveled a long way to be there, resulting in events like welcome parties and farewell brunches becoming commonplace. This phenomenon is a built-in opportunity for diversification! When you increase your availability for one client over one weekend, the need to bulk up your income with more clients lessens. The pay-off is more weekends spent with your family, worry-free!
Create a System to Increase Photography Revenue
If you’re offering these additional services, making your clients aware of them is crucial. Don’t just leave it up to chance! Remember: this is probably their first time planning a wedding, and they don’t know what they don’t know. Often, booking these additional services is as simple as asking your client about them. For many who feel overwhelmed by the demands of the planning process, it’s a no-brainer, 100% YES!
For example, imagine a client’s aunt is hosting an extravagant bridal luncheon. To your client, there is immense value in having you there! It’s an opportunity to capture even more beautiful photos of their supportive family. What could be more Insta-worthy?
Alternatively, picture that a client’s in-laws are hosting an intimate rehearsal dinner, followed by a huge welcome party (I’m seeing this more and more!). It’s the perfect time to get to know the clients’ VIPs, which will prime you to take even better photos on the wedding day since everyone is already comfortable with you!
Value for Your Client
It’s crucial to talk about the value of wedding add-ons for your client—this creates the difference between intentionally serving them as their vendor and upselling them just for the heck of it! Know what you’re offering and why you’re offering it. Remember, you provide valuable services that your client can utilize to document this incredible journey of starting their family. If you have that purpose in mind when speaking to them, you’ll be amazed by the relationships you build and the opportunities you create for them AND yourself!
Offering discounts closer to the wedding day is also a great way to incentivize your clients to book add-ons. At that point, they will have a better idea of their total expenditure. And will know whether or not there’s wiggle room for adding additional event coverage.
Next Steps to Increase Your Photography Revenue
I hope you’re as excited as I am by the opportunity to increase your photography revenue effortlessly! If you’re ready to map out your earning potential by harnessing the power of diversification, I’ve created this easy-to-use spreadsheet tool just for you. Complete it and send it to me, and I’ll go over the results with you and outline your next steps—for FREE!