May 26, 2020
I’m sure we can all agree that moving is….the worst. From the packing, unpacking, having to relearn a new area. Talk about stress. Now, when you add in needing to relocate your photography business, that’s a whole new ball game. Not only are you personally discombobulated but now you need to rebuild your reputation, network with other vendors, find new locations for engagement sessions, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. And believe me when I say, I understand.
I started my wedding photography business in 2017 in California where I had lived the majority of my life. In California, I was able to grow my business averaging 20 to 30 weddings per year under my own brand. Then, in July 2019, we uprooted our family to Dallas, Texas so my husband could get his Master’s Degree. Talk about a huge change. We went to knowing everyone and knowing our way around to knowing absolutely no one and getting lost just going to the grocery store. I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t full of doubt. However, I never ever let that stop me. Instead, I used that to push me. In 2019, I photographed 4 weddings in Texas. This calendar year, I have 24 and next year is projected to be my busiest year with already 15 weddings booked for 2021.
I tell you this to bring you hope that with hard work that moving your photography business is possible. It is not only possible but may actually catapult your business. As always, I’m here for you and I am going to lay out how I successfully relocated my wedding photography business. Ready?
Six Tips to Relocate Your Wedding Photography Business
Have a Plan
If possible, plan a trip to your new location and schedule as many free engagement sessions as possible. The objective for these engagement sessions is to learn the area, introduce yourself in bridal groups in the area, and most importantly have content for the new area to start sharing, blogging, and posting on Pinterest.
Update All Marketing to Reflect New Area
Set time aside to change to reflect your new market on all your online marketing. This includes: switch your SEO on your website, Instagram location related hashtags and geotags, Google Business listing, The Knot/Wedding Wire, Pinterest, and Facebook. Also, start running Facebook Ads before your move in your new market.
Network, Network, Network
When we first moved, I made it a point to network with other photographers and wedding industry professionals at least 3x a week. Join local photography and wedding industry Facebook groups. Start to reach out to local vendors and make it a point to get connected in your new market. Instagram was such a valuable resource before and after the move. I used an Active Instagram strategy to become familiar with the new area, find new leads, and engage with other wedding vendors. Be honest with vendors and clients about where you’re at in the move process. Honesty and authenticity will create trust and roots much quicker than faking it til you make it.
Second Shoot for Other Wedding Photographers
I’ve always loved second shooting but when I moved to Texas I knew I would have to second shoot more than before. For one, the extra money was nice. More importantly, it allowed me to start building a community of successful photographers in Dallas. Also, if the lead photographer was okay with it, I was able to use the images I took from the weddings as content. This also allowed me to get familiar with local venues.
I see you rolling your eyes at me. However, blogging and Pinterest has allowed me to relocate my wedding photography business without much of a hiccup. I was able to build my authority with writing blog posts about engagement session locations, wedding venues, and other wedding vendors then turning them into paid ads.
I didn’t let ego get in my way; I realized that I was new to the area with little reputation and little authority. So, I lowered my prices for a time being to start booking weddings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This helped me book four DFW weddings in 2019 to be able to start marketing. I then slowly raised my prices. Now, my prices are above what they were in California.
I encourage you to not let yourself get overwhelmed and frozen with fear. Remember tip number one: have a plan! I didn’t let self doubt hold me back and was okay with being uncomfortable. I stopped telling myself that this was scary, I couldn’t do it, or I was going to fail. Instead I wrote my goals out. Looked at them everyday and did ONE thing to work towards that goal every single day. Then, I told myself that this was an adventure and even in failure there was success. This is the perfect time to work on your business, your workflow, and the back-end tasks that often get put aside.
I hope this gives you hope. Trust me I get it. I understand. You got this. We all got this.
Kyrsten Ashlay Photography is a Dallas and Southern California Based Destination Wedding Photographer specializing in romantic, soulful, and warm imagery for wildly in love couples. Did you enjoy these tips to relocate your wedding photography business? Be sure to check out Six Ways to Increase your Client Experience. If you’re a photography professional and you’re struggling, please know that I am here for you. I want to see you succeed. You have me in your corner cheering for you. If you are wanting a one-on-one learning experience, I would love to schedule a free 15 minute business mindset call with you today.