Charging premium pricing doesn’t happen overnight, and it also doesn’t happen by just throwing out the option and crossing your fingers.
A lot of hard work and intentionality goes into crafting this offer, and in this post, I’m going to share with you some things you should be doing if you also desire to get to this place one day.
How to Book Five Figure Weddings
So what do you need to know to reach those five figure packages? I’ll share my tips for how I hit this point and what you need to do in your business!
Your aligned clients need to be aligned
I am a FIRM believer that this is all on YOU who is coming into your inbox. It is up to YOU to create and know the type of premium client you want to work with.
Because like I talked about in this post, I think a big misconception is that premium clients are only high-end, fine art, luxury weddings who want picture-perfect everything… and that is NOT always the case.
Your premium client can be whatever you want it to be as long as it’s aligned WITH YOU. BUT if you’re used to photographing lower budget weddings, those are the types of clients you will continue to attract and book, and also the type of work that you will continue saying YES to.
There’s a certain point in this transition that you need to break the cycle.. and it’s hard!!! Let me tell you from experience, it is a hard transition to make. Because you’re used to booking no problem.
I get that there are certain seasons where you need work and you want to say yes to things, which is fine you can take that and not showcase it as much, but also know that if you continue on in that cycle, you’re not allowing yourself to step into that next level of growth to tap into that next level of clientele.
So my advice for you is to figure out what your “premium client” means to you, and start brainstorming how you can position yourself as the best possible choice for them because of it.
Provide a luxury experience and marketing
You can’t book premium clients without providing a luxury experience. And I believe that your client experience doubles as your marketing. So if you don’t have this, the rest kind of crumbles down.
Think about when you make an investment into a nice hotel to stay at.. you’re treating yourself. Since you’re splurging a little bit, you’re expecting a higher-end experience than just a normal $98 best western stay.
But why are you expecting that? Based on price alone? Kind of but probably not all alone, you probably are looking at all the amenities it’s providing you, what the rooms look and feel like, if there’s a continental breakfast and what that menu looks like, accessibility to other things, the reviews from other guests, etc. (notice how these are covering all 5 senses?!)
It’s all about knowing and seeing the experience you’re going to be receiving. And wedding clients are no different! They want to be able to envision themselves in your services and experience.
Client experience matters!
And that is why client experience is SO important and also doubles as your marketing. But not only that, but you need to know WHERE you need to be marketing as you tap into a different clientele.
If you’re being hard on yourself for not being consistent on Instagram or feeling like that’s where you need to be putting all of your energy, you might need to re-evaluate. Couples with higher-end wedding budgets might not even be on Instagram because they don’t have the time for it, are working, or have a wedding planner helping them with their wedding.
So if you’re putting all of your marketing efforts into IG and wondering why you continue to get lower budget weddings, it might be because you’re not expanding your marketing efforts into places that your ideal clients even are – market to where your premium clients are.
Go back and listen to episode #32 to learn the ways you can market your business without social media (it’s a good one!).
Evaluate your branding and copy
Who and how you speak to your ideal clients will make or break who you book. Not only that, but having a brand. Also, does your brand speak to higher end premium clients?
Copy is everything, friends. It needs to be 100% aligned with not only your personality, your portfolio, your approach, your style, but just everything about yourself and your business.
For example, if you’re a fun, bubbly, outgoing person who loves to have fun with your clients, don’t have copy on your website + social media that is stiff and sounds like everyone else using the same verbiage such as: authentic, genuine, adventurous, etc. Or that sounds stuffy and boring,
STAND OUT in the crowd and stop doing the same thing as everyone else. This will help immediately take you from standard to luxury. I know it’s hard because we as photographers focus a lot on the imagery of our work.
But the truth is, you need to combine imagery and copy to tie the two together. And they also need to be so aligned and clear with your brand that it basically TELLS people what they want and what they get out of working with you so it leaves them without any question.
Brand promise and message
You want your brand promise and message to be SO CLEAR that your clients basically repeat it back to you. For example, when I get my couples on the phone it’s crazy. I’ve noticed within the last couple years that they are basically repeating back to me my exact methods and brand promise that I have portrayed in my content and website.
That’s a beautiful thing. That’s when you know it’s clicking, that’s when you gain their trust, and that’s when they book you without question.
To be honest, both of the 5-figure weddings I’ve booked, my phone calls with them were 15 minutes and I didn’t even have to belief shift, pitch my services, or feel salesy one ounce because I’ve already done the heavy lifting and hard work in the prep with all of these things.
That’s the importance of building the backend of your business which is exactly what I help my students do because I KNOW the impact it has and what it can do for you!
Update your portfolio
When I do website audits and reviews, a lot of times I see photographers using a portfolio that does not align with who they are saying they want to attract and book more of. And let me tell you – this matters, and this is powerful.
As much as I love branding and branding is not only visual, but how you make people FEEL your experience…. we are also in a very visual industry as well. And so I think the better your portfolio is, the even higher experience you are communicating to your potential clients.
If you are wanting to photograph adventurous elopements in the mountains and that is your niche, then don’t post a portfolio of wedding parties on the beach. Or don’t post backyard weddings if you want to photograph elegant high-end venue wedding venues.
I mean, it could work if it all falls under your niche. But what I’m saying is: don’t post something that doesn’t align with your brand messaging. There’s no right or wrong answer to what type of content to post, but the important thing to note is that it’s what is aligned with your brand.
But if you’re wanting to photograph premium client weddings and wanting to book 5-figure weddings, you need to have a STRONG portfolio that matches it. Taking it back to the basics – rule of thirds is so important:
- straightening your photos
- choosing photos that complement each other when next to each other
- adding a variety of close-ups and far aways
Simple things to think of, but SO important and also missed by so many people. So after listening to these things, I want you to do a quick self-audit of your website and see if you catch yourself doing any of those.
Create the luxury package when you’re ready
Like I said, I just created and started offering this package within the last year after a decade of booking and photographing weddings. I’m not saying you can’t do it sooner of course!
I’m just saying that I knew that when someone booked that, I wanted to be confident in knowing I was providing them an experience worth 5-figures and not just throwing them a package that includes a billion things.. But rather actually providing them a luxury experience they will say was worth it.
So I’m not telling you a specific timeline this needs to happen for you, but I am saying I personally don’t think you can just throw this option up as an option and call it a day. It takes A LOT of work on the backend to solidify an experience (and that doesn’t just mean guides and gifts).
It needs to be seamless, flawless, and worth the luxury price they’re paying.. otherwise it’s not going to feel right to you. And the last thing you would want to do is trick someone into an experience that isn’t worth it!
Back to the hotel example, if the stay doesn’t live up to the expectation of the investment you spent on it, you’re gonna leave feeling like it wasn’t worth it and feel disappointed in it.
Connect with other vendors
Honestly, this is a huge part of how I booked one of my first 5-figure packages, because it was a referral from a wedding planner. Of course, they didn’t only book me because of her recommendation, and all of these other things I mentioned above needed to be set in place and clearly communicated prior to this point… BUT this definitely helped lead to securing this opportunity, and for that I am so thankful!
This was a planner that I had made connections with and was able to work with in the past. I recently reached back out to her to re-kindle that connection and not even 2 months later this wedding was sent to me and booked!
This is something I teach my students how to do as well because there is an art to making these connections with other vendors. I will say, not even only for just a 5-figure wedding which I know is what this episode is about, but vendor + client referrals are my #1 lead generator for weddings!
So from personal experience, I know how powerful it is and how nice it is to know these inquiries are coming in even when I’m not active or consistent on social media.
This is why it’s so essential to build the backend of your business first so that it can be solid and THEN you can focus on the shiny front end of things to market and funnel people in because then you can confidently run them through your process and put more energy into lead generation.
How to Book Five Figure Weddings – Recap
So let’s recap on the ways you can improve on to help you toward a goal of booking higher budget premium clients or even your first 5-figure wedding!
- your aligned clients need to be aligned
- provide a luxury experience and marketing
- attracting + converting branding and copy
- premium speaking portfolio
- creating the luxury package when you’re ready
- Connecting with other vendors
I honestly could talk all day about these things and even more things that go into it, and I could also sit down and help you all day with helping improve yours!!!Be sure to check out more Gold Biz Podcast episodes!