Bridal Shows can be a little crazy and especially nerve racking your first time around! Last year was my very first year participating in one and I owe a lot of my prep to the coordinator of the show. She probably received at least two emails a week from me leading up to the event. I was so nervous and I felt so unprepared, so I’m hoping that these tips will help prevent that from being you!
Bridal shows are usually pretty large! Which means you probably aren’t the only photographer, videographer, planner or vendor of your kind there. Try and find ways to be unique and stand out in the minds of brides who are seeing multiple of the same types of vendors throughout a small period of time.
For me, I use instax. I take a cute mini instax of every bride who stops by my booth and those instax are put into a drawing for a free engagement shoot. Even if they don’t win, they are mailed back a cute little image that brings me back to being fresh in their mind and is also another opportunity for me to talk with the bride again since I provide a business card and all my contact info that may have gotten lost in their bridal show bag.
Have a Way to Collect Info
Like stated above, my instax are part of the way I collect bride’s info. After the image is taken it is put into an envelope and the bride-to-be then fills out the envelope as if it was being mailed back to her, because after the show it will be. This gives me another chance to chat with the bride since bridal shows can be hectic and you usually only have a few minutes of interaction. It’s so much fun being able to mail back a cute reminder of their bridal show outing as well as touch base and answer any questions they may have.
Bring an Employee or Friend!
This is one of my biggest tips! Bridal shows are buzz buzz buzz. If it was just me all day I know so many brides would have slipped through. There is often a lot of vendors to get through, so brides won’t wait around at your booth forever just to get a chance to chat. Having someone with you helps give you some more time before you can speak with them and cover more people. I also highly suggest finding someone who knows you, your work and your business because they are there to help you market that and book more clients. So they need to know what they are talking about.
Show What You Want to Shoot!
For me that is all my past boho clients and fun candids, nothing super posed. I love REAL and RAW emotional moments. I am not too fond of staged or posed looking images and definitely no stiff images. It is always said in the photo world that you should show what you want to shoot, and a bridal show is no different. This can also be applied to other vendors. For example, if you are a planner who loves Kate Spade themed weddings, then show those or do a mock up design to show. This is what draws in those new brides that are perfect for your style.
Don’t Worry About Competition or MIA Brides-To-Be
Ok, to be honest I could have found a better way to word that subtitle. The thing is you will probably have a few people glance at your table and just walk away, not even giving you a chance. That’s actually a GOOD THING! They probably noticed you were a photographer and either already have one, or already know who they want or maybe your style just isn’t for them. We as photographers or vendors owe them a thank you for not wasting our time and realizing that we may not be a perfect fit and that’s ok.
Also, try not to let envy or competition get the best of you. I actually recommend walking over to your fellow vendor and wishing them luck before the event! It’s great to make those connections and I promise you it will be so much better in the long run. Plus, you earned your spot in this show just like they did which means you both must be rocking the industry 😉
To Show Pricing or Not to Show Pricing?
This can go either way I think. Last year’s bridal show I passed out pricing the day of and it was a great success. This year I was more in tune with my ideal brides and decided to try the other side by not handing out pricing. I have to say I kind of prefer not passing out pricing! The brides-to-be had the opportunity to meet me and decide if they loved me and my style before ever even seeing pricing. This way I had brides personally pick ME out and say I want to book you without even seeing a single price! I have to say, that right there is any vendor’s ideal client. The one who wants you, appreciates YOU and in return you mutually work better together!
For me this means a lot of things. One, it means being true to my style, I understand it’s a professional event and you want to come off that way, but you still can while dressing to your everyday style. Just dress it up with some tights and wedges. There is no need to sacrifice that!
This also means not starting every convo with potential brides with reasons why they should hire me. This also means not ONLY talking to brides that don’t have wedding photographers. A lot of people may disagree with me on this one, but if someone comes to my booth to visit and already has someone, I’ll make small talk! Like I have said before, my modo is to be a good person first and good business woman second! I have my friend or employee there to help so what is the harm in wishing this newly engaged couple luck, even if I wont be the one to capture it? You have to put yourself in the shoes of the client and think of how you would want to be treated!