Things are are getting ticked off left right and centre on my 101 in 1001 list recently. When I wrote it I couldn't have imagined being able to succeed at as many as I have in just five months! It's really fun to see some of the big ones being achieved.
One of those big ones was exhibiting at a wedding fair. Most of last year I was being told by people all the time that I should get into wedding fairs to start promoting my business, some said they were fantastic advertising and lots of other people commented that it's hard to find the right kind of client at these events. At the time I had so much to do before I could even consider applying for a stand, so I spent most of 2011 building my portfolio and refining my style.
As the end of the year approached I knew that I had to start thinking more seriously about exhibiting so I started to research shows and this is when I encounted my first hurdle. Wedding fairs are hugely oversubscribed with wedding photographers. The show I was aiming to get into and would still LOVE to get into is the Gazette Wedding Show at Charter Hall in Colchester however they couldn't offer me a stand as they had already reached their photographer limit and those exhibitors had been showing there for years. Needless to say it has been a resounding no and I'm now on a waiting list...
I did however find a few smaller fairs to be a part of and immediately started to get to work on everything I would need. I already knew after going undercover and visiting a few wedding fairs, that standing out from the other photographers would be my first challenge. I also wanted to be sure I could communicate my brand and my style visually from across a room, so that brides would be attracted over. Most of all I wanted to be different, I've seen a lot of stands that are just tables filled with albums or screens with slideshows, I wanted to make sure people would leave and remember me.
Lucky for me I have a pretty handy dad so he set to work on creating some backboards to display my work on, we then wallpapered them in colours reflective of my website (pink and grey). I had some pictures printed and framed and also two canvases made up with my logo on.
My biggest expense was of course my sample albums (another 101 in 1001 goal) they arrived from Folio the day before and I couldn't be more thrilled with them! They'll serve me for years, and the response from visitors was brilliant.
My first wedding fair was yesterday at Mulberry House near Chelmsford. Although not as busy as expected I did meet lots of lovely brides who were planning as far in advance as 2014! It was really nice to hear brides commenting on my work, stroking the pages of my albums and showing interest in booking. Sometimes it seems the only response you receive as a photographer is from others in the same industry so hearing from a direct target market is always beneficial. Only time will tell if this was a good marketing move, but overall it gave me a fantastic experience.
A big thank you goes out to my friend Jo, for keeping me company on the day too :)