I used to believe that photojournalism represented a platonic ideal of…
New York-based wedding photographer Brian Dorsey has certainly made a name for himself in the high-end wedding industry: he’s been named one of the top 10 wedding photographers in the world by American Photo Magazine, sends his clients champagne before the big day, and has been featured in publications like New York Weddings, Wedding in Houston, and The Knot.
After more than ten years in the industry, Brian is servicing high-profile clientele along with a small team of talented photographers – and charging top dollar for it.
It would be incorrect to assume that a high-end product means an extravagant production. In fact, Brain’s approach is quite the opposite. He describes his style as observational and photojournalistic – the opposite of staging. He also gives his clients the five-star treatment with impeccable customer service and, most importantly, impeccable photos.
Understanding how this market thinks was key in differentiating himself from other wedding photographers. The further upmarket you move, the higher the expectation is. The kind of client willing to spend top dollar on their wedding expects topnotch service, because that’s what they’re used to.
An excellent resource for both understanding this type of clientele and also connecting with them are wedding planners. Establishing relationships with wedding planners who serve the high-end market can be the key to the kingdom. While client word of mouth is still a major source of new business, referrals from planners and vendors have not only become a reliable source of new clients, but also tend to generate the most revenue.
Brian’s strategy to booking the kind of work he wants to shoot is to only show the kind of work he wants to get. In a similar vein, when pricing yourself, Brian advises that you ask yourself “what is my target market willing to pay for this service?” When it comes to the high-end market, being a bargain option can actually have a negative impact.
Regardless of the target market you aspire to serve, Brian has some good advice for surviving in the wedding industry: the best way to protect yourself and your business is to continue to differentiate yourself. When you’re setting up your business, you need to treat it like a long-term project and establish long-term goals.
Lastly, edit, edit, edit. And then, edit some more. Everything you put out there is a reflection of you and your brand. An impeccable brand starts with impeccable self-editing.
- An upscale experience does not necessary mean extravagant set-ups or loads of expensive equipment.
- To service high-end clients, you have to be familiar with and give the kind of customer service that the client expects.
- Make sure your portfolio speaks to your brand and represents your target market.
Also be sure to check out our free guide How To Grow A Wedding Photography Business to hear firsthand from successful wedding photographers and learn how set your services apart from the pack.