Thursday, May 28, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Booking Weddings, How About Booking 5 Bonuses To Seal The Deal?

Good Morning Everybody,
Can you believe it, we took the day off yesterday! Turns out that when making our tour plans we thought the drive to Houston was a bit longer than it really was and planned to take two days to get there. Turns out the drive is only about 4 1/2 hours so we decided to hang out in Baton Rouge for the day yesterday and head out early today.

My buddy, Larry Weaver, who lives in Baton Rouge took the day off and played tour guide for LaDawn and I for the day. We saw Mike the Tiger over at LSU, toured the destroyer, the USS Kidd, toured the beautiful old Louisiana State Capital - WOW, what a place, and even saw a bill passed at the new State Capital. All in all, a nice day finishing up with a little crayfish etouffe and red fish for dinner -ahhhh nice.

We head to Houston in just a bit so let's get on with Business Day Thursday - here we go...

Booking Weddings, How About 5 Booking Bonuses To Seal The Deal?
These are tougher times than usual and prospective brides are shopping more photogs before they make their final buying decision. Why not give them more of an incentive to book with you. We started doing this years ago. If my bride booked my biggest coverage, I would toss in a complimentary engagement session and a 16x20 print - a $425 value. If they booked my 2nd tier coverage, I would still offer to shot the engagement session - still a $200, but the 16x20 print was not included.

Let me clarify my point about booking bonuses too. I'm calling a "booking bonus" a special offer for the bride and groom to book with us right now or within say, three days. These bonuses should not be construed to be part of the package offered the bride and groom. The bonuses are a one time offer for booking now.

That was then and this is now. Times and tastes are changing for the brides and grooms of this new millennium. Most are not too enticed by a wall portrait - at least that's the case in good ol' Cincy, Ohio. So what are the alternatives? I have to say in this day and digital age, the choices are many. And, many of them don't have to break the bank.

Hit the "Read More..." link below for the rest of the story.

Here are my top five ideas for booking bonuses:

1. Create a blog for them - FREE. Offer to upload a sampling of engagement and wedding portraits for them. Both of you have access to the site so they can update it too. All of this is pretty simple with Blogger.

2. How about 50 low res images for their i-Phone, iPod, , or iTouch. FREE. The resolution is low enough so that prints can't be made from them but they are still in a very convenient shareable form for family and friends.

3. How about a Hi-Res DVD from Animoto? The cost doesn't break the bank and is a great product with lots of value to offer your clients. By the way, if you use the Digital WakeUp Call special code - dwuc0701 - you can get one month free on a 12 month subscription - a pretty good deal.

4. Let's not forget the engagement portrait session either. There is still some mileage in that offer too.

5. This is one of my favorites. How about for booking the wedding with you, your client receives the loan of a digital photo album they will receive at the wedding reception to share with family and friends right away.

Our plan is to let them keep the photo album for up to 60 days until their regular album comes in. I blogged about this months ago and now the Digi Photo Book is available with and 8 inch 800x600 screen. We plan to keep three of them available and rotate them out as needed. Need a price point a bit less? Then check out the much smaller Digi Pocket albums from $29 - $89 - pretty cool.

The bottom line is this folks, we want the client to make the decision to use our services now. Offering booking incentives with value and style may just lead to an upturn to your wedding bookings.

Hey gang, how about some ideas from our readers too. Like always, if we get 20 plus ideas from our DPT readers, I'll award the winner - my choice - a $50 prize. What a deal!

That about wraps it for me today gang. We are Texas bound in about an hour. See ya' in Houston tonight. Adios, -David


  1. If you book with me now we will throw in a free DVD with video snippets and still taken from our camera that can shoot both HD Video and High Resolution Stills.

  2. How about giving them a digtial picture frame loaded with some of their images as incentive to book now Not crazy expensive , but probably appreciated

  3. Many album companies (specifically Tuscany) are printing "guest books". Cost runs under $50. Full images on one side of the page, same image ghosted on the other side for people to sign.

    "If you book today, I'll throw in a guest book with the images from your engagement."

  4. PhotoBook-esque set-up at the reception... with or without immediate print options!

  5. Lots of options... I like to throw in one or two of these as surprise thank you's when I deliver the prints after the event...

    an album (clear sleeve 3 ring)with selected 4x6 watermarked prints

    "on-line sharing" CD of small (400x300) images for social networking sites

    engagement session is a easy adder

    discount of printed invites or thank you's with an image from the engagement/wedding.

    Small quicktime slideshow set to "their song" for i-pod, i-phone etc. (my website enables me to offer this as a free download)

    Most of these are low capital (ie cost is mostly my time) items that don't work for everyone, but for can be custom tailored to each client... Non - digital folks like the print album. Full bore, no paper, liveonthenetwork clients love the i-pod video slide show....


  6. How about a complimentary bridal shower / kitchen tea shoot? It is often something the bride likes to look back on, but seldom has any decent photos of.
    Another item that they might like for a bonus is a Christmas tree decoration with their photo on. Something like that can become an heirloom.

  7. Couples may not be into large prints so much anymore, but grandparents still love to have a framed picture of their grand kids. An 8x10 or 5x7 with an inexpensive frame still looks very nice and creates an opportunity for B and G to include their favorite relatives or friends.

    Thanks for the great tips, everybody. I always glean loads of good information around here.

  8. With the booking of a top-tier session, think about throwing in either:

    A) A trash-the-dress shoot for the truly adventurous bride (these images are hard to get since the not too many brides want to kill their $??k dress. But talk about cool images for your portfolio...)

    B) A post-wedding shoot of the bride in a few "exotic" locations around town. The dress lives on and you get more print sales (if you're not on a shoot-and-burn business model).

    Good hunting.

  9. I know that when my wife & I were first married the first thing she wanted to do in our new home was to put up portraits in the hall of all our family members (both sides). For booking the top package why not offer the engagement shoot & a family portrait of each side of the family OR portraits of family members they don't have like siblings or grandmas, grandpas & the like. You might have to pitch the idea a bit; but I think most brides once they gave it some thought would think it's a great idea.

  10. I don't shoot weddings (yet), though I have shot two so far. I mostly advise my buddy that I used to work with, he shoots 3-5 weddings a year. What are you guys charging for these packages? I know that issue is rarely talked about online, but I think these options here are on the more extravagant end of things. But, it depends on what you are charging. My direct email is fly at flyerist dot com, if you don't want to respond publicly.

  11. -- a pack of business cards with their favorite image on it.
    -- PDF slideshow.

    I always overdeliver - give them something at the end which they didn't expect. That leaves a good memory.

  12. No one does signatures anymore! I have found this popular with high school senior parties and weddings. A smaller print in a larger frame with double mat. Say 8 x 10 of their best engagement photo (a good way to get this business) in a 16 x 20 frame and get signatures at the reception on the mat of the family and friends. It's something nostalgic and it does not get thrown away. Maybe tucked away over time, but never thrown out with the bathwater, so to speak!!

  13. I really love doing Press products with my lab--throwing in some nice custom designed Thank You cards, Save The Date cards, or even Holiday cards (if the wedding is close enough)is great, and different. A lot of my brides don't think about doing those with their images, and really love this idea--also another fun way to get my portraits, designs, and logo out there!

  14. I'm offering a variety of choices at different price levels, so each client can pick SOMEthing if they book quickly enough.

    At the same time, this lets them see some of the other things that I offer, without me having to point them out myself. : )

  15. Throw in a guest photo booth at the reception where you can put one of your back-up bodies to work for free, letting all of the guests shoot wacky candids of themselves as a gift to the bride and groom. Add a small erasable white board that guests can use to scribble a message to the couple as part of the photo. It would give the guests something to do while you wrap up the formals and the couple will end up with a very personal and fun photo registry of smiles and warm wishes from their friends.

    Added bonus for you - Give the couple a free small print of the shots but also set up a slide show of the photo booth creations at the reception and give guest the opportunity to purchase low cost prints of their own shots as mementos.

  16. I do not include print credits in my packages, so I offer a gift certificate towards the purchase of prints or an album if they book within the week. I also offer three copies of a custom twelve month photo calendar of their best images if they book during the intial consultation. These calendars are great because they aren't super expensive and clients just go crazy over them...Also, I always create an animoto video of their photo sessions and send it to them as a surprise after the wedding with a hand-written thank you note. I include this disk and thank you not in a 5x7 tri-fold pocket folio, and I always include a 5x7 from their wedding for free...I wrap all of this up with a polka dot ribbon and deliver it in a custom bag...this always leaves my customers very happy

  17. Why not offer to cover the cost and labor of creating and submitting Newspaper wedding announcement for up to three newspapers. Not too much money, but an item off their checklist.

    FWIW, in my experience, its hard to avoid this, but its worth mentioning. I think its important to ask first for the business WITHOUT the incentive to sign today. My close should reflect on the value of my product -- "now that we've fleshed out your idea of the perfect wedding, let's get started today on setting aside some dates..." not immediately go to the freebies "you like my work, and I'd like to work with you. If we get started today, I'll throw in the engagement session." I think that going to the giveaway too quickly reflects poorly on the value proposition you worked so hard to establish in the presentation. Just a thought.

  18. I offer a complimentary engagement session if booked within a week of the initial meeting.

    I offer all of the e-session images for use for table settings, gifts (coasters, cards, etc.), invites, etc.

    Engagement sessions are great because it helps me get comfortable with the couple as well as gives them some time to get comfortable in front of the camera.

  19. Hi David,
    I would like to think I booked three weddings this week, based on the reactions from my clients, when I introduced the gift registry to them. I use my gift cards in my bridal gift registry. When I book, or try to book the client, I ask them to include me on their gift registry and to let their guest know that. When a guest registers with me, there is a $50 minimum, I will send my client a confirmation that $50 has been applied to their account from Mr or Mrs John Doe. Mr or Mrs John Doe would get a $50 gift card from Frank Wilson Photography for a portrait session or maybe images from the wedding. It's a win-win situation. Mr or Mrs John Doe gets credited for a gift to the bride and groom and in turn, they get a gift also. The bride and groom has $50 less to pay on their account or apply it to a package upgrade. How about that for a $3.00 peice of plastic. Better than getting a toaster or some ugly sheets.