When you prepare studio sample albums to showcase your best work to prospective clients, don’t forget about those vendors who do, or might actively refer you. Making up sample albums for banquet venues, hotels, churches or professional event planners is smart business. These vendors are at the top of the to-do list for couples planning their wedding, or parents planning their son or daughter’s bar/bat mitzvah. Just like you, these vendors are also in need of ways to put their best foot forward.
If you’ve worked with these planners or at these venues, chances are you already have great shots that show off the space, the decor or the food. Your professionally done shots will be so much better than the what the event planner or food and beverage manager is going to do with a cell phone. Better yet, you’ll have plenty of pictures that will help prospective clients of these vendors imagine their own events as they’ll unfold. Your shots will help them envision how well their guest count will fit a room, how a given space photographs, how the uplighting package looks, what a garden area might look like in May.
Best all, providing sample albums to these vendors will go a long way toward cementing your referral network. No one is more predisposed to seek out and hire you than one who is referred by the catering manager at the venue they’ve booked, and where they have already seen your work.
Here are some things to consider when creating vendor sample albums:
1. Talk to the coordinator or person booking the events before designing the album and ask them where their challenges lie and what kinds of shots would make their selling job easier. If they make money on uplighting packages or chair covers, make sure to include such shots. While a church coordinator may not be motivated by sales, he or she may appreciate working with you because you keep a respectful demeanor in their church, you turn off your flash and don’t prowl around the altar during the ceremony. That coordinator will recommend you because you don’t distract from ceremony and you make their job easier.
2. Along with featuring the venue, or the work of the event planner, add plenty of beauty shots of the ceremony, happy couples cutting their cake and celebrating on the dance floor. If possible, show shots from more than one event. Prospects will imagine their own family and friends enjoying their day.
3. Be sure to include your name or the name of your studio and/or your website somewhere in the album. While the cover title might say “Weddings at Meridian Banquets” it might also say “Courtesy of Acme Photo Studio www.AcmeWeddings.com” on the first page.
4. Deliver the album personally, and directly to the person who will be doing the sales consultations. Make sure he or she has a supply of your business cards. Call and thank them when referrals come your way. Follow up periodically to keep your name fresh in their mind. If they turn into a positive referral source, offer to come in and shoot special event set-ups or décor they may want for their website or brochures.
Check out this great venue sample State College PA area photographers and Zookbinders customers Joel and Andrea Knepper made for the General Potter Farm. The Kneppers featured shots from different events, different seasons, and both indoor and outdoor ceremonies for what will be a very effective sales tool for the Potter Farm while also showing off J&A Photography.
Vendor samples are eligible for Zookbinders 50% off studio sample rates (two samples per product line per year).