By Thea Dodds, Authentic Eye Photography
Four years ago, I said to some wedding colleagues, “I want to shoot only green weddings.” Everyone laughed as if I were making a joke. My friendly colleagues told me, “There aren’t enough green weddings.” And I agreed they were probably right … at least for now.
The thing is that eco-aware brides are my kind of people. So by marketing myself to a subset of the wedding market who are more likely to book me, I am able to maximize my advertising dollars. Green brides are college or post-graduate educated; they are working professionals; they are smart and savvy shoppers; they will spend more for a product that is of superior quality and has a minimal impact on the environment.
Today, 50 percent of the weddings I photograph are “green” weddings. In just a few years the industry has gone from a single green wedding magazine to many websites and books dedicated to green weddings sites, even a green wedding section in The Knot’s Real Weddings. I’ve met wedding planners who exclusively plan green weddings, so why can’t I exclusively shoot green weddings? I’m not there yet, but like most things in business, I put a plan in place and am following the steps to success in marketing myself as a greener wedding photographer and photographing more green weddings. Here are a few simple ideas that you can use to help you market yourself to the eco-aware bride.
Use the carrot, not the stick
My first idea was to set green criteria for weddings that I would photograph. I bounced this idea off a colleague, and they advised me to give clients a “carrot” for going green, not “the stick” for not having a green wedding. That is when I instituted a 10 percent discount for using two vendors on my green vendor list. This incentive was such a success that I have scaled back the discount and tightened the criteria to make it more exclusive.
Developing a green vendor list was a great way to build relationships with other eco-minded wedding professionals. The discount program gave me an excuse to approach these vendors, furthering their interests as well as mine. The reciprocal links that followed are key to bringing in some of my best pre-qualified clients.
Obviously, your studio needs to be as green as possible before you can market yourself as such. Greener Photography is the best resource to help you understand how green your business is, and then help you promote your green photography business. The certification program gives credibility to your claims as well as a pretty logo for your advertising material.
I pitch ideas all the time to conventional wedding professionals. I suggested a green section to our local Wedding Book. I worked with a green wedding planner to put together a green wedding show. I suggested the wedding show have an educational aspect to it to educate brides about the benefits of going green. I received a positive response to most of these ideas.
See your green weddings through to completion by offering greener wedding albums, packaging, and frames.
• All of my packaging is 100% recycled. I love ProDPI’s Green Executive drop ship.
• I deliver images on reusable, wooden flash drives from Photo Flash Drive
• I offer the greenest album’s available from reputable companies such as Cypress, White Glove and Wild Magnolia Design
• I offer canvas prints from Simply Canvas. Canvas is one of the “greener” ways to print photos with fewer chemicals.
Many more Green photography suppliers can be found on Greener Photography’s Green Guide