I thought I would take today’s post and focus a little bit on the bridal show I did yesterday. I know not everyone who reads is a wedding photographer, but if you’re thinking about doing an expo of any kind maybe this might inspire you.
To make a long story even longer I’ll say that I’ve been preparing for this bridal show for quite some time. I did a re-brand of my business this Spring. Re-brand isn’t even the right word. I branded for the first time ever and I learned so much.
What I learned about branding this year really changed the focus of my business and the types of clients I am getting. I can’t even begin to tell you what a valuable investment branding was. I really wished I had taken the time years ago to understand the ins and outs of branding, how it works and mostly, and how important it is.
So the story of the bridal show is that I started going shopping for antiques and purchasing items that I felt expressed my brand to use in my booth. My booth ended up looking like a cute antique shop store front. I focused on showcasing images that best expressed my brand and the types of clients I was looking for. A lot of photography booths at these big expos have huge industrial-style set ups, tv screens and other things that I don’t think are as visually appealing. My goal was to use my branding as a way to draw in clients. Although my images aren’t edited in a vintage style, vintage stuff expressed my personality and that’s what I use to brand my business.
You can check out some of the photos of the booth below. They are iphone photos. The bridal show is crazy busy so I don’t like having my fancy camera sitting around just in case. This was probably the most successful bridal show I’ve ever had simply because of the way my booth looked. Sometimes the booth was so packed that my husband (who helped) and I couldn’t even stand in the booth. Normally, with bridal shows it’s my goal to email everyone who left info within 24 hours and I was receiving emails all evening when I got home, into the wee hours of the morning and again today. My inbox hasn’t ever been so full of inquiries all at once and normally I’m the one chasing them down instead of the other way around. I think it’s all due to having a cohesive brand that people can connect to. There were definitely some ladies who gave my booth the “that’s gross” look because they don’t like rustic and that’s great. I have always emphasized that a really strong brand is one that people either immediately love or hate and there’s no wishy washy feeling in between. Brides connected with my booth because it appealed to their own likes and they immediately felt we had something in common.
I also wanted to touch on what my booth cost me for display items, etc. I don’t ever want to display a lot of huge framed photos or buy big industrial displays, big TVs etc. None of that is my style. I have always emphasized that you could run an awesome business that’s also not going to break the bank. So, here’s the lowdown.
10 Canvases in various sizes from CGPro Prints – $270
500 Business Cards from Vistaprint – $20
200 Handmade Fliers with burlap and lace textures – $100 + lots of man hours of labor 😉
3 Antique Doors – $35 each
1 Antique Window – $30
100 4×6 Prints from WHCC (purchased through my own PASS galleries) – $100
Big Banner Sign in the Back from Vistaprint – $70 ($40 for banner and $30 for stand)
Antique Desk from Flea Market – $15 (yep you heard me)
Antique Chair from Flea Market – $15 + my mom bought fabric and recovered it for me – she’s AMAZING!
Mason Jars and Vases – Approx $40 (purchased at goodwill or Hobby Lobby)
Ribbon and flowers for Jar Decor from Hobby Lobby – $20
Candles and Candle Holders from Target – $20
Vintage Suitcase (it’s a Newborn Prop I’ve had for years) – $0
Old 7up Crate (family heirloom) – $0
Business Card Basket (old newborn prop) – $0
Canvas Stands (used from my own wedding years ago) – $0
Burlap Table Runners from Hobby Lobby – $10
iMac (it’s my own regular computer) – $0
Bulletin Board that matches Chair – $0 (made by mom)
2 Notebooks and Pens (Target) – $10
Total Spent: $825
I realize the total may not seem affordable to some, but this is on the cheap side for what most photographers spend for a bridal show investment. You can customize this look and spend less by purchasing less canvas, less prints, no banner/sign, print cheap fliers at Kinkos, etc.
I really hope this experience might inspire you to do something different for your own business. To brand and see what happens and how it can affect your business success. I also hope that I could show you that you don’t need big fancy tv screens, light up frames, and all the really expensive features to build an expo booth. You can have an amazing booth at an affordable price that people absolutely love.
Also, don’t mind the last image of me and my shoes. I like to brand myself to match, so I’m wearing vintage boots (that have lace) and a lacey sweater and a dress I felt expressed a little of my brand too!