Welcome to the world of expos and wedding prep conventions! I had such a fun time coming up with my booth setup and I learned so much from my first expo experience this past weekend. I’d love to share some of my thoughts and tips for doing bridal expos.
1. Invest in an Expo TODAY!
Expos are such a great way to meet potential clients and network with other professionals in the wedding business. I was also able to network with some great photographers who could be connections if I need a second shooter in the future. One thing I would do differently is make the effort to invest in a higher end one. The expo I attended was sparse and definitely had a low budget. Make sure you research the expo, the venue, and the previous shows to be aware of what you’re getting into.
2. Don’t show your pricing
I had put pricing cards on my booth, and instead of people interacting with me, they went straight for the card. It’s better to engage them in conversation, I wanted to get to know them. But most people are blinded by all the information at an expo and if you give them prices, they will just take and run. Most people think you’re going to try to sell to them, because that’s what has been happening to them all day. Which brings me to my next tip.
3. Do not try to hard sell
People really don’t like a salesperson, in the old definition of the word. I think salesperson should be changed to friend or conversationalist. People are going to be far more attracted to your personality than your sales. Let them peruse your work, let it speak for itself. Even when I mentioned a 10% discount for expo attendees, the response was an expression of weary distrust. Yes I’m telling them a great opportunity, but people can see that it’s a strategy to sell to them. The best thing you can do is to be genuine and ask them about their life.
4. Put thought into your booth
People are drawn to visually pleasing elements. While this should be your photos, don’t just include a big picture and call it a day. My booth had decorative elements to attract the type of client I’m looking for. I went for a rustic vintage feel, and you could tell there were certain people attracted to that aesthetic. One of the biggest comments I received was on the collection of vintage or antique cameras I had displayed. It was unique and drew the eyes.
5. Most of all BE RESPECTFUL
We’re photographers. It’s very out there, I get it. But photographers need to understand that we’re all in the same boat with different oars. We all want respect and attention for our beautiful art, but we all have a different style. I should be happy for the client that went with them because that bride wanted THAT style. I want a bride that falls into line with my artistic values. Everyone will be happy and there’s no need to rock the boat. I believe that we all need to respect each other and not react from a place of spite or lack. Besides, I know now of three photographers I can use as second shooters and I believe they would be happy to have me back as well. We should all learn to not be so uptight about our competition. Competition is healthy.
Expos are a great opportunity for networking, finding new clients, and spreading the word about your art. I hope these tips help, and prepare you for your first bridal show/expo. Don’t forget to capture a few pics of your ventures and keep a light heart. Show up, be attentive, and rock the world!