Moving your business to a new state doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may think. As someone who has moved many times, I have found some great ways to still have a thriving business while transitioning to a new state.
I started my photography business in Tampa, Florida and then we relocated to Atlanta one year later. I was doing really well, having booked 19 weddings without ever second shooting. I dove head first into my photography business and just went with it.
When we had to relocate I was in a position of ‘okay, what now? How do I handle this change without losing income?’
Maybe you’re in the same position and you’re wondering how you’re going to be successful moving your business… I have some great tips to share with you!
So, I decided to rebrand myself as a destination wedding photographer. I put myself out there as I am from Tampa, but I live in Atlanta. I market myself as a photographer who shoots in both places and anywhere in between. What made this transition so easy was that my brides in Tampa understood that I still shoot there and would continue to send me referrals.
One of the best parts about it was that once brides realized I was often driving to Tampa to shoot weddings brides in places like Pensacola, Mobile, Orlando, Savannah started to hire me as well. Their thought process was this “If she is driving all the way to Tampa, she can easily drive to xyz location to shoot my wedding.”
It builds a lot of trust when you can market yourself as a destination photographer. It takes away their leariness… in their mind this is what you do. You TRAVEL. You’re a seasoned pro at it.
A big part of moving your business to a new state comes down to your marketing which I’m going to talk more about in this post.
When you’re traveling somewhere, let’s say for a long weekend. I highly recommend maximizing your time! For me, I would try to book a session, or have photos of myself taken to show that I’m traveling. It is a great marketing opportunity to show potential clients that you are in their market. You know the locations and you’re familiar with the area.
If I had a session there I would make sure to encourage my clients to bring 2 outfits and 2 locations. My 1.5 hour engagement session was always 2+ hours because I wanted to serve and love those clients so well that they sent their friends and family. It gave me so much more content.
The BIG question I usually get…
#1 – Brand yourself as a destination photographer!
Surprisingly a lot of my brides didn’t even know where I live. I would be shooting a couple in Tampa and they were like so where do you live? If you looked at any of my resources you would see where I live. BUT it didn’t matter to them… all that mattered was that I was consistently showing up in their market.
If someone asked me, I wouldn’t hide it either. I always tell my clients, it’s not a big deal. I literally have a suitcase in my closet ready to go always. I love to travel. It’s my thing!
Pricing conversation can be a little bit difficult, especially if someone isn’t necessarily looking to pay extra to bring you in.
For example, when I had a destination wedding in Cancun I couldn’t hide the fact that I had to charge for travel, they know what they’re asking and that with this type of travel there are fees.
If it’s somewhere you travel to often, or are hoping to travel to more, there’s a couple things I would do here.
For me, at first, when I started traveling I did eat some travel costs. If it was going to cost me $100 or less then I would eat that cost. Truthfully, $100 in the grand scheme wasn’t going to make or break the bank. I’d rather make those few thousand dollars than nothing.
But then, after some time what I quickly realized was that a lot of that travel time was really hard when it came to actually getting work done in a busy season… traveling as a photographer isn’t always necessarily as amazing as it may seem!
Separate pricing guides
I ended up making separate pricing guides for my brides in different areas. My Atlanta pricing guide for all brides local to me. Then I created my Tampa pricing guide which fluctuated from $250-300 more, then eventually $500 more, than my Atlanta pricing because ultimately it takes me more time to get there. I just wrapped it up in my package and would say here is your pricing, don’t worry about extra travel costs. The price is the price. It was built in and it wasn’t shown as extra for them.
For destinations, the price was higher and I would tweak my guide accordingly before sending. I factor in 2-3 nights of hotels because I always knew I would need 2-3 nights because I always arrive 24 hours in advance. I also factor in 2-3 tanks of gas. What I did from there, based upon where they’re getting married I would factor in additional costs.
Depending on where it was, I could say since you’re at this location, my destination pricing will fit perfectly. Since I packaged it all up and the travel price was built into the price there was no emotional trigger of multiple numbers included. This helped gain trust with my brides.
My biggest thing is, if you’re trying to to start pushing yourself toward a certain market, Put it in your marketing.
For example, something like “I’m based in Charlotte & Nashville”- if people know its a 4 hour drive, then they know you will most likely drive 4 hours in another direction for their wedding.
Another strategic thing I did was post 2 Atlanta images, 2 Tampa images, and 1 destination image every week to show what my main markets were.
Okay, I’d love to know how these tips have helped you if you’re moving your business or wanting to break into the destination wedding photography world? Drop a comment below to share!
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