Post by TWiP Contributor: Patrick Reed
No, I'm not expecting… What I am starting to show are my wares at bridal shows. Here are 5 takeaways from my experiences in preparing for and participating in my first bridal show.
1. Be persistent
I was waiting in line at my local gourmet supermarket when I noticed a flyer for a bridal show. I asked the clerk about it, she led me to another lady who recommended I call a number. I did, got in email contact a couple of days later, and before I knew it I was told that I had been chosen to be the sole photographer at the show – 400 brides expected to walk thru. I was ecstatic!
2. Do your homework
All was great until I really started to research bridal shows and realized what I was in for. The week before, I checked out a local show just to see what I might expect. The atmosphere was a bit cutthroat and intimidating. I didn'tmeet too many of the ‘share the love' type of photographers. Instead, one fellow, when he realized I was new competition, basically refused to talk to me and said, “Don't expect to see my price-list.” All of this, despite my having my two cutie 3 and 5 year-old daughters in tow. (I lured them in with promises of wedding cake…) Oh well, that experience only made me want to be more of an open and sharing new dude on the block.
3. Start the prep yesterday
I am amazed how how many details had to be considered and remembered and organized in order to present my best at the show. Think easels, large mounted prints, sample albums, monitor or flat-screen tv, flowers, biz cards, power cords, little giveaways, etc. As has been mentioned before, the time to acquire all of this is … today, before you even imagine actually doing a show. So, get on it. Give WHCC a call, hit up Costco for bulk goodies, and…
4. Go for it!
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”… and “If you build it they will come” are inspirational sayings which came to mind as I prepped for the show and fought off the negative thoughts that creep in doubting it all. I just decided to plug away at task after task as they presented themselves in my preparations. And it paid off. Responses to my booth and my photographs were great, reassuring and, ultimately, confidence-building.
5. You will surprise yourself
You will discover your strengths and weaknesses in marketing and selling, and so your business can't help but be better for the experience. I was thrilled to find that I could eagerly and sincerely talk to couples, congratulating them on their plans and confidently showing my work – seeking a right fit. And this brings me full circle to the antagonistic Joe I met when I was first scoping out shows. And I thought to myself, “In our business, there's room for all – because the couples and their photographer have to sync. And that takes every type of personality there is.”
So, what are you waiting for? Start prepping for that inevitable first show today.