This past Sunday was our very first bridal show we ever participated in! I signed up for it a few months ago not really knowing this area and wanting to put more of our client roots down locally, but I had no idea what to expect from it, especially never even having been to one myself. It was kind of a gamble! So in this post I'm just going to recap the day, and hopefully my perspective as a first-time exhibitor will help any other photographers that might be interested in taking the gamble as well. :)
I think my main advice as an exhibitor is just to KNOW your market. I know that my photography has a niche market and doesn't appeal to most people around here who are looking for something more mainstream with lots of formal shots. My lovely friend Katherine offered to help me out on the day of the show, and I just told her, we don't need to talk to every bride - just the right bride. And Katherine even remarked to me how funny it was that the people who were our style were the ones that just gravitated to our booth anyway! I think a lot of people that exhibit feel like they have to get EVERY person's attention - kind of like a pop-up ad or those people with dead sea lotions at the mall kiosks. But because we weren't trying to grab EVERYONE's attention, we were able to spend time making quality connections with clients who were actually interested in our photography.
Disclaimer - I was totally regretting signing up for the bridal show a few days before. I felt like it wouldn't be our market, it was going to be too overwhelming to make any good connections, and it was going to be a waste of money. But in retrospect, all of these things were a big fat false! Sure, I would say about 80% of the brides weren't our market. It was very overwhelming, but not too much to make contacts. And we met some awesome couples and we already made our money back from the event, so it was definitely worth it! And EXTRA bonus - we met several great vendors and other photographers who were incredibly sweet!! There was a pretty good camaraderie among most of the vendors who made it fun to be a part of. :)
Bring a friend!! I could NOT have done this without my lovely and wonderful friend Katherine! Look at that smile! She was totally engaging and confident, as if we've been doing this for years together. Thank you SO much Katherine!!
And I have to brag on Josh for a bit. He MADE our whole display. Like, went to Lowe's, bought the wood, boom. Made it. People were taking photos of our display all day as a wedding display idea! I was so proud of him and so grateful to have this expert craftsman on my side! Also, as I was pretty ill the few days before the show, he and our good friend Scott set up the WHOLE booth without me and it looked SO cute. Pretty impressive! Thank you to Scott too for helping us take down the booth when it was so stressful with traffic and everything! :) You guys are just the best!
All in all, it was much more fun and rewarding than I had anticipated. We surely weren't the most popular booth with a wrap around crowd, but we didn't want to be. Lots of people only come to these things for raffles and free things, and that's fine, but our purpose in exhibiting there was just to make real connections with our local clients! We offered a special of the day but no freebies, and although we had to deal alot with people just coming up to our booth like, "What are you giving away here?" "Nothing, but we have a spec-" "OH FINE NEVERMIND", I still am so proud of what we accomplished in just one day. :) I could talk for awhile about this, but if anyone has any more questions or anything about showing at a bridal show, I'd be happy to give more of my thoughts!
'Till next time!