At first, the idea of marketing to people at a wedding seems tacky and unprofessional. After all, you're being hired by the Bride + Groom to photograph their wedding, not to try to drum up more business for yourself. That is why "intent" is so important when marketing at a wedding. You should be doing everything possible to ensure your Bride & Groom enjoy their day and feel great about themselves, and in turn, about you!
The same-day edit slideshow is not groundbreaking innovation anymore; in fact many brides are expecting that you do that at their reception and think of it as a downside if you don't offer it. This same-day edit can be your biggest marketing tool EVER if you utilize it correctly. Again, thinking of intent, you are not doing this just to market yourself to their friends and family by showing them your pictures...they will see those later anyways, hopefully. You are doing this so that while the Bride is mingling with some guests at the candy table, she has dozens of people rushing up to her, OOZING compliments all over her like the chocolate fountain on her strawberries!
“YOU LOOK AMAZING IN THOSE PHOTOS!!”
“OH MY GOODNESS! YOU GUYS ARE THE CUTEST COUPLE EVER!!”
“DID YOU SEE THE TEARS ON YOUR DAD'S FACE WHEN HE WAS WALKING YOU DOWN THE AISLE?!?!?! YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!”
Now what Bride wouldn't want to hear that on their wedding day, and how much more of a service did you just provide for her? That's better service than offering her another canvas for free! That's service that hits her at an emotional level and encourages her on the biggest day of her life! That is your intent!
Now that your intent is solidified, let's discuss how this can be beneficial for your business.
While you are working hard at the wedding, your target market is actually watching you! You don't have to spend money on advertising with Google to people who don't know you from a hole in the ground. You get to show your potential clients what you can do, while you're doing it! Now you have the chance to go even further and blow their minds when they get to see the photos you just took, displayed at the reception, and to go even a step further, on their own iPhone's!
Displaying the photos at the reception should be done in at least two ways. First, on your laptop as a slideshow at the bar, candy table, guest book table, or wherever people will be able to stand close by and watch. I recommend the bar...that way as the night goes on, your photos just get better and BETTER!
The second way, and probably the more effective way, is on an iPad (or two) that you send around the reception. You do need to take necessary precaution and set restrictions on the iPad and have "find my iPad" loaded and running, but at the same time you need to show that you trust the people at the reception, they appreciate it!
If you’re not sure how to set restrictions on your iPad, it’s very easy. Go to the settings and tap on “General”, then “Accesibility”, and then go down to “Guided Access” and turn it on. You’ll have to set a 4-digit passcode to get back out of the restricted mode when you’re done. To enable guided access, simply triple tap the home button on your iPad and then select the areas you want to disable by circling them with your finger. I suggest using the standard photos app for viewing the images, and in that case I circle the top portion of the screen so the “edit” and “albums” buttons are disabled. Using this function will allow the guests to move the photos around and look through the album you’ve selected, but they won’t be able to challenge each other on Angry Birds!
I suggest you first show the Bride + Groom the photos on the iPad, and while they're starting to view them, go and get the Mother's of both and tell them what's happening. They will turn into your biggest fans immediately, and you can just sit back and take pictures of the tears that flow.
And now the real marketing comes in, allowing the guests to see the photos right on their own devices!
The program that allows you to do this flawlessly and instantly is called PASS, and it integrates with facebook, iPhone's, iPad's and iPod Touch's incredibly. Once you've edited your photos for the same day slideshow, all you have to do is upload them to the wedding gallery and tell the guests where to find them. For uploading, it is best if you are connected to a wifi router from the venue you are at so you can upload the high-resolution files. If you don’t have Internet access there, then the next alternative is to use your cell phones wireless hot spot (most smart phones have this capability). If you don’t have one, then go get one! Depending on your data plan, I would suggest uploading smaller web-sized files with this connection so you’re not taking up too much data, and then re-upload the full size files when you get home.
Another way I let the guests know where to find the photos is by making personalized cards for the wedding. You can design small cards with an engagement photo from the couple and the link URL for their gallery. You can hand these out at the reception, letting people know that they are already up there. You can also share the gallery on the Bride + Groom's facebook pages and anyone who sees the link will be able to view the photos as well. Now you have a discussion point with the guests at the wedding that WILL lead to you booking their weddings and their friends weddings because you went above and beyond! Your couple will also be amazed and thankful that you gave them this amazing service completely for free, yes, do it for free!
Remember that referrals take time to come through, so don't be discouraged if you don't hear from anyone right after the wedding you just shot, this method of marketing works and if you continue to do it effectively you will see the benefits of your efforts.