“Bookings Are Different This Year”… Let’s Talk About It

Bookings Are Different This Year in the wedding industry. Let's talk about it in this photography podcast episode.

Claire Hunt

April 19, 2024

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Inquiries and bookings seem to be slower and you’re getting ghosted more than ever? If this is happening to you, you aren’t alone, and your feelings are valid. 

BUT this episode is here to give you some real things to think about, to ponder on, because what got you where you are now isn’t going to get you where you want to be. You CAN move forward out of this rut and have clear direction for your business.

And if at any point throughout this episode, you find yourself feeling that “I’m done struggling and doing this by myself” moment, I want you to know this is exactly why I created my mentorship program, Book It. It’s for the photographer who is struggling with inquiries, struggling to book the inquiries they get, their website isn’t converting, and they don’t have a marketing plan. 

There’s no shame in these things because most of us photographers get into this because we excel at the right side of the brain. That’s the creative and artistic side – you’re likely proud of your work, your style, your editing, your posing… But when it comes to the left side of your brain, which is the business, marketing, discipline, and organization side… this can be more of a struggle for photographers, especially those who did so well during the wedding boom because business was easier. 

So, if you are struggling and you know after listening to this episode that you want clear, personalized support for your business, I invite you to apply for Book It. I would love to schedule a chat with you and get to know you. 

Now, let’s get into the episode topics.

Stop focusing on who isn’t booking and focus on who is

When photographers focus on who isn’t booking, they tend to show up in one of two ways that are both very detrimental: Either desperation or ghosting, and when I say ghosting, I mean that you may be so desperate to get more inquiries that you are completely ghosting your business. 

If you’re able to be thankful for who is booking rather than being down on who isn’t and continuing to work on your business and pivot when you need to, will help bring in more inquiries and bookings. On top of that, the confidence that you’re lacking is absolutely going to show through. 

 Desperate energy is repelling

You may feel like you have to white-knuckle things because you’re getting too few inquiries. This may look like posting that you have “one spot” left when you actually have more, posting about discounts, and negotiating your services. 

Potential clients can feel that desperation, so I want to encourage you that if this is where you’re at, you have to go back to the basics and create more of a personal brand. People buy from those that they know, like, and trust. 

One big thing to ask yourself is, “Does my marketing bring in the couples that I really want to work with right now? Even if I only get one inquiry per month, is it who I want to work with?” You also have to figure out if your website is actually converting. If your answer is yes, then you likely need more volume, and ads could be the answer.

 If the answer is no, I would be very cautious about ads. They will not be the solution. It will just be a waste of money. If you don’t even know who you’re trying to market to or how to market to them in the first place, and you don’t have a client experience to guide people through once they do inquire, then ads are not going to be helpful. 

Ghosting your business 

When I started my business, I didn’t care how many people liked my posts. I didn’t care how many people watched my stories. It didn’t even matter how many inquiries I was getting because I trusted that during the slow times, the inquiries would end up coming because I was putting in the work on the back end, and that is truly what got me to where I am today. I knew I was doing the strategic action that I could depend on to get to a place where I would end up booked out, and that is exactly what I teach you inside of Book It.

The like, know, and trust factor is why someone will choose to book with you. If you’re ghosting your business by not showing up in your stories, not posting, not sharing how you’re pushing yourself to continue growing, then what’s going to cause a couple to feel like that have that know, like, and trust factor with you? 

Anytime I have ever looked for a photographer for myself or someone to outsource to, the very first thing I do is look at their stories and see how active they are on Instagram. If they aren’t active on Instagram, then I look at their other marketing platforms. If they aren’t active there, I’m likely going to keep looking for somebody else. 

Whenever you feel like you’re in that place of ghosting your business, I encourage you to take time to do whatever is going to help you reframe that mindset and get you into a more positive one. 

Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset 

Someone with a fixed mindset believes that they are perfect, their work is great, and there’s nothing they need to work on. On the other hand, someone with a growth mindset may think that while they have been successful, there’s still more that they can improve upon. 

I truly believe that photographers who approach business with a growth mindset are going to be the more successful photographers. You have to continue to move your business forward and continue pivoting. You can’t expect that what got you to where you are now is going to get you to where you want to be. 

The wedding boom is over 

Things are returning to more of a normal in this space whenever it comes to bookings. Couples are not feeling so rushed to book anymore. There was actually a scarcity of photographers who would be available for dates during the wedding boom, whereas now, couples know it’s chilling out quite a bit. 

Not to mention, there is a recession. Everything is so expensive and couples are starting to think more about if they really do want to spend all of this money on a wedding. Maybe they just want to elope or have a smaller, more intimate wedding. All of these things are playing into how couples are booking. 

The good news is that this gives you space to grow and to stand out in the industry. It gives you space to hone in on your marketing, your messaging, and your sales because that’s what is going to make the difference. 

Questions to ask yourself 

I want to end by asking a bunch of questions, and I would love for you to pause, write these down, and answer them. These questions will help you understand where you are in your business and make a plan of action because if you don’t make a plan of action, you’re just going to stay where you are now, and I don’t want that for you, friend. 

How are you going to pivot?

How are you going to pivot with the changes that we’re seeing in the industry? Are you going to be someone who remains where they’re at and looks around at everyone else, or are you going to take strategic action for yourself? What should that strategic action be? 

Do you know your dream client?

Do you really know who your dream client is? And by this, I don’t just mean surface level. I mean their deepest desires, their values, their personality, the people you jive most with, the people you enjoy serving the most, the people who would honestly just be your friends. Do you understand your dream client and their pain points? Do you know how to target them? 

What’s your marketing strategy?

Is your marketing helping you reach your goals right now? Do you have a real marketing strategy or are you just depending on Facebook groups? Are you just depending on using the right hashtags? Are you just depending on sharing your portfolio? Do you know how to be a marketer? 

Does your website stand out?

Do you have a website that stands out? Do you know what makes your brand yours? Does your website funnel them through your entire experience from start to finish and answer many of the questions they may have? Is it speaking to your dream couple more than it speaks about you? Does it share why your couple should choose you over another photographer who also does beautiful work, but yet they charge less than you? 

Is your client experience high quality?

Do you have a client experience worthy of charging high ticket pricing? High ticket could mean anything about $3k, so it depends on where you’re at in your business, but if you just give a gift and a client guide, send a few emails along the way, and call it a day, that’s not actually a client experience. I want to encourage you to think about how you could provide more of an organized luxury client experience. 

Do you manage finances?

Are you managing your finances to help withstand the ebbs and flows of business? Do you know how to pay yourself? How to pay for taxes? How to save for your non-booking seasons? 

Book It Mentorship Program

My assignment for you is to write these questions down and answer them. I would love to hear from you if you do go through this exercise. These questions above are what Book It can help you with.

This mentorship program is 3 months long and I’m literally your right-hand gal throughout the entire program. I’ll be there to answer all of your questions, hesitations, roadblocks, and obstacles you’re facing. I’m here to help all of this click and make sense so you can get to that next level.

I hope these tips and questions will help you to have a little bit more strategic action in your business. Just know I’m rooting for you, my friend.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What to do about bookings being different
  • Why you need to stop focusing on who isn’t booking and start focusing on who is 
  • The reason desperate energy is repelling 
  • What happens when you ghost your business 
  • Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset 
  • The wedding boom being over and what that means for you
  • Questions to ask yourself for clear steps forward


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