{Bridal Show Booth} | Fort Collins & Denver Wedding Photographer | BlueHaus Studios

Being a wedding photographer isn't always easy. I am constantly looking for new ways to market and expand my business, and the bridal show route is a great way to get started. I have been shooting for a long time, but have a newer business in the Fort Collins/Northern Colorado area and wanted the opportunity to get some face time with local brides. Overall, I felt like it went really well. This is definitely not an all-extensive super detailed post, but I did want to talk about a few things I learned.

Excuse the picture quality, there was only an iphone on-hand that day.

Excuse the picture quality, there was only an iphone on-hand that day.

The Pretty Booth:

I have really tried to put a large amount of effort into branding my business. I personally love the feel of the vintage/DIY weddings, and would love to ultimately attract those types of clients. Of course I still love classic weddings and will always be open to doing them, but if I were to define my style I would say that I love the details. I think having consistent branding has been really helpful so far. My booth was covered in BlueHaus branding, and I got a lot of compliments. I had loaded it with blue & white (my colors), lace/burlap, old cameras, baby's breath, and even created a hanging contraption for photos out of my lighting stands. Creativity is key, especially when you want to keep your expenses down. Some people who had already booked a wedding photographer were even asking if I styled weddings?! Lesson learned: How you present yourself will determine what kind of clients you get. If you want people to appreciate and know the value of your work, show them why you are valuable. Branding helps achieve this. My office looks very similar to my booth by the way.

Creating Value: 
Brides are really busy, and bridal shows often overwhelm people with information. My goal of the day was to put my best foot forward (with the amazing help of my husband as well as my assistant, Kim) and get information so I could directly follow-up with the brides we talked to and book consultations. To create some value, we did a drawing for a $25 gift card to Victoria's Secret. What girl doesn't need this (bride or not)? Seriously. On the drawing form, I had them put their name, number, and email, as well as check a box on whether or not they wanted information on 1. Wedding/Engagement Photography, 2. Boudoir Photography, or 3. Both. I should have added "portrait photography." This gave me an excellent leads list to follow-up with, and I imagine I will be seeing more of these people book with me (whether wedding or portrait photography) in the future. Lesson Learned: Even if you're not seeing a ton of immediate results, if you get contact information and have a marketing plan of how to follow-up with people (i.e. email, email again, phone call, email again), you are almost guaranteed to reap some rewards. Sometimes it might just be a matter of when and how! Brand awareness is huge, and people have to see a brand 7 times before it resonates. Thus, why sticking with it and being consistent is important.

photo 2 copy_WEB.jpg

Was it worth the investment?
This is to be determined. I might be hitting the Denver market for another bridal show in the future because it's a much bigger market, but I do feel like this was well worth my time.  I felt organized and well prepared; not bad for our first NoCo show. We'll see how many bookings come through. I am glad, however, that I invested in product and a few things to fill my booth. I have a new couch and rug, which get to double as a business expense, and I am readily prepared for my next show. 

I would love to hear about some of your bridal shows experiences in the comments sections ;).

Starting a Business..1st Official Post!

6 Reason to Start a Business

Hi!  My name is Ashley, and I am the owner-operator of BlueHaus Studios LLC.  I thought this first post would give me a unique opportunity to talk about why I decided to take the leap and start my own business.  It is quite the risky venture, and I am excited (and terrified) to grow as a business and continue learning as life continues to move me in this direction.  I wouldn't say this was the timing I would have expected, but for some reason here I am today. {9 to 5's} For starters, I don't think I was made to survive in the corporate world.  I work extremely hard at whatever I put my mind to, and I think I have too many questions for the general normalities of working a typical 9-5.  Don't get me wrong, there are several benefits to working for someone else and being able to have a steady paycheck, but for the non-conformist that I am, I don't think it ever would have really been the best fit for me.  I like being able to create and make decisions without feeling held back.  I am slightly impulsive, which can be a both a good and bad quality.

{Baby, I'm a Dreamer} I am an extreme visionary.  I like to look at the big picture of things and dream about how to make things  better.  I have hope and believe in doing the right thing above all else, which does not fit well in environments where you are not allowed to be a free-thinker.  I want to make the world a better place, and be successful in the process.  Life isn't supposed to be mundane!  We were all made to fulfill a purpose, and for some reason I think part of mine is to chart my own path.  Nothing else provides as much fulfillment for me personally.

{Melting Clocks} If you have ever seen Salvador Dali's artwork, you would most likely recognize his "Persistence of Memory" piece (better known as the melting clocks).  One of the meanings behind the piece is that time is somehow melting.  When I think of this, I think about all that I want to accomplish and how, every year, time seems to disappear more quickly than I could ever realize.  What better time to start a business knowing I might not always have the time, energy, or drive to do so.

{Stand by Me} Starting a business is not just the business owners endeavor.  Family and friends also play a huge role in the success because they are ultimately your main supporters for awhile.  I was very surprised at the responses I received when contemplating the idea.  I thought my family was going to think I was crazy.  I mean, I finished an MBA program two years ago, and now I want to work for myself?  Even crazier, my husband was okay with it.  I think you know the timing is right when you receive encouraging feedback from the people you know are not afraid to be real with you.  I would say I was more hesitant than them!

{Cannonball} For some reason, I like taking risks.  I know it's a risk I should probably take if I am nervous about taking it.  There are so many things that make you question yourself and your ability to succeed.  I had a realization that I am the only one standing in the way of how successful I want to be.  This is America, and entrepreneurs are the life-blood of this country.  I know I cannot control everything around me, however, I greatly influence what direction I want my life to go in.  You can't put your pinky toe in the baby pool and expect for things to work.  You have to be ready to take a giant cannonball leap into the deep end.  It's all in or all out.  That includes making somewhat of an investment into your company.  I am not saying a giant investment by any means, but it does take money to make money.

{Pluck} Preparation + Luck. You can't go into a business having no skills or knowledge about what you are doing.   I have been diligently working on photography/event/consulting skills throughout my lifetime, and more so over the last six years.  Ultimately, my background is in business, and the most important thing in creative industries is having business knowledge.  Many artists fail because they only focus on the creative and neglect the heart of what a business is...a business.  I am not saying someone who lacks all creativity in a creative industry is destined to succeed, but the craft can be learned.  Everyone has to put in their time though.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of why I started BHS, but it should give you some insight into where I am at today.  It is a scary thing, and after talking to several entrepreneurs, most of them were not 100% confident that they were going to succeed.  In fact, the general consensus shows that hesitation and not knowing exactly what you are doing is how most people start out.  Some flounder, some fly; but they all take a leap of faith.  I am excited to start this journey with you, and hopefully we can all look back at this post one day and be in awe that I beat the small business odds.