Friends!! This has been an amazing week! In the wedding vendor world, this week is when we find out the results a few different industry awards--in particular, awards from WeddingWire and Borrowed & Blue.
Back when I very first started shooting, I remember seeing other photographers win awards and feeling like that was an impossible feat. At the time, taking my business full time felt like a pipe dream, much less actually winning anything.
But this week, I won three awards. THREE!! I am over-the-moon excited to see my business baby validated in this awesome way.
I'm telling you about all of this for a few reasons:
- I worked really, really hard for this, and I do think it's important to celebrate your successes and share them with the people who care about you (i.e., you guys!).
- I also think it's important for potential clients to know that you are respected in your local wedding community, because that generates trust.
- I want anyone starting out in their photography journey to know that anything is possible. I didn't pick up a camera and then voila, win awards. It took me 7 years to get here!
So I want to give a little context to these awards, along with some tips for how you can get to this exact place and be celebrating your own successes too! Because friends, it's not rocket science, and no, I'm not the best photographer to walk the earth (there will ALWAYS be someone better than you!).
So here's a quick recap (copied or paraphrased from the award sites) of how those award recipients are chosen for the three awards I won:
Borrowed & Blue Best Photographer in Savannah (Bronze) Award:
A Best of B&B award is the equivalent of a Michelin star in the wedding world: it identifies only the most talented, well-respected vendors in all of Savannah. How do we know? The winners have been chosen by Savannah vendors themselves. Unlike any other industry awards out there, Best of B&B allows vendors themselves to choose the brightest stars (of the Gold, Silver, and Bronze varieties) from among their colleagues. As a result, these honors illuminate the cream of the wedding vendor crop. After all, what could be a more legitimate honor than a pedestal built by your peers?
Borrowed & Blue Rising Star Award:
Also chosen by wedding vendor peers, this promising vendor is one to watch, someone whose talent and hard work has created a name for themselves both creatively and professionally within Savannah.
Wedding Wire 2017 Couple's Choice Award:
To be considered for a Couples' Choice Award, you must have at least 5 client reviews on WeddingWire.This award demonstrates a vendor's commitment to excellence, exemplary work, and highly regarded reputation, and it signifies that a vendor is in the top 5% of wedding professionals on WeddingWire.
3 Tips for How Win A Vendor Wedding Award
Ok friends, it’s time for the tangible action items that can help position yourself to win awards like the three I just described (and spoiler alert--none of them involve being "the best"):
- Find out who will be voting for an award you want to win. In my case, these awards were determined by my vendor peers and clients.
- Look at what the votes will be based on. In my case, the awards were not contingent on the amount of time in business, or the number of clients booked, or the size of the weddings…instead, they were awarded based on subjective opinions from the people who’ve worked with me, both as a peer and as a client.
- Now that you know the audience, and you know what the voted is based on, you can consider WHAT would make you stand out to your fellow vendors and your clients.
A few suggestions…
- For vendors in particular, that means producing consistent, high quality photos and sharing the final galleries with everyone involved in the wedding. Yes, for real! I believe that every vendor is responsible for the final photos, because I couldn’t have taken them without their hard work. So share share share those photos with other vendors, friends!
- Be kind. Goodness it’s simple, but it goes such a long way when your emails are friendly and prompt, when you are genuinely happy to see a vendor or client, or when you lend a hand beyond just the job you were hired for on the wedding day.
- Get to know people on a personal level! Wedding vendors are your weekend co-workers, so take time out to chat with them, learn about them, and foster meaningful working friendships. And clients are the heart of your business, so get to know their love stories, where their family is from, and other details that create a lasting connection.
In a nutshell, I run my business according to two quotes, and I believe these philosophies are exactly why I went from a girl with a nice camera who had a pipe dream to a full-time award winning wedding photographer:
Whether it’s a prompt reply to a client's first email, or taking time to chat with them about which flowers will photograph best, or sending a welcome gift and note, or being the one to bustle their dress on a wedding day, or just giving them a calming hug when crazy wedding day moments come…go out of your way to delight them. Make working with you an even better experience than they could have expected by focusing on making every single interaction a surprising delight.
I had this quote taped to my cubicle wall back in my 9-5 days. It’s so simple but so good, really doesn't need much explanation, and I truly, TRULY believe it works.
Now get out there and start doing awesome things, people!! <3