Reach out to them prior to the wedding day
One of the best things you can do to make genuine connections and serve your couples is to reach out to vendors prior to the wedding day. This not only shows your professionalism but it creates a great connection with that vendor. You can always ask if there is anything that they might need from you? A few great ways to serve them well, especially if you love their work and it aligns with your future goals, is to just ask. Take photos of them doing what they love to do. Maybe your HMU is applying makeup or the florist is crafting a floral wall installation. Make sure these photos are in great lighting and have their “best side” forward. There’s always a chance that one of these vendors needs a photo or two for their website or marketing material. I’ve made these connections and it always serves everyone well. One time, I was photographing a wedding at one of my favorite venues and the owner was pouring champagne into all the flutes of the champagne table. I took shots of her smiling and pouring. Seems insignificant but if her goal as a venue owner and day of coordinator is to show her couples that she’s 100% all in on your wedding day, this may be the photo to do just that. In respect, she will also tag your business as well.
Tag your vendors
This is probably the most obvious thing you can do to make genuine connections with vendors. All too often, gorgeous images are taken and shared with no mention of the vendor team that made it all come together. When posting to Instagram, Facebook or your blog – take the few extra minutes to give proper credit. This establishes that you are a professional, that you value their time, energy and craft. It’s also beneficial to you and the vendors! This could lead to bigger things down the road and you are positioning yourself in front of their audience and vice versa. Most importantly, as a photographer, wouldn’t you just die if vendors shared your images without credit to you? If any of these vendors are one’s you wish to continue to work with in the future, this will be really important to them when considering you for jobs.
Like, Comment and share their work
This is the easiest thing you can do to establish a genuine connection. Everyone I know is constantly scrolling instagram or Facebook. Take 20 minutes each time you do scroll social media to like, comment and share a vendors work. Be genuine when you comment. Really place some value in your words. Instead of just commenting “beautiful” comment with what you love about it. “I absolutely adore the tones and design of this tablescape. Fabulous work!” This will not only be seen as genuine for that vendor but it will be a comment that stands out a little. I also love sharing vendors work on my instagram stories as well especially if it’s Inspo! Brides love Inspo!
Support their business
There are times when I see work from a stationer, for example, that I absolutely love. During Cyber Monday I noticed one of my favorite stationers was having a Cyber Monday flash sale. I jumped on in and ordered two sample stationary sets and a set of custom vow books. With the discount, it was about $175 worth of goods. Best purchase I’ve made this month. I was able to support another small business, make a genuine connection with someone I admire and I now have a few luxury props to photograph to help up-level my work. I also sent a DM telling her how much I love her work. I told her if she ever needed photography for her stationary, to dm me anytime. My team and I love flat lays, styling and practicing what we do. She loved that and offered to send any stationary that didn’t sell during her sale to us to photograph for her. Again, this was genuine and I think I made a “friendor” in the process. Now, we get to enjoy one another’s craft.