Last night I spoke with Gerard Tomko and we had a lively discussion on the state of the industry. He has been in the biz for the past 25 years, so I listened carefully to what he had to say. Jerry has been there, done that and won a lot of awards along the way! As we chatted I asked Jerry to come up with my first tip of the week and he was game, so today I start Tip of the Week.
Little background on Jerry...after shooting for years, he accepted a position with an album and framing company working for them as a sales rep for 7 years. Leaving that company in 2004, I will let him take it from here:
Faced with rebuilding my business in the midst of the “photojournalism” and digital revolution, I built my business from 22 weddings in 2004, 36 in 2005, 55 last year, and almost the same amount this year – all at the upper end price range!
How did I do this?
Well it helped that people did know me before and I have a very good reputation. However, one of the single most important ideas that helped build my business was my now infamous Guest Book. Picking up the idea while visiting a trade show booth at WPPI. I use the Leather Craftsman 7x10 3500 series album, with design templates I have created within Photoshop. I started to include this “getting to know you session” which included the guest book for engagement sessions in both Philadelphia and the New Jersey Shore. When I delivered this to the brides, I did not expect what would happen next. You see all brides go to their reception venue the week before their wedding, so everyone in the Banquet and catering offices of the venues I was working at, had this “guest book” at their disposal for almost a whole week! So they viewed it, some showed it off to prospective couples looking at the venue for their wedding, etc. So when I appeared to photograph the reception, I was met with smiling, friendly faces at the venues – wanting to know if I had business cards with me, saying that “the guest book was the greatest thing we had seen in a long time”. So with this idea, and of course happy brides and grooms, I am now recommended by about 5 high end venues in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Just think, without providing not one table or place setting 8x10 like everyone else is doing. Now I shopw up at venues and they are “expecting to see the guestbook!”
Here is a slideshow from one of his recent weddings: Macchione Wedding
He also sent over a slideshow of one of his guestbooks: Tomko Guest Book
Thanks for the inspiration Jerry and I think you have a lot to share with new pool of photographers coming into the market. I look forward speaking with you again soon.
Thanks for stopping by!
I look for interesting details of the wedding market and report on them here. I have traveled the country this year speaking with many photographers about everything from workflow to marketing... Everyone I met was willing to participate in a meaningful way to the discussion of market trends. That showed me that you are all very passionate about the business of wedding photography! I will continue to report on trends here as I see them come up in the industry. Please bookmark my blog, pass it around to friends and of course comment on what you find here! Thanks for visiting my blog, I appreciate your time! Putting together a new blog over at http://jbrides.wordpress.com/ so will be slowly transitioning to that!