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Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

Hey everyone! I wanted to have your opinion about this because I've been contemplating whether or not it's worth actually getting a paid subscription with either advertising company. So at the same time I built my photography business, I have been in graduate school to get my Doctor of Physical Therapy (a 3 year program). I just graduated this May and I'm studying for the boards which I will take in October. This year I booked 7 weddings around my last year of PT school. My goal is to shoot 15 weddings in 2018 and I only have two booked so far through myself. School has always been my main focus, but the gears are shifting a bit. For those who have used Wedding Wire or the Knot, what has been your experience? Are the clients very low budget? Is it worth it for someone like me to get more bookings for a year, and then move onto my own advertising?

I have been getting most of my brides through Google or word of mouth. I'd say it's split about 50/50. I use facebook to advertise my blog posts, but I don't do any paid advertising. I've really been on the fence so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Jul 27, 2017 at 01:23 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

I got lucky with TheKnot. I started on there in 2010 and I hate to think about how much money I spent on that thing over the years, but it did help build my business from the start. The amount of practice I got from shooting a ton of weddings early on was irreplaceable. That being said, about 2-3 years ago I started to get a drop off in bookings, mostly because I was getting word of mouth. Then last year I had hardly any traffic coming from them per the analytics. Canceling with them is a pain the butt because of their contract, but I haven't noticed a decrease in inquiries or booking since then. It's so expensive that if you don't book weddings from it, it kills you.

WeddingWire is nice because it acts as a third party review system. Everyone puts their glowing reviews on their website, but if you screw up and aren't on either of those sites, no one will know. I get a few inquiries from wedding wire. If I book 1 wedding from it a year, it makes it worth it.

Advertising sucks, I wish I could say I'm the guy who has never had to pay for advertising, but I have. It's worked okay, it has it's bonuses. I wouldn't say it's a great investment, but I wouldn't say it's a terrible one. The challenge is creating a body of work that stands out. I know that's obvious, but the style of most of the folks on there is the exact same. Same presets, same 50mm from a few feet away with some light flare while the bride looks at the camera and the groom looks lovingly at the bride. Same shit.

Anywho, it's a coin flip. If I was in your shoes, I'd spend that money on learning. Books, workshops, the gear needed to improve. Focus on the photography and let the growth be organic. Good Luck!

Jul 27, 2017 at 02:59 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

Danny, thanks so much for the wealth of info man, I really appreciate it. I've been on the fence. I have a lot of experience as a wedding photographer (obviously more second shooting, but I am a strong primary). I turned away a lot of opportunities to shoot, mainly because of surviving grad school.

I also never thought I would pay for advertising, but I'm looking at it as showing my best body of work to catch attention to the new crowd of bride's I would have access to. I talked to one of the sales reps and he is offering me a 6 month opt-out option. So if I'm not making any bookings, I would get half of my money back. Maybe it's worth it? Maybe it's not.

I like your advice though of letting the growth be organic. I learned a lot over the years and I know how to market myself and use SEO tactics, but I wondering if this will be a nice boost to get to where I want to be with weddings. It's a lot to think about, but thanks for your input!

PS - The reason why you see more bookings from word of mouth is because your work is awesome! Seriously, so good.

Jul 27, 2017 at 03:29 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

disclaimer.... I am listed on wedding wire. I have not purchased any services with any on-line ad agency.

I did work for a wedding photo company that year in year out runs 150+ (conservative) through her business here in dallas.

The owner pays for prime time on the knott.
But the company also is at trade-shows.

They do well enough to stay in business year in year out.

I have heard other shooters not do so well.
My thoughts are if you go... go big.

I have only done trade-shows.... with some success. There was a big learning/growth for me on how to market myself and my business.

We all have to find our way in this business. Your path may be through on-line advertising.
Just have a plan how to back out if word of mouth takes off.


Edited on Jul 27, 2017 at 06:53 PM · View previous versions

Jul 27, 2017 at 04:27 PM

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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

For me The Knot was a waste of money, very unhappy with their service. I paid for a Featured listing with below average results then downgraded to Basic listing and that is just wash , 1 lead in last 4 month. I think the only way it might work if you pay their highest rate and be one of the top 6 , but it my area it was sold out and fairly expensive option. I would recommend to spend your money somewhere else.

Jul 27, 2017 at 04:52 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

I advertised with The Knot for two years. During those two years I booked two small 4 hour weddings from couples who were traveling from out of state to get married here in my area, one local full day wedding, and one engagement shoot from an out of town couple.

I had a basic membership which cost roughly $1800 a year. I got in at a introductory discounted rate which ran out...and then my membership cost started to rise. As it was rising I noticed my stats from their analytics were pretty low in hit rate and really low in follow through to my site. I did receive their "best of the knot" award ( only eligible if you have 10 plus 5 star reviews ).

What I did notice while contemplating weather I would continue with them or not was that others with deep pockets paying for "featured front page listings" had zero reviews....while I was buried on page 4 with 20+ five star reviews from clients. I wasn't being seen because $1800 a year wasn't enough to be seen by potential brides

Something to note which I also brought up to my area rep would be that I noticed often that brides who sign up with the knot were asking other brides on their member forum for suggestions on photographers in the area....and often suggestions from real and past brides, (maybe even other area togs posing as brides on the forums).....who were suggesting other togs in the area who were not advertisers affiliated with The Knot. So I am paying for advertising while their forums are pushing others who are not.

I also attended a local mixer party The Knot had (which I assumed was for advertisers) but met a few photographers who were in attendance but had never advertised with The Knot.

When I terminated my contract of course the local account rep tried to talk me into staying....stating that I had booked a few weddings so it paid for itself. My response was sorry but paying 1800 to shoot one wedding is a horrible client acquisition rate and doesn't work for my business.

Just my experience in a highly saturated market.

Jul 27, 2017 at 05:15 PM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

My experience is similar to Danny's, though I'm still on the Knot. This question comes up a lot and it's important to note (and you will) that everyone has vastly different experiences. I get the sense it's highly based on the market and how a given geographic area's general client base seeks out their photographer. And more specifically, how *your* general client type might seek out a photographer.

The Knot/Wedding Wire (and all of social media) are all platforms of getting your message/brand out there. If those aren't rock solid, you might not have much success regardless. On listing sites like TK & WW, you will need to feel confident that your work stands out among a crowd -- at the very least in a sea of thumbnails. Having a high number of positive reviews helps and being on the front page helps. All of this stuff is what makes it work.

My bookings have dropped off but I am still hesitant to cancel. I still get a few big weddings each year and probably pull in 5x-10x the cost to be listed. The visibility is nice, but yeah, it's expensive. Although I will say it's pretty easy to maintain.

Jul 27, 2017 at 05:43 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Wedding Wire? The Knot? What was your experience?

I'm on wedding wire for the first time for my personal brand. Based on the inquiries/bookings so far (since April), I will renew.

Jul 27, 2017 at 05:50 PM

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