Today we’re talking all about traveling with your business with Abby Grace Springmann of Abby Grace Photography, Faith Wright of Winsome and Wright, and D’Arcy Benincosa of D’Arcy Benincosa! If you’re looking to add more travel into your photography business this year, or you’re planning on moving your photo business to a new geographical area, then this post is for you!
Do you market yourself outside of your geographical area? How?
Not in the traditional sense of paid advertising, no! I more so focus my efforts on cultivating relationships with vendors in places I’d like to work, or like to work more frequently. Instagram has been huge for this, making it possible to grow those relationships a few likes and comments at a time! -Abby Grace Photography
Yes! I definitely market Winsome and Wright for outside my home base. I absolutely love leveraging the power of free marketing through social media, as well as connecting with vendors outside of my home base whose work resonates with my goals + values so that couples + companies from all over the world can find me! I think it is important to recognize what marketing is working for your company and be versatile to find other techniques and/or platforms to increase your visibility to couples + companies — nothing is ever going to stay the same, which is one of my very favorite parts of owning a business. -Winsome and Wright
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start traveling with their business?
Be willing to invest in a location FIRST, before asking clients to invest in bringing you there. Take a trip by yourself or with your spouse to do some location scouting, and while you’re there, take a handful of photographs you can use for a blog post or on social media! Being able to show that you’ve ALREADY been to a dream location makes it so much easier for potential clients to visualize bringing you with them. -Abby Grace Photography
Start putting together systems that will keep you organized + ready for travel. I love my lists – knowing that I will have everything that I will need + want for my photo shoots + wedding days is so important. The last thing you want to be doing the day before a wedding or photo shoot is scrambling around searching for a store that sells your film stock or a pair of shoes that you know won’t destroy your feet! I would also recommend thinking about locations that match your branding + aesthetic and then go visit that location! Connect with other vendors + creatives and maybe photograph an editorial while you’re there. -Winsome and Wright
I have a free 20 minute training I always send to people who want to get started, but the most important thing is to be willing to go to the locations you want to book the work in first. Network. Learn. Understand. Figure out legalities. And just feel confident in the travel. Work comes in so much easier when that is in alignment! -D’Arcy Benincosa
How do you incorporate travel fees into your business model? Are there any legal issues you’ve faced since adding travel into your business (travel visas, taxes, etc.)?
My anniversary portraits are the thing we travel MOST frequently for, so to make things super simple for our clients, we have one flat fee for any anniversary session taking place in Europe- that fee includes my flights, hotel, and per diem as well as my standard portrait costs (film, time, etc.). I’ve found the more line items you have to add, the less likely a client is to say “yes!” So we make it really easy by baking ALL my costs into one fee. -Abby Grace Photography
I have separate wedding collections for my destination couples that include travel fees. I really love keeping my pricing as simple as possible for my couples as I remember how frustrating add ons were when my husband and I were getting married. So far I haven’t had any legal issues since incorporating travel into my business. I would always recommend that each company gets advice from the appropriate professionals such as your accountant + legal representation. Always look into the locations you will be photographing to make sure you know all of the rules + regulations and get any permits that may be required. -Winsome and Wright
There are certain countries I will not work in because of travel and work visas. I also have a financial advisor and since most of my clients are American, we take care of the fees in America. It’s different if my clients are from the country where I go to shoot because, tax wise, you have to handle that a bit differently. I would say that there is always a risk of certain governments not liking certain jobs or decisions you make so you need to find the areas where you feel most comfortable and not be naive about work and travel. -D’Arcy Benincosa
Do your assistants travel with you or do you hire them when you get to your destination? How do you find good assistants for a destination wedding?
If I don’t already know a trustworthy photographer in whatever location we’re traveling to, I bring my own second shooter. That’s not something I ever want to take a gamble on! Because I only need an assistant for portrait sessions though (instead of a second shooter) my husband assists me for any non-wedding travel work (just like he does back home!). In the past I’ve tried to cut costs by traveling solo, but I’ve realized that trying to go it alone actually causes MORE stress, meaning I can’t serve my clients as well as I could if I had [an assistant there] with me! -Abby Grace Photography
Both! On the occasion that my assistant can’t travel with me I will look to hire an assistant in the area that I am traveling to. Having a team that is hard working, supportive and also holds your same core values in customer experience is crucial. For example – I want my couples to feel an infectious, high energy from me + my team throughout their entire day. With this in mind, I always want to work with assistants who love people + their stories and know how to be fully present. As far as avenues go for finding good assistants – I reach out to my network, asking other companies I know + trust who they have loved working with in that area. Getting on the phone or video chatting with a potential assistant has been key for me! They can communicate with you what their core values are for customer experience and you can communicate your core values + what your needs are for a wedding day assistant. -Winsome and Wright
Depends! I have one I bring with me quite often because she’s amazing. But over the years I’ve worked with a few in other countries and I hire them again and again. I don’t like taking chances on new people for my big jobs, so it’s important to me that I build a working familiarity with certain people who shoot with me. -D’Arcy Benincosa
What advice would you give to someone who needs to relocate their business?
Start connecting with vendors in your new town BEFORE you move! Send them a personalized, friendly introduction email, letting them know you’ll be moving to the area and are looking forward to working alongside them. Be willing to serve before you ask them to serve you; that will get you so much further than blasting out an impersonal email to wedding vendors who’ve never heard of you, asking them to refer business your way. -Abby Grace Photography
First! Get excited – change is so incredible and can be such integral part of your company seeing growth and finding new direction. Second! Be patient – I firmly believe that almost anything worthwhile takes time. Give yourself grace and be persistent in growing your company + community in your new area. Connect with other creatives + companies before and after you move, research your new market and find regional blogs + publications that resonate with your style + values! Start informing your social media community of your upcoming move and get them excited with you! Update your website to include keywords for the new city or area! -Winsome and Wright
Start marketing to that audience NOW! There are so many things you can do now to make the move easier. The world is smaller than it’s ever been with people able to connect across the globe with relative ease. Start now. Target ads and messages to your new market. I would also go and buy a local magazine with publications…and write down every vendor who was published and reach out to them to network. -D’Arcy Benincosa
A huge thank you to Abby Grace Photography, Winsome and Wright, and D’Arcy Benincosa for sharing their expertise with us! If you’d like to read more from our guest post series, you can check out the following links: gearing up for wedding season, tips for shooting hybrid, tips for outsourcing, and photographing families on film.
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