(Editor's Note: Through our coaching sessions, speaking engagements, and conversations with friends and colleagues in the wedding industry, one of the most common goals we hear is that business owners dream of being able to run their business in more than one location. The allure of travel, having family and friends in a variety of locales, and the potential to make money in multiple markets - what's not to love? We're so excited to share a post from our friend Lindsay Hite of READYLUCK with tips on how you can make the bicoastal - or multi-city - dream a reality! Read more about Lindsay at the end of the post!)
Our photography collective, READYLUCK, has pursued destination weddings, in addition to weddings up and down the East Coast, from day one. Doing so has allowed me to gain a new perspective, whether I'm at work or on vacation. I love making the most of my time in a new place, from taking surfing lessons on a Sunday after a wedding in Manhattan Beach, to exploring the forts of El Morro in Puerto Rico scouting for the wedding, to enjoying the delicious offerings of the Williamsburg Brooklyn brunch-scene the morning after a late night shoot. I’m thankful for a career where I get to travel often.
If you’re interested in expanding your business to serve more than one geographic location, read on. I’ve brought together some things that I’ve found work well in my own experience, and hopefully you find them helpful too.
Do your research online. Follow people on Instagram and tune into blogs to see who is making work that you like in places that you want to shoot. Reach out to vendors you admire in that city and get a feel for the market. If you’re a photographer, you can talk with planners about what their clients' photography needs and expectations are and see if they align with your current offerings.
Start getting visible. Organize a styled shoot with other like-minded creative types, sign up for a targeted wedding showcase (making sure to show work that speaks to the specific market you are hoping to appeal to), and submit your work and get published on local/regional blogs whose style you identify with and aspire to.
Make it known that you want to work in that city. Spread the word, both to people who know you and those who don’t: use hashtagging, SEO keywords, and post about it on Facebook so people know you’re wanting to work there.
Make shooting weddings there a priority, and if you feel comfortable with it, eat the travel cost in the beginning. You want to make it easy for people to hire you in this new place and remove the roadblocks that might be standing in your way.
Many of these ideas can also work when well applied in your own city to help you stay connected with the ever-changing wedding industry, and to work more closely with like- minded peers.
I’ll leave you with an example from the last year. I’ve been yearning for the glorious golden California light for a long time (who doesn’t?!). After getting a taste of L.A. during a stop over in Venice Beach on my way to Hawaii last year, I decided to make it my mission to photograph a wedding in the Golden State, and to start working there more often. Similar to what we did in other locations, we began turning our attention toward California weddings featured on blogs, researching venues that we really liked, and following and reaching out to planners whose work we admired.
Around this time, we received an inquiry from a couple getting married in Malibu, and they said they’d found us on Google. Perhaps it was the SEO boost from being featured repeatedly on blogs like Style Me Pretty, or our listing in their Destination Weddings Little Black Book. However they found us, I jumped at the opportunity, worked within their budget to include travel, and was on a plane in July to LAX!
Coincidentally, my partner Jacqueline was also going to be in California at the same time. As a group, we reached out to planners and set up meetings and venue visits in San Francisco. We Instagrammed the whole trip with the hashtag #readyluckwestcoast. More recently, we began leasing a studio space in San Francisco with the inspiring team at Alison Events, had the wedding in Malibu featured on Style Me Pretty, and have been increasingly commissioned for other weddings and events in California, including a fun 30th birthday party at another of my dream venues, the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs. We plan to continue building upon and making new relationships with inspiring, like-minded vendors out there and getting the opportunity to make photographs in that luscious West Coast light!
Wanderlust and the desire to nest at home occupy equal parts of Lindsay's heart. She finds inspiration in beautiful light, great style, and the unique bonds that bring people together. Lindsay is comfortable being both a silent witness, and director of action. Born and raised in Massachusetts, she felt the pulls of a creative life early on. With a background in dance, and a love for fashion, Lindsay finally found her voice through photography. She is often asked why she chooses to focus her time and energy photographing specifically weddings, and her response is simple: "I feel lucky to be given the privilege time and time again to witness and document such intimate and personal expressions of love and celebration. Each wedding day is a unique roller coaster ride that continually energizes me, and I never cease to be amazed.” Lindsay is a co-founder and member of the photography collective READYLUCK.