The Images You Need to Market Your Wedding Venue

Written by Emma Hla
… and how to use them!

Imagery is the biggest factor for couples when it comes to venue hunting – you have seconds during that scroll to make an impression, so if your hero shot isn’t cutting it or your own website hasn’t been updated in a couple of years then you’re going to lose that lead. It’s that simple.

If you’re wondering about your own imagery, consider these questions:

  • Are the images you’re using more than 3 years old?
  • Do you have images of your main ceremony and reception spaces (interiors and exteriors), including other areas such as your accommodation and grounds/surrounding countryside vistas?
  • Do you have imagery that shows the venue dry (without styling or couples)?
  • Are you showing ceremony and reception set ups with and without couples?
  • How inclusive are your wedding photos – do they show a variety of couples and celebrations/cultures?
  • Is the styling you’re showing current, modern and relevant to your ideal couple? Just because your venue is ‘classic’ or ‘traditional’ it doesn’t necessarily mean the images you’re using are timeless. Trends in photography and styling move on, so make sure you’re keeping up.
  • Are you telling a story with your imagery?
  • Did you take the images yourself (and you’re not a pro photographer)?

How did you do?

Your Photo Requirements

‘Dry’ Shots

Dry shots are professional images of your venue without any editorial or real wedding styling – no flowers, no props, no couples, just your venue in its beautiful raw state. This could be key images of your exteriors, beautiful interiors such as lounges or bedrooms, and of course your grounds.

Images like this are great to add in as it allows couples to see beautiful details of your venue, architecture or artefacts up close. It also allows them to see the spaces blank, especially important for couples who have a creative imagination and want to immediately start painting their own style onto the space.

Editorials

Editorials, or styled shoots, are a great way to attract your ideal couple and I’ve written A LOT about styled shoots right here.

Real Weddings

There’s nothing quite like a real wedding photo – show me a confetti shot, a beautifully style tablescape, a golden hour kiss or a sparkler exit and I’m already feeling something for your venue. Getting the balance right here is important, when using real wedding shots show your real couples in images that your prospective couples can picture themselves in – anywhere key photos/portraits are captured is perfect.

Inclusive Imagery

Are the images you’ve chosen to use representative of all your couples?

It’s very easy to reach for the same wedding imagery over and over again, and it’s this bias that can alienate a wide range of couples from your venue. It’s important people see themselves in the wedding imagery on your website and listings.

When choosing marketing images think about age, race, size, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and religion/belief. If you are able to include images that show a range of celebrations at your venue then do.

Behind-the-Scenes

Weddings don’t happen with the wave of a magic wand, although at times I’m sure you wish you had one! Actual blood, sweat and tears go into the production of these life-events and I think it’s important to share your skills, your team and your passion with couples. Sharing behind-the-scenes of set-ups, open days, team gatherings etc. will connect you with couples on a much deeper level.

Just make sure you have permission from couples to share any BTS of their wedding day (and only after the event!).

Photographing these moments, sometimes professionally, will also give you additional marketing tools and can be used across your own websites, brochures, social media or on marketing partner websites/blogs. We love to publish a post-open day walkthrough of your event!

New Additions

If you have new additions to your venue such as brand new accommodation, a new ceremony or reception space, or you’ve just had a little spruce up of the grounds then don’t wait for a wedding to maybe capture these areas – get them professionally shot, control the narrative and start marketing your venue!

Building relationships with local photographers is key here, and remember the images don’t need to be styled or include a model! Dry shots of the space are just as valuable.

A great example of this is the ‘Home Tour’ series we’re doing with Tythe in Oxfordshire. Owner Emma is currently completing a big renovation on their Farmhouse to provide additional (and rather gorgeous) onsite accommodation. We’re covering the Reno from concept, through the progress and this will result in a final reveal! Their progress update featured raw images of the renovation, professionally shot by local photographer Binky Nixon.

If you’re not at the stage of photographing the space, then consider having professional CADs or illustrations created to show the spaces – these can be used on show rounds to help visualise the spaces as well as your third-party listings/website. We’ve seen characterful illustrations from Kin House showing their spaces prior to launch, to life-like CADs from The River Barn.

The Team

I’m finishing on the team, but really it’s right up there in terms of importance when considering your imagery. You might have the most beautiful, sought-after wedding venue but it’s really the team that seals the deal for couples in the sales process.

Instead of waiting for the couple to meet you on a showround get your teams face front and centre on your website and social media – make the couples feel like you’re welcoming them into your family, albeit digitally.

Having up-to-date team photos is a super important exercise, so book this into the calendar yearly if possible.

Marketing Seasons

Just as weddings have a peak season, venue hunting does too.

Enquiries won’t come in a constant stream throughout the year. There are very specific months which will see increases and other months where enquiries simply drop.

If you know the key seasons then you’ll a) feel in control of your enquiry levels and b) be able to plan your marketing and image updates accordingly.

There are two peak seasons to be aware of:

  • December (Boxing Day) – February
  • July – September

With the above in mind, we always suggest two big gallery updates per year – once before the festive break (November/December) and again just before you become focused on your peak summer wedding season (May/June).

When you update for the winter peak, ensure you have sourced all images from your summer and early autumn weddings. Plan for your Christmas marketing changes in advance – ideally this should be thought about in October and actioned in November/early December. Requesting multiple changes to your listings/websites including a gallery refresh a couple of days before Christmas isn’t ideal, and may mean you won’t have key imagery in place.

Update your website and third-party listings with new imagery again just before you become too focused on your peak summer weddings – use winter and spring imagery that you’ve requested and received.

Crediting + Copyright

I couldn’t write an article about the importance of imagery to your marketing without mentioning crediting and copyright.

Crediting

Whether it’s on your own website, social media or third-party listings it’s incredibly important you’re crediting the photographer for their work and use of their imagery. As a platform, we can refuse images without the photographer’s credit.

When saving and organising the photographs you’ve received, the key information needed in the image file name is the photographer’s name.

For example: rebecca-goddard-photography-01

If you decide to add the couples name, or a description of the image then of course that’s all absolutely fine – but the important part of the image file name is the credit, that’s it.

The reason for this is to ensure the credit isn’t lost – teams change, and inevitably the knowledge of weddings, photos and ultimately which photographer snapped which photo will be lost.

Copyright

The copyright for wedding images is held by the photographer and not the couple. If a couple have kindly sent their weddings photographs to you for marketing use, then you must still seek out the approval of the photographer before you use them on your own website or third party listings.

Social Media

Social media has become a powerful marketing tool for businesses, especially for visually-led industries like the wedding industry! But as consumers we’re constantly sold to online, and continually inundated with images, ads and clever visual campaigns.

Here are just some of the things to consider when posting online to make sure you’re maximising the opportunity, getting through to your ideal couples, and supporting your industry peers at the same time.

image crediting Etiquette

As mentioned above copyright for images are always held by the photographer. Therefore if you wish to share an image online then the correct thing to do is to contact the photographer directly and request for permission to share on your social platforms. 99% of the time they will say yes but you must always ask, ‘@‘ tag them in the image / post where possible, and credit them in the caption too.

Images to share

Consider sharing a variety of posts to keep your followers interested, entertained, inspired and ultimately, engaged. Showcase different areas of your venue, share some real wedding inspiration, couple testimonials and behind the scenes footage. A beautiful blend of all of these (professionally photographed where possible for the grid!) will create an aesthetically-pleasing feed whilst boosting your brand identity.

What images do well

Portrait images always work best. They take up more screen real estate so are therefore much more impactful than a landscape image. That being said – don’t not post landscape or square images, but if you do have the choice – opt for portrait.

Plan in advance for seasonality and organise folders

There’s nothing like selecting and publishing content that is current and relevant to your followers – this is where the magic happens! Get organised and gather all of your magical winter wedding images in one folder so you can drip feed them through the festive holidays. Earmark images that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day, Halloween, International Women’s Day etc, and save some of those balmy summer wedding reception images to post when the weather is scorchio!

It takes a bit of time and effort to get these folders in place but you’ll be so glad you did when they’re all ready for you during a busy wedding season, and it will be totally worth it when those Like notifications start rolling in.

Social Media Doesn’t Replace Your Website

It’s very easy to make your scroll suddenly look fresh and beautiful, especially with a constant stream of new imagery which can easily be shared with a couple of clicks. But don’t overlook your website for your feed – focus on the space you own and control first and foremost. Make sure if a couple finds you in Google via a search or a third-party listing, that your part of the internet is current, inspirational and easy-to-navigate with clear call-to-actions.

Updating Images

If you’re looking to make a gallery update, we’re on hand to help.

New images can be sent via Dropbox or wetransfer.com folder. Images need to be high-res, professional and non-watermarked. Photographer’s credits must be in the image file names so we can credit accordingly.

If you would like to add any films, we accept YouTube or Vimeo links.

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