Bash Collective

The Marketing Game //

Every year, I sit down and think about how we can better connect with our vendors. These include both the coordinators and creatives that we already work with consistently each season, but also the dream list of people that we strive to work with. For the Photogen Inc. brand, and frankly with all of our brands, our best clients come to us from the true relationships that we have built. You know that saying that 'word of mouth is your best advertising' ? I am a total believer of that. Whether a client hears about us thru reading the blog, being a loyal Instagram follower or was recommended to us thru their wedding planner or event designer - all of the connections that we build with each and every one of you are what matters. So this year, our team sat down to strategize a bit on how to spend our dollars towards advertising. We decided that we wanted to make it personal this year and think outside of the box to connect with you. You will see that we've stepped up our game a bit and have been more active on Instagram for both our Rivets and Roses team and myself. We're trying to show you more of our everyday adventures, along with behind-the-scenes and finished photos. We're also trying to connect on a more personal level with some key vendors, which will include a few more coffee dates and lunches, in efforts to actually see more of our favorite people - face to face. When I thought about how relationships form over social media, I also asked myself: Who do I want to start a relationship with? and Who from a far do I admire? Illustrator, Cait Courneya came straight to my mind and at the top of my list. You see, I had been following Cait's drawings via Instagram, as a fan girl myself, for a while and I thought: She's a perfect fit. So, Cait and I got together for coffee and I pitched to her the idea of creating personalized sketches of a select group of vendors that I wanted to also send my gorgeous look books to. I can send out promotional materials all day long, but I wanted to go beyond that actually give these vendors an actual gift. Cait's work was a huuuuuuge success. Not only did all of the vendors enjoy their sketches, but many of them also posted their gifts and our look books on their social media outlets. Now, there's a key point that feel is really important: We didn't ask or push anyone to promote this. We simply created a piece that was meant to inspire, so the posts that came out were genuine and organic. Their praises and words were authentic and real, not contrived to names drop or self promote.

A lot of what we are seeing on our social feeds is curated content that shows 1) how fancy people are 2) how fancy the people they hang out with are and 3) how fancy the places they hang out at are. I've been guilty of all of the above, but it is my goal to create as many authentic actions as possible. And above all, I want to create work that inspires and that people will genuinely want to share. It is too early to know if I will book any wedding work from this year's marketing, but already, we have received many comments, emails and hand-written-thank-you-notes (which I oh-so-love), from our efforts. The look books were also created to be portfolio pieces that the vendors can actually use. So, was this project cheap? No, not at all. In fact, it was a pretty good investment, but already, it is way better than any listing on a website has ever returned for our companies. And above all, I feel GOOD - like really excited - to know that every single person we reached out to has loved this work and we have successfully grown our relationships with them.

Here are some tips to think about for your next round of marketing your wedding photography business (or any business, really):

Know Your Goal // Each year, your business probably has new goals to achieve. These might be the same from year-to-year, but I bet each season, there is a bit of a shift in the way you want to fine-tune your business. If your goal for this year is to do a bigger volume of clients, then research what the best resource for advertising is - perhaps this is investing in front-page listings. If your goal is to expand your network, budget enough dollars and mark dates on your calendar to attend events and plan more coffee dates. Or happy hours, because everyone loves a good happy hour.

Know Your Brand // Whether you are putting together marketing materials to get printed or creating an online listing, be intentional about who you want to reach. Who is your current client? Who do you want your future client to be? You have absolutely nothing to lose but to try and reach out of your comfort zone.

Invest in the Future, Not the Quick Dollar // We currently live in a world of instant gratification and sometimes it seems to be the 'norm' that people become 'Instagram Famous' overnight. First of all, the internet is an amazing tool, but it's also not reality. I guarantee you that those people you think just got a 'lucky break' have been hustling for years. We hear many times about the success, but not the hard work. A solid business means putting in the hours, creating amazing work, delivering your product on time and simply being kind to people. Decide how your investments, both monetarily and socially, will be best for you in the long run. If you are lucky enough to gain worldly success overnight, then good for you. Just don't expect that or hold this as the definition of your success.

Be Remarkable // Honestly, there's no room for anything less these days. If you put mediocrity into the world, that's not enough. You must create work and pieces that inspire you and those around you. I'm a perfectionist and my standard is always: Does this inspire me? Would I care about this? If the answer is yes, then I move forward. If the answer is no, I just let it go. We all have too much going on to care about fluffy bullshit. Whatever you create, make it amazing.

Have Fun // Marketing is FUN! I mean, this is a fantastic opportunity to allow people to get to know you and create something special. Collaborate. Think outside of the traditional route. Be excited. Be proud.


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Mrs. and Mrs. Newquist // Part 2!

There's something very magical in the air at a same sex wedding. I mean, really, everything is the same, yet it's different. In a wedding with a bride and a groom, photographers usually tend to favor a little more coverage of the bride over the groom. When photographing a same sex wedding, you have two brides or two grooms and as an artist, you have to look at things a little differently and treat the couple more equal. It was actually a great eye-opening experience working with two brides, and it made us change some things around the studio (ie - suggesting that the forms we use have the option to say Bride & Bride or Groom & Groom and not just Bride & Groom).

The most inspiring thing for me while photographing this wedding, and the one difference that stuck out to me the most while documenting this day, was the total shift in energy. Not only were people very exited about the wedding, but the purpose and meaning behind this wedding meant a lot more. Alyson and Jesse were not only choosing to commit themselves to each other, but the idea of marriage, pre-leagalization in Minnesota, meant so much more to them. They were choosing love over the law. They were choosing to live out their civil rights as a couple and sending an inspiring message to their family, friends and everyone who was involved (and have since seen) their wedding. Marriage means more to Alyson and Jesse than I've seen in a lot of couples and I think the difference is this: They were not getting married, because 'that was the next step in their life'. They were not getting married, 'Because it seemed like the thing they should do.'  They were getting married, because they truly believed that they wanted to spend, share and commit their lives to one another - regardless of their sex, regardless of what was deemed acceptable by society, and regardless of what any of their friends and family thought, they simple wanted marriage. I do believe that marriage means so much more to the gay community. These are couples who have fought, and continue to fight, for their right to love openly and be committed legally to their partners. It's an absolutely beautiful thing to both witness and be a part of same sex weddings, because it's a true victory for everyone involved.

If you are interested in finding out more about what people are doing in Minnesota to fight for marriage equality check out OutFront Minnesota. Minnesota is currently facing a "marriage amendment" that will be on the ballots in November asking voters to define marriage as between a man and a woman. If this ballot initiative passes, it will bar legislature or the courts from passing marriage equality in the future. Check out Minnesotan's United to find out what Minnesotan's are doing to fight against the marriage amendment. The HRC -Human Rights Campaign is a great place to look for information on other states' fights for marriage equality.

Alyson & Jesse's wedding ceremony was one of the most pure and honest moments I have seen as a wedding photographer. I'll let the images speak for themselves.

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Again, a huge thank you goes out to all of our fabulous vendors - really, a creative team, that helped Alyson and Jesse pull off such an incredibly beautiful day! To see our list of vendors, check out Mrs. and Mrs. Newquist // Part 1. Also thanks to Minnesota Bride for publishing this wedding, the first same sex wedding published in Minnesota!

Cheers to being with the one you love!


Mrs. and Mrs. Newquist // Part 1

Alyson and Jesse have such an incredible story.These two met back in 2006 while both were living and working in Brooklyn, NYC. When they started dating, they agreed only to go on 20 dates and that would be that. Clearly, they grew to love each other far too much to simply let each other walk away, and ever since then, they have been Alyson and Jesse. One of the things I admire about their relationship though, is the fact that they are very much so still their very own independent people, as well as an amazing force together! The couple traveled from coast to coast before finally settling down in Minneapolis.

When they started looking for wedding venues, they couldn't ever quite find exactly what they were looking for. Around the same time, Alyson & Jesse started kicking around a crazy idea..."What if we created our own dream venue for our wedding and also created a space where other people could use this for their weddings in the future?" Here's the thing about Alyson and Jesse. When they set their mind to something, they are all in and they will create something amazing and solid. From that point on, Juliane and James Place was officially born, which is now one of Minnesota's newest wedding venue's available for rent!

I first met Alyson at Joynoelle's shop. Joy was having a little get together and I just happened to pop in. When I walked thru the door, I remember Joy saying,"Oh hi Eliesa! We were just talking about you!" Alyson and I chatted for about 3 minutes and it was clear that she was my perfect client and I was totally on board with photographing her wedding! It was literally, a perfect match. Alyson started rattling a list of all of these ideas she had and on top of that, her and Jesse would be wearing custom Joynoelle dresses....I mean, it took all of me to not jump up and down right there and it just kept getting better and better!

Alyson and Jesse literally brought together a dream team of vendors, who I must recognize for helping create these gorgeous images below...

Location // Juliane James Place Bridal Gowns // Joynoelle Flowers // Munster Rose Set up and Day-Of Coordination // Laura Mullen Event Design Catering // New Scenic Cafe French Macaroons & Cupcakes // Cupcake Carmel by Sweets Bakeshop Bridesmaid Dresses // Amsale and Jenny Yoo from Flutter Boutique Best Man Attire // Calvin Klein Wedding Design, Stationary Design, Favors & Bridal Accessories // The Bash Collective

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There are SO many more images to show from this wedding, so check Part 2 of Alyson and Jesse's big day! Also thanks to Minnesota Bride for publishing this wedding, the first same sex wedding published in Minnesota!