Tiffany Chalk, from Tiffany Chalk Events, is a seasoned event professional. She knows the ins and outs of wedding planning and has even gone through a total rebranding of her business in order to attract the “perfect client.”
While Tiffany’s passion is events, she knows that good photography and getting her work published are two of her biggest keys to success. With 7 out of her last 10 clients booked through viewing her work on social media, it’s easy for us to see that Tiffany knows how to make technology work for her business!
Are you a wedding professional interested in learning how Two Bright Lights could help grow your business and expand your clientele like it did for Tiffany? Then check out some of Tiffany’s pro tips and start submitting your work today!
What is one unexpected thing you learned since getting published? The power of getting published was a little unexpected at first. I knew that getting published would work to build my credibility but to me, the power of potential clients paying attention to your features caught me off guard- in a good way! I suddenly realized, this getting published thing is hot!
How did you get your start as an event planner? “I feel that I’m somebody who has the gift to plan and gather people. I always tell this funny story, that shows that I’ve really been a party planner since I was 12 years old. I threw a big birthday party for my mom. I cleaned the house, I did all the cooking, I decorated- I even baked the cake! And that was my first official party. But even in college, I was the person planning the dorm parties and events so I kind of always had that going on.
More recently, I was going through some life changes and I was off of work for 6 months. Before I took that time off, I felt like I was in a dead end job where I couldn’t continue to grow. Thankfully those 6 months allowed me to think about how I wanted to go back to doing something I was truly passionate about. And that passion for me was event and party planning. Once I realized this, I decided to go back to school to become certified in event planning in 2006. Upon gaining my certification, I started my own business in 2007!”
You recently went through a rebranding. How has getting published come into play during that transition? “About three years ago, we really worked to figure out who our ideal client was. As a newly named and branded company, it was crucial to build brand awareness and credibility and that’s where getting published came into play. Two Bright Lights was on the radar for me throughout the whole rebranding process, of building credibility and gaining publicity and how it makes you look more attractive to the client. Getting published also creates brand latching because when your event is published in all these different blogs and magazines, now your brand is latched to those brands. So all of that ties together on how the potential client views you as an industry expert and affects their desire to want you to plan their wedding or event.”
What’s one of the most important things you did after your rebranding to get the ball rolling for your business? “Whether you’re rebranding or just getting started, one important tip I like to recommend is doing a styled shoot. At the time of our rebranding, my idea was to do a styled shoot and craft it to appeal to our ideal clientele. While styled shoots are a great tool, they can be a blessing and a curse. I say this because many real brides want to glean their inspiration from other real weddings. So be sure to get your real weddings published as much as possible as they have more strength when inspiring brides-to-be. But I still recommend styled shoots as a great place to start when you are new to the business or aren’t working on the types of events you’d like to be showcasing.”
We recommend to photographers that they keep the submission process in mind while they’re working. Do you have any tips that you use while working on an event that transfers over to making your work more publishable? “What I find a lot, is that couples are already coming in and wanting to have their event get published. They see the credibility you have from your past features and I even have couples tell me to do whatever I think I need to do to make sure this is event crafted in such a way that will get published.
And on our end, we try to do things that will not only make the event feel special but will also get it published. For example, I have a wedding coming up in which the groom does not want to change the color of the chair pads. But I feel that changing the color will add that extra pop and transform the room. So I’m willing to split the cost of changing the chair pads since it will not only produce great photos but will also help them get published. By investing in this upgrade, I’m going to look like the rockstar planner and I’m going to have great photos that will get published.
Additionally, if the couple doesn’t have a second shooter, I’m really big on paying for a second shooter to help get those detail shots and the other shots that I need in order to get published. And again if you know that 7 out of 10 of your last couples, came directly from social media from pictures you had shot at your real weddings, why would you not want to make that investment?”
It’s interesting to hear that you book many of your clients from social media. And we all know that social media and, marketing in general, are so important for your brand. How do you fit it all in? “I try to have one day a week be my “Marketing Day,” in which I work on scheduling social media posts ahead of time and curating things for blog posts. And some weeks I get too busy and fall behind, but that’s okay! Also, when we are working at an event, I try to do a live photo to keep things fresh. I’m also really big into checking my Google Analytics which has shown me that my social media and reviews from external wedding sites generate large amounts of traffic for my business.”
When it comes time to craft a submission, what are some things you feel you have to do or include in a submission? Are there things that you feel make or break a submission to an editor? “For styled shoots, it’s all about showing where the inspiration came from for the shoot and making sure you have great details. It’s really important to select pictures that show off those details as much as possible.
For real weddings, I would say not just having great pictures but also having a great story. Everyone loves a good story! You put awesome pictures of a sexy, hot bride and groom and pair that with a great story it’s definitely going to catch an editor’s eye! In an effort to get that great story, we combine using a questionnaire with just having conversations through working with the couple.”
Are there any shots you make sure your photographer gets, especially when thinking about getting published? “The details. I find that editors love the fashion. And if you don’t have a shoe shot? You better forget it! The other intricate details are also important. For example say the bride’s mother passed away and she has a locket with a picture of her mother on the bouquet, getting that picture. Or the tiniest pearls on the flower girl’s dress, things of that nature. The smallest details can really draw the eye in a submission.”
Only 40% of wedding professionals get published – join them in becoming a submissions rockstar! Two Bright Lights makes it fast and easy to get published and costs less than $15/month. In just three quick steps, you can submit your work to more than 400 magazines, blogs and websites, including The Knot, POPSUGAR, Brit + Co, MunaLuchi Bride, Every Last Detail and more. So what are you waiting for? Sign-up today at twobrightlights.com