Rebecca Zoumberos, of Limelight Photography, is no stranger to the world of weddings. Holding degrees in Advertising and Graphic Design, while also having worked in the catering and photography industries, Rebecca has a strong understanding of what constitutes a successful business and how photographers can offer top-notch services to couples planning their big day.
Her expertise in Advertising and knowing the power of brand awareness fuels her passion for getting published. From strengthening relationships with wedding vendors to pleasing clients, Rebecca has truly learned how to make getting published work for her business. And she’s sharing her thoughts and tips on how to use Two Bright Lights effectively so you can follow in her successful footsteps!
Why do you want to be published? Has getting published helped Limelight Photography grow? “I have seen a direct correlation from getting published to growing my business in a couple of ways. First is when a potential client will say I saw you on “such and such’s” publication- which is one of the more obvious benefits of getting published.
Another is that it gives me one more opportunity to reach out to the venue after a wedding has taken place. Since venues are our most frequent type of business referrals, it’s a huge bonus when I can reach out and let them know that they’ve been featured. The venue gets excited and it’s one more positive interaction that helps to put Limelight at the top of their mind. Then hopefully, the next time a bride calls them, the venue will refer us.
We’ve also found that the client experience is better when we can say that we are a photography company that gets published. Just like venues, brides and grooms get excited when their wedding has been featured. This excitement causes them to tell all of their friends which leads to more brand exposure for us.”
How do you go about crafting a submission? “Limelight actually has a team of internal staff that dedicates time to create and submit all of our albums. We know that the submissions process is an important one and we don’t want it to fall to the bottom of our “To Do List.” By having a dedicated team, we can put in the time necessary and make getting published a permanent part of our workflow.
So the first thing that we always tell our team is that we are looking for the details, lots and lots and lots of details. A submission should also obviously include pictures of the bride and groom, and then anything that is unique to the event or showcases the venue or the location.
We want to be a team with our venue and vendors that we work with on the wedding day so our goal is to showcase all of their work. That way if the album is published we can show the vendors that they got free exposure and that we also enjoyed working with them. So we keep this in mind when making sure to have detail shots that showcase everyone involved in the team.”
How did you come up with the idea of creating a dedicated team that works on the submissions process? “There’s only so many hours in the day and I would run out of time if I tried to do it all myself. Having a degree in Advertising, I’m a huge believer and have seen what the power of public relations and being published can do for a brand. I just wasn’t willing to let go of the Two Bright Lights piece of the puzzle.”
Do you have any tricks that you use when shooting a wedding to make sure that you get all of those shots that you’re going to want when creating a submission? “One trick that we use is starting with the first phone call, we let the bride know what to expect, walking her through everything and trying our best to make her feel more comfortable so that she has a better experience. By doing that, the pictures of the bride and her groom will look so much better because that bride is happy and relaxed.
And then just making sure to capture pictures of the details and shots that will work to tell the entire story. And so we always, always build into our timeline a few minutes to get an empty room shot with no one in it. We also always use two photographers at every wedding so that don’t miss any important shots.”
What do you recommend to first-time submitters- what’s the one thing they need to include in a submission? “Detail shots, that’s what brides who are looking at these submissions and features want to see. Wedding publications know who their audiences are and they feature submissions that cater to that audience. So include those shots that showcase how that wedding was unique, or what about that wedding told a memorable story.”
So let’s backtrack a little bit…how did you get started as a photographer? “Oh, it’s a long one! I went to the University of Florida for Advertising and then moved out to San Francisco to attend the Academy of Art University for Graphic Design, earning my Masters degree. Upon graduation, it was really tough to find that first job, so I became a temp secretary at a Hilton. After a week, they ended up offering a permanent position as the Catering Sales Manager to sell and service weddings. So that was how I got into the wedding industry.
I did that for a year and I found out that I loved weddings but I hated corporate- it just wasn’t the right fit for me. But after our wedding, my wedding photographer approached me, offering a job to sell wedding photography packages for her, which I did. And in that job I was designing wedding albums which introduced me to wedding photography.
But while I was designing these albums, I just found that many times the story was incomplete or that details were missing and so on. I would go home complaining to my husband and after awhile he told me that if I think I can do it better, I should just do it myself! So we had a small investment saved up and he told me to use that to start a business just to get me to stop complaining!
So I started Limelight and I was not a photographer when I started Limelight but I hired a photographer from the beginning to work for us. And then I self-taught- I’m the only one on our team that is self-taught as everyone else has a Bachelor’s in Photography. My husband joined our team after three years. He came on initially to help with sales and then ended up shooting on our team and now we shoot together! See…I told you it’s a long story!”
When you were first starting out, was there something that you wish you hadn’t done or something you wish you had done that you would like to share with new photographers? “Yes, I think that the most important thing is to learn how to price yourself appropriately. We hired a business consultant after a year and that was the best thing we ever did. Sitting down and learning what our cost of sale was and what are our fixed expenses were allowed us to figure out what we needed to charge for our services and prices. We no longer came up with something random or based it off of what others were charging. I thought that we were doing really great but it really was because we were floating everything, putting things on credit cards and we weren’t paying ourselves. We saw money coming in but I was calling my mom saying ‘hey can we come over for dinner, we don’t have money for groceries this week.’
So I think that the really important lesson that I learned, and I’ve talked to so many photographers about this as well, is that it seems like photographers almost feel guilty taking money to do their job. And what you need to think about is if you were not able to do this job yourself, what would you pay someone else to do the job for you? And you want to at least get paid that much!”
What inspires you? What’s your favorite part about shooting weddings? “Limelight Photography only shoots weddings. Being that the way I entered into photography was through weddings, I really had the background for the flow of weddings- I love that part. Sitting down with the bride and doing the planning, timing, and logistics while walking her through everything that’s going to happen, I think that she relaxes and trusts us and can have a better experience on the wedding day. As a result, I get better pictures too.
My husband and I truly have a passion for photography for a couple of reasons. One reason is because we just really feel that it is a privilege to be able to photograph people on the most special day of their lives and document something that they are going to pass on to their children and grand-children. And sometimes we are even contacted by couples regarding relatives that may have passed away and we are the only ones with the last pictures of that person with them. We help them relive that day in a happy way.”
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So what are you waiting for? Sign-up today at twobrightlights.com
Photos Courtesy of Limelight Photography.