Valentine's Day Photo Contest Ideas for Business

How to Grow Your Photography Business with a Valentine’s Day Promotion

To a photography business, there are few things as impactful as romance.

When you consider it, family, love, and relationships drive the photography industry. Engagement shots, wedding photos, and family portraits make up a large part of most photographer’s revenue. Without Cupid’s arrow, photographers would be shooting a lot less.

While romance provides a steady stream of portrait appointments, timing can be a bit unpredictable, making it tough to plan promotions or specials. Anniversaries, weddings, engagements and other family landmarks can strike at any time.

Luckily, there is one day out of the year is all about celebrating the magic of love and relationships, and it happens to land in that slow period between Christmas cards and spring weddings.  Valentine’s Day is more than an opportunity to capitalize on romance; if done correctly, Valentine’s Day can provide an enjoyable and memorable photography experience for couples. The more fun they have with you, the more likely they’ll give you a return call down the road for their engagement, wedding and family photos.

While Valentine’s Day is a perfect time for pictures, most couples don’t think about it.  This is where a clever and well-crafted promotion can make all the difference.  With the right promotional offering, coupled with a strong marketing campaign, you can attract new clients, entice returning ones, and spread awareness about your business.

The following questions are intended to help you reflect on these elements, as a type of virtual “brainstorming” session. Grab some pen and paper, and let’s get started.

Question #1:  What about your photos do customers most like?

The most crucial element of a successful promotion is to highlight something you can do well.  The types of photos people look for on Valentine’s can vary.  While some might want a posed couple portrait, others may prefer candid shots in the community or at a landmark.

What is your business known for?  Your artistic eye?  Your range?  Or maybe your ingenuity and resourcefulness in creating that perfect moment? What do your customers love most about the photos you hand back to them?

When you’re creating your promotional offering, make sure to include something that will they can take home with them, so they have something while they’re waiting for edits. It might be a free Polaroid picture thrown in, or a prop that you used. Creating a memorable experience for your client is the most reliable way to bring them back in the future.

Question #2: What resources can you utilize?

Having the perfect backdrop is crucial to a memorable photo.  There’s no reason why searching for that background can’t be a part of the experience. Offer a photo shoot at a scenic park or building nearby, with a limo or carriage ride to and from the site.  Working with a local restaurant to attain a discount for dinner, or even admission to a local museum or performance theater would allow you to enhance the experience further, creating a truly romantic evening for the couple.

Real2real in Memphis has a long-running tradition of offering a date night special, with a limo ride, one-hour photo session and discounted dinner.  With the convenience of an all-in-one package, it’s easy to see why this has become one of their most popular yearly promotions.

Question #3: Who are your customers?

As mentioned above, the needs and preferences of your customer base can vary depending on region and even city.  While your personal strength as a photographer will no doubt shape your customer base to some degree, really knowing the community, area, and personality of the customer pool in the area will help you perfect your promotion, especially when you’re creating your marketing campaign.

While you may have a lovely experience planned for your patrons, this means little if the price point is outside their budget.

The type of photos or experience you might offer also depends on the regional likes and dislikes.  If your community consists largely of families or religious groups, a more traditional evening would be far more successful.    Children photos are a constant seller, and few seasons allow for the adorableness that the combination of Valentines and children bring. Regions and cities with younger or more progressive citizens would allow for more daring options, such as lingerie and boudoir shoots.  Individual sessions such as these would also free up your schedule, allowing you to serve customers in the time leading up to Valentine’s, and not just the week of.

Question #4:  What resources do you have as a studio to create truly fun and memorable photos?

While we have tried to focus more on making your promotion unique and enjoyable for your patrons, we can’t ignore the elephant in the room.  Filters, frames, and overlays are some of the most cost effective ways to create a cute photo.  Hearts, lipstick kisses, Cupids, or even backdrops of fantastical, romantic, or far off locations can all enhance the magic of an already adorable photo.  Offering these filters can also allow for mini sessions, allowing you to serve more customers in less time.  Filters and overlays especially help with children, as the cooperation of a child is far more fleeting than that of a photo editing program.  As mentioned above, your studio’s ability to print out something quickly for the customer can also be a great advantage, as people love instant gratification.

Question #5:  How do I combine all of this into an offering and a marketing campaign?

After you’ve asked yourself all of these questions, it’s time to get to work.

First, create your promotional offering. Consider what your customer’s like about you, what locations and resources you have available, and create a strong promotional offering, a package.

Next, create your marketing campaign. take what you know about your potential customers and get your promotion in front of them. While you can go the traditional route of newspaper, TV and radio, there is a better way.

When it comes to spreading the word, the internet is the best way to go. Social media feeds on cute images and ideas, as well as allowing it’s user to vote and give their opinion.  This is where sites like Woobox can help your promotion shine.

Running a Photo Contest to Promote Your Photography Business

Woobox can create a photo contest or a sweepstakes so you can have your potential customers share your promotion. We’ve come up with a few ways you can run a contest using Woobox:

Cutest Cupid: Run a photography contest using our photo contest feature. Have people submit pictures of their baby, dog, husband, whatever and have them share it to get likes. Winner get’s a free sitting. Make sure you put your promotion where people can see it while voting.

“Who do you love?” Contest: Have people share a photo of who (or what) they love the most, with a short caption explaining why. Getting people to share their emotions (or sense of humor) alongside your brand is a powerful thing.

Best Romantic View Contest: Designed to get people outside and taking pictures, frame this contest as deciding the best “make out” spot or romantic view in your area. As more and more people vote on their favorite spot, your promotion will grow. You can also select a few spots and take photos yourself for the campaign, maybe with a model couple, showing off your skills.

Brotherly and Sisterly Love Contest: Aimed at parents with small children, have parents take pictures of their kids at their sweetest. Provide a fun enough prize, such as a romantic evening for the parents, and you will be guaranteed free publicity through parents eager to share the contest with their friends.

Whatever you end up deciding on with your contest, Woobox can help your run it quickly and easily so you can focus on growing your business.

Woobox integrates with social media such as Facebook and allows you to create a customized contest, with the winners determined by either vote or picked by you.

Once the contest is over, you now have valuable data on what images were voted on the most, and what types of photos to offer in future promotions.  Woobox and sites like it offer dozens of customizable options, such as editable templates, a powerful & easy designer, editable HTML, along with entry, sharing, and security options to help you create the perfect contest and collect vital information about your customer’s preferences.

Closing Thoughts

With the right promotion, and with the right experience, you can help your customers not only have a memorable Valentine’s Day, but also help them to remember you when their Valentine becomes their fiancé or spouse. After all, someone needs to create the perfect engagement and wedding photos for the happy couple. Why not you?