After moving from the US to the UK, freelance photographer Austen Risolvato needed to build a client base in her new home. Using Bidvine, Austen was quickly able to get her wedding photography business, Amoureux Weddings on its feet. Now with 80% of her UK clients coming from Bidvine, Austen is able to focus on helping her clients capture every heartfelt memory of their wedding.
How Did You Get Into Freelance Photography?
I got my first paying job as a photographer when I was 17 and lived in the United States. But I started working full-time as a photographer when I was 22. I had a lot of friends in bands when I was growing up and I would shoot their shows when we were in high school.
As my freelance business grew I toured with American bands, documenting their tours for them. Since then I’ve also done photography work for Disney Interactive and Lucasfilm. So, that was kind of how I started in photography.
How Has Bidvine Helped You Grow Your UK Business?
When I recently moved to the UK, it sort of felt like starting over after I had already built a pretty successful business in the States. So I started looking for a place where I could book work online and I found Bidvine. I didn’t know anything about it but I figured it was worth signing up. Then, I was hired on my second bid!
Now it’s where 80% of my UK wedding clients come from. I just finished a run of nine weddings in five weeks. And eight of them were booked through Bidvine.
So if you find yourself wondering does Bidvine work? I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have been able to grow my business this strongly without Bidvine. It’s been completely essential to my ability to translate the wedding side of my business in the UK.
What Do You Think Makes a Winning Profile on Bidvine?
I believe that when somebody who is not used to being photographed is shopping for their wedding photographer it can be a very intimidating thing. Most people aren’t used to being photographed for an entire day.
I try to make sure my profile reflects something that is relatable to everyone so that clients can say, “I could see myself in that”. To do this we try to make sure that the diversity of our clients is reflected in our profile. That’s definitely one of the first things to creating a winning profile.
The other thing is, getting the point across without getting too wordy. People don’t want to spend all day reading your profile. So, we try to be clear about what we offer.
Photo credit: Amoureux Weddings
From a Customer’s Perspective What Makes Your Profile Stand Out?
When customers describe why they chose us two main themes pop up. Often it is because they recognised something that resonated with what they were looking for in our profile photos. Then they’ve also let us know that they appreciate the clear communication of who we are, as people.
What Makes Wedding Photography Unique?
With wedding photography, it’s such an emotional, personal decision more so than any other type of photography. That person has to connect with the images of the photographer to feel like it’s right.
Ultimately, the only thing you take away from your wedding, is the person you’re marrying, your rings and your photos. Everything else is temporary. We do weddings because we enjoy shooting weddings, my husband and I together. We enjoy getting to be part of that and helping to create and document these memories for people. It’s not about a paycheck. It’s about these moments that matter and we want to do the best job that we can.
What Do You Think is The Secret to The Perfect Bid?
Every bid will contain a customised package for the clients. We don’t really do standardised packages because every wedding is different and every client is different.
Our bids will mention what we can provide them based on the information in the request and their budget. We steer clear of getting too technical with the specs.
Anytime we talk to a client through Bidvine, we talk about the emotional aspect of wedding photography because that is such an important part of it. There’s no hard feeling that that connection bears. It’s your decision and it’s your day and you need to find the person that fits you, and we believe that.
Photo credit: Amoureux Weddings
How Do You Select Which Requests to Bid on?
There are a few factors that go into that. The first thing we look at is the amount of time that the person is looking for, the deliverable of what they’re looking for and what their budget is. Then if we can make those three things work together for us, we’ll bid on it. Sometimes we make exceptions if the project sounds challenging creatively because our photographer friends helped us out with our wedding photography, so we know what’s it’s like to have a small budget.
We also bid on weddings where someone’s added in additional notes about what they’re looking for. That gives us an idea of what their day is going to be like and if it will be a good fit.
What is Your Process For Following up on Bids?
It depends on when the wedding is. There are two factors we consider. If the wedding’s inside of a year, we’ll follow up within a couple days after they have read the bid. Then we also follow-up based on their indications of when they’re ready to hire.
For instance, we shot a wedding a couple weeks ago, that we booked through Bidvine. And we made initial contact with the bride in mid-February. She didn’t actually book with us until about a month later because her wedding wasn’t until August.
We know that sometimes it can be really overwhelming because these seven bids come flooding in, in addition to whatever you’ve been Googling. So, we try to be helpful when following up and answer any questions they may have. We want to make things as easy as possible because it can be overwhelming and it is such a big decision.
What is Your Advice For Other Photographers Starting Out on Bidvine?
Bid often. I use Bidvine every day. There are a lot of photographers out there. Don’t look at it as just selling either. To your client, it is so much more than a service you are selling. They don’t necessarily want to be sold. They want to know why you’re the right fit for them. It’s not about salesmanship, it’s about connecting on a human level.
Photo credit: Amoureux Weddings
What is The Most Memorable Job You’ve Won on Bidvine?
We’ve been really fortunate that the jobs that we’ve done through Bidvine have actually all truly been unique. If I have to pick I would say it might have been the first job that I did through Bidvine. It was a registry wedding. The bride got ready at Harrods’ so, I photographed that process and Harrods is just so ridiculously beautiful. It was a beautiful introduction to working as a wedding photographer in the UK.
See more about Austen:
Austen Risolvato Photography + Amoureux Weddings, Brighton, UK