By Sarah Kollmorgen For a long time, shooting weddings was a part-time, weekend gig for many photographers. Today, however, a growing number of photographers, globally, are able to turn capturing vows into a full-time career.
Jason Groupp, the director of education and membership for the Photo + Group and Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), says as the nuptials niche has expanded, he's noticed a more wedding photographers branding themselves as specialists within the genre.
“I think the future of the successful wedding photographer is the person who doesn’t just do it because they want to shoot weddings,” Groupp says. “What is the ‘why’ of why they’re shooting weddings?”
For example, a wedding photographer might shoot elopements, certain ethnic weddings or in a specific location. They key, Groupp says, is building trust with clients so that they won’t worry on their big day about whether their photographer is getting that perfect shot.
That trust-building begins when selecting a photographer, and the website can be critical in this process, as it allows potential clients to gage a photographer's approach and style. To stand out within this growing nuptial niche, photographers are opting to do something relatively simple to elevate their individual brands: They're using a 'dot-photography' (.photography) or 'dot-photos' (.photos) domain name.
With nearly 70,000 registrations between these two "not-com" domain options since first becoming available in 2014, these industry-specific domains are a simple way to punctuate your photography brand as unique -- yet on-trend. Group says he expects to see more photographers adopt these speciality domains in the future.
"Our names carry a strong personal brand, so those who are unable to use their names now have a great option to 'connect' photo and their names," he says.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of photographers specializing in locations around the globe, who also have gone the extra mile to make their online presence stand out with a customized domain that immediately tells the world what they do.
Husband-and-wife team Ben and Michelle put in the extra effort to craft timeless-looking wedding photos using natural light. While their approach to the photography itself is classic, their use of technology is cutting-edge. They found that their company name gave them top Google-rankings, but was competing with pausethemoment.com -- a blog run by a travel writer. “It looked a bit confusing seeing a wedding photographer and a guy repelling down a ravine next to each other in Google,” says Ben. “When the opportunity arose, we picked up the .photography domain to really help us distinguish ourselves.”
British Columbia/Alberta, Canada
The sister photography team of Natalia and Tatiana strives to stand out from the crowd in every aspect of their business: from their unique company name -- Karizma, which reflects the creative thought, feelings and people they encounter -- to their breathtaking photography and the website that showcases it all. The sisters say the 'dot-photography' (.photography) domain catches peoples’ attention and perfectly reflects their business goals: “It sounds modern and creative. That’s exactly who we are.”
Chicago, Ill., USA
Originally a photojournalist, Noelle Adams decided to focus on weddings following her own nuptials. “I realized how much my photos meant to me and I decided I wanted to capture love stories for other people,” she says. Thanks to her photojournalism background, Adams takes almost no posed shots at weddings, focusing instead on candid moments. Her experience in marketing and design has also helped her online: Adams says she recognized the importance of keeping a domain short and memorable, hence the selection of her URL: noelleadams.photography.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Enrico Capuano grew up watching his father, a wedding planner, organize destination weddings in Amalfi. Through photography, Capuano has been able to follow in his father’s footsteps while utilizing his love for technology, stories and the power of images. He chose a 'dot-photos' (.photos) domain at the suggestion of a friend. While a smart online presence is important, what matters most, he says, are the photos -- a nod to the domain extension he selected for his URL. “Design is very important -- a clear website, no-frills," he says. "Photos tell you more than a million words [could].”
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
For Daniela Ortiz, starting a wedding photography business in Cabo was a natural decision: she lives there, she’s a photographer, and she believes Cabo is one of the best places to get married. In addition to SEO purposes, Ortiz decided to go with cabo.photography because she thought it would make it easier for people to link her business with a geographical place.
Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland
Gareth Owen goes for big dramatic shots with powerful landscapes in his wedding shoots--- which is easy, he says, with the Scottish countryside as a backdrop. Although he initially had a 'dot-co-dot-uk' (.co.uk) domain, Owen says he had trouble getting updated versions of his website to show up on search engines. To remedy the situation, he switch to the .photography domain, which has worked without hitch while provoking amusement with some clients. “The URL provokes a reaction, which can only be a good thing, as any old boring .com or .co.uk gets absolutely no response,” Owen says.
Logan, Utah, USA
Mike Johnson chose to use a 'dot-photography' (.photography) domain not only to stand out, but because he found it less cluttered than other available domain names. This focus on simplicity is also reflected in his photography style: Johnson says he tries to avoid photography fads and trends in order to create bright, cheerful images that couples can hang on their walls for years to come.
www.bestweddings.photos *redirectsto bestweddings.com
A second-generation photographer, Flavio Bandiera began taking pictures of weddings in 1992. Although based in Milan, he travels around the world to capture couples’ special day or to teach workshops. Bandiera says his company has always been interested in trying new strategies for web, which is why it's testing out the .photos domain to attract more website traffic in an effort to gain more clients.
Located in Mumbai but photographing throughout India, Oscar Varghese is a self-taught photographer who has worked at more than 70 weddings. His stylish website reflects his modern approach to wedding photography in India and the diversity of clients he serves: Varghese has photographed traditional Hindu weddings, Christian weddings, arranged marriages, elopements and more.
New York City, NY
For Kristy May Photography, the domain name says it all: May specializes in photographing couples that decide to elope to New York City for their big day. Not only will she arrange to document the ceremony at City Hall (and act as a witness, if necessary!), May will organize an itinerary to some of the city’s most iconic locations so couples can get that perfect shot.
Agia Napa, Cyprus
Marit Kyriakides moved from Holland to Cyprus -- the “beautiful sunny island of Love,” as she describes it on her website -- after meeting her now-husband. She then decided to shoot weddings for other couples coming to sun-drenched Cyprus to celebrate their special day. As her domain name suggests, Kyriakides focuses on “documenting the love and light” for couples through a unique mix of photos and film.