In an age where digital technology can turn almost anyone into a would-be wedding photographer, Claudia Kronenberg has found the magic to transcend in a saturated market.
Since 1993, she and her Nantucket-based team have photographed the weddings of a veritable “Who’s Who” on the East Coast. Working in digital since 2003, with a film and darkroom background from RIT, Kronenberg plays up the natural expressions and environments her bride and groom experience in celebrating their special day.
Focus on Relationships
“This business is all about networking,” she stresses. To build relationships, Kronenberg is constantly prospecting in different ways. “This might include attending social functions where my prospective clients meet, hosting breakfast clubs with other leaders in the wedding industry, and inviting a guest of honor who might be a person of influence in my market,” she says.
The studio regularly donates photographic services to local fundraisers, making sure the right labels and signage are provided for the items. She also talks to florists and caterers, and reads the local newspapers and regional magazines, circling the names of individuals she wants to meet. Most important, she asks for referrals.
Kronenberg has also created a resource website for brides: My Nantucket Wedding (mynantucketwedding), comprised of local vendor listings, tips, and information links for the bride. This site also generates additional leads.
To initiate her couple’s memorable experience, she schedules pre-wedding meetings with the couple and family members. Most often her new clients come from referrals, so they have a sense of Kronenberg’s work. On the wedding day, all her relationship building enables her to capture the images she and the couple desire.
The Power of a Fashion Bridal Shoot
Her networking savvy is clear in the clever programs Kronenberg has created to stay top of mind with brides and anyone who might refer her.
One such program generated extensive editorial coverage, including a profile in Nikon’s “Wedding Edge 2006” insert in April Studio Photography and a coveted assignment with Grace Ormond Wedding Style, a leading publication catering to the affluent bride.
“I had this brainstorm to do a fashion bridal shoot,” she says, pointing out that she’s created and shot this style of campaign three times, most recently in May. “The first motivation was to be able to work with our own models in locations of our choice, so that we were not under the time or creative constraints of the wedding day itself. It’s been an amazing tool for networking. Not only does it reach brides through magazines, it has created a buzz among wedding vendors and editors at several publications.
This month’s Studio cover image was captured by Kronenberg in Nantucket this past May, during her third and most recent fashion bridal shoot. “It was a real meeting of the minds,” she recalls. “We wanted to use designer gowns for this shoot, so my studio manager, Brea McDonald, contacted shops across North America, including Reem Acra, Vera Wang Boston, plus a little shop on Boston’s Newbury Street that stocks Justina McCaffrey and Carolina Herrera. We collaborated with local hair and makeup stylists, made a shot list, borrowed poses from fashion magazines, and pitched the idea to N Magazine, a local glossy publication. The editor loved the idea and ended up funding the entire project.”
For this shoot, explains Kronenberg, “It was our floral designer who had the idea of setting up a table in the woods. When we arrived, the sun was in the perfect position for gorgeous backlight. While the bride was changing dresses, the sun shifted, so we picked up the table and moved it back into the light. Without the backlight, the shot wouldn’t have worked.”
By this time, the models, who did not know each other, were feeling more comfortable, so Kronenberg asked the groom to look at his bride as she looked directly into the lens. On her stomach, lying in pine needles to get the lowest possible angle, while her assistant held a reflector to bounce light back into their faces, Kronenberg fired off a series of shots. N Magazine and Studio selected the same image for their covers.
“When Carolina Herrera’s PR rep saw this image, she called to thank us for ‘getting the dress just right.’“
Continuing to network, Kronenberg’s studio threw a party for all participating vendors and gave them each a CD of images. She asked that they provide the studio with photo credits if images were used for promotional purposes.