Washington DC Wedding Photographer: Stephen Gosling Photography
The first thing I want to say is that I am under no illusion that people read my blog, let alone other photographers. I in no way think that the way I do things is the correct way and I am not writing these posts to tell people how to shoot or how to run their businesses. I am however going to be writing about my experiences; my failures, my successes, etc. If these posts help anyone, great! If not; no big deal.
As photographers, we of course would like to shoot all over the world. We would all love to be the ‘go-to’ destination photographer who flies to exotic destinations for our clients. However, for most of us, this is just not going to happen. I myself am lucky enough to have a couple of overseas weddings this year, but to be honest about it; I booked them both completely by chance. One was a referral from a good friend, and the other was from a bride whom I shot engagement photos for and when I learnt that she was was getting married overseas I pestered her until she agreed to bring me along. I’m not telling you this to boast, I’m telling you this to prove a point. I need to shoot somewhere in 15-25 weddings a year range. This year I have 2 that are ‘destination’ weddings. So, if I was just a ‘destination’ wedding photographer, my business would clearly not be sustainable. So, I am course, primarily, a local photographer. My clients are from or are hiring me to work in the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia areas. And because of this when you go to my website the title tag says; Washington DC Wedding Photographer, Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer. And when you go to my blog the title tag says; Washington DC & Northern Virginia Wedding Photographer. And also when you go to my about me sections of both my website and my blog it says that I live and work in the Washington, DC area. I keyword my website images and my blog posts so that when people search on Google for local wedding photographers, wedding venues, etc… I pop up.
I swear have a point and I am getting to it…
When I moved to this country I needed to get a cell phone. My wife is from Ohio and naturally I added myself to her phone plan and therefore had to go with an Ohio number (area code 740). I don’t want this to confuse my local clients thinking that I am not living/working in this area. And I also don’t really want my 740 number popping up on their phones when I give them a call and have them thinking “740 – what the hell?”.
So I decided to look into changing my phone number to either a DC area code (202) or a Northern Virginia code (703). Doing this with my cellular network provider seemed to be a pain in the arse so I shelved the idea and just figured that it wouldn’t bother people; me having an out of town number. And honestly, I don’t think it does bother people; but it bothered me. So a few years back when I heard about Google Voice I was intrigued. Firstly because everything seems to be free and secondly because I could choose a local phone number.
Google Voice has a plethora of things that it can do but the main thing that I am using it for is as a call forwarding service. People call the 202 number I chose to have and it gets sent to my phone.
All I did was sign up for the service, select a local number and that was it.
When you log in to your Google Voice account online in is kind of like an email account. It has your incoming and outgoing calls saved in folders. You can delete, archive or highlight calls. You can even receive text messages with the number, they forward text messages just like they forward calls.
If you don’t answer the call the caller can leave a message. You just have to call your own Google Voice number, type in your pin and receive your voicemail. Super simple.
One thing that is kind of cool is that you can have a text message sent to your phone with a transcription of the voicemail that the caller has left you. The transcription isn’t always perfect but I have found it to be pretty accurate. This way I can screen the voicemails to decide whether I need to return them fast, slow or not at all.
After all that waffle I suppose all I wanted to say is that I think having a local phone number is a great asset. And if you don’t currently have one; look into Google Voice.
Take care now.