Dominique Shaw of York Place Studios tells us about wedding photography and videography.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Dominique Shaw: We are doing great! After a difficult few years, business is booming, and we are just so happy to be able to spend time with our family and friends again. We are fortunate that we truly love what we do, and being back to photographing weddings and events in such a joyous atmosphere makes us very happy.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you York Place Studios.
Dominique Shaw: I founded York Place Studios back in 2006 with my brother Liam. I had been studying and shooting photography since I was 16, and, though only 21 at the time, when the chance to buy my own studio came up, I jumped at the opportunity.
Initially, we started out photographing absolutely anything that paid a bill but gradually, we found our groove with wedding photography, developing a unique, hybrid street/wedding style that has led to shooting weddings and being invited to share our ideas all over the world.
How does York Place Studios market its product/services online?
Dominique Shaw: Most of our enquires are generated through our website and Instagram profile. Our photography tends to appeal to creatives and those who are looking to avoid clichés and traditional wedding tropes, so we have curated a brand that is all about people rather than directly about weddings.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business, and how did you get through it?
Dominique Shaw: The pandemic was an incredibly tough time for everyone in the wedding industry, with weddings either completely banned or heavily restricted and certainly nothing like the weddings that our couples had dreamt of. Most couples postponed or canceled, although we were fortunate that our photography style leaned itself well to intimate micro-weddings, so we were able to capture a few. Thankfully we were able to find a way through it and use the time to get creative, invent some new ideas, and work on the areas of the business that lack of time had forced us to neglect and come out on the other side stronger and with a more diversified business model.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Dominique Shaw: We’re a very small company and do everything in-house, so marketing is a constant challenge. We use services such as Moz to help monitor our SEO, Tailwind to assist with marketing strategies and the incredible lightbluesoftware.com to help us to navigate the day-to-day running of the business.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Dominique Shaw: Wedding photography has become increasingly competitive over the years as, with camera technology improving and prices lowering, the barrier for entry has been massively reduced. However, after creating a unique style that seems to have resonated across the industry and strongly connected with the couples we look to attract, we feel that we can maintain a strong position going forward.
Most importantly, though, 15 years in, we’re more passionate than ever about the work we produce, and that drives us to keep reinventing ourselves and getting our message out there. Our product isn’t mass-market – on the wedding side, we only really look to work with 25 or so couples a year, so we’re able to really target our message towards a particular type of client that we truly love to work with and that will hopefully feel the same way about us.
Your final thoughts?
Dominique Shaw: The pandemic turned out to be one of the worst and, in some ways, best times of our careers. The stress, worry, and regular heartbreak of that time were devastating, but it also presented the first opportunity really since we started to just slow down, reevaluate and have space and time to commit to creativity. It’s led to us developing a new style of portraiture which we’re excited to reveal soon at kaleid.me, and allowed us the time to finally fulfill our dream of writing a photography book which we’re hoping to launch later this year as part of our new education-oriented offerings at seeminglyinsignificant.com