Sitting Down with WIPA SoCal Member Henry Chen.

Henry Chen is a member of WIPA and Founder of Wedding Chat Marketing.

Everyone has different stories of how they got started in the industry. Tell me yours.

“14 years ago in 2007, I was always a big basketball fan and I started interning for one of the NBA basketball teams that I loved and that’s when I first started shooting. After that, one of my friends asked me to shoot her wedding and one thing led to another and I continued to be passionate about it and eventually, I left my full-time engineering job.”

I read your story how you created this business, Wedding Chat Marketing, out of a need—not having enough time being a photographer in a crowded market and being a new dad. How did you first come up with the idea?

“After 10 years of being a full-time wedding photographer, In 2018, I got back into engineering when an incredible opportunity presented itself. However, trying to juggle being a full-time wedding photographer and full-time engineer, while growing my new online education venture (YouTube channel and podcast), was nearly impossible. 

I needed something to save time in generating and qualifying wedding leads, without sacrificing my brand. That was when I stumbled upon chatbots and using them in a personalized way. I was hesitant at first but quickly learned just how powerful it was, especially to provide info to potential clients when they want it (right away!) and how they want that content (via messaging apps like FB Messenger and text/SMS).

After a few months of learning about chat marketing and getting leads and bookings with it, I started to share my learnings with my community of wedding photographers. I then expanded to all wedding pros and that’s where “Wedding Chat Marketing” came about: providing education to wedding pros, creatives, and other educators.

I got into learning chat marketing to help me save time in my wedding photography business. Ironically, it soon got me to transition out of being a photographer and more into an educator and marketing agency.

Today, I still feel overwhelmed with the various things but in the best possible way. I’m getting to do what I’m passionate about in the current stage of my life. I’m always thankful for my wedding couples that have trusted me to capture their special day, especially the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-faith weddings.”

What have you missed most in the past year?

“My favorite thing is backpacking and camping. Being an introvert, I feel quite connected to who I need to be connected to. While I have a handful of weddings on the books, I do miss engaging with my couples.” 

Is there a fun secret fact that we should know about you?

“I love McDonald’s Ice Coffee, $2.52, (I go so often that I know the exact cost) and backpacking in the wilderness. My plan is to go on a solo 240-mile trek along the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada for three weeks this Summer. I was also born in Burma, now known as Myanmar.”

What do Diversity and Inclusion mean to you?

“Diversity means everyone is included and every person’s voice matters, no matter what their race, culture, faith, sexual preference, and background. It means being respectful, open-minded, and never assuming anything about someone else. Truly caring is not just putting an emoji or a black square on social media but taking action by learning, listening, asking questions, and giving up your time/resources for causes you believe in.”

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