I’ve been reading a ton of rants this past week on the state of wedding photography. I was particularly interested in finding out if a photographer can truly have a full-time business photographing weddings. Those of us who have “been there, done that” know this is more than possible. I routinely pulled in $250,000 and more each year photographing around 25 weddings. However, those so-called professionals who are consistently charging “nothing” for their services are turning the industry around. Nowadays, this beautiful branch became a competition from which it is hard to get out with a decent full-time business.

So in this post, I thought I would share 3 tips to help you price and package your wedding photography better. Hopefully, I will manage to answer many of the questions I hear every day when it comes to selling services.

1. Quit Confusing Your Potential Customers

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For this lesson, I randomly selected a wedding photographer I bumped into on Google. This freelancer is making the same mistake as a lot of others do. This was his pricing structure.

Wedding Package 1

  • Up to 5 hours of photography.
  • Over 200 4×6 professional prints plus the same images on copyright-free CD.
  • 11×14 Portrait Print – choose any image from your wedding photos.
  • Choose $50 in additional prints.
  • Online gallery of your wedding photos to share with friends and family worldwide.

Wedding Package 2

  • Up to 5 hours of photography.
  • Over 200 images in print and on copyright-free CD.
  • 20 page 8×8 or 8×10 album.
  • 11×14 Portrait Print – choose any image from your wedding photos.
  • $75 in additional prints.
  • Online gallery of your wedding photos to share with friends and family worldwide.

Wedding Package 3

  • This package includes six hours of shooting time on your wedding day plus a 20-page custom designed album.
  • 6 hours of photography.
  • Mix of color and black and white, creative effects.
  • 250+ professionally processed wedding photos, in print and on copyright-free CD.
  • 20-page custom wedding album – all prints on archival quality Kodak Endura Pro Paper.
  • Album is top quality, elegant and built to last a lifetime.
  • 11×14 Portrait Print – choose any image from your wedding photos.
  • $100 in additional prints.
  • Your wedding album is displayed online as it is created so you can comment on it as it is designed.

Wedding Package 4

  • 6 – 7 hours of photography.
  • 300+ professionally processed wedding photos, in print and on copyright-free CD.
  • 20-page custom album.
  • 16×20 Portrait Print – choose any image from your wedding photos.
  • Choose $125 in additional individual prints.
  • Includes your choice of the Engagement Photo Package or $100 in additional prints.

Wedding Package 5

  • Includes everything in Wedding Collection 4.
  • Wedding albums for Mom – one album for each of your moms.  Same photos as the bride’s album.
  • (2) additional 11×14 copies of your portrait print.

All five packages ranged from $1000 – $2100. Now let’s analyze them. What’s the difference between 1 and 4, 2 and 5? How about 4 and 5? Difficult to tell, right? Sure, it’s a few photographs here, and an extra hour there. But if it’s hard for a photographer to tell the difference, how do you imagine your prospects will feel about this?

Do they really understand the difference between 50 types of photographs? Does one extra hour truly mean that much to them? What if they book the last package, and need an extra hour. Usually, they won’t even ask photographs for more time. They just book the service and expect you to grant all their wishes on the day of the event.

As such, we can extract one core lesson from this real-life example. You shouldn’t create too many packages, especially if they end up looking alike. Instead, focus on huge differences, and make your customer instantly aware of what they need.

You can boost your offers with additional services such as creating a pre-wedding or videography package. Another trick that seems to raise a lot of interest among prospects is to offer them samples. You could meet with them to discuss your services. At this meeting, you can take some photos of them free of charge to entice them more.

For instance, you can accompany each feature of your package with an argumentation of its importance. Usually, the couple takes months of planning, yet they have to confront unthinkable circumstances on their big day. Your job as a professional is to point out to them these unexpected issues that happen all the time. Afterward, simply recommend your services as a solution to these unwanted problems.

2. Lure in Your Target Clientele with Well-Chosen Words

fountain pen

If I have to take a guess, I would say that your future clients will find you through a post, be it email, blog article, blog entry or social media announcement. In this case, the words you employed to create your ad will act as a recommendation for your services. So, you see, the language will end up being the difference between an impressed and a dismissive prospect. Let me give you a compendium of keywords. Think of the meaning of each set. Chose the ones that appeal to you more.

Shoot  –  Photograph
Images  –  Pictures
Collections  –  Packages

Do you notice the different nuances? Watch an ad for BMW or browse through ads for elite stores like Nordstrom. They speak differently about their products and services than companies like Kia and Walmart. This is because they are targeting a different public who is willing to pay more for premium services or products.

The same goes for your photography. Usually, a $10,000 or more wedding photography packages are shocking for the large public over the Internet. However, this offer is normally specially created for those who can afford to plan a luxurious wedding.

Those couples will not faint at the sight of the price tag. On the contrary, they will start reading more about it. If a bride is having an original Vera Wang gown created for her, would she really hire a photographer who’s only charging $1,000? Of course not. The math doesn’t add up. If she spends $5,000 on her bouquet and $7,500 on her cake, why wouldn’t she find a $15,000 photography offer affordable?

But she would also never hire anyone who is going to “shoot” her. She wants an elegant collection or original images that capture the beauty and grace of her special day. Therefore, my third tip for you is to be careful how you design your ads. They have to reflect the quality of your services and also speak the language of your chosen public.

Nonetheless, you can create several wedding photography packages for several types of couples. Be them hippie, nonconformist, bohemian, luxurious, rich or royal, the future brides and grooms will choose those professionals who earned their trust.

3. Keep Your Wedding Photography Packages in Order

envelopes

There is one marketing trick that might work wonderfully with your own wedding photography packages. Let’s take our first example of offers. As there is quite a large list of options, the reader is going to be more engaged with the first entry. By the time the interested party reaches the end, the enthusiasm and attention to detail will incrementally decrease. As such, the most interesting part which was described at the bottom received less interest.

However, what if you start off your list with your top package and work your way down? If your initial offer is really good, couples will be interested in your first package. However, as they move forward, they will have the feeling that they are losing something of value to them. As such, there are higher chances that they will return to your initial package.

So, you should stick with three of fewer collections. Don’t forget to create a dramatic difference between them. Look at the following collections, and analyze their impact on the reader.

Collection One

  • Unlimited amount of time, as our goal is to give you complete coverage from beginning to end.
  • Unlimited number of photographs – how can we count your images as they are being taken? What if we hit 200, and you haven’t cut the cake yet? We wouldn’t be professional if we didn’t promise to capture every detail, from beginning to end.
  • $2,000 credit to apply to any of our products, from album design to framed portraits, to gifts for your parents and attendants
  • Full online viewing to make your selections.

Collection Two

  • Perfect for small, intimate gatherings with less than 25 guests.
  • Four hours of coverage, one location only.
  • Unlimited number of photographs during our time with you.
  • $500 credit to apply to any of our products.
  • Full online viewing to make your selections.

By displaying your most expensive collection on top, your package starts big and will definitely leave a positive impact on your prospects’ mind. Usually, customers are willing to compromise financial resources for quality services. After all, the photographer’s job might be the most important one. We are in charge of preserving some of their best memories alive throughout all their lives.

Final Word

Turning your wedding photography packages into substantial revenue source to replace a boring, full-time job is not just a dream anymore. These events are considered some of the most important milestones in people’s lives. Usually, no wedding is complete without a follow-up in the form of a sentimental photo album. As a consequence, there is a high demand for wedding photographers. All you need is to create a good first impression to your prospects. If you have ideas of your own on how to make it to the top of this industry, you are welcome to share them with us in the comment box bellow!

Image source: 1, 2, 3

 

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