It’s confirmed. After chatting with many of today’s top wedding photographers from around the world, two things are certain.
1. Wedding photography is not dead.
2. It’s not about the output; it’s about the experience.
With the economy down, and many, many photographers hitting the streets trying to make a quick buck by shooting a few weddings on the side, its easy to find a photographer that thinks wedding photography is a dying industry. After all, why would any bride pay a few thousand dollars to have her wedding photographed – and not receive the digital files in the process – when she can find a ton of photographers willing to give her exactly what she wants?
As a professional photographer, you have to think beyond this line of reasoning.
A bride only knows what to ask for because of what her friends have received. And what the industry has trained and conditioned for. She’s actually looking for someone who can provide more – give her a better product and more service. But if she can’t find it, she plods along asking what she’s been trained to do.
A friend of mine uses a great tagline in her business – “Don’t let your babies grow up to be jpg’s.” I love it! How many people receive a Flash drive, CD, DVD, containing all of their photographs, and do nothing with it? I talked about this in my post Photographers – The History Killers.
As a wedding photographer, you need to move forward by doing 3 things.
1. Be the best you can be. If you’re committed to being a wedding photographer, build up your skills to be the best in the industry.
2. Build up your marketing strategy to educate your clients on why a digital file isn’t the best way to go. Will we get to the point where photographs are loaded into digital frames, and you use your iPad (or something like it) to look at your wedding album? Of course – that’s the direction we’re heading. But even with that, its more than loading a few hundred photos onto a DVD. Why can’t you supply the frame? Or the iPad with software made to view an incredible album? Dedicate what you do to the entire user experience – and go beyond what the average photographer does.
3. Create an experience. Your experience should last from the minute they contact you, until you had over the final product – and beyond. Your best referral is your current client. Deliver 110% the entire way through, and keep them in the loop for potential referrals. Your best customer will come from someone who is already happy and sold on you, and can express what you do in his or her own voice.