My Wish

July 24, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Clients feel they a getting a better deal if they pay a base rate for the photographer then get a DVD with un-copyrighted pictures where they can print them for .49 cents at Wal-Mart.  In my opinion this has been extremely damaging to wedding clients and wedding photographers alike. With the recent advances in DSLR camera technology a lot of photographers who have little to no talent in the field have been buying $800 cameras, putting them on “P” mode, which stands for “programmed auto” but Faux-tographers call it “Professional mode”, and they spray and pray. What’s spray and pray? It’s when a faux-tographer rapidly jams on his shutter button, takes 50 – 100 shots of the same scene and hopes to God he got 1 or 2 good ones he can present to the client. These “weekend warriors” (photographers that have regular Monday – Friday jobs and pick up weddings on Saturday as a source of extra money) offer wedding photography for a few thousand dollars or less and in many cases deliver a bad product because he’s untrained, considers it side money, has no true love of weddings or wedding photography and/or has another job so he spend no time post-processing photos. He hands over a half-ass DVD, the client has only a handful of pictures she likes and she now has a very bad taste of wedding photographers in her mouth which she tweets, Facebooks and YouTubes about leaving a bad taste in future brides mouths. Now along comes the true professional, the one who’s going to deliver a great product, who has invested well over $30,000 into his craft and does this as his or her only source of income. He's got 52 weddings, if he shoots one every weekend, to earn his yearly salary. Due the demand of wanting DVD’s with the pictures, he makes no money off prints thus must include that lost revenue into his base price, BAM $3,000! He’s worth every dime but 

1. Who’s going to pay $3000 when they can pay $1,200 or less, especially since you still got to pay for reception hall, dinner, DJ, etc., and 

2. You are still going to Wal-Mart for your prints using cheap non-professional photo paper. 

So now the wedding couple settles. On their big day that they will only do once, they have to settle. 

Settle for getting their friend or family member that happens to have a decent camera but no experience to take the pictures.

Settle for Walmart photos which after only a few years begin to oxygenate and fade. 

This is why I wish print sells would come back. I hate the thought of a bride having to settle on one of the most important days of her life. If buying prints would make a comeback several thing would happen which I believe would greatly benefit clients. 

First: The booking fee would be reduced. This would free up money in the beginning that could be used to get those place settings they really wanted that were $200 over their budget, or the DJ they really connected with that was $300 outside their price margin. Most vendors require payment in full within 30 days of the wedding. That causes a lot of budget cutting and a lot of stress on the clients to make sure they stay within what they can afford. However, the photos are the only thing that won't be ready on the day of the event, in fact it won't be ready for at least two weeks after the event, so what's the rush? Let do a little short math, say the wedding budget is $10,000, on average at photographer's price is right around $3,000 that leaves only $7,000 for the venue, DJ, caterer, reception hall, etc., that's not a lot, but if the photographer only charged $600 upfront that leaves $9,400 for all those things. That's practically the full budget! After all has been paid in full for the event, the couple now had 45 days to recoup money to afford to start buying professional pictures printed on professional oxygenation resistant paper. I believe this would cause couples let stress and more freedom in booking their dream wedding. 

Second: This forces those faux-tographers I mentioned above to either master their craft or get out of the business. No one can survive shooting at rock bottom prices and only selling 5 pictures. This will give clients the confidence to know if they don't like the product they won't have to pay for the product. 

Third: The client will get more value. As said above the average photographer cost between $2,000 and $5,000, lets split the difference and say $3,000. That means if the client spent $2,400 dollars on photos, all they paid is about what they would have paid anyway. The difference is instead of a DVD where they would go get cheap prints from Walmart, Walgreens or CVS they would get a professionally done photobook, they could that wall mount to hang in the livingroom. What about metal prints? Yep, could get those too and countless 8x10's, 4x6's and wallets. All professionally done on professional paper that will last a lifetime. 

For all these reasons plus some I couldn't, I personally wish the trend would go back to selling prints. Again these are just my personal feelings. But I am curious what others think, especially clients. Do you think this would benefit clients in a positive way? Let me know.

Thank you for reading!


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