Wedding Photography: It’s Not About Taking The Pictures, It’s About The Ultimate Experience

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?

Wedding Photography Experience

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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.

3 thoughts on “Wedding Photography: It’s Not About Taking The Pictures, It’s About The Ultimate Experience”

  1. Nice article.
    A question: Why is it that in this day and age some photographers still think there is a need to hold on to the client’s photos?

    The digital files should be the bride’s possession. It’s hers (theirs actually). We do the job of documenting the event and we get paid for the output. All of it.

    It is not only amazing when photographers actually expect to make money from people coming back and asking for reprints, it is even more amazing that couples still agree to it. That’s why photographers find it difficult these days. Today’s photography is about a lot of things including value. People are a lot more educated and knowledgeable. They know what they SHOULD receive for their money.

    I for once would not want to be at the mercy of my photographer years after the event took place. I want ownership of MY images. After all, it’s me in them.

    In my opinion this is old (very old) thinking that belongs to the 80’s.

    With all do respect,
    Motti

    Reply
    • Hi Motti

      Thanks for your opinion. I don’t necessarily disagree with you – providing you get full payment for your work at a level that makes you a GREAT income. The problem lies in handing over the digital files, and charging a meager salary in the process. And in not giving the bride and groom the entire experience as a wedding photographer.

      Wedding photography is one of the most difficult professions out there, which I speak at great lengths on in my posts. If you don’t know what you are doing, it clearly shows in both your presence on the day of the event, and in your final output. I really feel a wedding photographer is only half done if they shoot and hand over a CD/DVD with files. It also comes down to how an image should be printed, how it should be displayed, and how you put together things like frames, albums, etc. If you are the expert, you should handle every situation, from booking to providing final output. And if the digital files are a part of the final process, that’s great. AFTER you collect everything you are entitled to as a professional photographer.

      Lori

      Reply
  2. Hi Lori,

    I absolutely agree that wedding photography is one of the hardest jobs out there. Both physically and mentally. And yes, we should get paid for everything we provide. Although, different markets have different price points and perceived value.

    I also completely agree that files given to the clients should be ready to print, color corrected and with all the editing enhancement you can master. They should be as good as you can get them to be.

    In fact, that is the only way I give my images on the DVD.

    I do believe that with blogs, Facebook and all the rest of the social tools out there available to anyone, digital files become a must part of any job we do. People want it up and shared with everyone to see. That is, in my opinion, the best advertising we can ask for. We just have to find a way to have our names everywhere without upsetting our clients.

    Thank you
    Motti

    Reply

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