I’ve been photographing weddings for over ten years now and can honestly say, I love what I do. I am often asked by up and coming photographers how we manage to book the number of wedding we do at Impact and what is the best way to get more bookings – my answer has been the same for most of my ten years “word of mouth.”
To me, there is no better way to have someone book either of our studios to photograph such an important event in someones life. If a couple come to me through a referral, they are coming with an understanding of what we offer, an idea of the costs involved to produce amazing photographs and beautiful albums and they know they will have an awesome day with us. Sure we do advertise, we have a website, this blog and we occasionally go to bridal expos.
It’s the bridal expos that have me concerned about the way some photographers are going about ‘convincing’ couples to book them for their wedding day photography.
For any of you that have attended a bridal expo you may have noticed the high number of photographers presenting their wares. You may also have noticed some of them offering the chance to ‘win’ something – it could be an engagement shoot, a bonus enlargement or even a $1000 saving off your photography package.
Be warned – there can be more to these so called competitions than may be obvious.
I recently had one couple that had decided to cancel their booking with Impact because they had been to an expo and found out they had won a $1000 off their photography after entering a competition at a photographers stand. My reply was,”wow, that’s amazing. It sounds like too good a win to knock back.” I did ask a few more questions about the photographer that had the competition and thought I’d have a look at their work as I had never heard of them before.
The first warning signal went off for me when I visited their website and saw on the front page that the studio was recruiting new photographers. They were looking for anyone with some experience, their own gear and available to start shooting asap. The work on the site looked good but who’s was it? Did my couple that were swapping photographers even know who their new photographer was going to be – was it a shooter straight from college and a few wedding under their belt, or worse still, someone that bought a whiz bang digital camera, some lenses, shot a couple of friends weddings and now call themselves a professional photographer? Surely it couldn’t be that bad?
After I saw the web site advertisement for new photographers I decided to take a guess at the type of promotion this studio was running at the expo and I called the couple that were swapping over and asked them if they could phone the new studio and ask how many couples won the $1000 off their wedding photography. I also suggested they ask if the photographer they spoke to at the expo will be their photographer, if not, when will they meet him or her?
Sure enough, the couple came back and decided to keep their booking with Impact Images. It turns out the other studio wouldn’t give an answer to the number of brides that ‘won’ the $1000 saving – needless to say it was everyone at that expo. As for the photographer, they hadn’t met him or her yet but will get the chance to before their wedding. Not good enough!
As I stated earlier in this post, there are many and varied offers made by photographers to get your booking – remember how many photographers you saw at the last expo you attended – it is a very competitive market with no qualifications required. Buy a camera and you can legally advertise as a photographer. Pretty scary really.
So how was the studio at the expo able to offer $1000 off their packages? A few of scenarios come to mind; one is the studio factors these ‘competition give aways’ into their pricing and can happily give $1000 off their inflated prices. Two, the studio gives the discount and charges exorbitant prices for any and every upgrade or extra like additional album pages, different album covers, panoramas, digital spreads (most of which are INCLUDED in all of our collections). Thirdly, and the most concerning if it’s the case, the studio in question books plenty of weddings to be photographed by by shooters with limited experience on low day rates and can therefore easily operate at a profit. This would be the worst scenario for any couple to be caught up in a scheme like this one as it won’t be realised until it’s too late – after the wedding.
To gauge the authenticity of a promotion you just have to ask yourself if it’s too good to be true. Followed by some questions to the supplier. An example of a perfectly honest giveaway is a free enlargement if you book on the day or before a certain date – it’s called a ‘call to action’ and is quite common. Another is a free engagement shoot where the photographer is hoping to build a relationship with you during the shoot and hopefully amaze you with beautiful photography to help you to decide to choose him or her – nothing to lose here. If you are happy with the experience you have the right photographer and if not, find another.
When booking a photographer it is vital that you meet and talk to them, get a feel for the person that will be shooting YOUR wedding and take a good look at the photography, not just the prices. Also, you must ask about any extras after the wedding day. Almost every couple that books Impact Images will add extra pages to their wedding album once they see the images – we are very careful to explain this to every couple. This should be discussed with whoever you choose for your photography before the wedding.
Lastly, your wedding day should be an awesome experience filled with fun, laughter, emotion and amazing memories – do not let that be spoilt with bad photography or a bad photographer. Be guided by word of mouth, an affiliation with the AIPP and a studio that has been around for at lest a few years. If you are still unsure, come and see us at Impact Images.
First ten people to leave a comment on the blog receive a $1000 saving off your wedding photography! KIDDING 🙂