Wedding photography redux

Sent by Jonathan Stark on October 24th, 2018

Thank you to all the photographers and friends of photographers who replied to yesterday’s message about value pricing a wedding shoot.

For the record, I realize that the “Why?” questions I suggested were over the top and wouldn’t have been appropriate to use verbatim. “Why not shoot it yourself?” for example :-)

Also for the record, I probably wouldn’t value price a wedding shoot - I’d price it like a productized service. But if I was going to value price one, the “Why Me?” questions from The Why Conversation would be the most important for a wedding tog.

Of the other questions, “Why Now?” is obvious (i.e., because the wedding is on $date), and “Why This?” is pretty close to a no-brainer, too (i.e., hiring a professional photographer is a sensible decision when you’re getting married). 

Why Me?

I am not a tog, but I have a lot of contact with them. I know the photography space seems flooded with supply. That it feels like professional photography has been commoditized. That everyone is locked in a race to zero. That it’s easy to imagine that all brides want to spend as little as possible.

There will always be price buyers - people who are “looking for the best deal” or who “don’t want to get screwed on price.” These are bad clients and experienced togs would do well to drive them away with high prices. 

There’s another kind of buyer who looks at price first, not because that’s all they care about, but because it’s the only way they can tell their options apart. When all the alternatives appear the same to the untrained eye, price is the one differentiator that everyone can understand. 

Solution? 

Stand out from the pack. Be different, unique. Create a category of one. Zig when everyone else zags. 

I don’t think the photography space is commoditized so much as it is homogenized. Same shots, same poses, same products, same Lightroom plug-ins, same website templates, same business models, same same same same same. 

What about shooting the wedding party in zero g? Or parachuting naked into the Grand Canyon? Or on stage at a Foo Fighters concert? 

Tacky? Maybe. Different? Definitely. 

If the tog in your life don’t like these ideas, I’m sure they can come up with others. NOTE: Don’t limit your thinking based on the kinds of buyer who you’re used to working with. Think bigger. What would Kanye or Elon or Bezos be attracted to in a wedding photographer?

Yours,

—J


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