Okay okay okay, before I get started on this ‘rant’ I know that we all had to start somewhere along the road of being professional wedding photographers, but what most of us ‘genuine’ wedding professionals did was, we trained hard, we read everything, we practised loads, and where ever possible we asked to shadow what were to be our peers.
I have learned allot over the years by watching my fellow wedding photography peers do their stuff, both on YouTube (from those who have the time to produce films), being second shooter, and working alongside some very creative types, as I worked in my capacity as a standby videographer.
I’ve also played it forward, allowing those who are interested in this side of the business shadow me. Always after the event I’ve summarised our time by passing on one mantra:
Don’t ever get start out by undercutting!
This has consequences that will ripple through your new business for years to come. But despite this there is the ever rising flood of new ‘wanna-be-get-rich-wedding-togs’ appearing online, but not online in the sense that they’re publishing low quality cheap websites, oh no… They’re showing up on Facebook, and get this, they don’t even have their own ‘Pages’, they’re posting on these bloody ‘Buy & Sell’ community group ones offering 90 page wedding albums for £160!
£160 wouldn’t get me a 15 page album! This is where there’s an obvious tell tale sign too, we don’t call a page a page in the way you would a book, oh no. A page has two sides you see, so our albums typically start from 15 pages, which is 30 sides. Now if I was to create a 90 sided album which would be 45 pages I would be near bankrupted if I offered it for £160, and you would have an album you’d struggle to lift, plus the farmers in Italy would run out of cattle in no time due to all the leather needed to bind the damn thing.
So what does an 90 pages album look like? Simple, you can make one yourself on PhotoBox.com – They cost £99.
Not a bad price, but just how many good quality wedding pictures are you going to have in your album from a photographer who is possibly only making £60 from a weeks worth of work. Sorry… I mean a days worth of work at your actual wedding. Us proper wedding photographers spend over a week on your wedding.
“Over a week? Sure your only there a day!” – Ah, you're only there a day, but how long did it take you to prepare for that day? Well the same is for us, but only in reverse. We would have scouted the area, checked out some likely after service locations for bridal formals and done a little research as to whats on offer. Then after the wedding (which is typically the only time you’ll actually see us doing any work) we have to set about going through all our memory cards, picking out the winners and ditching the losers. Then going through it all again to see if we can pick any more losers and then rethink some of those winners and maybe ditch those (they’re could be in excess of a 1,000 images to choose from here). Once that’s done, we’re on to the editing, just a rough first draft in my case, as I want you to see your images as soon as possible. I’ve gotten quite skilled in this process by the way, then there’s the renaming, grading and formatting in to JPEG from our RAW files – Ask your 90 page album photographer what a RAW file is!
Again, I can only speak as to what I do. I’d set about uploading those into a secure password protected area on my website which I pay a high monthly fee for, so that you can use such features as a LightBox to pick your own winners.
Having received notification that you’ve picked your own personal winners, I’ll then go through them again to see if you maybe hadn’t noticed something special about a picture that I might be able to use in your album design. You’d be surprised at how many of my clients miss amazing shots due to the overwhelming nature of having to pick a selection from those I’ve made available.
“Why only a selection?” – Well, because if you have too many of the same thing, the album looks boring, or if you simply have too many the designs look just too busy and each image doesn’t have an opportunity to shine in it’s own right.
Needless to say, we spend allot of time with your pictures, looking at them, inspecting them for flaws like colour correction, sharpness, exposure, and don’t get me started on the plug sockets, exit signs over the doors, or fire extinguishers all over the show. These all have to be removed too. I tend to this when I’m actually designing your wedding album. Yes, we actually design your album. If you haven’t played with Photobox yet, you would see that it designs it all by itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking what PhotoBox do, quiet the contrary, I use them myself for some products, but I wouldn’t use them for a wedding album, because I want you to have a wedding album, not a picture book
“So what’s your point?” – My point is this! A 90 page album costs £99. If a photographer is only charging in the region of £160 for a wedding, what does that tell you? Do you honestly think there was any point in buying a dress if all your pictures of it are from a low quality, possibly fuzzy, unimaginative picture printed on a thick paper in a cardboard book? Since your at it, skip the reception and get a drive through. It’s at that level, and if I’m honest, if this is where the industry is going then count me out.
Oh by the way – You could only wish to get the pictures that are in that picture above if your only paying £160, unlike us proper wedding photographers, we would insist upon ourselves to produce those pictures and you would have a contract that says so!