2017 Advanced Booking Promotion!

Actually having a weekend to get caught up on all my backlog of shoots was refreshing.  This weekend I have time to look forwards to the 2017 shooting season.  Next weekend the basketball game season begins, so I’ll be coaching when I’m not shooting and vice versa.  Life moves on and on, right?

I’ve been very fortunate in that every year, my client list and calendar doubles with engagements and contracts.  I’m absolutely thrilled with that.  I’ve loved all the clients I’ve gotten to work with and I keep getting new references from old clients to new clients coming in.  It’s really awesome when word of mouth can spread out my business exponentially and I appreciate everyone that has helped me get this far.  I hit my goal of wedding bookings in 2016 already, and looking to 2017 I would like to stay with that same number.  Instead of continuing to expand and book more, I think I’d rather stay at my current level and focus on delivering the best experience and quality to my clients whether I’m shooting a wedding, engagement, portrait, event, or artistic session. 

So what it boils down to: I’m opening up my 2017 wedding calendar to booking now.  For any wedding booked, I’ll include a second shooter at no cost to the client.  It’s over a $500 value on most wedding packages I offer, and only available for the first 5 weddings I book for 2017.  After I’ve booked those five weddings, I’ll be looking at the calendar and logistics and decide where I have availability after that, and offer a discounted rate for those periods of time.  This way I’m not working every weekend in June and July, or every weekend in October, and have time to enjoy life as well as deliver results as expediently and as high quality as possible.  So if you know of someone looking for a wedding photographer who isn’t focused on how many weddings they book but are interested in delivering a fun, enthusiastic, and amazing experience, send them my way!

Any questions?  Post them below and I’ll get them answered ASAP!

Investment versus Budget

I mentioned in a prior blog post about the balance between budget and desire when looking into the parts that go into a wedding.  I try to work with every prospective wedding client that comes along in order to find a way to accommodate their dream as much as I can within their budget.  Primarily, it’s because I love shooting weddings.  It’s a challenge, it’s a thrill.  It’s completely physically exhausting.  It’s a joy and a privilege.  It’s also a luxury, and it isn’t cheap (check out the list of what I bring to every wedding I shoot if you don’t believe me).  There’s a popular Tumblr page among wedding photographers I love reading.  It gives a great idea of the kind of humor and twisted mindset one needs to attempt a career at this.  It’s quite hilarious.  Check it out at whatshouldwecallweddingphoto.tumblr.com, you’ll see what I mean.

Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ For My Darlin’

This service is expensive, it is a luxury.  I’ve always looked at my rates as an investment.  For the service and the product I offer, I could probably charge much more.  But I’d end up working less and the money would balance out.  I charge what I charge because I believe it will bring me more clients, not more income.  I would rather shoot twice as many weddings simply for the sake of getting to practice my skills in an environment I love.  But, even then I have to have a hard bottom line.  I can count on both hands the number of times someone really loved my work but went in another direction due to price. 

Most of the time, the conversation has gone along the lines of people expecting I’d accept their maximum budget of around $500 for a full-day wedding.  I’m not the only photographer who gets this.  And there is a great breakdown of how much wedding photography costs that famously circulated the internet and Reddit a few years back.  I won’t get into that argument, it’s been made ad nauseam. 

The Coasters – Little Red Riding Hood

The ending of those conversations and consultations leaves with me wishing the client well, and hoping they can find someone willing to do their event for that $500 price point.  They usually do, but they don’t end up happy with the results.  A few times, more than I care to admit, I’ve gotten a late phone call the night before the wedding from those same couples in a quandary.  They found someone on Craigslist willing to do their wedding for $500.  They gave them half as a security deposit and haven’t heard from them since.  Phone line disconnected, emails are bouncing back.  Or in one case, the photographer calls the bride the day of the wedding saying his only camera broke and he couldn’t do it.  Is there any way I can show up and shoot their wedding, they’ll be glad to meet my minimum rate for anything that’d be usable. 

Only once have I not been already booked on another event.  I gave them a list of phone numbers for trusted photographers I know and love, and wish them luck finding someone, and even texted two other photographers to see if they were free on the off-chance to pick up the job.  The one time I wasn’t booked that day, I was already a state away enjoying a day off watching Georgia (GO DAWGS) demolish Auburn at home.  I wouldn’t have made it back in time if I had left right then and there.

None of this I enjoyed hearing.  It honestly hurt a bit to hear the anxiety in their voices.  But there was nothing I could do.  They didn’t have a good contract, they hired someone who wasn’t a professional, the choice of letting the price dictate their options.  Not to say that budget sheets should be thrown to the wind, far from it.  I believe there’s a happy medium between budget and desire.  That line in the middle is the investment where the amount of money spent gives back professional, high quality results.  I’ve worked hard to make sure that my service is an investment, and a cost-effective one.  Many of the photographers I know and network with do the same. 

Cage The Elephant – Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked

The truth is, very few of us do this job for the money.  I know I don’t.  The money is nice, but if I wanted to be rich, I wouldn’t be a photographer, I wouldn’t be a teacher.  We do this because we’re passionate about it.  We invest our time, our bodies, our energy, and our heart into every job we get.  We push for the image that will make the wedding party gasp when they see it.  We want them to see the world the way we do, their moments as precious as we recognize them to be.  Those moments are the investment, we’re just the ones vested in making sure you can relive them over and over again.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Criticisms?  I'd love to hear them!