I was thinking about what criteria a couple uses to pick their photographer. It occurred to me that certain aspects of choosing a photographer make the process incredibly difficult. The most obvious hurdle is the fact that most couples don’t have a lot of experience picking a photographer. After all, it is not as if people get married 20 times. At least outside of Hollywood. Another obstacle is that we have no idea how to compare photographers. It is difficult to compare the more abstract concepts of style, vision, and emotion, and couples are left comparing only the tangible physical items that are pretty much separated into price and stuff. By stuff I mean the physical commodities that a photographer gives you like albums, prints, digital copies, etc… But is that really a good way to compare photographers?
I would like to propose a different way of shopping, and perhaps even a different way for photographers to do business. Wedding photographers are artists. Or at least they should be. Whether or not a photographer is able to articulate it into words, every photographer has a unique artistic vision. Sometimes we photographers get so wrapped up in the business side of things we can forget that. Even we start to fall in to the trap of thinking of photography as a commodity. Our sales pitch starts to degrade in to, “Look how much stuff I can give you for this price.” We end up driving couples in to the paying by the square inch mentality, and our artistic vision gets pushed aside by both the photographer and the client.
[one_half] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/coloradodestinationweddingphotography2.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/coloradodestinationweddingphotography2.jpg” image_width=”200″ image_height=”125″ title=”Black and White Moments”] [/one_half] [one_half_last] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Untitled-1.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Untitled-1.jpg” image_width=”200″ image_height=”125″ title=”Amazing Light”] [/one_half_last]
So I am proposing a change to how wedding photography is bought and sold. A photographer is an artist, and shopping for a wedding photographer should be like buying art. No one should look at a painting and judge its value based on the cost of canvas and paint, but rather on the beauty of the work. Shopping for wedding photography should be no different. From here on out I will not be charging extra for a disc with the digital images, albums and prints will be sold at only slightly above cost, and in general, I will not be looking to make money by selling more “stuff.” Instead I will be charging more up front, and I want clients to choose me because they connect with my vision. I want to encourage other wedding photographers to join me. We can do so much better than just presenting our potential clients with a list of things. Let us ask them to choose us solely on how well they connect with our art.
[one_third][single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MG_9121.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MG_9121.jpg” image_width=”125″ image_height=”125″ title=”A Bride near a train”] [/one_third] [one_third] [single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MG_8864-Edit.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/MG_8864-Edit.jpg” image_width=”150″ image_height=”125″ title=”A Bride Playing with the Veil”] [/one_third] [one_third_last][single_lightbox url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/033.jpg” image_url=”https://www.timothyfaust.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/033.jpg” image_width=”125″ image_height=”125″ title=”A bride walking through a labyrinth in infrared”][/one_third_last]
Of course this is going to involve a lot of risk on the part of photographers. It is easy to ask a client to choose us based on our physical products. Asking a client to choose us because they love our work involves an enormous leap of faith. It also means that we have to put ourselves out there emotionally, which is not an easy thing to do. If we ask clients to pick us based on the emotional connection, it also means that we are asking them to reject us based on the lack of connection. We could no longer blame a rejection on the guy down the street offering a different brand of album or charging a different amount for his services. Asking a client to choose their photographer based on connection makes the entire process personal. Personally, I think that is a risk worth taking because after all, wedding photography should be a personal experience to both the couple and the photographer.