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Old 05-10-2009, 09:49 AM   #1
ZachKC
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Default Forming a wedding photography business plan. Looking for different perspectives.

Hey folks, as most of you know one of the hats I wear is that of a professional photographer. I do a lot of different stuff. I do a little bit of fine art but have made a lot of my money doing portraits and even more doing live event type work. My portrait work had produced some good results and a lot of people have been on me about shooting weddings. I never really wanted to take on weddings because it is a whole different business venture with so many unique things about it but after doing one and seeing the results as well as understanding how much money is out there I have decided to take it on. I am hiring on an assistant to help out with some of the organization type stuff leading up to the event and during it so I am able to focus on a little more on the shots. Aside from all of that...

I am trying to put together my business plan and am having a tough time deciding which avenue to go down. Do I offer a CD of the photos to the bride+groom and just price that into the package? Or do I try to go more towards print sales? Or do I offer the ability to do either?

Offering CD
Pros: Really really easy to do. My revenue stream would be more known or absolute. Brides love it.
Cons: Even providing the CD at a premium cost can often mean less money than print sales. You have no control over the quality of the prints being produced from the CD.

Print Sales
Pros: Ability for huge sales is a possibility. Quality prints are guaranteed because my service would be used.
Cons: More of a hassle. Could mean small revenue because money is pretty tight after a wedding is done. Some brides see not offering CD as a deal breaker in todays market.

I would love to have one way and stick with it but I keep going back and forth. I hear a lot of horror stories associated with print sales like...so and so didn't buy any prints because they don't have much money anymore. Or just general problems that come up. With the CDs I know what I am going to make...with print sales it seems that I would generally make a little bit more but not always the case at all and I am adding more steps in a process that is already a long one.

Thoughts? I appreciate any perspectives or advice. I know a lot of you are going through or have been through this process.

Last edited by ZachKC; 05-10-2009 at 10:03 AM..
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:55 AM   #2
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When a couple has spent A LOT of money on other aspects of their wedding, they want to hear that you're giving them a CD. You'll probably be trading revenue for volume, but you might get an easier reference from these people who are getting CDs from you after they spent all their money on this one day.
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Old 05-10-2009, 09:57 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Crushaholic View Post
When a couple has spent A LOT of money on other aspects of their wedding, they want to hear that you're giving them a CD. You'll probably be trading revenue for volume, but you might get an easier reference from these people who are getting CDs from you after they spent all their money on this one day.
That makes sense...but...I will be accounting for that revenue up front as part of the package. My price will go up...possibly even by 1k if the CD is included. But on the other end they will know that up front and can budget accordingly and can know that when its over there is no more draining they have what they want.
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:28 AM   #4
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Also think about a website where they have their own log in to view the photos of the wedding. Anyone who orders pictures also gets a login. That way they can view and order more. Just watermark the photos online to protect revenue.

My photographer did that and it was a huge hit.
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Old 05-10-2009, 10:31 AM   #5
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Also think about a website where they have their own log in to view the photos of the wedding. Anyone who orders pictures also gets a login. That way they can view and order more. Just watermark the photos online to protect revenue.

My photographer did that and it was a huge hit.
That is all doable if I choose the print option. I already have a "fulfillment" service in place.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:01 PM   #6
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I did fashion and stock photography and event videography in the early 90's and morphed that into doing weddings. This of course was when everything in both mediums were still analogue rather than digital. I made pretty good money per event but I utterly hated doing weddings, much more so than anything else. First of all, you have to deal with the mother of the bride...which I utterly despised. They're hardly ever satisfied regardless of what you do to please them, and often times they repeatedly change what they want at the last minute or they have totally unrealistic expectations based on what they're paying for. I realize it's easier to make changes on the fly in the digital world so maybe that mitigates that as a problem. A bigger issue though was the need to reinforce everything with backup systems. In weddings you obviously get only one shot so if you mess anything up due to equipment failure, or even people not doing what they're asked to do you're screwed. I had one guy that left his lapel mic in the bathroom so I had to use a shotgun mic to catch the audio of the ceremony...bad news. I brought backups for everything but that doesn't give you any gaurantee. Then there was the problem of dealing with all the stressed out people surrounding the event...no thanks.

I made decent money in stock and fashion and event videography with weddings was something to supplement it, but ultimately I think you have to sell out to it and I really didn't want to. Grad school got in the way and the rest is history.

Good luck...
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachKC View Post
That is all doable if I choose the print option. I already have a "fulfillment" service in place.
Whats the problem with offering the customer choice?

CD or Print, they get to pick it out.

All you need for CD is a Lightscribe burner and CDs themselves which are cheap as hell.

What you could do, and what I did with my own wedding is get the photos from the photographer on CD and then made a DVD slideshow with the wedding music playing in the background. Being as you are the photographer, this would be an excellent selling point IN ADDITION, having a DVD Slideshow of all the wedding photos.

Just an opinion.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:05 PM   #9
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What are you doing with copyrights?

My wife and I ended up forgoing a professional altogether (7 years ago tomorrow) as we couldn't find a photographer willing to assign us the copyright on our own images. They all wanted the ability to resell our wedding photos in the stock photo marketplace, to magazines, and whatever else they could dream up.

That was a non-starter for us. We wanted control over our prints, and we we're willing to pay (within reason) for that. The idea of paying $300/hr to a photographer and then give them the rights to do with ***our*** photos whatever they wanted just stuck with me really badly.

Just curious
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:31 PM   #10
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ewwww
mod mode: ON

I have a question for you TOL. Do you have any actual content to add to the discussions here on the OrangeMane forum or are you just here to heckle one of our members?

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Old 05-10-2009, 05:33 PM   #11
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mod mode: ON

I have a question for you TOL. Do you have any actual content to add to the discussions here on the OrangeMane forum or are you just here to heckle one of our members?

/mod mode
Member my ass. More like a maggot troll.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:35 PM   #12
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Casino Royale is back.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:36 PM   #13
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Member my ass. More like a maggot troll.
Again... do you have anything to contribute to the discussions other than personal attacks against other posters?
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:39 PM   #14
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Again... do you have anything to contribute to the discussions other than personal attacks against other posters?
i will threat all broncos fans and others as kings and queens

zachkc, kmartin and sheepstud will be treated like the scum they are
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:39 PM   #15
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From TubOfLArd sent via PM

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I have a job for you
If you bag on ZachKC in the photography thread, I will send you a money order for $50.
Judging by the name and stupidity of the message, It looks like Boob's work.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:43 PM   #16
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I think digital is the future, but you really should offer both.

If I was getting into photogtagraphy, I would differentiate my photos by offering higher resolution shots - call it "HD" or something catchy. I recently had some shots done by a professional photographer and the higher resolution shots sure made better enlargements and posters.

I would also consider getting some basic templates and helping the bride and groom with their own wedding website. Set the whole dang thing up and give it to them- a turn-key website of their wedding. You might be able to do this for under a hundred bucks (with domain), then sell it for $1,500+ to the wedding party.

Just a thought.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:45 PM   #17
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OK... well. It appears that all you got is personal attacks and then spamming other posters. We'll give you a week off and when you come back perhaps you'll bring a bit more.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:47 PM   #18
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From TubOfLArd sent via PM



Judging by the name and stupidity of the message, It looks like Boob's work.
Got the same PM. I dont think its Bob. However, odds are the same that Bob will pay off his 50 dollar bet as this clown paying off.
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Old 05-10-2009, 05:53 PM   #19
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Got the same PM. I dont think its Bob. However, odds are the same that Bob will pay off his 50 dollar bet as this clown paying off.
Mine says:
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I have thought about giving you free Broncos tickets before, but you talked to Zach so you are officially eliminated. Hope it was worth it.
If it's not Casino Royale it's someone with a similar IQ.
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Old 05-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #20
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I did fashion and stock photography and event videography in the early 90's and morphed that into doing weddings. This of course was when everything in both mediums were still analogue rather than digital. I made pretty good money per event but I utterly hated doing weddings, much more so than anything else. First of all, you have to deal with the mother of the bride...which I utterly despised. They're hardly ever satisfied regardless of what you do to please them, and often times they repeatedly change what they want at the last minute or they have totally unrealistic expectations based on what they're paying for. I realize it's easier to make changes on the fly in the digital world so maybe that mitigates that as a problem. A bigger issue though was the need to reinforce everything with backup systems. In weddings you obviously get only one shot so if you mess anything up due to equipment failure, or even people not doing what they're asked to do you're screwed. I had one guy that left his lapel mic in the bathroom so I had to use a shotgun mic to catch the audio of the ceremony...bad news. I brought backups for everything but that doesn't give you any gaurantee. Then there was the problem of dealing with all the stressed out people surrounding the event...no thanks.

I made decent money in stock and fashion and event videography with weddings was something to supplement it, but ultimately I think you have to sell out to it and I really didn't want to. Grad school got in the way and the rest is history.

Good luck...
Agree good luck.
My old roommate owns a wedding video company, and I have shot for him a couple of times. I could not do that as a full time job, too stressful. Hope you tons of success.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:06 PM   #21
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Tub Of Lard,

You missed a recent video I am in where I am golfing. Get your game face on bud. You also missed a recent photo I have up with my dog. You need to up your obsession to a higher level to shake me.

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Old 05-10-2009, 07:07 PM   #22
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Got the same PM. I dont think its Bob. However, odds are the same that Bob will pay off his 50 dollar bet as this clown paying off.
Bob and I are on decent terms. I would bet the farm it is Bronco LB 59. I am not throwing internet smack when I say this. The guy has some serious issues.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:11 PM   #23
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Whats the problem with offering the customer choice?

CD or Print, they get to pick it out.

All you need for CD is a Lightscribe burner and CDs themselves which are cheap as hell.

What you could do, and what I did with my own wedding is get the photos from the photographer on CD and then made a DVD slideshow with the wedding music playing in the background. Being as you are the photographer, this would be an excellent selling point IN ADDITION, having a DVD Slideshow of all the wedding photos.

Just an opinion.
I am about putting together the video thing. Animoto is a great service that can go white label. Will prob be a strong upsell. I can offer both...its just a little easier to go with one and stick with it. It is less of a hassle when you have one way of doing things and if one turns out to be easier and bring in revenue then I will probably side with it but offering both will prob be what comes of this.
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by footstepsfrom#27 View Post
I did fashion and stock photography and event videography in the early 90's and morphed that into doing weddings. This of course was when everything in both mediums were still analogue rather than digital. I made pretty good money per event but I utterly hated doing weddings, much more so than anything else. First of all, you have to deal with the mother of the bride...which I utterly despised. They're hardly ever satisfied regardless of what you do to please them, and often times they repeatedly change what they want at the last minute or they have totally unrealistic expectations based on what they're paying for. I realize it's easier to make changes on the fly in the digital world so maybe that mitigates that as a problem. A bigger issue though was the need to reinforce everything with backup systems. In weddings you obviously get only one shot so if you mess anything up due to equipment failure, or even people not doing what they're asked to do you're screwed. I had one guy that left his lapel mic in the bathroom so I had to use a shotgun mic to catch the audio of the ceremony...bad news. I brought backups for everything but that doesn't give you any gaurantee. Then there was the problem of dealing with all the stressed out people surrounding the event...no thanks.

I made decent money in stock and fashion and event videography with weddings was something to supplement it, but ultimately I think you have to sell out to it and I really didn't want to. Grad school got in the way and the rest is history.

Good luck...
Wedding photography...and photography in general is not my only source of income. I am going to be pretty choosy as to what clients I take on. People that connect with the way I do things and my work in general are going to be happier with my product anyway...
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Old 05-10-2009, 07:13 PM   #25
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Zach,

We hired a pro for our wedding, and he did a nice job. We did order plenty of prints and were basically very satisfied.

However, I'd suggest if you know any amateur photographers who are friends, have them come and get another person shooting. Basically, my favorite pics from the wedding were from my friend. He's good, and a borderline pro, but he just had better ideas and it was great to have alternate shots. (Many less typical of wedding pics.)

I highly suggest two photographers.
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