I view my most recent wedding as a standard for things to come.
Let me explain why and how.
A couple months back I was so busy that I opted to raise my prices in a deliberate attempt to have more time.
More time for my photo projects.
More time to have a real life.
More time to focus on each photo shoot.
More time to UP my standards.
And so far it’s worked.
It’s been weird to not book as many photo-shoots, I’ve learned to deal with it.
I’m learning how to fill in all that available time.
New Pricing – Thoughts About
I didn’t want to simply raise costs just because, but I wanted to raise them at the same time raise the quality of the product.
Over the years I’ve raised my prices many times… back in 2005 with the first few weddings I shot for as low as $250 for a wedding.
I didn’t just raise costs because I wanted more money, but because I felt the product was worth that, because I had worked hard at improving with talent, time and equipment.
Now I finally have pretty much every tool I’ve wanted for a long long time.
Weddings I’m searching for
This Hawaii wedding is also an example of the types of weddings I want to focus on working on.
Nicely organized weddings, with people who are very interested in a higher level of photography.
I want to be dealing with brides who don’t simply want A photographer but are in search of A great quality photographer.
I understand for some photography isn’t their #1 concern.
And I also understand there are many who really want great pictures but can’t usually afford them.
I want to still be in an affordable range… as a bargain for an educated shopper who can understand what I’m giving when they compare it to other options.
I want to deal with people that stretch to reach the cost (even if i have to help them with the cost) so that they’re appreciative of the product.
But I also want to deal with people that understand the bargain.
I am in Utah where the wedding photography costs are way down in comparison to many other parts of the country.
I suppose this is why I travel a lot.
If you compare straight up prices it can be deceptive.
But when someone sees I don’t charge by the hour and they could have me for 10hrs + on a wedding day.
And when they see how many pictures I typically give to a client.
When they recognize things like how I review and edit Every picture I give to them.
Many of the intangibles such as the experience which will help me deal with any possible situation that might come up for a wedding.
Or the demeanor and attitude that helps me deal with weddings perfectly. Not too formal, not too informal.
Not just the quality of the picture… but the feel of the picture.
The speed with which the sessions go… not rushed and not dragging along.
I’ve always prided myself on the consistency of my weddings.
I felt confident telling clients that they were assured of great wedding pictures.
It wasn’t hit and miss. It was hit after hit.
And sometimes of course there were some big hits.
Yes I think Hawaii is one of the best weddings I’ve done, but I think of it as a leveling up.
I view of the quality of what I plan on doing from here on out.
The Hawaii wedding was an example of a good balance of nice portrait artistic shots that still speak of the in-the-moment interaction of the subjects along with a bunch of photojournalistic views of the candid moments throughout the day.
The Hawaii wedding is an example of how to work fast and yet in a way how I’m slowing down to work on more dynamic pictures with more dynamic lighting.
Not just more pictures… but more memorable pictures.
If one reads the previous post about the wedding you’ll see all they did to make their wedding pictures a success and not all the time I’ll be put in a situation like that, but the hope is I’ll attract brides who are willing to work with me to create wonderful pictures for their wedding.
I work with a lot of students and they aren’t often known for their connections, experience or creativity… but I know there are plenty of exceptions to the rule and I hope and I’ll see what I can do to I attract that audience.
Having good equipment and more people willing to assist me will help me to extend my shooting to later in the evening and work with that dynamic light and also create more dynamic lighting situations at all times of the day.
Tips for brides – in search of a photographer
I’m a firm believer in NOT just raising prices because you CAN but because you’re upping your Quality and you SHOULD
If you’re a bride be aware that some photographers spend a lot of time (more than learning photography) on business practices and sometimes those practices are deceptive. They spend more time learning how to earn more while giving less.
I’m not stating that it’s the standard… I’m just saying it’s out there.
Take a good look at what they do.
There are many intangibles and sometimes the person referring you is only doing so because that’s the only person they know.
Some things to consider are their experience in dealing with things that might happen.
Sometimes if you want a less expensive photographer you’ll find some amazing gems for less and they will be perfect for you… but they might not be able to handle every situation, if the wedding is standard with no suprises it’ll work out like a charm.
Sometimes that’s the difference for the price, the probability of success…
Photographer and the Baseball Player – an analogy
Excuse me a moment for a sports analogy. A professional baseball player isn’t signed onto a team because he can hit a baseball further than another player or because the way they catch or pitch the ball is more visually appealing than another player. They’re hired because they can do these things with more CONSISTENCY than the other play. They can hit homeruns more often than the other person, they make fewer mistakes, they strike out more people and they hit with more consistency when it counts.
They can’t just perform in batting practice they have to perform in a game… they need to get hits when other runners are in scoring position.
Just like a wedding… it’s one thing to take great planned and set up shots for the portfolio but it’s different when there’s a very difficult time limit. When something doesn’t go according to plan, the photographer needs to think fast on their feet and come up with the best scenario for that situation.
Spending a bit more time – Editing
I’m known for my editing.
Not that I’m the best photo editor around.
I’m known for the efficiency with how I edit.
My style is to give insane amounts of pictures AND to give them all edited to the client.
And to do it quickly spending sometimes mere seconds on a picture (it’s efficient to get it done well in camera)
There are other photographer styles where they do fewer pictures and spend a ton of time on each picture.
Or where they let the client choose which pictures to edit.
I’ve chosen the choose a little of Everything… then I don’t have to worry about forgetting to take a picture or give them a picture.
It’s a very hard style for most to choose because it takes so much time…
But I’ve worked on so many pictures and improved my efficiency that I’ve been able to get done with them fast and get the pictures back to the client comparatively fast.
Now I’ll be going at the same fast pace (with yet more experience and technique) but I can now go back through some of the pictures and think again if I made it the best it can be.
Also working with good interns/assistants I’ll be able to focus my energies towards what I’m best at and let them fill in other areas that I’ve trained them to do well.
Sometimes photographers can get stuck in a rut… doing the same thing over and over.
You can see that this can happen in any job in any field.
Taking time to learn from others or experiment more can help to keep refreshing what you’re doing.
One of my big projects is working on the All The Photographers Blog – doing so seems to be giving me tons of new and exciting ideas from hundreds of different photographers around the world.
Focus via Fewer
Doing fewer weddings also seems to mean that I get to refresh myself before each wedding.
Let my creativity out in more power packed bunches instead in a constant slew of non-stop shoots.
Don’t get me wrong I have progressed tons when I have done tons of weddings right in a row.
It pushed me in it’s own way to come up with unique stuff.
This is just another method
And I’m sure there will still be months where I do lots of weddings like in the past couple of years.
One thing I did earlier this year was to split my attention… I rate the pictures and spend More time on the better pictures.
I didn’t cut out the other “filler” pictures but I put them in at the end still.
If I had to edit in depth everyone of the 850 Hawaii pictures i gave to the bride I would be so worn out none of them would probably be as dynamic.
The cost would also be too much for most brides.
But in the end I still do spend time editing each picture… just that some get more time than others.
Rest assured… but don’t rest too much… if you want great pictures you’re part of the equation as well, after all you’re the subject of the pictures.
It needs to happen on both sides of the lens.
I’ll do my part and by “rest assured” I mean to be confident in the consistency.
I have every intention of making things great and I know i can do it every time.
Some new examples from the last wedding
A couple weeks back I did a recap from Hawaii – I didn’t go through all the pictures from that day 2000+
But now I have and I’ve finished editing them… and I’ll share a few I don’t think I shared in the recap
See the FULL GALLERY – over 800 pictures… but don’t worry I but the highlights first so you don’t have to look through all of them to see what the wedding was all about. Unless of course you’re the bride or were part of the wedding.