by Douglas Gordon Published 01/10/2008
As we know, today more than ever we have mums, dads and just about anybody with a digital camera who know enough to be dangerous. People think photography is no longer about the art, but the camera use. Although your work tools are important, it is what we do with them that separates us.
In today's ever-evolving bridal photography market we must be open to change. We must change in a way that makes it impossible for the consumer to think they can have Uncle Charlie or a family friend take their wedding pictures. We must make clients realize that photography is not about a cd or dvd. Years ago a photographer was really a glorified paper salesman.
I want you to take a moment to think about how many photographs you have taken personally of your own family on vacation, or at events over the last few years. Now I want you to think about where those photos are. The majority of you will say, 'in my computer or on the card'. I am even guilty of this. We forgot that a photograph is a piece of art, not a screen saver. With that, we forgot how to make money and, more importantly, put our own careers in jeopardy. Over the past couple of months, as I walk into my client's house to photograph their affairs, I have noticed the empty walls. I remember, when I started in this industry as a teen, how full these homes were with beautiful photos and memories. That is no longer the case and we have done that as professionals. Now we are seeing the effects. Our clients no longer want albums and photos, they want to do it themselves. They have made their wedding photos part of the new do-it-yourself era. We need to stop it now before it is too late. We need to bring the paper back. It is crucial to the future of the industry. Too many photographers have become content with making a little money rather than a whole lot. By giving away our art and I don't mean by price, I mean our files (negatives). We are cheapening their value, while ultimately ruining our chances with a future clientele. Today my studio, in a recession economy, is still stronger than ever. We will have a minimum of a 10% increase of business for the 24th straight year. Now you may say, '10%, no big deal'. Remember we do over 900 weddings and close to another 3,000 portraits. The reason for increase is simple - 'Change' we have constantly changed and never taken our clients for granted. We always strive to give more than they expected.
Do you think that your images look as good on a computer to potential clients as they do on a wall or in an album? ... I don't think so. Do you think as many people see them on a computer screen as they would with a tangible item? I don't think so! We constantly have new clients coming in saying, 'I saw so and so's album' or 'that beautiful framed portrait'. 'Can I have that too?' 'How do you do it?' Simple place the emphasis on art. Giving the art for the wall. Telling the story through an album. I use predominantly AsukaBook. This is a wonderful example of a unique approach to a wedding album. Rather than the typical matted album, this is a real press book, with many different finishes. You can contact them at www.asukabook.com.
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