Recent ad: Capture your wedding day forever! Wedding photography – $500 includes CD of images.
As a photographer, I am constantly battling the onslaught of part-time photographers who offer rock-bottom prices AND a CD of images. I’m not about to start competing on the price front; I know what my services are worth, how much time I put into a project for a client, and I don’t want to do my industry colleagues a disservice by lowering my prices because it would devalue our skills in the eyes of future clients. Clients looking for a photographer should understand that they are making an investment – and, fortunately for me, mine do understand this important idea. Going to a professional studio is not the same as going to Sears, plopping your child on a stool and taking home a couple of 8×10 sheets of prints of varying sizes, including a couple of wallet-sized shots for the grandparents.
But the CD. The CD is what troubles me. In this digital age, prospective clients contact me looking for a disc with photographs on them instead of prints, particularly if it’s a wedding. I don’t offer this as a service. Maybe I will, further down the road, but right now I choose to focus on providing a completed product to my clients. When it comes to discs, I’ve heard the usual horror stories of discs not being delivered, delivered late or the files on the disc being of such low resolution as to be unusable.
But I’m also starting to hear something else: the discs that are delivered on time and contain the right files aren’t being used. Why? Because, in the aftermath of the wedding, there is a honeymoon to embark upon, thank you cards to write, a backlog at work to catch up on when you return, then the wedding seems like a distant memory and you start trying to start a family… And, gradually, the jobs of sorting through the disc, printing photos and making an album get put lower and lower on the priority list. Next thing you know, you’re a client who has spent money on a photographer and has only a disc to show for it. Most importantly, you’re a client who has no physical photographic evidence of your wedding for future generations to stumble across.
The memory of your wedding day begins to get lost.
So what have you spent that extra money for?