Good Afternoon Everybody,
What a great time we had in Florida earlier this week. I thank each and every one of you personally for coming out to hear the program and I also thank everybody for your enthusiastic comments about the program here at Digital ProTalk.com and how much you enjoyed the presentation.
I have to omit, it was a fun last few days but we are certainly tuckered out at the end of the week. We arrived home safe and sound and LaDawn and I are going to try to have an easy weekend before we head out again next week for the next leg of the tour.
So for all you guys and girls in Cleveland, Pittsburg, and Buffalo – we are heading your way!
I mentioned I was starting a new series at DPT. I’m calling it Soap Box Friday. I plan to discuss various topics, raise a few concerns, discuss a few controversial subjects that you may agree or choose not to agree with me. I hope to generate further discussion on each weekly topic via the comment section following the post. Anyway, let’s give it a go and see where it leads.
Are We Doing Ourselves And our Clients A Disservice If We Deliver Wedding Images On A DVD?
I'm going to start this discussion by saying I'm not trying not to step on anybody's toes but, I’m really trying to bring a different perspective to the topic. I heard a statistic that about 30% of the weddings photographed these days are delivered on DVDs. Yes, you know what I’m talking about - the “Shoot and Burn” photographers.
Please hear me when I say I'm not trying to disrespect the photographers who choose to deliver their images to their clients in this manner. But what I am suggesting is that there's maybe a different perspective we can take on what we deliver to our clients and how we deliver the images to our clients.
Hit The “Read More…” link below for the rest of the story.
The fact is that when a photographer delivers his or her work to a client on a DVD that most often the photographs never get printed. In fact there is a slang term for the bride who never prints her wedding photographs - she’s called an “orphan” bride.
In talking with a large studio recently, they've told me that they’ve made a business of helping the “orphan” brides create an album of their images. I’ve interviewed brides myself that have told me the same thing, and that they do not want to go down that same path. So I wonder why in my heart of hearts why anyone would choose to deliver the images on a DVD.
Don't think I'm being naïve. I understand the main reason is that the photographer can get in and out of the job quickly and make a few bucks fairly quickly, without need of any follow-up effort. But in my mind, many of us are in the wedding business for more than just the money. It’s our craft, but more importantly – it’s our art, something we can take pride in. Wait, don’t start the emails yet – hear me out.
Sure, I'm in business to make a fair profit, but I take a different perspective of what I'm trying to do for my client. When I photograph a wedding, I'm trying to capture all the nuances, excitement, joys, emotions, reactions, romance, and beauty of the day. I try to bring my creativity to bear on every wedding I photograph. I try to put my heart and my soul into my wedding photography coverages. That said, why would I ever want to deliver those images on a DVD?
I mean, you hand the client a DVD and she holds it up to the light and hopefully she can see some images in it -- of course not. Are the bride and groom going to rush home, pop the disk into their computer and view those images as excitedly as they would had they been presented an album to view – I think not. Call me “old-fashioned”, but I do know that when my clients arrive at my studio and are presented with their wedding album(s) there is always a much different reaction.
I present album out of the box, place it on the coffee table before them, and let them open to the first page. You can just see them beam with the thrill of seeing their beautiful images as they browse through their wedding album.
I think this is where a lot of us differ from the photographer delivering images on a DVD. For me the product that I deliver to my clients is more than just a simple collection of images. I strive to deliver three things to my clients --
1 -- A beautiful collection of images that represent the beauty, spontaneity, romance, excitement, an actual story of the day in images.
2 -- I strive to deliver beautifully finished and enhanced images of all the photographs that appear in the album.
3 -- And lastly, I strive to deliver a beautifully designed album as well - an album that tells the story from the first opening photograph to the turn of the last page with classic elegance, flair and a timeless quality to it..
Images + Enhancement + Design = A Beautiful Wedding Presentation
I want my albums to be a beautiful representation of what I saw in my mind’s eye and felt in my heart as I photographed the wedding for my clients on their wedding day. I think this is where I differ from a lot of photographers that just deliver the DVD to their clients. As someone once told me, it's like a pilot flying a plane into the sky but never landing it. It’s like playing a football game and never crossing the finish line.
Most of us photographers work long and hard producing beautiful images that we create for our clients. But that is only the first part of the effort for me. The rest of our efforts, as I said, reflect around making those images as beautiful as we can make them for our client, and then designing beautiful images into the most beautiful album that we possibly deliver.
I think to do anything less is a disservice, not only to ourselves as wedding photographers, but also to our clients as well. Remember, our clients are hiring us because of our talent and visual creativity. As I said earlier, to deliver wedding images on a DVD is like running all the plays in a football game but never making the touchdown. And I guess I want to say is that making the touchdown takes a little bit more time and effort and creativity and expertise than just running the plays not making the touchdown. It’s a lot more fun and exciting making touchdowns – winning the game!
I still think of those many brides out there that take delivery of a DVD and never do anything with them. Not only does the bride fail to have a wedding album made, her parents never enjoy the opportunity of having an album made either. So what I see here is kind of a double whammy. To buy into the “shoot and burn philosophy” is to buy into never making a touchdown and maybe I say it too strongly here, but it’s like never winning the game for your client!
I think the ”shoot and burn” trend is really quite sad. What's happening is we're having more and more people having fewer memories to remember in their lives. Maybe life is just moving too fast these days to make up the finished album. Maybe this is true for the photographer offering images on the DVD and also for the bride who is even too busy to take these photographs and make them into an album.
I think it must be sad to for the mothers and fathers who never get to sit down and enjoy a beautiful collection of their daughter or their son’s weddings because nobody ever got around to making the albums. How sad, I know that as a father I'm looking forward to my daughter's wedding and also looking forward having a collection of images from her wedding day.
I think there are times when life needs to slow down just a bit. We need to take pause on occasion to sit and look and enjoy at the photographic memories of our lives. One of the most important memories people have enjoyed over the years have been those memories preserved in the beautiful wedding album.
Is it just that the album is not important anymore? Is it just about price? If that's the case then I think there's some other conclusions that need to be stated too. If we don’t want to take a few minutes to browse through our wedding albums on occasion then life truly is moving too fast -- in fact it's moving so fast that were probably not enjoying it as much as we should.
Secondly if having a wedding album delivered is too expensive for the client then that says to me that even these important memories are too expensive to preserve. Maybe our lives are moving way too fast but if they are moving that fast, then I to many people are letting the better parts of it slip away.
Anyway, in my business is always about putting our best foot. It's always about delivering the most beautiful images that I can for my clients, and it's always about delivering the best presentation of those images in a most beautifully designed album presentation possible.
When I shoot a wedding I give a piece of my heart and my soul to the photographic coverage. That piece of my heart and soul is preserved in the finished wedding album – never on a DVD. My images are always going to be delivered in the most beautiful and most elegant presentation possible. Why, because my clients are worth it.
Food for thought.
Hey gang, that’s it for me today. I’m going to try to smell the roses for a day or two and I hope you get a chance to do the same. See everybody again next week from the road. Have a great weekend, -David