Thursday, October 08, 2009

Business Day Thursday: Stop Putting Gag Order On Your Sales! Part 1

Good Morning Everybody,

We had a smaller but energetic crowd last night  at the LaGuardia Marriott.  That energy may have been the result of the fact that the attendee to door prize ratio was pretty high.  As usual, everyone had a good time.

Madison Sqare Garders - 300px-Msg2005dToday we head into the city for this evening’s presentation. Yep, were bringing my Digital WakeUp Call tour to the Big Apple. We originally booked space at the Pennsylvanian Hotel.  I wasn’t sure what the turn out was going to be, but with Madison Square Garden right across the street, I thought we could easily expand into the Gardens if need be.  I’ve always wanted to play Madison Square Gardens you know ;~)

OK, OK, all joking aside, we are at the Pennsylvanian Hotel at 33rd and 7th Ave. Hope to see you there tonight.

Let’s get on with a short and sweet Business day Thursday today.

Stop Putting A Gag Order On Your Sales! Part 1

Gagged - iStock_000001625644XSmall  I’m trying to open a “can of worms” here but hear me out.  Wedding averages these days are at an all time low. Why? The answer is simple.  There are a lot more shooters out there all wanting a piece of the “Wedding pie, eh, cake.” Unfortunately, that’s one of the BIG things digital has done to the wedding profession – dilute the profits for everybody.

Wait, don’t leave – keep reading!

Let’s answer another question too.  Why are so many people hopping on the wedding photographer band wagon?  It’s simple. Cameras are much cheaper than in the film days  and more importantly, photogs don’t have to buy film anymore.

Back in the film days, I’d shoot one brick of 220 film – 20 rolls, enough for 480 images, and another 5 rolls of 120 film – 60 more images.  Total coast for film and processing – are you ready - $1000 to just shoot the wedding.

Heck, today just pick up your Rebel Xti at Best Buy, set up an inexpensive web site, print off a bunch of business cards, and you are in the business of wedding photography. Not much overhead in today’s digital business plan, hence the super low wedding averages.

Here is another part of the equation, too. Everyone wants to learn how to take better pictures and there are ton’s of resources online to do just that – including But the real issue is this – nobody wants to learn how to sell those images and too many of those photogs are practically giving there work away.

For so many photogs, wedding photography is NOT a full time job.  Most shooters are in it for what I call “beer money” – just a little extra cash on the side.

But you know, I’ve got to pay my mortgage, pay the heat and water bill, electricity, taxes just like everybody else and if my sole source of income is photography, I’d better be pretty darn good at marketing and selling those images.

I know, I know I’m just getting warmed up and I got a lot more to say on the subject. Let’s leave today as a “food for business thought” post.  Post your comments below and let me know your thoughts on the subject.  Let’s get some real dialogue going. Next week, I’ll amp up the voltage some more on this topic.

Sales Contest Still Going OnBHGiftCard6_thumb3

Hey gang, just a reminder that we’ve got a contest going on.  Two weeks ago I posted “Sales – Nudging It Up A Notch.” Here is the link. The topic discussed how we could incrementally raise the sale on the same product  as they did at Parker’s Grill, a restaurant that LaDawn and I recently visited, and as I described in my post.

Also, keep in mind that the “sales nudge” is on the same product. You’ve still got time to post your ideas. I’m going to let the contest run two more weeks and then pick the winner – don’t miss out!

Whoa, I just looked at the clock. We’ve got to get scootin’ and head into the city.  Hope to see everybody tonight.  Please be sure to come up and say HI.

That’s it gang, I’m out of here.  Adios, -David


  1. We recently went to a wedding in France. I was amazed when the photographer and his assistant started circulating towards the end of the reception selling framed prints from the ceremony that had taken place just a few hours before.

    The photographer had the whole setup in his tiny minivan. A big epson printer, a desktop computer with big 20" LCD, multiple cd burners etc.

    This may be old news to some but I had never heard of it or seen it before. Seems ingenious to me.

  2. Hey David... Another Great post.

    Looking forward to tonight. I may have to leave 15 min early to catch a train so I'm kinda bummed. But I'm sure the rest of the evening will be well worth it!

    All the Best,

  3. Guilty as charged.

    I bought a DSLR, printed business cards, set up my blogger account and tried to take pictures of everyone I know. This was earlier this Spring.

    Fortunately for me, I did the best thing for my business that I ever could have done: two days after receiving my camera in the mail I attended the Digital Wake Up Call seminar in Salt Lake.

    DAZ gave me a foundation with an expectation to make money--really make money with my photography. Since then I have been selling large prints and adding value everywhere I can.

    So, I haven't done any free weddings, but I have been building a clientele and already have repeat customers in just six months. Attend, learn, reap, make money.


  4. David, Great Post.
    So many people out there are just walking in take as many pictures as they can. These "photographers" may take hundreds of pictures but after looking through them may only really have 20 true pictures. And they just hit the couple for a lot of money. And then they just give them the CD or DVD of all the pictures they took so its up to the couple to get them printed. That's not a photographer in my book that is just another picture taker. I look forward to your next post. And really enjoy where you are going here.

  5. Around my area the economy has hit everyone hard as it has everywhere and so money is tight. In order to get anyone to even call you it seems one needs to offer a low price and then try to upsell them once one get the chance to meet them. Im in competition with any of friends of the bride and groom who have a camera and Walmarts. My photo company is just starting to expand into the wedding arena and do not have our name known as of yet. I dont want to cheapen my work but need to find a way to cut into the market so I am looking forward to learning a better way.

  6. I saw an article in Time Out NY about a twenty-something couple that decided to become wedding photographers when their friends started getting married. They have near to nil experience, their images aren't so hot, but they charge $3000 for a shoot & burn. $3000! Using them as an example, the magazine touted wedding photography as an "easy" way to make some money on the side!

    Sure, I suppose it can be relatively easy if all you're doing is slapping the bride & groom in front of a distressed gas station, having them hold hands, stand apart and look in opposite directions and burning it to a disc. But knowledge of composition, design, lighting, in short, knowledge of photographic principles and the ability to execute them consistently to produce images that awe, ah, that's a bit tougher, isn't it?

  7. Great issue you've raised David.

    I'm probably guilty on both counts as I started part time. However, I was conscious that this was only intended to build up a portfolio and experience to get to a professional standard.

    However as prices have raised bookings dropped.

    I've spent a small fortune on training, equipment and marketing. But ironically the better my photography becomes the less bookings I get.

    I'm currently a full time professional photographer or perhaps better put an Internet marketeer as that is where most of my time goes. Not a good time to build a business but I got made redundant like so many both sides of the pond.

    As you said, we need to earn enough money to live. But with the current economic climate more people are trying to earn an extra buck and they are getting the custom because they can be so cheap.

    Today I had a job interview as redundancy money is running out and there is no sign of improvement in the market.

    Everything hinges on supply and demand. Unfortunately the supply is high but demand seems low right now.

    So I could soon be back to a semi-pro status again...

    Hopefully this will only be a temporary situation. There are glimmers of light at the end of the tunnel but I need to put food on the table in the meantime.

    PatB Wedding Photography

  8. A comment I started to hear lately is: I wish I had gone ahead and spend some more money on the photography - I when on the cheap side and now I am realizing that a professional photographer could have given us something more than just a CD, something that we can really use to show our pictures in the future.
    I also hear that people think that I should be able to take pictures and the video since they are essentially the same thing. People do not really realize what it takes to create a good image, one that is memorable, good on the eyes and a pleasure to hung on the wall.
    It takes knowledge on composition, lighting, timing, and expectation of things that are to happen. In addition, one needs to know how to make images look better after the fact, with minor or major changes to the image. Things that a lot of people just do not know or think about it. "You just press the shutter, right?"

    Carlos E. Ocegueda Photography

  9. I have pretty much given up on weddings. I do work that required more experience, marketing savvy, and organizational skills. Executive portraiture, large corporate events and conventions are examples. No corporate communications exec or event planner will trust rookies.