Like many other industries in recent years, digital wedding photography has become very popular. This evolution is affecting professional photographers alike as well as the services that they now have to offer due to this digital wedding photography dilemma. Many photographers find that brides are asking for the images in a digital format and are not interested in ordering prints or albums, which in turn detracts from the professional wedding photography business since being able to sell tangible products is an added bonus to working with any couple on their wedding photography.
Many wedding photographers are now offering “digital only” event services in which the photographer shoots an event and provides the images in a digital format, such as a disc or flash drive, and doesn’t offer any printed products. That works for now but how is this really affecting the wedding photography industry? A recent survey conducted by The Wedding Report Inc. and DigiLabs Pro surveyed over 700 photographers about their thoughts and opinions on the state of the industry today. You can download all the survey results here.
What’s Happening In The Photography Industry Now?
The 2014 Photographer’s Survey found that 69% of photographers offer “digital only” packages, and for 35% of them the “digital only” package are their most popular package, making up more than half of their total packages sold. Based on these statistics, it is safe to assume that you have also noticed this trend: more and more brides are asking for just the digital images and aren’t ordering any prints or albums.
This pattern is a detriment to the traditional professional wedding photography business because being able to sell prints and albums was always an additional perk of working with the newlyweds. Some brides have even decided that they don’t want an album at all. Others prefer a cheaper option, such as photo books by mass retailers or online suppliers, many times without even fully realizing the huge quality difference between a professional photo album and a digitally printed photo book.
The decrease in demand for wedding albums explains why only 13% of photographers stated that their packages have to include an album. To adapt to these changing demands, photographers are shifting their business models to charge for their photography services: their knowhow, experience, time and equipment, with the end product being first and foremost the digital wedding photography images. Survey results indicated that 75% of sales come from “photographic services” and “digital files.”
Now, these changes in the wedding photography industry aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Some photographers hate making albums because let’s be honest – the amount of time, mental effort and creativity that is required to design and create a wedding album is oftentimes simply not worth it.
Where Are Brides Going To Print Their Wedding Albums & Photos?
Today, many brides are taking their professional photos to places like Costco, Walgreens or even online to have them printed and to create photo albums. They believe that they are saving tons of money and are getting a similar quality product. Little do they know, professional photos printed on subpar quality materials make the professional photographer’s work appear subpar as well. This is unfortunate because the happy couple most likely spent a decent amount of time and money organizing the wedding and selecting the perfect professional photographer for their wedding, only to result in printed products which are far less than perfect. With subpar quality materials, you’re going to get a subpar quality final product.
Those prints and albums will circulate to the couple’s friends and family, and when they see your images in a professionally printed wedding album or other professional printed format they will see how skilled of a photographer you really are. The images that are uploaded to Facebook won’t accurately represent the quality of your photography when compressed down to the social network’s standards. They also will very quickly disappear from everyone’s newsfeeds, leaving no reminder for all the potential new customers to which you could have been referred.
Now why should a professional photographer care about losing printed product business? After all, this saves you a great deal of time and effort and after you hand off the disc or flash drive, your job is complete and you can move onto the next client. By simply handing off your photos to the bride you’re not only missing out on all the printed product sales, you’re also giving up the opportunity for referrals. Referrals, according to the Wedding Report survey, are the biggest influencer for couples when it comes to choosing their photographer with 70.4% of photographers giving referrals a “high” mark in influencing couples.
Serving The Needs Of Digital Only Events
Professional labs and other providers have not yet figured out a model to benefit from the rise in the “digital only” trend, making this quickly growing segment dramatically understated. This results in missed opportunities both financially and marketing-wise for the photographers as well as under serving our customers, the bride.
BrideBox Pro offers a solution in a win-win model for the photographer and bride alike. Launching its “digital delivery” system, BrideBox offers photographers:
- Simple Delivery – A fast and convenient delivery system that allows your bride to download the images in bulk
- Personalized Web Gallery – A web gallery of her special day that she can share with friends and family instantly (by invitation and also password-protected), which is backed up on Amazon cloud for a full year
- Professional Photo Products – The ability to purchase photos and create professional flush mount albums easily from within the web gallery
- Commission – The photographer receives a commission based on all sales from the gallery
In addition to all of these fantastic features, BrideBox Pro also handles the tricky subject of sales tax on “digital only” events. All of these great, convenient features are included in BrideBox Pro for free!
Learn more about how you can become a BrideBox Pro photographer today!