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Just thought i would ask everyone what their thoughts are on the state of the wedding photography market. I have been trading for a few years now and have been getting more bookings each year and have been happy with the money i have made. It has got to the point that i want to give up my day job and make a full time income from photography but i feel that the proffesion is becoming increasingly undervalued by the amount of cheap photographers out there.
Up until now cheap wedding photographers have not bothered me because they are not doing jobs at a price that can possibly make them a full time income, however, i think that they are potentially taking so much work away from people who are on the verge of making a full time income from it.
I am consistently getting e-mails from people saying that they have been given a cheaper quote or they have got a photographer who is giving them all their photos on cd free in addition to the wedding album. From experience with my clients i quite often make more money on addtional prints from guest than i do of the bride and groom.
I have spoke to several photographers who have been in business for years and years and they all say that they are taking less bookings than ever. I wonder if the amount of wedding photographers in britain has peaked or will there be even more starting up.
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Lucian, its a recession, photography equipment has never been better or lower cost to buy, it is seen as an easy way of making money, the magazines are still putting out articles on how to become a professional wedding photographer. My personal view is that there is a good market for some, but it is at the top the lifestyle and artistic end of the market. I fear yet more will enter the market, but the standard end will become saturated. Some people will always be good at it and make money, but the average income will still fall. It all depends on which side of the market you are.
You will do well to make a living out of being a 'Wedding Only' photographer. Look at other areas to support your income, you can't just sit back and hope it will all be ok... it won't.
Even some of the cheaper wedding photographers in my area are saying that they have less work booked in for next year than normal.
Most wedding photographers that I know are turning to other income-streams, eg training, because they're getting fewer bookings.
In a recession, even people who aren't actually skint are becoming more cautious about spending. The UK is now a nation of savers!
Many of the people facing redundancy see professional photography as their salvation. Especially those who own decent kit and know how to yake good pix - my position in 1997.
Many part-timers are styling themselves as professionals. Some are actually better-equipped than full-timers.
Each year, UK universities produce more graduates in photography than there are working photographers in the EU. There's more "training" available than ever before.
The really good photographers, who run their businesses well are prospering. Most of the rest are struggling.
A good friend of mine is a full time WF, in fact he does nothing else. His diary is full until next October/November 2011. He charges well for his work and makes a damned good living from it. Maybe the cut off point between being busy and not is simply that clients perceive that quality goes hand in hand with cost, i.e are they thinking that if it's to cheap it can't be any good?
Lets face it, The market has been in decline for some time, The reasons are many and varied.
John ( Strawman ) has mentioned several points, Where ever you look the photographic mags etc, Advertising complete bundled kits " The Wedding Kit " all sorted and chosen for you, Just pay your money and leave the shop a full blown wedding photographer.....!
So in many cases the industry ( for want of a better description ) has been mauled by the hardware outlets, Coupled with the camera manufacturers desire to shift ever more DSLR cameras that have the capability as well as a cheap price tag, So you can't blame Joe Average if he presumes that all you need is the right sort of kit, A couple of adverts in the local paper and a personable demeanor......
There are many other factors to, One area that no one controls is society itself, Its ever changing like fashions, Peoples priorities have changed along with the fashions, Many today do not hold the " Wedding Day Photographs " in the same esteem that once existed, Some of that is the fault of fashion, Some is actually brought about by photographers themselves, Lets look at the so called " Candid " and or " Reportage " styles, To some a great works of art ( Sarcasm alert ) While others see it as a bunch of snaps, Supposedly taken while no one notices.....
Its a very small section of the viewing public who actually appreciate the candid/reportage angle, Most see it as a cheap and amusing alternative to " Traditional " wedding photographs, So much so that they also believe ( And in some cases rightly so ) That any " Tom **** or Harry " armed with a camera, Can do that......
Lets face it all you have to do, Is wander around looking nonchalant, Bang out a few hundred frame and its job done " You've Been Framed " .......
Well thats how Mr Joe Average and family see it, So who can blame them if they don't want to pay, Or pay very little for someone to perform what they see as a menial task, That hardly requires a professional at professional prices.........
Who was it started the fashion of putting disposable 35mm cameras on the tables during a reception, Then inviting the guests to take turns in firing of a few snaps of each other.........Hell! That was a great idea, What a jolly jape that was......
Sometimes when you want to look forward, It pays to look backwards first......!!!!
So is there any wonder the idea of hiring a professional photographer has diminished some what, All this and we have not even discussed the pricing structures yet.....!!!
Lastly its the whole perception of " A Photographer " that is changing, Now that everone who owns a phone can take photographs too.
I work in conjucntion with a photographer who said that 20 years ago if there was a wedding in our town he would get it, he is now fed up with people enquiring and him going to the effort of replying then never hearing back from them. I am now considering doing wedding fairs because all other areas of advertising are exhausted. I have 5 websites that get me work but not enough to make the money i want. Everytime someone contacts me vie a website i know that they have problably contacted another 10 photographers through there website when they found mine. Its just difficult for me because i like being a photographer so much.
Don't we all, but Vince hit the nail on the head pretty squarely, everyone's "A Photographer" now!!!
You need to find a different angle, or niche to offer your clients.
Quote: Lucian, its a recession, photography equipment has never been better or lower cost to buy, it is seen as an easy way of making money, the magazines are still putting out articles on how to become a professional wedding photographer
Not only does a recession push more people into purchasing cheaper services (and photography is, in most situations, none-essential at that), but it also pushes more people into their hobbies. Now if you are coming up for redundancy in such times when getting a new job is like golddust its no surprise that the very lowest levels of photography are being tapped into by the "weekend warriors".
I dont know that to do now to get the edge with regards to advertising. No advertising method seems to be unique now and it seems that someone is always doing the same as me.
Can you link to your web site or post some images as it strikes me that through your images you can set your work apart, and it would be at the core of the advertising also. The web has changed how people find services, especially special event/one off services.
there is nothing that sets my work apart from most photographers. the point im trying to make is that there seems to be to many photographers doing things to cheap now.
I thought you started yours pretty cheap anyway?!
Quote: There is nothing that sets my work apart from most photographers. the point im trying to make is that there seems to be to many photographers doing things to cheap now.
Sorry in that case you are open to the market rate and open to competing on price only. And in a way it sounds like you are complaining about yourself 2 years back in a way.
I think that consumers attitudes have changed as well. There seems to be so many who will book another photographer because they are £50 cheaper than the next one.
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