Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wedding Email......What A Nice Response!

I hate complex business situations!
Several years ago, we started offering a simple wedding package. This came about after years of seeing brides struggle, trying to decide which photos they want in their album, what size they want them to be, how to layout the album, and edit them down to fit the package they chose.
I felt that weddings were a no-win situation when it came to the business. A bride would book a certain wedding package, with X number of prints....8x10's, 5x7's, 4x5's, etc. In photographing a wedding, you ALWAYS take many more photos than is included in the package, mainly because it's a "once in a lifetime" event, and you don't want to take a chance on missing a special moment.
This creates an unfair situation for the bride. Do you eliminate many photos you'd like to have in your album, or do you spend more than you'd planned, to get the album you want?
After being the "father of the bride" four times in three years, I looked at weddings from a different perspective. Keep things simple. No surprises in prices. Yes, it's important what you pay, but more important is, "What do you get for your money?"
We began to offer an "all inclusive" package, no extra charges.
Most all photos from wedding included in album.
No extra charge for high quality album.
No extra shooting fees.
No location fees (within reasonable driving distance).
Now the scary part. We began to offer layout and design of the album. I photograph the wedding, give Kelly the digital files, and she does the album layout and design. We then do a "proof" of the album, and present that to the couple. They are encouraged to make any changes, add or delete photos. I feared this might be a real hassle, having to go back and make changes. However, I'm often pleasantly surprised when we get an email like we received today.

"(bride and groom's names) love the wedding album that you did for us. We love everything you did and don't need any changes done to it. We would love for you to order it for us."

Over the past 2 years of offering this plan, we've seldom made more then 2 or 3 changes to an album! I must give Kelly the credit for her layout and design talent!

I want to offer value. Much of our 30 year business success has come from word-of-mouth advertising. Some of the best business advise I remember from early in my career came from a successful photographer. He told me, "Build your business on quality, not cheap price. Quality clients will stay with you. Cheap clients will leave when they can find products a dollar cheaper somewhere else".
Certainly in these tough economic times, we don't want to waste money. The most disappointing waste is when we pay money for something, and it does not live up to our expectations.
One of my favorite quotes on pricing is from John Ruskin (English Writer and Critic of art, architecture, and society, 1819-1900) who said "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."


Post a Comment

<< Home