Ways to market brides for photography?

Started Mar 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
PenguinPhotoCo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,284
business is well, business!

Someone asked what's the difference between an amateur and a professional (photographer, but I think it applies to all things).
One thing most of us agree on is a professional get paid and an amateur does not. Or one could say the pro does it for the money. How much money makes one a pro is of course open to debate.
As a professional with a business the focus is now on the money. Yes, the image still counts, but if you don't keep the clients coming, keep the money coming, you're back to being an amateur in no time at all.
Just as if GM or Microsoft or Exxon didn't bring in the money to pay the bills, pay the employees, they'd be out of business too.
I view myself as a business owner. The business happens to be photography. It could just as easily be psychotherapy (my wife opened a private practice late last year) or a coin laundry or car repair or taco truck. The same rules apply - bring in enough money or you become a failed business.
You can have pride in what you do, your product, etc and STILL make money and be proud to do so. That I think is what some don't get. When I (or others) say "make money" we're not being any different than any other business owner.
********************

This year wedding bookings in my area are DOWN- way way down, for me a couple of other photogs.
I did 2 bridal shows that normally get me about 5 bookings. i've done my normal followup and have not had even 1 inquiry. Not one! Really? Seems impossible. And it's not just me.
Up or down attitude has nothing to do with it. The phone she not ring. the email she not come.
Sports leagues are up. First quarter sales are up. Everything is or seems to be or is looking up- except weddings.
OK here's the math -
I shoot a wedding with a 5D2, 5D3, 3 580-ex2, 70-200 2.8 IS, 16-35, 143 fisheye, 24-70, 135 F2 and a couple of pocket wizards, a batt powered monolight for formals - what, $14,000 in gear...8 to 9 hours on the wedding day and 5-6 hours of culling/proofing, then some calls, album order and prints usually so another 6 hours maybe all told.  I get, after expenses (album, prints) $2k give or take. For 20 hours. $100/hour.
I can get a DJ setup - bose speakers, subwoofers, couple of wireless mikes, notebook computers (actually have laptops nos), music membership to get the tunes, some cases, lighting - $5k should about do it. Less if I can do used gear (know a retiring dj selling out for $2k - two complete setups, all teh CDs, etc. Not led lighting so it's gonna be heavy, didn't do the PC thing and I would).
Ok, a typical wedding DJ here works 5 hours, allow 3 hours for setup/teardown, so 9 hours with an hour meet/consult.  And to get $1000 is easy, $1200 not too hard. the busiest local guy I know gets $1800 a wedding but he's been around a long time and has top of hte line gear, lighting, etc.
So pay an helper $100 and I get to keep $1000 easily, for 9 hours work. Hmm...seems to be MORE than I get paid for a wedding.
And come monday I'm DONE - no followup, no day spent at the computer editing (which I don't like to do). I can actually spend my time being a photographer perhaps!
It's very very tempting...my son will be 13 this year and is into music...I see a helper right there, good for 5 years or more...perhaps wiht some training I send him a buddy off to do weddings and I get $500+ for staying home!

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