Throw the book at it, or make your own story....
This weeks blog....well, it's one that is a bit all over the place if I am honest, but not going to worry about that! It's all very exciting stuff!
So, let's start with something that I have been recently asked and something that even now is a perennial question and debate among both clients and wedding photographers alike. What is better.......a fully digital package for your wedding photography or a package that offers albums and upgrades at point of sale?
Well, the answer is......neither of course! Both are great, if you get the right person and deal. It all depends on the wants and needs of the clients and by now, if you're well into your planning, you will know that there are MORE than enough photographers out there who are offering both aspects and packages for you to be able to choose from. Which means it comes down to personal preference. Not what is best. So, let's look at the pros and cons of both ways of doing it.
I will be honest and upfront with you at this point and tell you what I offer and give it a caveat that I am in no way selling me or biased etc. I just want to be fair to both sides so there is clarity of information to help decide for yourself.
I offer a predominantly digital only package. I DO do albums, but they are not in my package, they are outside of this and an add on if the client wants to come back to me at a later date and decide they want an album made. It's a service I offer, but my sales point does not push the album option, its spoken about so the client knows and can make their own decision later if the option is there. There, that's got that out of the way. Now the nitty gritty of why or why not.
I decided back when I started over 5 years ago now that digital was the way to go for a number of reasons. Firstly, even then, most things in our lives were digital, including photos and photography, so it made sense to me to follow the trend and social preference and go with that. But this led to a few more advantages to this.
1) It gives total freedom to the client to do with what they want with those photos. Once the handover of the images is done, there is no tie in back to the photographer, no need for them to do any further work for you. That's it. The images are 100% yours! Hurrah!
2) Printing costs, especially decent printing, has come down significantly. Since I started, the quality has massively improved, even on the usual cheaper end printing services online. If you go off the beaten track and look for more "professional" printers, the quality rises even further and the cost isn't significantly more. Couples can print when and whatever they like at their own leisure for not much outlay.
3) You get value for money. I provide over 450 images on a USB stick that tell a whole story of the day, rather than with an album selecting a small number that you get on a one-off album creation. Much broader picture of your story from the big day and you can back them up in more than one place so you have no chance ever of losing or damaging your images, which could happen with a physical book. Also, I would imagine, with images at your fingertips nowadays, being able to share those photos with people whenever, on whatever device, is hugely appealing. What's more, because I am not providing anything "physical" I don't have to incur that cost to the client, making me able to offer more elsewhere in my package (like a pre-wedding shoot which I don't charge extra for, for instance).
4) The age of the generation getting married now. Clients I find are getting younger, I am getting older! So those that are getting married are much more digitally savvy and this is what they know and prefer.
Those were the main four factors I took into consideration when I decided what I was going to offer. But, of course, there is the other side. Let's consider this.
Offering albums comes usually in two varieties. Either as part of the package or as "add ons" to the package that you pay extra for when the deal has been done and the journey has finished. Both have their merits and downsides, but I will try and give pointers with both in mind.
1) An album really is lovely! I admit, I am old fashioned in that respect and having something solid, beautifully made and seeing your images in large, printed out, really is a lovely thing to have. Looking at an album has that tangible feel to it that has more of a romance and emotional feel than looking on a screen. Many, many people still go with this for that very reason. The downside to this, as you have probably heard your parents say, is that the album gets looked at once or twice in the first year, then is shoved under the bed and not looked at for another 20 years. A real shame when its such a beautiful object. As said above for the digital package, having those images at your fingertips is a massive thing and shareable instantly. That is definitely something to weigh up.
2) It's something extra in your package. Unless you're getting cheaper products or the photographer doesn't really have the presence to spend more to get more, the album is a lovely bonus to what you get from the photographer nowadays. Most photographers offer the digital files as well, so the album is an extra. But, beware, if it's part of the package, that initial outlay is likely to be higher as the photographer has to take the costs of making the album into consideration. That is fine if clients have budgeted for that and know that this is the package they want. But you may fall in love with a photographers work, you may really like them and want them to shoot your day, but the album may put them out of your price range. (As a caveat to that, many photographers nowadays will delete the album offer and charge less for the same amount of coverage if this is the case, so you then have effectively a digital package anyway. Just check though. Not all do)
3) An album can be made any time and the hassle of making it is taken out of your hands. It doesn't have to be done straight away and the photographer, the expert, will guide you through the process. You get the creative licence, the photographer does the legwork for you. When everything is finalised on your part, they will go away, get it made and you get the rewards with that beautiful album at the end of it to keep forever (barring any catastrophes). That's a nice thing that. It also means you get to keep in touch with your photographer for longer and if you like them, that work for the benefit of both parties. You're likely to recommend them as they have done such a good job, the photographer knows that he gets to keep a client happy and the satisfaction of doing a good job. Win-win!
4) You actually don't HAVE to do the album. Just because someone says they have an album as part of their package, it doesn't mean to say you have to take them up on that part of the deal. You still have the freedom, if you get the digital files, to do with them as you please really. It would be silly NOT to use the photographers service to help you out on this, but if you think you can do it cheaper, better elsewhere, then although you have paid extra, you can still walk away.
Quick cons for each.
Digital is a bit ethereal. You're not really getting anything, other than a USB.
Albums are expensive. Even if material costs are cheap, the photographer still has to mark up for time, materials, effort and skills. Prices only go up.
Digital isn't a hassle as such, but you're left to your own devices. I know I said that was a pro earlier, but some people don't want or like that idea. They may want help.
Albums aren't always part of the package, but are add-ons later. Many may want an album, but you will have already spent a decent amount of your budget on the coverage of the day. Albums then become a selling point for a photographer, starting basic, but we all know that we end up spending more than we thought we would with anything when you like something, so its quids in for the photographer, out of pocket for you.
Digital is a little less personal.
Albums are cumbersome.
You might not see your album for years.
Digital can easily get wiped or lost if not backed up.
There are probably more, but you get the idea!
So when you choose your photographer, make your priority if you like them or not, then the quality of their work and images, do your research, then decide if you want either digital or album and discuss with your favourite photographer. Don't make it a deal breaker, but its another thing you might have to put in the mix due to budget, need, want etc. None are deal breakers, but will definitely make you think on your choice.
More news? I am now on Bridebook! So, if you are still planning, using Bridebook, you can now find me there! Get in touch if you want to have a chat. I have limited spaces left for 2018, but still taking bookings for 2019. Happy to talk!
Go check me out here
And lastly.....and very excitedly....I have been nominated for a 4 Counties Wedding Award in the photography category (well, guess it was never going to be Make-up and Hair was it?!). How exciting! I just wanted to go spread the word! Whoooo hoo! I am grateful even for the opportunity, so watch this space.