It’s tempting to give in to those brides today who “only want the high-res digital files”. As easy as it may sound to just send them a download link or thumb drive and be done with them, It’s just not good for your business. Zookbinders client and Washington Talent photographer Jack Hartzman said it best in a recent piece for our Studio Spotlight when he wrote that photographers who don’t sell professional photo albums “are doing nothing to guarantee the longevity of their professional existence.”
For starters, by not providing a professional wedding album you very much leave the job incomplete. Despite giving your client what they’ve asked for, you’ve missed the mark on what they really want and allowed them to do the same. Too many brides today just don’t know what they want from their wedding photographer and can mistakenly prioritize price ahead of value. The result is that too often those files will be tucked away somewhere never to be seen again. Couples with good intentions of making their own wedding album either never get around to it, become overwhelmed with the process and give up, or they end up disappointed with a poor quality consumer album.
Your job as a wedding photographer is to document your client’s best days and tell their story in photographs, not create a digital archive. You may have to really spell that out for them, particularly if their friends did nothing more than get digital files from their wedding.
Next, how about referrals? A newlywed might sing your praises to her friends, but imagine if she does so while showing off her professional wedding album. Which scenario is more likely to work in your favor? It stands to reason that if your past clients join the legions of couples who never got a wedding album that their memories of you and your work are going to fade along the exact same trajectory as yesterday’s facebook post.
As a career move, photographers who don’t go the extra mile to put professional photo albums in the hands of their clients move themselves closer to commodity status. By suggesting to their clients that they can or should just make their own wall art or wedding albums, they lend credence to the “anyone can do it” mentality that has already taken a toll on the wedding photography industry.
The remedy is to stick to your calling as a storyteller and educate prospective clients about why it’s important that they have something tangible to pass down to their children and their grandchildren. Whether you reinforce your point with actual photographs or photo albums of your own family history, or you ask your client to imagine the gaping hole on their bookshelf where their memories won’t be ten years from now, it matters to your bottom line and it matters to your industry.