Recently a photographer told me: “I haven’t offered any albums in 10 years. There has been no requests from brides but I’ll keep you in mind”. This surprised me because I saw the region of the country this photographer is located and it’s one of our best selling regions for albums! We have photographers in this area that consistently sell packages with albums for well over $3,000.
So why can some photographers sell albums to every wedding, and others say there isn’t any interest?
The answer lies in the chair cover.
Yep, that shiny piece of overpriced fabric that goes over the chairs in every venue known to event coordinators everywhere.
No doubt that when venues first started showing this to brides they thought, “why would I spend hundreds more on my wedding just for fabric?”.
Therefore venues had to get creative – and started including them in their wedding packages.
Brides didn’t know they wanted the chair covers until the venue put it in their pre-paid bundle and made it an attractive incentive that they “couldn’t live without”.
Now every medium to high-end bride has it at their wedding, and as long as it’s a known option, the brides will want it because every wedding they attended had it.
What if the bride has never been to a wedding, and it’s not offered in the package? Then the venue coordinator must show her beautiful images of events with chair covers, and physically show her the beautifully fashioned fabric on a chair to reveal what she will be missing out on if she doesn’t choose this for her wedding. Do you really think after that moment she will be able to envision her wedding with just regular, naked chairs? Probably not.
What can photographers learn from this – how can our business possibly be in the same breath as something as (basically) insignificant as fabric that is only used for a few hours for guests to sit on?
Did I mention that brides pay between $400 – over $1000 for these?
Why would a bride spend so much more on something that only lasts for a few hours, and that most guests may not even notice?
She spends the money because it was made important to her – whether it was through her venue by including it in a package, or through family and friends who had it at their wedding, or through a salesperson who placed it in her hands and displayed it proudly – it was portrayed as something her wedding couldn’t do without, so she, in turn, didn’t do without it either.
We know that wedding photography is essential to the wedding day – but if you don’t include albums in your packages, then it’s perceived that you don’t feel that every bride should get one. If you don’t include a second photographer in your packages, then the groom feels like it’s an “extra” that he can live without. If you don’t include an engagement session, then the couple sees it as a “nice to have” and not a “need to have” by you.
Show your bride what’s most important – because you are the expert, and you know what’s most important.
For instance, you know the best way to preserve their wedding day is in a gorgeous wedding album, so be sure that it’s in all your packages. If you get push-back, then have her hold one of your leather bound wedding album samples in her hand, and her opinion may change. Just like the event coordinator with the chair covers, the bride will soon see she can’t live without a professional wedding album.
Make your bride’s memories more important than the chair covers, and she will thank you later. If not the bride, then her children and grandchildren, who will look at USB memory sticks in 20 years the way we look at cassette tapes now. They will be grateful that they can simply open an album and see the best day of the lives that started their family. In addition, when they turn to your reception images, they can marvel at your gorgeous chair cover coordinating colors :).