Tuesday, September 25, 2012
A new business model for wedding photography
What do you get when you combine a decent eye for visualizing images, affordable professional digital equipment, WordPress, Kijiji, and smartphones?
You get the key components for a talented wedding photographer to bring their services to market all on their own, without the infrastructure that used to be essential to translate one's art into a commodity made visible to the consumer.
A "pro-photographer" is by definition, a photographer who earns a percentage of their income from photography... "pro-photographer" is not a measure of the quality of the images produced, although the market has a way of vetting the ranks of photographers. But it is a big market out there, and there's a market for anything.
There have always been considerably more people who are innate photographers than actual "picture-taking" photographers. Innate in the sense that they see these images in their minds but have been technologically (and financially) hampered by the analogue, film-based processes to partake in image capture beyond point-and-shoots. The last few years have seen a plethora of very affordable digital equipment that, along with social media, has resulted in an explosion of images taken and disseminated all over. Technological advances have democratized the whole process.
Bloggers, and self-styled publishers have piled on top of the commercial magazine world to cultivate an image-aware generation(s). A photographer with something to say, and something to sell, is now enabled to say it for next to nothing, blogging using the free versions of Blogger and WordPress (add in online albums such Picasa and Photobucket, or full-blown websites such as Smugmug, Zenfolio, and PBase). And to let the city/province/state/world in which they live in know about them, there is Facebook, Kijiji, and Craigslist, or preferably a combination of all of these, for free or for a small fee.
As for an business office, the savvy image-maker has the take-it-with-you office called the smartphone with voice-mail, call-forwarding, skype (free), and emailing. An office and a meeting place may be a coffee shop with a wifi connection (for the price of a coffee and a doughnut, washroom included).
And finally, we now have a generation of photo consumers that are not bound by the conventions of the past: mass mailings, magazine advertizing, billboards, brick-and-mortar stores, tv and radio commercials. To be sure, there will always be a market for the boutique photo studio, just as there will always be a market for BMWs and Hermes. In these recessionary times, value-for-money has never been more essential, and opportunities abound for the talented photographer/videographer who is able to use the tools available.
Having said/written all these, these tools will only let you get your camera/foot in the door, so to speak. You still have to have a product that consumers like, at an affordable price. It's always wise to remember that with wedding photography, just like with surgery (I know, a bit extreme analogy here), you're only as good as your last job.
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