While researching wedding photographers for my upcoming wedding, I’ve been looking at tons of photography websites and other industry publications, trying to find photographers in my area that are valued in their trade. In doing so, I came across a fascinating online article that literally has me SEETHING.
Photo District News, otherwise known as PDN, is a respected monthly magazine for the “professional photographer,” and apparently for the professional scam artist. They published an article on their website, 14 Ways to Get Your Wedding Clients to Spend More, that details how wedding photographers can basically lie and cheat in order to get more money from us disillusioned brides. I’ve listed out some of their gems, below, and their verbatim reasoning behind each tip:
Offer a basic package with no album to make it easier for clients to book you, then coax them into an album.
“It’s easier [to get clients to commit] to gradual installments than to one big slam up front,” says a wedding photographer who asked not to be identified, for fear of offending clients. Her base package is $5750 for 9 hours of coverage, sans album. “If I started at $7500 or $8000, including an album, I wouldn’t get hired in first place,” she says. As the wedding approaches, she suggests an album, and offers a discount if the client commits to it before the wedding. Most end up committing to a 20 page album. Afterwards, the photographer builds anticipation by talking excitedly about the album and telling clients “you’re going to want more pages.” Clients end up buying 50-60 page albums on average, she says.
Over-design your albums.
This is one of the oldest tricks in the book. The idea is that once clients see the album you’ve designed is better than the one they’ve ordered, they won’t be able to resist spending more money than they intended to. The better the photography and design, the more successful it is likely to be.
If a client hasn’t bought an album, get them back into your studio after the wedding to see what their album could look like.
[Photographer Arik] Hoek does that by asking clients to come in to pick up proof prints or a DVD they’ve bought as part of a low-end package. “Don’t ship it. Make them come and get it,” he says.
And one of my personal favorites…
Play on your clients’ natural inclination to spend as much as everyone else.
For instance, Jeff and Julia Woods offer a basic album as part of their packages, but plant a seed in clients’ minds from the outset that they’ll probably want to spend more for a better album because everyone else does.
Now, I’m not going to ONLY point my finger at wedding photographers when it comes to trying to get us brides to pay as much money as we can. Caterers, florists, and venues all play their own part. A friend of mine, who used to work in the restaurant industry, said it was common for restaurants to charge up to 30% more for a catered event if it was a wedding. That’s right…the same amount of food, drinks, service, etc. would be 30% LOWER if, say, it was a birthday party opposed to a wedding. Don’t get me wrong…I understand that a business is a business and they’re there to make a profit. But there’s a big difference between profit and price-gouging.
Have you experienced subtle or even obvious price-gouging from any of your vendors? Did you call them out on it? Let me know in the comments section!