Wedding Album v’s High Res CD

Last week here in Adelaide, a bunch of wedding photographers gathered together at Atkins Technicolour, the one true professional photography printing lab here in South Australia. We were all there to discuss what is a fairly constant topic in our ever-changing industry – should we be selling our images to our clients on disc?

The answer? Tough one to call.

We discussed many different wedding photography service models that exist, from “shoot and burn” to the other end of the spectrum- full service packages that include coverage, an album, prints, etc.

We discussed the pros and cons of each model and, without doubt, the discussion could have continued for hours.

Numerous photographers shared their experiences and their journeys, some who began in the days of film and then progressed to digital and spoke to how this altered their business.

At Luke Simon Photography, we have progressed from providing a proof album and selling the disc of images to offering comprehensive packages with a variety of printed materials. My original strategy was largely because, in the early days of this business, I was still working a part time gig in hospitality and had very little spare cash to go buying sample albums to show clients. And there was no way, charging what I was charging then, that I could have kept a business running for more than a month if I had included an album.

So our discussion brought up some key issues in our industry today:

  • The temporary nature of technology. How many of you out there can still stick a floppy disk in your computer???
  • Cost vs profit. We have to stay true to the reason we do what we do. It can’t come down to just the money all the time. Our focus needs to return to truly preserving history for people.
    There is no doubt that selling a CD of images for hundreds of dollars, which cost us minimally out of pocket to stock and takes only 5 minutes to burn, is perceived a far better per-hour income. At least in comparison to selling an album that costs thousands of dollars to print, takes 25 hours to design, plan, refine and build and which we sell for only a thousand dollars more than the cost to print it.

At the end of the day, it’s emails like this below (and I had a call almost identical last week), regarding a wedding in 2010, that cemented for me the importance of the role professional photographers play in family history and the need to preserve moments with archival printing –

“Hello Lovely Luke,
I hope this email finds you and your gorgeous family Happy and Well.
I am emailing you with a crazy desperate question………..
Do you still have a copy of our wedding photos? I cannot believe it, I actually think the cd has been thrown out! If you remember after the wedding we received a cd with photos…….
Please no stress if you have not, I know it is a loooong shot, although thought I would check before I think of what to do next.
LOVE your recent wedding shots, awesome work.
Take Care,
Hopefully see you soon
xx “

The thing that really resounded with everyone at this meeting was the need for us to ask better questions and educate our clients on their options. Most clients are not photographers themselves and many are only asking the questions their friends or a magazine has suggested they ask. If we provide all the details of our services, ask the right questions and really listen to the answers, we can make a far more educated response. And, chances are, provide a far better service for our brides and grooms with photography that will truly last a lifetime.



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