Well.. It finally happened..
Hey guys! Thanks for stopping by to visit your favorite affordable wedding photographer. Your favorite Tampa wedding photographer. Your favorite affordable family photographer. Whatever you want to call me. I'm your photographer. I bet your interested in the title right? Well let me tell you.. A little forehand knowledge .. I'm part of a lot of wedding groups online. Some for photography and some for brides.. Its how we keep up with trends and with current wedding styles etc. We are also a part of numerous "couples looking" type groups where vendors can advertise their business to couples looking. Well we've done that for months with no issue..but today... well it finally happened..
What happened you ask? We got price shamed... and of course you know what happens with pack mentality right? So it turned into one big dramatic conversation. Basically.. A photographer from New York told me I was way undercharging and I should be ashamed of myself for bringing the whole market down.. which lead to others just joining right in.. anyone that came to defense got unloaded on as well. Let me address the latter first.. Since when did we as a photography community get so stuck on ourselves? Since when did it become all about "me" and making sure " i get paid?" What a terrible way to think for someone in the service type industry! Did I engage them? At first I did but you know what.. I quickly realized that as a seasoned wedding photographer that does this for my couples and not for my pocket book.. My mindset is not the same as theirs. I am in this for my couples. I am in this because I was once in the position of my couples. I couldn't afford a $3000 wedding photographer!! I was lucky to have a brother that knows how to shoot when Dani and I got married. Otherwise.. we would have been just like one of the couples im about to talk about.. and you know what.. We were thankful... and we were appreciative and grateful.
When we got to the holidays just this past December my prices were $3500 and UP!! We were doing ok but there was a TON of people that wanted us.. but couldn't hire us.. because we were out of their budget. I got more than one " I'd love to hire you.. I love your work..but I cannot afford you". Now.. some of these people that were price shaming were saying things like.. then they're not your client.. they just don't appreciate good art.. When they spend good money on you those clients appreciate you more.. umm.. Can I be real here for a second and not to alienate anyone.. First.. I love EVERY couple we have photographed...but you want to know who seems to REALLY appreciate what we can do for them? The couples that want amazing work at an attainable price.. They're thankful that someone of high caliber would be willing to set their pride aside and offer what we do.. Someone that wanted to work with THEM instead of the other way around. What a concept.. Someone catering to their clients needs.. Whodduhthunkit.
In December Danielle and I sat down and had a heart to heart. She told me if she were planning her wedding right now she wouldn't choose me.. because as good as the work was.. she couldn't afford it. That hit home. So why? Why do we offer a pricing point where we do? Our amazing couples. That's it.. Plain and simple. THEM. The ones that look at me with tears because they can hire me. The ones that smile when they know that an award winning photography company will be photographing the best day of their lives. When they know i'm all about them..and not just "my art". Yeah.. that was something I was told.. I should care about my "Art".. Look.. I've been doing this A LONG time.. You ARE my art. I take what you give me and I make it more beautiful. You hand me the canvas and I use my tools to make it gorgeous.. Its not about me.. Its about my couples and their story. My art happens in the context of your day. A lot of people have lost that perspective. They make it about them. They make it about how much they can get out of others. Rather selfish point of view if you ask me. That's part of what makes us different. I make sure EVERYONE that is a part of this company understands that its about the client. Its about what we can do for them. I don't bring anyone on that doesn't display that kind of attitude. Serving. Loving people.
One of the other things not understood by some people is market value.. Yes.. New York has higher priced photographers... because it NEW YORK!!!! I mean come on guys.. seriously.. If I were shooting in New York id be charging more also.. but the market I serve AVERAGES around $1600 for a full day. Some will be higher.. some will be lower.. but the majority will fall around that range. That is how averages work. Something that did not seem to compute in the minds of those people today. I came in under the average ON PURPOSE!! It was a calculated move and I understood going in id have some push back.. and i'm fine with that. My bills still get paid. I still carry my business insurance, and pay my taxes.. and keep up with my gear.. look.. This will cause some ripples but you know what.. that's what happens when you throw a rock into a pond.. You're going to get people that say things like.. I have insurance (yeah me too but if I have 2 weddings a month it more than covers my premium) I have continuing education (yeah me too but not every month and not so much that I have to up charge for it) I have gear upkeep ( yeah me too.. but I also LEARNED HOW TO DO IT MYSELF) I need new gear ( Every month? I buy a new camera every FEW years. I even carry backups) Lenses ( uhhhh.. see previous sentence) I have bills to pay ( as we all do). I spend time doing timelines ( bro.. lets be real.. how long does that really take?) I scout locations ( so you're telling me.. that you scout a location you've shot 16 times already ...again?) I do consults ( me too..they're free..if you're telling me that it is built in to your cost might want to change the wording on your collections..) I have website upkeep ( umm..ok.. so I pay about $300 a year TOTAL in web upkeep and that's on my domain etc. I LEARNED how to design MYSELF) SO look.. There's more.. and I could go on.. but you get the point. The bottom line is this. I charge what I need to to be comfortable in my home. To make sure my bills are paid. I don't have studio overhead. I book 2 MAYBE 3 weddings a month. That's another thing.." You'll burn out" Ummm.. nope.. know why?? I set limits. I take a certain amount of weddings per year..and then I say the magical word... No. Then I refer them to someone I trust. I tell my couples all the time.. No isn't an offensive word and if I give them that power.. I can use it too.
One of the things a few skeptical couples have recently asked ( and I don't blame them) is why are you so much lower than some others.. The reason. Because we want you! We offer a price point that is where it is to be attractive to our couples. There is no hidden agendas. No up sells. No sneaky fees. We treat you with the highest regard because you deserve it. We've been told. " this sounds to good to be true".. Well That adage is wrong.. Sometimes that phrase completely deters people ..and I get it.. I've used it.. but it discourages people.. and honestly many people miss out on what could be an amazing experience because of it. I've had 2 couples recently come back to me and tell me that they selected a more expensive photographer.. and REGRETTED it because they were unhappy and wished they hadn't been so skeptical. Don't let the price make you skittish. It is what it is.. promise! Don't miss out on something because you're afraid its " too good to be true".. because.. what if it was true? We legitimately want you to have GREAT at an affordable, attainable rate.
We LOVE what we do. I've been a wedding photographer since 2008. That's 13 wedding seasons!! That's more than a good majority of wedding photographers you're going to find out there. Many have "passion" until they realize its so much more than just pushing a shutter button. Then it becomes " burdensome" and "more than I could handle". We love this. This is what I AM going to be doing until I am 90. I want to be behind my camera as often as I can. I want you in front of it. That is why I became a photographer. I LOVE this. Its who I am. Its so much more than "passion".. So I price myself to get people in front of my camera so I can do what I LOVE. Its so much more than lining my wallet.. so...much...more...
If you've gotten this far I thank you for reading my thoughts here.. Id much rather be posting images from recent shoots or even weddings of days past. I felt this needed to be addressed. I needed to get this out.. Is it a rant?? No..Its just my honest thoughts and opinions.. some will agree.. others wont.. That's the great thing about opinions. It's ok for us all to have them. However.. I'm going to just say it again.. We love what we do. We are committed to our couples. We are priced where we are to encourage amazing couples. I promise you there is nothing more to it than that. We just want to serve you. Quality images can be attainable and gosh darn it.. they can be affordable. No gimmicks.. no hidden fees or agendas. We just want to do what we love... photographing amazing clients.. like YOU.