I recently have been receiving emails from a site called Bark. It is a reasonable looking site and apparently has the backing of Nick Hewer of The Apprentice and Countdown fame. Each email is about someone looking for a photographer, well each email I receive is anyway but then I have told them that I am a photographer and what services I offer. I would expect if I were a Plumber I would get those people looking for a plumber.
What I have found interesting about these sites are the generic answers you see to questions, obviously some form of selection, .
For example the question about budget gives you ranges of values with wording against them such as Budget, Average, Premiere. Who decides what range of prices are Budget, Average etc?.
You will have massive variations in area and in an individual’s perception of what is average and what is budget.
I also believe that expectations need to be managed a little more carefully than this “tick box” commoditisation of Wedding Photography. Obviously I think that the Photography is an important part of your day; I’m a photographer and my job is to capture the story of your Wedding day. So when a couple is looking for pretty much everything, including a large Wedding Album, with a budget of £300 then they need to be aware that they may not get the quality or service they are expecting.
On the opposite side by labelling ranges with names you may move a couple into a bracket they cannot afford. If a couple has a budget of say £300 and to them £300 is a large sum then to see it labelled as “Budget” may push them to spend more to move into the “Average” category.
So they get an immediate niggle, a little resentment that they have had to spend more and a feeling that they have been conned. Most sales techniques
tell you that you offer a bargain basement product, a premium product (that no one can afford) and the standard product. Most people will go for the standard product. But, and for me it is a big but the customer will have been informed about why the extra money is needed, maybe in photography terms they can see the difference between two products. With this type of selection by tick box you are having a judgement placed on you by some faceless person not by any informed choice.
I’m not saying that these sites shouldn’t be used, there are plenty of alternatives out there unless you are looking for some odd piece of work such as a left handed stone mason or a spoon bender and these sites allows you to cut through the sheer number of photographers to those who offer the services you want at the price you want to pay.
Do not be swayed by terms such as Average, Budget or Premium. You will receive lots responses. Look through them carefully. look at their websites and what they are offering and decide if this meets your budget or, if it is more, can you see what you get by paying the extra money?
If your budget is fixed my honest advice would be not to try and find someone
who offers you everything How do they make it pay? Find the best quality photography for your budget.
Wedding Photography isn’t cheap, especially if you want an album (don’t get me started on albums) and a photographer who is professional, had the right kit along with backup, proper insurance etc
Your Wedding images should last at least a lifetime and will provide your grandchildren, great grandchildren etc a view of you and your Wedding Day.