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Why Do Wedding Photographers Say, "Investment"?

By Jordan P. Anderson

Strategy for Creative Small Businesses - - To shift the mindsets of their clients - It’s used on something that cost a lot of money - It moves photographers from Vendor to Expert status Wedding photographers have collectively hypnotized wedding couples into believing that their photography services are extremely valuable. Whether you like it or not, they are able to charge thousands of dollars for a service that clients are more than happy to pay for. What’s the logic and what can we learn from their tactics? 1. Ease the Price-Shopper’s Mind Wedding couples aren’t enterprises, so their budgets are going to be limited and their due diligence won’t be as thorough. Naturally, some couples are going to be price-shoppers — those that base the majority of their decisions on price. By shifting the language on a photographer’s website from “Packages” to “Investment” couples are able to imagine their money going towards something valuable. It justifies the large amount of money that’ll be exchanged because now this couple is acting as a sage financial planner. I would argue that this takes advantage of couples and hypnotizes them into believing that making a fancy investment is far wiser than purchasing a service package. Nonetheless, the lesson stands — get your clients out of price-shopping mode. 2. Get Out of the “Vendor” Category Fast Another achievement of wedding photographers is that they’ve been able to articulate themselves out of the vendor status and into the expert or artist status. You pay for a vendor’s time by the hour, but you’ll INVEST in the artist’s precious time. As a former wedding videographer (and perhaps this is where my bittersweet respect arises from), I had a hell of a time trying to get out of vendor category. Even on the day of the wedding, the videographer was always given 2nd or 3rd priority over the photographer. But this made sense from a sunk cost perspective — couples “invested” not only more money, but more hope and expectations into the photographer. I was probably getting paid a third the photographer’s rate and was seen as an accessory rather than essential. The challenge of using “investment” for many other service industries is overcoming the vendor status aka being a commodity. The banquet hall, catering company, and the live band would struggle to call their services investments. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when I think about investing in Stella Artois and a perfect rendition of “Love Shack” (although the return seems pretty high). But there’s nothing to distinguish one bartender from handing you a beer from the other. Photographers have been able to distinguish themselves as worthy investments even though you could argue that photos in 2020 are as commoditizes as they come. I’m not the biggest fan of the word “investment” because I believe it’s misleading, but photographers have done something that is applicable to all creative small businesses: demonstrate and communicate their value to would-be clients. Here’s what FroKnowsPhoto has to say:

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