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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 18 Apr 2012 (Wednesday) 21:53
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How can I break into the "high-end bride" market?

 
PhotoWNY
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Apr 18, 2012 21:53 |  #1

I've been in the business for a few years and things are going very well. I started with a friends wedding and branched out from there. I've been booking weddings in the $1200-$2000 range. It's decent money but my goal is to be selling packages in the $2500-$4000 range in the next five years. The problem is the circles I've gotten myself into are all "mid-level" brides and I'm not sure how to get out.

I have a solid website and a Facebook page but obviously I need to be doing something more, I'm just not sure what.

Should I be contacting higher end reception locations and giving them business cards? Trying to meet wedding coordinators?

I feel like my work is good enough but I just can't get it in front of the right people.

Any advise would be appreciated!

(Also, to keep the conversation on topic, let's assume I'm good enough to be in the higher-end range.) ;)




  
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jamiewexler
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Apr 18, 2012 22:10 |  #2

$2500-$4000 is not the high end. It's squarely in the country club and frugal couples in the nice hotels middle. And honestly, all you need to do to get there is raise your prices to that level. When your prices are 5-10k per wedding, you'll be in the high end market. That's when you'll want to strategize about how to make it.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Apr 18, 2012 22:27 |  #3

If you offer packages in the $1200-$2000 range then that is what you will sell. Raise your minimum package/coverage cost.

Change your product (possibly) and change your prices it really isn't that difficult. The test will be whether people are prepared to pay for what you are offering. If they do... good, you have moved into a higher market segment. If not... then you aren't worth it in the eyes of the couples.

$2500-$4000 isn't high end though.


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tim
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Apr 18, 2012 22:57 |  #4

You could leave sample albums at nice venues. Network with co-ordinators, ideally ones who know you or your work.

You could post your website if you want to know if you're good enough, and if you have a thick skin.


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snakeman55
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Apr 18, 2012 23:47 |  #5

I agree with Jamie, that those prices are middle of the road, and you can probably just raise your prices.

http://digital-photography-school.com …-prices-as-a-photographer (external link)

In terms of the high end 10k range, there's definitely an x-factor. From what I can tell, people that pay 10k and up are as interested in how fabulous you are and what famous people you've shot as they are how strong your work is. At that level you have to be good looking, well dressed, well spoken and well liked by important people. Obviously we all try to be those things anyway, but I mean VERY for each one.


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Peacefield
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Apr 19, 2012 07:17 |  #6

Yeah, my average wedding is $3k and I'm viewed as middle market as well as a budget option for brides who aspire for high-end and can't afford it.

And everyone's right; you just need to raise your prices to that level and you're there. But then, you need the goods to sell at that level; quality photography, a distinctive style, the albums and other products these clients will want, etc.


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brokensocial
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Apr 19, 2012 07:47 |  #7

As others have said, you'll need to raise the prices and raise your game. We're cheap right now but planning on raising prices after the summer. It changes things.


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bigarchi
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Apr 19, 2012 08:19 |  #8

if he/she is in western upstate ny like his name implies, 4000 is probably pretty high end for the region.
2500-3000 is probably as jamie suggested though.

those are just my thoughts anyway, not too founded in data, just my gut feel.
This isn't boston, dc, jersey or nyc.. (i've never been to perth, ha)


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Sweetamber
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Apr 19, 2012 16:57 |  #9

The only one who can evaluate your work are you!
And if you think you deserve 4000, why not ask for it?


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Apr 19, 2012 17:59 |  #10

Sweetamber wrote in post #14294618 (external link)
The only one who can evaluate your work are you!
And if you think you deserve 4000, why not ask for it?

Not really true. They can think they deserve a million bucks a wedding... but if no one will pay it then that counts for nothing.


Peter

  
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hairy_moth
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Apr 19, 2012 18:07 |  #11

I am not a professional, so I don't know the business. That said, I would try to find people that are already catering to the crowd you want to work with and offer to pay for referrals.. At first, pay handsomely until your name is out there. If you are getting $2000 now, and they help you land a job for $4000, paying a $500 referral fee would still leave you well ahead, even $1000, and that should be enough to attract some interest on their part.


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PhotoWNY
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Hatchling
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Apr 20, 2012 09:41 |  #12

Thanks very much everyone, your thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

I've done some research and although I'm not sure it's 100% accurate, I believe it's pretty close. On average, in my area, the average wedding is $20-30K with most people spending $1-2K on a photographer. "Higher-end" photographers go for $2500-4K with a few "top shelf" guys starting at $5K.

With that said, my next goal is to get to the $2500-4K range. My main issue is that about 50% of my business comes from referrals and past clients. Because of the circles I'm in now ($1-2K), people that refer me from those circles are likely not able to pay twice as much.

If I simply raise my prices, I agree, if I'm worth it, people will pay it but I still need people to who can afford it to find me.

Tim mentioned "networking" with coordinators (I assume he means wedding coordinators) - this is something I've been thinking about for a while. I'm also assuming that Harry is suggesting something similar, as well as other vendors like reception halls and caterers.

Does anyone have any experience in going this route? What's appropriate when talking with wedding coordinators? Is it ok to offer a referral fee? If so, how do you broach the subject?

Thanks!




  
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nightmaresonwax
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Apr 20, 2012 15:34 |  #13

On the raising prices thing-

I think if you just gradually raise your prices you will get there. Perhaps you could plan this out on a certain % increase per time period (say 10% increase every 3 months for sake of putting a number to it). I moved about 1 year ago and i'm facing the same situation in this area. The average prices here are pretty low and I find i'm slowly breaking out of it with gradual increases and having setting a goal of reaching a certain price point by a certain time.

I know i've lost a few clients that may have booked me if my prices hadn't changed, but honestly, i find the penny pinching ones can be the biggest headaches.

All the best!



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PhotoWNY
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Hatchling
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Apr 23, 2012 11:20 |  #14

I've posted a new thread in the "Business of Photography" section on networking with coordinators to narrow down and continue this topic.

https://photography-on-the.net …p?p=14313277#po​st14313277




  
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jamiewexler
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Apr 24, 2012 21:17 |  #15

PhotoWNY wrote in post #14298153 (external link)
Thanks very much everyone, your thoughts and opinions are appreciated.

I've done some research and although I'm not sure it's 100% accurate, I believe it's pretty close. On average, in my area, the average wedding is $20-30K with most people spending $1-2K on a photographer. "Higher-end" photographers go for $2500-4K with a few "top shelf" guys starting at $5K.

With that said, my next goal is to get to the $2500-4K range. My main issue is that about 50% of my business comes from referrals and past clients. Because of the circles I'm in now ($1-2K), people that refer me from those circles are likely not able to pay twice as much.

If I simply raise my prices, I agree, if I'm worth it, people will pay it but I still need people to who can afford it to find me.

Tim mentioned "networking" with coordinators (I assume he means wedding coordinators) - this is something I've been thinking about for a while. I'm also assuming that Harry is suggesting something similar, as well as other vendors like reception halls and caterers.

Does anyone have any experience in going this route? What's appropriate when talking with wedding coordinators? Is it ok to offer a referral fee? If so, how do you broach the subject?

Thanks!

Let me share a "secret" about this. If the folks that are spending $1,000 on you now real like they at getting a steal of a deal because the quality of the photography and service is far above that price range, than the referrals that they send you won't balk at a price increase. If the couples you book at that price feel like they are getting exactly what they paid for, than the referrals they send you will balk at the increase. I raised my prices, when my clients stared telling me that their friends couldn't believe how cheap they booked me for.


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