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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Weddings & Other Family Events Talk 
Thread started 07 Dec 2013 (Saturday) 00:24
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wedding albums

 
photopro456
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Dec 07, 2013 00:24 |  #1

I have a choice of wedding albums Queensberry or Renaissance- which one do discerning professional wedding photographers choose for their clients?




  
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Phil ­ V
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Dec 07, 2013 12:08 |  #2

High end albums are expensive, which means charging top dollar for your services, which means providing top quality images and providing top quality service.

Are you capable of providing that service? I'd guess that most photographers start up with less expensive albums.

Queensberry have great customer service and are a top class partner for your business, I know nothing of Renaissance.


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tim
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Dec 07, 2013 14:58 |  #3

I know nothing about Renaissance. Queensberry are great albums though, I've used them for years.


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dcnats
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Dec 07, 2013 19:16 |  #4

I've seen some of the Renaissance albums and they really are gorgeous. Same with KISS, you flip through those pages and you know why they cost so much to have made. I've never seen a Queensberry in person but I've heard good things, if Tim uses them then that's good enough for me.

For me personally, I'm just starting to get into the wedding market where clients are looking for really good albums. I've used Artisan which is more affordable and good quality but doesn't have that "wow" factor like Renaissance/Kiss. It's an easier sell for my client base though.


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tim
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Dec 07, 2013 20:39 |  #5

I looked into kiss. Queensberry are nicer.


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dcnats
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Dec 07, 2013 21:24 |  #6

tim- do you find that albums are something your clients are looking for from the start or do you have to "sell" them on it?


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tim
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Dec 07, 2013 22:29 |  #7

dcnats wrote in post #16509891 (external link)
tim- do you find that albums are something your clients are looking for from the start or do you have to "sell" them on it?

I don't sell, I show people sample albums and ask if they want one. Most people know when they come in the door what they want, and I don't tend to try to change their minds. I'm a photographer/engineer, not a sales person.


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dche5390
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Dec 08, 2013 00:23 |  #8

I couldn't justify QB's cost price. Superb customer service. Excellent product. But didn't fit with my business model.

Renaissance is similar to Red Tree which is similar to Vision Art. I've been ordering from Vision Art for over 2 years now.

KISS is like a glorified Artisan to be honest. I don't really see much difference; especially from the consumer's perspective.


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photopro456
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Dec 08, 2013 03:24 as a reply to  @ dche5390's post |  #9

Tim you said that you didn't sell- don't you sell yourself to your wedding clients.




  
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Phil ­ V
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Dec 08, 2013 03:49 |  #10

I don't want to sound churlish, but I did ask a pertinent question; are you marketing as the top 10% on image quality and customer service?

Do you have access to the demographic that will pay for the quality?

I'm comfortably in the top 10% for my location! but there isn't the money about to pay for $5000 wedding photography. So my prices and my products reflect that.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Dec 08, 2013 05:57 |  #11

photopro456 wrote in post #16510337 (external link)
Tim you said that you didn't sell - don't you sell yourself to your wedding clients.

My approach is like Tim's. Anyone meeting with me is already pre-qualified in the fact that all they could want to know is on my website. By the time someone meets with me they know the price, they know what my images look like, they know what ex clients have said etc. My meetings are pretty much to see if we get on and to show them physical albums. I'm not there to sell, I'm there to explain and show what I do.

Personally I am indifferent as to whether or not someone buys an album or not. It is their choice and I'm not fazed either way.

Not everyone is meant to be my client and I'm perfectly fine with that.


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umphotography
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Dec 08, 2013 10:51 as a reply to  @ memoriesoftomorrow's post |  #12

We use Picto and we have introduced vision art and Finao for 2014.

We sell an album with every wedding we photograph.It is part of our saturday packages. The picto Albums and vision art albums are very nice and give our girls lots of cover choices and options to customise to their needs. I could offer the QB. It is a beautiful album.But in our area the economy is still tight and brides budgets are tight as well so i need album options that fit their needs. If they want a QB i could definitely provide that for them.......most of my girls cant step up to the additional costs.

My reasons for selling an album with every package is that i want the girls to have something in print. Something they can put in their hands and say this is why i spent 3K to have Unique Moments photograph my wedding. I want their friends to see it as well because that disc of jpeg pictures which will be obsolete in 10 more years does my clients no good when they cant acess the files. They need to print the images or be able to display them to see. When i explain why i sell a album with every wedding we photograph, they get it and want the albums. we do very few shoot and burns in a calendar year.

I introduced Finao this year because i want the shoot and burns to have something in print so i changed the package price to include the cheaper Finao album. A 10x10 10 page 20 side Finao runs less than $120.00 for photographers price point. Its not a bad album at all for the price point and it does what i want my business model to do for clients that cant afford to step up to the better albums.

We feel something in print like an album is very important and we do not follow the shoot and burn business model.

The vision art albums are awesome and very high quality. So, 90% of our clients will get picto or visio art. The others will get the Finao.

If they want to step up to a QB, Im happy to do that for them.


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memoriesoftomorrow
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Dec 08, 2013 17:53 as a reply to  @ umphotography's post |  #13

umphotography wrote:
We sell an album with every wedding we photograph.It is part of our saturday packages.

I'm going to opposite route for 2015 (2014 is just about full). For the first time I have cut my package to a shots only one. When I started the business and ran for about 4-5 years with album only packages.

In the past year or so I've had a shots only and album package. I've found a gradual increase in the number of folk opting for shots only. I've also had more people interested in an album after the fact rather than making the decision when booking which was the previous situation. Previously it would cost more to add an album after the wedding rather than opting for one up front as it involved additional work in comparison (due to the nature of my album design and the images edited for it... story in itself).

Moving forwards my package (one only) is shots only as such (far from being a shoot and burn though). After that I have 2 album options add ons 40 or 70 pages (no options in between). By the time I take design, tax etc into account my model is such that I'm making a relatively small hourly rate on my design time added to the wholesale price of the album. For me though this doesn't bother me and suits my business model and long term strategy.

If I were to bring in another manufacturer of album (which would mean changing and simplifying how I design books for that manufacturer) I will more than likely not charge for design time and basically sell the albums at a little over the wholesale cost price. (Which will make me rather unpopular with the local competition I'm sure).

The way I look at it is the main value isn't in the albums themselves... the value comes from the content of the albums. The albums are just a display medium for that content. If the content has already been paid for (with the wedding package) then the albums are just ancillary to that. I.e. there is no premium added for the fact an album is wanted. (Cue the stock responses "You are leaving money on the table", "You should upsell" etc).

What I forecast to happen will be an increase over time in those booking shots only. I'm okay with that as it means less time sat in front of a computer not moving designing albums. Whilst I love designing them my back prefers movement. I find the way I design albums means that I don't break off easily the way I can with standard editing.

Funnily enough the competition here has finally caught up to the idea of a large album included as standard. As time goes by and more and more have got clued up the competitive advantage of doing this has declined. This is similar to the period when I started in business and "rebelled" by being on of the early adopters of including high resolution digital files.

I always anticipated as more and more photographers have to switch to part time to stay in business and that the number would grow who would have a more competitive cost base. This is now happening. Whilst many don't find they can cut their cost base there are those who do and over time (due to the saturation in the market) their numbers are increasing. This was inevitable.

I don't envy anyone starting out these days in the wedding photography business as they are effectively about 5-7 years too late. The real opportunities to break in and push up through the market fast have now gone. Anyone starting out today will not be able to leverage the same financial advantages (costs base wise) as you could a few years ago. Neither can they "out package" the opposition and remain sustainable. The mainstream industry has now caught on that digital files are no longer a tool for holding people ransom.

If you start up these days you not only have to have the low cost base, you have to have the business smarts, marketing ability and so much more. More importantly though you have to have something unique to bring to the table and the only thing left is the "individual", their style and the experience they deliver.

There has been a wholesale shift in the Industry in terms of what is expected to be provided by wedding photographers. There has also been a growth of clones (largely aided by the craft requiring less skill than previously and the influx of "copy me" workshop providers.

I believe the equilibrium is now being restored. Except to play the game you have to be better, more skilled in business, more adaptable and more ruthless than ever before. The all-round base requirements for success have been raised. In a general sense being just "good" isn't good enough, you have to be "great" in what you do.

Sorry to have gone on a bit... just wanted to explain my thinking.


Peter

  
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tim
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Dec 08, 2013 21:59 as a reply to  @ memoriesoftomorrow's post |  #14

photopro456 wrote in post #16510337 (external link)
Tim you said that you didn't sell- don't you sell yourself to your wedding clients.

memoriesoftomorrow wrote in post #16510456 (external link)
My approach is like Tim's. Anyone meeting with me is already pre-qualified in the fact that all they could want to know is on my website. By the time someone meets with me they know the price, they know what my images look like, they know what ex clients have said etc. My meetings are pretty much to see if we get on and to show them physical albums. I'm not there to sell, I'm there to explain and show what I do.

Personally I am indifferent as to whether or not someone buys an album or not. It is their choice and I'm not fazed either way.

Not everyone is meant to be my client and I'm perfectly fine with that.

I'm indifferent whether people buy albums, or whether they even book me. I don't want to photograph every wedding, I only want to photograph the weddings that I'm the best fit for. And honestly after 130 odd weddings over 8 years I'm not even sure I want to photograph those any more.


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Peacefield
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Dec 09, 2013 07:12 |  #15

I use Zookbinders. Not quite as high-end as Queensbury, but very nice quality and I'm able to price them right for the clients I tend to work with.

And like Tim, I do not "sell" albums or even myself. I treat every prospect as just an open discussion. If my photographic style and quality as well as personality and price are right for them, no selling is necessary. If not, I wouldn't have wanted them as a client anyway.

Kinda the same thing with my albums. The way I structure my pricing, I make what I want to make on the shoot. While there's some profit to be had in my albums, I don't feel compelled to "sell" them as I've already earned most of the money I needed to. I offer albums so that I can make them available to clients who want them. That said, I probably sell a nice album (and parent albums, etc.) about 2/3 of the time. The other third just want the disc and I'm fine with that.


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