The wedding day is over and your wedding photographer has just delivered your digital files!!!
What are you going to do with them?
Sadly, what usually ends up happening with a digital-files-only wedding photography collection is... NOTHING!
Many brides feel if they have their digital files, they have all they need. But a year later, they are still sitting on the hard drive collecting digital dust, the bride having done nothing with them. After the wedding, life gets back to its normal breakneck pace of hum drum routine - work and play, assuming you have time to play.
After spending as little as $1000 or as much as $4000 plus, aside from a USB thumbdrive (if you are lucky to get even that, hello digital download), what did you really get from your wedding photographer for actual memories?
I don't know how this became a standard expectation of modern brides - getting nothing from their wedding photographer - but it seems the digital age has ushered in the ultimate wedding photography scam. Pay thousands of dollars and get a "product" that can go poof and disappear in a flash, forever, with the wrong click of a mouse.
A physical record of your wedding day is important to have. Without one, you have nothing to remember your wedding day by. As easy as it is to throw up digital files on Facebook and be happy with that, will Facebook be around 10 years from now? 20 years? Will the digital file format be readable 20 years from now?
As much as you hope to get around to creating that DIY album or making a few prints yourself, chances are you simply won't.
I found a great blog post by a Toronto studio - Ten-2-Ten - Pro Albums vs. Do-It-Yourself | What are Modern Brides Doing with Their Photos?
This studio sent out a survey to a large selection of post-wedding brides. They wanted to know what brides were doing with digital files and their thoughts on albums. The results did not surprise them or me as I opened at the start of this post.
That's right... a big fat zero, nada, zip, nothing, never-going-to-get-around-to-it.
The #1 reason brides choose digital files was because they "wanted to do their own printing." But they also said they wanted an album, either bought from their photographer or DIY.
But what happened? Did they buy an album or make one themselves?
I think you already know the answer.
The majority of brides said they did nothing with the digital files they were given once the wedding was over.
Ten-2-Ten was just as confused as I was reading this article.
Brides said they wanted a wedding album - a professional one, or DIY - but they simply never got around to actually GETTING an album. Only 25% of those who said they were going to make their own album actually did with the digital files they got from their photographer. And of the 70% who said they were going to buy an album? Only 10% did - one in seven brides never bought an album despite saying they wanted one.
Assuming, which I think is safe to do, that this action on albums applies to prints as well, this means...
3 out of 4 brides - 75% and more - have absolutely NO PHYSICAL RECORD of their wedding day.
As a photographer who loves making prints and albums - this is beyond shocking to me.
No prints (or just a few).
No wedding album.
No set of printed, hard copy, forever around unless in a house fire proofs.
All the kinds of things their parents and grandparents had, the old family albums they look at with awe and amazement, these brides have what?
For all the money spent, whether it was $1000 or $4000 to get your digital files only, at the end of the day you got nothing for your money.
I think this is what was really missed in the Ten-2-Ten article.
Brides today are spending money on wedding photography and getting NOTHING in return.
Primarily because they think they are getting a better deal, it's cheaper, to get just digital files. But if you have no physical memory of your wedding day, what exactly was "the deal" you got going with just your digital files?
The three reasons you will most likely never do anything with the digital files from your wedding?
Life goes on - the wedding fades from memory and priority like a lightning flash as you return to work and living your life together.
You start a family - which of course means you have LOTS of time to design an album right?
It's hard - laying out an album design, ensuring colour match-to-print, etc - these are not on a bride's mind when she thinks it will be "cheaper" to design an album herself.
The #1 reason brides don't buy an album - the high cost.
Brides in the survey said they wanted a professional style album, but they only wanted to spend at most $200. While I can understand every brides budget is under pressure, to expect an album for under $500 is pushing the limits of basic mathematics and cost of production.
A Love's Bliss entry level professional album - 8x8, 20 pages and digital flushmount (i.e. not an inkjet BLURB book) - will cost our studio $300 to arrive at our doorstep. That $300 cost has not covered:
- time creating the album, a minimum of 10 hours and usually 20
- time in consulting with you to ensure you like the design
- cost of the software used to design the album
- cost of sample albums/prints to ensure accurate colour reproduction
- time tracking album production and shipment
- time keeping the bride informed about the status of her album
- time reviewing the album for printer or design errors when it arrives
This is why a wedding album, from a professional supplier and created by your professional photographer, will never be sold for $200. It is completely unrealistic for a bride to want an amazing professional photographer's wedding album for $200 or less.
I think what this all boils down to is digital culture - the expectation that if something is digital, then everything associated with it should be "free." But what do you get for free? Usually not much and unfortunately, brides are opting for the digital memories and not the real ones and still paying a high price to get nothing.
Your wedding memories deserve a physical record to pass on to future generations.
Every collection with Love's Bliss includes, at a minimum, a custom art print credit for getting some real, printed images from your wedding photographer.
Yes, we are more expensive than most digital files only Winnipeg wedding photographers, but we feel your wedding memories are worth investing in something that is real and will last.