Open letter to wedding photographers about their websites

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Dear wedding photographers,

I think you're swell but, as a whole, your websites suck.

First of all, turn the freaking music off.

Seriously.

I'm probably looking at your site at work and it's hard to find the off button and I probably don't like the music you picked nor do I care since I didn't come to you for music.

Don't do it — you're going to get a potential client in trouble!

Secondly, it should not take 100 years for your site or gallery to load. The best way to ensure this is to NOT USE FLASH! And while we're on the subject of the gallery, how to move from one picture to another should be obvious to my grandmother and I should be able to peruse the thumbnails.

I should also be able to use the keyboard or the scroller on my mouse to move through the pictures (which is another reason NOT TO USE FLASH!)

Also, I'm pretty sure 75% of you all have the exact same Flash site re-branded. Stop it. Want something inexpensive? Try WordPress with a custom template design. [Editor's note: or even just a good pre-made theme.] And do NOT have your gallery or site pop-up! EVER!

Thirdly, don't have your blog header take up the entire screen. I get confused and think there are no posts or something. And if you don't have a blog with most of your current wedding previews, make one.

Fourthly, tell me how much you cost. I don't care if you do “custom” packages, tell me how much your typical package is and what it includes.

Fifth, I'm probably going to post the photos on facebook. If you have a problem with this, the best way to handle it is to give me lo-res versions of all pictures with your watermark. Then everyone is happy.

Lastly, tell me WHERE YOU LIVE. I totally get that you want to travel and stuff but I'm not looking to pay for that so make it really obvious where you live and shoot weddings generally. Don't make me look up your area code on google. Instead how about say “Chicago Wedding Photographer” instead of just “Wedding Photographer.”

Seriously I love you guys, but weddings are stressful and photography is expensive, so make it a bit easier on us! True I'm already married and had an awesome photographer (with a great website!) but since I have three good friends getting married next year, I now have to look at all the sites again… and it's annoying. It is also true that I develop web sites for a living and am probably more critical than most… but really, I'm trying to help!

Sincerely,
Becca

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Comments on Open letter to wedding photographers about their websites

  1. I agree completely!
    For someone on a tiny tiny budget, it’s hard to find any vendor. When I don’t see pricings, I skip the site. If I see a package that’s a bit out of my price range, I will be tempted to call or write to know if we can make things work. It would just take TOOOOO long to write every caterer, photog, venue for prices if only a handful will fit my budget!
    And I don’t understand why posting pics on facebook would cause a problem to anyone. If I see great pictures on one of my “friend”‘s page on facebook, I will ask for their experience with their photographer. It’s free advertisement!
    And for the rest: music, location, navigating through thumbnails : SO FREAKIN’ TRUE!!!

  2. Plus…honestly…if a photographer won’t let me post the photos on Facebook or add them to the Offbeat Bride Flickr pool. Yknow…

    …I’m just not going to give them my business. Either you let me put them online (with links to you, credit to you, watermarks, low res, whatever) or I don’t give you my business. End of.

  3. The price thing! I usually go by “If I need to ask the price, I can’t afford it.” And move on.

  4. Thanks for the advice! Hopefully my css gallery isn’t too annoying…perhaps I should add an ‘images will take a min to load’ note on it. I don’t have prices up yet because I’m restructuring everything; changing my focus to alternative lifestyle weddings. (and I haven’t been actively marketing, so very few people should be getting annoyed by it. )

    You’ve given me lots to consider! Thanks again for your helpful blog!
    Georgina

  5. THANK YOU. I am so glad I found my photographer. I was excited about the search because the photography was the One Big Thing That Had to Be Perfect and Could Be Expensive, but going through the websites was maddening. I don’t mind flash, but I HATE the music. And let’s save everybody time by giving a general idea what the charge is. If I’m on a budget of $1500, let’s not even bother with the email we’re you tell me you charge $3000 for what I want.

  6. I am a wedding photographer in Santiago, Chile (clearly marked on my website, with starting prices, hahaha!) and I agree with all of these things. I paid a lot of money for a customized wordpress blogsite even though all my fellow photographers have the super clean, simple websites. I feel very happy to hear that brides think they all look the same because I do too 🙂

    And I think music is too personal to put on a website. No one has the same taste. What speaks to me, doesn’t speak to everyone.

    To those talking about Facebook, I definitely give my brides the high res retouched images with no watermark, so it’s cool with me that you post on Facebook. I do think it’s common courtesy to post a link to a website or at least my name or something, however, if you don’t do it, I’m not going to flip out, because like many of you pointed out — those are your photos that you paid for and you can do what you want with them.

    Interesting discussion, GREAT article OBB!

  7. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! As a wedding photographer, reading this has been hugely helpful to me. It’s so great to know what REAL brides think about this stuff. I will definitely be sending this to every photographer I know!

  8. Wow! I’m happy I stumbled on this thread. One of my updates will surely be to include a price range on my site.

    I’d like to quickly speak to the Facebook Image issue that was mentioned a while ago. For the most part, photographers use social networking as a marketing tool. Most times people don’t mention the photographer when posting the image, and when the logo is cut off as well, the person who worked so hard doesn’t get any credit. I try to make my logo unobtrusive when I post, but I would still like for people to be able to find me if they like the images on your page.

    I think it’s a win-win situation.

    • You make a really good point. I think it’s completely reasonable to say that clients can post photos online as long as there is a watermark or a credit/link. Obviously, you can’t always enforce it but I agree that for most it’s a win-win. I have a link to my photog on all my flickr photos but now I’ll add them to facebook. 🙂

  9. Man, it was so great to read these comments!
    As a photographer, I pride myself on upfront basic pricing. You’re big girls. I’m know you can handle it.

    No music, no flash, no missing info. Done.

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