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

Comments on Open letter to wedding photographers about their websites

  1. I’m currently (as in always) redoing my website and am super excited about this thread! I would love any feedback/critique as I am ALWAYS trying to do my very best. I pay a small fortune for legal my music each year and would have never guessed that it annoyed most,hmmmm. Again, thank you all for your comments!

    • The problem with music is, as someone else said, it’s a very personal thing and the chances are a lot of potential clients aren’t going to like the same music you do so whilst it might add to the experience for some it will instantly put others off, before they’ve even really looked at the photos.

      Also the majority of people are likely to either be at work where music will be an instant give-away to everyone else that they’re not working, or at home playing their own music. I don’t know about anyone else but in my case unless I’m using them the computer speakers are off, so either your music will be competing with mine or I won’t even know it’s there.

      But thank you for at least paying for it! I know a lot of musicians who would be very grateful you even thought to do so.

  2. I’m really glad to see positive feedback from photographers who read this article! It makes me smile to see how there are vendors out there who truly care about the opinions of their potential customers. I’m another bride that instantly lost interest in photographers that didn’t at least give me a price range for their packages. The only reason I can see why a photographer is unforthcoming about their pricing would be if they’re hoping to catch couples who’d dismiss them based on their average price and try to persuade them to splurge. To photographers of that opinion: Have you taken a look at the economy lately? Just be upfront about yourself and what you charge. I really appreciate vendors who are open with me at the start, because I know they won’t be shifty with other information I’ll ask them about later.

  3. I really don’t understand why some posting prices is such an issue. If you are worried about losing money by listing too low a price, make sure you say “packages starting at” and then list what that includes. Solid numbers aren’t necessary. Any bride will tell you prices they are given are estimates only. So long as they can be assured a cost won’t go over “x” amount, then they are content.

    Be good to your brides AND your business! You will sell your packages if you are a good photographer and your prices are listed! Even high end cake shops lists a starting price for their product, and there is no reason why you should not as well!

    Take the extra time to list your prices. I’m not being cynical, because I 100% support small businesses and too often, I see small businesses fail due to not advertising their product correctly (and often being too proud to admit they are). I’m an Accountant, btw, who has worked in advertising in both Corporate America and in the small business sector. The easiest page a small business can take out of the corporate business book is to learn how to advertise your product.

    Your product is great! Very worthwhile! Just be sure the everyday man and woman (old and young), can understand what they are looking at!

  4. it does bother me that many of these vendors only have white couples. sure it is probably coincidence and it’s like i am turned away from a vendor if they don’t have diverse clients. but at the same time, when you’re trying to picture you and your family dealing with whatever vendor, it’s hard to do that if all you see are lily white couples. non-white people get married too!

  5. Hey everyone. I think I’m ready to close comments on this post, but wanted to leave one final perspective.

    Both the managing editor of Offbeat Bride AND the managing editor of Offbeat Mama are working wedding photographers, and they both actively petitioned for this post to go public. I think the discussion here is a valuable one, and see the feedback from brides as crucial market research for photographers in reaching Offbeat Bride’s niche of the wedding market. (I say “niche,” but “niche” = 300,000 people a month.)

    Yes, Offbeat Brides are lower budget and not all photographers’ primary market, so this feedback won’t relate to everyone — but I hear consistently from the photographers who are repeat advertisers with Offbeat Bride that OBBs provide the best portfolio fodder, making them extremely desirable clients.

    That said, this post has gotten a lot of publicity, and we’ve deleted a dozen or so negative and scornful comments left by both brides AND photographers. And at this point, it feels like there’s little of value to be added to the conversation, which means it’s time to close comments.

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