Nashville’s documentary wedding photographer
and headshot studio.
For engaged couples gathering information about services for their upcoming wedding, interaction they have with vendors can make or break their overall experience. Today, I’m creating a two sided discussion on the topic of wedding vendor price inquiries. I’ve seen one side complain about the other, so much division. It’s not supposed to be that way.
It’s really this simple. As a service provider, I obviously need my clients. My website is my initial sales tool. Mine is set up very deliberately to attract clients who want what I offer, and put couples off with different expectations. They need us to provide a service and to make the load they carry a bit lighter. Just as I mentioned I qualify clients, they have to do the same. There shouldn’t be animosity. Here are direct comments on this topic from a shopping bride.
Ok, pricing transparency, I agree that something should be available to prospective clients. Depending on the products or services we offer, sometimes there are too many possibilities to list them all, and only overwhelm the viewer. Sometimes, as seen on my own website, a starting price or range is a good compromise. We know you’re busy, and the last thing most of us would want to do is cause you a hassle or waste your time.
Be specific in your inquiries-
Even if it’s copied and pasted. We won’t know, or care. Basic info about the wedding is important. It’s not logical to think a choppy how much email can be sent, and you get the most solid response without being asked for more information to base pricing on. Why do some find it easier to email 10 providers than to pick a few they’re most interested in, and keep the conversation productive? That’s where this bride was partially creating her own problem. You get out what you put in. She’s right, it shouldn’t be like pulling teeth, but being impulsive and impatient isn’t conducive to the discussion either. It’s a personal service. A good provider can provide guidance, and most of us want to help you, not oversell you.
Ghosting or responding –
She’s right, she isn’t obligated to respond to everyone, but there again, it’s more productive to research more and contact fewer to simplify. She’s also right, it’s proper to respond to vendors who have spent time with you, even if you went a different direction. Also true, if a vendor never follows up, a response on your part isn’t necessary. This is also where a professional service provider shouldn’t be badgering brides or grooms, but simply thank them for thinking of them. It’s very much a two-way street.
Final thoughts on wedding vendor price inquiries –
I see some frustration from her, and others. Also vendors. My best tip, when shopping, it never hurts to be friendly and detailed. In fact, the quality of the answers you get from vendors will be exponentially better. Less is more, with number of inquiries, and avoid the foul tempers and attitude. Both sides. We’re here to help each other. Not oppose.
I spoke with Mike by email a bit over a month prior to Mike and Reigny’s proposal, completely unbeknownst to Reigny of course. Mike lives in Alabama and is attending flight school there, and Reigny lives in Arkansas. of course the plan is to come together when their respective tasks are done. But the couple enjoyed a trip to Nashville to spend Valentines day weekend together.
Mike and Reigny met at college in Arkansas, where they attended a study group together. They didn’t know each other going in, but they could only ignore the chemistry for so long. When they finally went out, they talked until the wee hours, which caused both of them to miss class the next morning. But that’s a small price to pay, since now their relationship and story of their love is cemented.
I love proposals because it shows me guys really can be spontaneous and creative. Reigny knew this was coming at some point, but never was able to predict that a random wall across the bridge from the restaurant to the car would be the unexpected magical moment of their lives. There is without a doubt a bright future for them, and it was my pleasure to document their monumental event. Through the eyes of a journalist, without the stiff poses and contrived feelings. Natural human emotion and love. I hope you’ve enjoyed Mike and Reigny’s proposal, congratulations and stay in touch or else I will keep texting you at 3 AM 😛
Meet Jayde Smith, a highly experienced Nashville wedding planner. Even during the rocky times of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, Jayde has managed to grow her company, Jayde J. Smith Events and help couples plan their ideal weddings, for both middle Tennessee and destination couples. Below is a bit of information about Jayde, her transition into building her own wedding and events planning company, and key benefits of hiring a qualified planner
Now, to quote Jayde directly (I’ll spare you the italics, you’re welcome.) –
I’ve always had a passion for helping others. I received my bachelors degree in public relations, so I quite genuinely majored in people! An internship on Music Row landed me in Nashville, and I’ve been in the wonderful world of events in Nashville for over 5 years. Five years of non-profit galas, corporate events, wedding coordinating and wedding planning. Now I am proud to be an independent Nashville wedding planner growing my business through referrals, professional connections, and reputation.
I got my start in the coordinating / planning business while working at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, Carnton Plantation in Franklin, TN,, then Geny’s Wholesale Florist And Bridal. A bit of trivia; I met Joan Presley of Geny’s as a bride myself when I purchased flowers from Geny’s for my own wedding!
I think it’s important for brides to hire a wedding planner because for me personally, I truly genuinely want the couple to enjoy their season of engagement. I don’t want them to look back on their season of engagement and planning and think of only stress, tensions blazing and consistent concern if they are over budget. Let me handle all of the organization, vendor communication and budget maintenance while the two of you have fun at cake tastings and engagement photos!
Plus, a planner is the best gift you could give a Mother of the Bride on her daughter’s wedding day. Keep mom from having to run around all day so she can be your side and the two of you can make special memories to last a lifetime as daughter and mother, and as Bride and Mother of the Bride. If you need a Nashville wedding planner, please reach out for a consultation.
Please keep in mind, this advice for new wedding photographers is meant to build better photographers and encourage the ones who truly want to do this correctly. There is no animosity towards new or prospective wedding photographers from me. But it’s no secret that I believe the wedding industry needs a good shot of chlorine. Let’s begin.
1-There are already too many wedding photographers-
Don’t let that discourage you, if this isn’t a “going after the gravy train” attempt. You’re serving couples on the biggest day of their lives, with friends and family they often rarely see. No pressure, but don’t F this up for them. At that point, I doubt there would be much forgiveness for lower prices. If you want in the wedding photography industry, do it for the right reasons. It’s not easy money like many think. You have to love working with couples to give them a great experience, and tell their story, while passionate about it. Don’t be just another one.
2-Have solid systems-
From a solid contract with clear terms, such as photo delivery time, what is included, etc. to backup equipment, it all matters. I’ve heard about many $500 wedding photographers who ran out of batteries, failed to deliver photos, clients having to hound them to get photos, etc. It’s a buyer beware service. Often, couples don’t want to hear that they didn’t hire an amazing photographer for a cheap price, they hired an amateur without a proven track record. Also, online gallery interface and means of file delivery should be nicely presented and user friendly. Not ambiguous to the couple.
On the day of, a solid proven system of working also helps the experience. As well as being responsible for delivering a signature and consistent product. Being organized and systematic is a reminder to the couple of why they hired you. Have experience and systems before taking on your own weddings. Learn from pros, pay dues. Not a popular piece of advice, but too bad. Being unqualified, no matter how cheap, is never cool.
3- Think like a smart business person, not emotionally –
You’re better off gaining experience being mentored by pros and working on your own style, and coming in as a freelance with an advantage. Building equipment, experience with not only technical photography aspects, lighting, and procedures with weddings, is time consuming and expensive. Be realistic about your skill set, if you’re ready, and don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth. Don’t apologize for charging to sustain your business.
“Oh, Kaitlyn charges $800 and gives all photos, etc.” So what? Lowering your prices to compete with that fictitious character is an emotional decision, not a sound business decision. When you factor in your time with the clients, photographing the event, post production, blogging and presentation, print products, etc. as well as expense, the math has to make sense. Taxes, insurance, paying for and learning software, and overall value we provide clients are part of what they’re paying for. You pay someone for what they know, not just what they do.
4- Why hire you? –
I remember years ago sitting with a middle aged businesswoman interviewing me for her wedding photography. She said, why should I hire you? I was in the early days of being known for my photojournalist style of wedding photography, which was why she called me for a meeting. Deep inside, I was peeing myself when she asked me that, and she probably knew it, lol.
I simply said, I am assuming the reason you called me here is because you like the style of photojournalist, non-intrusive coverage, and you knew what you wanted. Otherwise you wouldn’t have contacted me. It worked, I think she just wanted to be sure I would be confident and organized. Clients who are informed hire wedding photographers for the following reasons.
-They like you.
-They like the style and experience you provide.
-They see the value in what you offer and your products. Notice I didn’t say cheap or price. Value.
If price is the main reason you’re being hired, there’s a good chance you’re targeting the wrong clients and your own experience will become frustrating. Have a vision and a plan, or be just another one.
5- Not everyone is your client
Perhaps the best advice for new wedding photographers that I didn’t scare off already, realizing that not all business is good business. Being desperate and taking any client, dropping prices enough to get them doesn’t win you the right business. If you refer to the above segment, you know that the most qualified clients hire for your signature style and approach, they gel with you, and like your systems and products.
I’ve had couples that have been lovely and were pleased as punch when I put together a small intimate package for them. Especially on an off month, and that was all they needed. It’s the ones who want the farm for peanuts and are demanding that are often problem clients. Experience teaches you things like this in business. Those who learn and adjust their systems, are likely to succeed. Those who blame others and don’t learn from things, are just going to fall out of love with what they do and burn out. Love of craft is good, passion for business and clients is the one thing that holds that together.
I’m very excited to announce the release of my third book, Abandoned Tennessee II Touched By Time. The publisher is Fonthill Media and part of the America Through Time series featuring abandoned building photos of various parts of the US.
I’m always going to be extremely proud of my first releases, Abandoned Tennessee and Abandoned Kentucky. But as the series grows and my skills as an author grow, that only brings more to the table for the series. In this volume, there is a great variety, including an abandoned old schoolhouse with quite history, two houses in the backwoods that required a UTV ride, an antebellum mansion with antique appliance, so much more. Official release date is February 25, 2019.
Abandoned Tennessee II Touched By Time will be at local book stores, Barnes and Noble, BAM, and other book retailers. It will also be on Amazon, available for preorder even before release date! Grab your copy, and enjoy sharing my adventure. I’m so excited and proud to announce this new release, I can’t wait to hear what you think as you expand your Jay Farrell library!! 😀