There’s been a lot of debate lately about where the wedding and portrait photography business is going. Some are headstrong that there’s only one way- shoot and share. Others, like myself, have product and service based businesses. Where I think the industry is going is that both of these models can work. Or even a blend of the two. While we as photographers can discuss it in terms of shoot and share or product/service based, let’s reframe, from the client’s point of view, what the choice really is for them. This is about THEM after all.
For the client who is cost and creative conscious, the shoot and share photographer is a perfect fit. This client enjoys the creative process and is more of a do-it-yourself sort of person. For some, doing it yourself is a cost conscious decision. For others it is purely for the love of adding their own touch and being creative. Choosing a shoot and share photographer may be a cost conscious choice or a creative involvement choice. There are many people who fall into this category. It’s what I call ‘the creative class’.
For the client seeking quality and service, they will prefer a photographer who’s business is product and service based. This client wants to do very little themselves and is willing to pay for the execution of their portraits, albums, framing, holiday cards, etc. Their objective is to achieve high-quality works of art and to have a professional they can heavily rely on to get it done in a convenient manner for them.
As much as there is seemingly a trend towards the shoot and share photographer there is just as much a trend towards people wanting more service than ever before. In my 30 years in business I have seen our client’s lives get busier and busier. Those clients are seeking additional services and protection of quality for the investment they’re making.
There’s been an increase in people who want to do their own creative self expression. There are plenty of people that are cost conscious. And there are plenty of people seeking professionals to do more and more for them. So the main thing to know is there’s enough to go around. I’m not willing to live an ‘either or’ world. I believe there’s abundance available for all. Society has diversified and the needs of consumers is more varied than perhaps ever before. The world should embrace the diversity. Entrepreneurs should welcome the challenge. Photographers should stop fighting against each other.