Why photo & video wedding packages have
dramatically changed in Florida
Engaged couples in Florida probably have no idea how dramatically photography and videography wedding packages have changed in recent years. Having worked in the wedding industry for over 20 years I have seen change after change regarding photography and videography and what wedding couples expect, especially here in Florida.
Wedding photography transitioned from film to digital
Back when I started photographing weddings we did this on film and the packages then were pretty straightforward. Nearly all wedding studios would retain the negatives and they would give proofs to the couples and then the couples could choose from the proofs what prints and enlargements they wanted to make. And also what album they wanted to make. The wedding
studios retained those negatives because it allowed them to earn more money on the prints enlargements and albums because the wedding couples could not go elsewhere for those
products. All that changed dramatically when wedding studios made the transition from film to digital. The successful studios made that transition but there were many stalwarts who refused to transition to digital and kept shooting on film. How many wedding wedding photographers do you see today who are only working on film? Nearly zero. In fact here in Florida I don’t know of a single wedding photographer who works strictly in film. Not one. It’s just not practical.
Wedding packages must change with the times
Having worked in the wedding industry for over 20 years as a photographer I have learned that you must adapt to what the industry wants and specifically what the clients are telling you. It’s actually not that difficult if you just listen to the clients, they will tell you what they want in their wedding packages. And if you’re not averse to change you can not only survive but you can thrive in this industry here in Florida. The most recent change that I have seen regarding wedding packages has been …
Wedding Photography packages include
much, much more than in the past
With regards to photography packages, the most notable change is the majority of brides really want some takeaway. What is a takeaway? A takeaway is a product or a deliverable. In this case they want an album and or prints and enlargements. Yes, in the past we often included prints and enlargements and albums. But I’ve noticed a change now with everything being digital the brides feel it’s not enough to just have digital content sent to them. They really like to have some physical thing that they can look at in addition to digital content. As a result, all of our wedding packages now contain a wedding book (as long as the wedding is four or more hours). And also all wedding packages contain a print and enlargement package no matter how many hours we are shooting your wedding. So every wedding couple will know for sure they’re not only getting just the digital files edited but they’re going to walk away with at least some prints and enlargements and in most cases a wedding book. But this change is minor compared with how videography packages have changed…
Wedding videography packages have changed dramatically
The most dramatic change that I have witnessed in the last few years is what is included with a standard videography package. Videography has changed incredibly since back in the day. Your parents and maybe grandparents will probably remember the days when a wedding video was a one hour or 90 minute marathon mini-movie delivered to you on a VHS cassette.. that nobody really ever watched! With the advent of digital videography and with social media and especially YouTube younger generations are used to watching a lot of video and with the smartphone a significant amount of video. What has that done to the wedding industry? Well it’s made us have to improve the quality of the wedding videos because our clients have a lot of experience watching videos. They are a more savvy client than in the past. And it’s made us change the length of the video that we deliver to the clients. Right now 95% of our wedding couples request what in the industry is called a highlight video. A highlight video normally is 4 to 6 minutes in length. It could be a little less or a little more. But it is short clips of video stitched together with background music that tells a story of the entire day. And most importantly, it will be watched. And I know these highlight videos are watched because we monitor the view count on the videos. They are extremely popular and they’re short enough so that you can put them on your smartphone and watch them. But recently wedding couples now want….
Wedding couples want more than just one edited video
In just the last year I have noticed that in addition to the highlight video wedding couples want and are receiving much more than just the highlight video. I can only speak for wedding videography here in Florida and not the rest of the country. But here in Florida it is now standard practice for wedding videographers to deliver multiple edited videos including: Yes they do receive the highlight video but they also receive a 60-second teaser video which is basically a highlight compressed into one minute. These are also very popular for social media and that is why they can also be referred to as “social media” videos. You can put them on Instagram for example or TikTok. But the couples also want a longer video, longer than the highlight video. In the industry we wedding studios refer to these as cinematic-length or feature-length videos and they typically range from 30 to 45 minutes in length but rarely more than 45 because the attention span for longer videos just runs out and people don’t watch them. How do we know? Again, because we monitor the view count. But what do these longer videos contain?
What makes the longer videos different
than the highlight video?
The cinematic-length videos normally would contain more of and possibly the entire ceremony (depending on the length of the ceremony), speeches or toasts at the reception and probably the special dances i.e. first dance and parent dances, father-daughter and mother-son. But that’s not all. The clients want all the raw video footage in addition to these three edited videos. This allows them the ability to go back and watch everything. For example, if they want to watch every bit of the ceremony and hear all of the vows again or hear all of the speeches and all of the toasts, they can do that now. How does this affect the wedding studios? The big change here is the amount of videography editing that is done. By delivering three edited videos we have significantly increased the editing time required for each wedding package. But that is what the couples are requesting. It’s what the couples are expecting and it’s the way the industry is is growing.
When I started out as a wedding photographer, I noticed in later years we would lose contracts because another photo studio would offer videography in addition to photography. So, many years ago we started offering videography as a side business or an add-on business. The reality is videography has become so popular that it is at least if not a little more than 50% of our business now. In summary …
What does all this mean for wedding packages?
To summarize, the major changes in wedding photo and video packages in Florida are the following: the photo packages all receive a wedding book and prints and enlargements and the video packages receive three edited videos and all the raw video footage. But what does that do to the package prices ….
Does this mean higher prices for the clients?
You would think this would increase the cost of each package. But, in reality, our prices have remained the same for the last three years with no price increases and we’ve been able to offer all of these additional add-ons at a very reasonable price. How have we done that? We’ve done it through the effective use of technology. We’re now able to produce edited photo and video much quicker — we’re able to edit it much quicker than we used to and more affordably and at a higher quality and this let’s us deliver it to the client quicker. We deliver all edited photos and videos within 3 weeks of the wedding day which makes us one of the fastest studios in Florida. And ultimately, this makes our wedding packages here very competitive and a great price point. And this means even more change …
Making even more change for
wedding photographers & videographers
Just as the industry had to change from film to digital, the wedding photographers and videographers will continue to have to change what they offer in their wedding packages and the price point at which they offer them. The same is going to happen that happened years ago with film to digital. Some of the studios will resist this change because they’re not used to giving all of these additional products and add-ons at no extra charge. They’re used to charging for each of these items as add-ons or upsells but not anymore. The studios that embrace this change and include it are going to be the ones that will thrive and endure and the ones that don’t make the change soon, you will see go away and they simply won’t be in the industry anymore. That is my prediction. I’ve seen this time and time again. The vendors who work in this industry have to keep their finger on the pulse of the industry and see what the clients want. Listen to what the clients want and make the changes accordingly. Who gains the most from these changes?
Wedding couples win big with this change
Who gains the most from these changes in the industry? Well, of course the clients do. The wedding couples — they gain because they’re receiving significantly more value in their photography and videography packages then they did in the past i.e. more products and services at a similar or even lower price point than in the past. At the time of this writing, when inflation is surging, so many other Industries are increasing their prices a lot. However, we are seeing very little price increases in the wedding industry for photo and video services. That could be unique to Florida because there is a lot of competition among wedding photographers and videographers, but I don’t think so. I believe any major metropolitan market that has a thriving wedding industry is going through the same. I hear the frustration from my peers and competitors who are wedding photographers and videographers because they are constantly saying: “I used to be able to charge blah blah blah and now I can’t.” And you know what? They’re correct. They are right. You cannot charge what you used to. And you have to offer more in each package. What is the solution? The only way to make up the difference is through volume. Wedding photographers and videographers will have to increase their volume i.e. you have to shoot more weddings. And that’s what we’re doing now. On average right now we are doing about 100 weddings per year and that seems to be a good amount where we can maintain a good business but also maintain the same quality control. And finally, couples want …
Couples want to customize photo & video packages
The final change that more and more wedding couples require are customized photo and video packages. They don’t want cookie cutter photo and video packages. They want to be able to pick and choose what they want in a package and we have found that that is a very good competitive advantage. We will listen to the couple and we will design any package they want, any length of time, any number of team members working the event, and any products or services. We will create a package that fits them. By doing that, yes it is more work on our part, but the clients appreciate the extra attention and they feel like they are coming away with exactly what they want. Ultimately, wedding photography and videography is an art form but it’s also a service and if we can keep our clients happy we will survive and thrive through this and any other future changes that come down the road.
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