An Entire Industry in Need of Disrupting…

Over this Thanksgiving break I’ve given some thought to an industry’s business model that is based on a monopoly that no longer exists. Like real estate agents who enjoyed premiere access to listings, foreclosures and a mountain of sales data that the average consumer couldn’t easily study, the gatekeepers of this industry have leveraged their 20th century model to the breaking point. I, as a consumer, am ready for the revolution.

I’m talking, of course, about wedding photography.

The revolution will be digitized

Excuse the melodrama…it’s Monday morning.

Here’s the problem. Our wedding photographer took hundreds and hundreds of pictures – maybe even a thousand. We paid her an enormous amount of money (all things are relative, I know, but I’m a pretty frugal guy). And now we have five photographs which we’ll frame for display in different parts of our house, plus a coffee table-sized book she’ll lay out for us that features another couple dozen of our photos. The rest, the vast majority of the photographs she took, will sit on a hard drive somewhere in a closet until enough years have passed that she feels comfortable enough to erase them.

What an incredible inefficiency!

No one else will want copies of those photographs other than my wife and I (and our mothers of course), but we’re also not going to fork over enough money to cover the cost of printing each and every one of them.

What needs to happen, of course, is that we should receive digital copies of all of our wedding photographs so that we can do with them what we see fit. It’s our special day, and we have 1/100th of the work she did to capture it in our possession.

The business model’s to blame…

To me, this is a great example of the business model getting in the way of the technology. The technology is there, it’s just figuring out how it all shakes out. Personally, I don’t think our wedding photographer should make any less money. I just don’t want to pay her for the production of our photographs in the form of physical photographs. The means of production cost near to zilch. I want to pay her for the expert photography and lay out of our photographs (which she did a tremendous job of, by the way). She’s an incredibly well-trained photographer with a lot of experience. I want to pay her for that, not for printing our photos. Heck, I can do that at Wal-Mart.

What do you think

Are most photographers already upping their initial fee or hourly and offering the photos digitally? Can you normally get these on a CD and I just need to be persistent? Do excuse the Monday morning rant, but hey, don’t even get me started on the videographer…

5 thoughts on “An Entire Industry in Need of Disrupting…

  1. I’m a digital wedding photographer and have been shooting weddings digitally for the past 8 years, I have always included a CD – DVD of all the photos I took of the wedding as part of my package.


  2. Thanks for stopping by and setting me straight.

    I talked to a few photographers in the last couple of hours who told me that while what my photographer is doing isn’t rare, it’s not across the board either. In other words, more and more photographers are doing what you are and providing digital copies of the photographs.


  3. A friend of mine recently got married and she had to do what you did…that is pay for each picture she wanted printed out, etc. However, the photographer offered a CD/DVD of all the photos for something like $100-$150. Her mother bought it and now they have them all.


  4. Tom, sorry for the late response – didn’t see your comment there.

    It’s been a long time, but I’m sure I did, and therefore obviously I’m accountable to whatever I signed.

    That said, rather recently we got an email from our wedding photographer offering to sell us a DVD with all the photos in .JPG format.

    So, happy ending and all that.


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