When we restructured our core wedding packages last year, I decided to include an album and a print in every one. People may think it's just another way for a greedy photographer to squeeze a few more dollars out of a client, but what we've done by including and discounting an album and a print is create an incentive for all of our clients to have a real keepsake of their day.
The reason is simple: We want your children and their children to be able to look back on this day and understand, just a little, who you were at this important juncture in your lives. A few weeks ago, I attended Imaging USA, the annual conference and trade show of the Professional Photographers of America. It was a great conference, with more than 11,000 photographers in attendance and lectures by many of the biggest names in the industry.
One of them, the fabulous Tampa wedding photographer Booray Perry, said that there's only one thing couples purchase for their wedding that will increase in value over time: The Album. If you purchase an album for, say $1,000, and I came back to you in 10 years offering to buy it back, what would you be willing to accept? Certainly a lot more than the purchase price. Maybe there would be no price, he argued. And I think he's right.
We store thousands and thousands of memories in our digital files, sitting on our phones or computers or somewhere in the cloud, and it creates two problems. The first, pointed out in a great article in Petapixel recently, has to do with data rot. Files get lost, corrupted, or obsolete. the second, which Booray mentioned, is about volume. Those thousands and thousands of photos over time become an impenetrable pile of digital noise that we forget about and don't have the time to sort through. So while they may not be lost, they also can't be found!
My parents have a single photograph of their wedding day, a studio portrait of them smiling at the camera. I sometimes look at that image and try to imagine who my parents were back then, but with only a single image, it is difficult to understand their hopes, their fears, or their emotions. What I wouldn't give to see their album.