wedding associations

American Wedding Association Photographer of the Year

Can you compete with today’s "Auto Pro?"
by Bill Rueb
I was at Sam’s the other day looking at their camera equipment and found, for under $1000.00, a Nikon D5100, 16.2 MP Digital camera with a 18-55mm VR Lens , Nikon 55-200mm VR Lens and a Nikon DSLR Bag. Also being offered was a Canon 18 MP Digital SLR with additional lenses for $849.00

I am sure that most of us saw the recent television commercial, featuring a 20’s something gentleman in a tux sporting an SLR camera at a wedding reception. He was taking beautifully, well composed, professional looking photographs. He flies across our screen grabbing one of those money shots exclaiming, “I got it!” I keep waiting for the day I will see a commercial featuring a 7 year old in a tux sitting with a future bride and groom planning a shot list and looking over his professional portfolio with the tag, “So simple a 7 year old can do it.”

Our industry has been flooded with an avalanche of amateur photographers sporting huge megapixel cameras, nice lenses and a quality flash with everything set on nothing more than “auto” and bang, instant wedding photographer ready to compete with you.

There are many avenues leading these amateurs into the wedding photography industry. Today, most people have a working understanding of Photoshop so that even a decent photograph can be adjusted into a good photograph with very little effort. The new amateur/professionals have grown up taking 1000s of photos with their phones and loading them into their social networks for their friends to not only see but to then share within their social networks. With the aid of the internet they can receive a college type education for very little investment by tapping into the vast and seemingly endless body of resources available to the aspiring photographer today. Additionally, in many markets, there are networking photographer groups quite eager to share their experience and skills with others. For example, I know of one market of 500,000 that has one such group with over 525 members. Most of these are developing their skills and hungry to start their businesses. These “auto professionals” are able, for less than a $2000 investment, to compete head to head with your $7000+ outfits and effectively cut your annual sales quickly in half if not more.

My prediction is that eventually over half of these auto pros will fade into the sunset but the talented ones will remain and continue. What this means is, that those of us who are committed to enduring the storm must invest our time and energy into keeping up with the changes in the buying habits of the consumer, create atomic level marketing plans, develop exceptionally creative customer driven product value strategies and provide visually inspired photographs that bring the WOW.

Today’s consumers, thanks to resources like the internet, are more intelligent than at any other time in history. So if you want to command a high price for your artistic talent you better be able to bring it and back it up.

One such strategy is to enter your work into wedding photography competitions like the one being offered by the American Wedding Association. The American Wedding Association has been combing the country nominating professional photographers to compete in becoming the American Wedding Association Photographer of the year, 2012. There will only be one winner, but all who are nominated will be invited to feature their work in the AWA galleries and place in their marketing material and web sites, “Nominated American Wedding Association Photographer of the Year.” If you don’t believe this accolade is valuable, think again. This honor carries prestige and sets you apart from the competition. It places you in a very élite category where you will stand with a very talented family of professionals.

This honor tells your potential customer that you are a talented and noted professional. Also, if you believe that the AWA missed you, please submit your web site portfolio and the American Wedding Association will review your work for consideration.

For information reguarding the competition, visit the Members Only area of this site.

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