This Simple App Could Spell The End of Wedding Photographers

Aug 11, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

This Simple App Could Spell The End of Wedding Photographers

Aug 11, 2015

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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Anybody who has ever shot weddings can attest to the fact that wedding guests can be great assets or tremendous liabilities to you and your task of effectively capturing the day.  That’s about the extent of the diplomacy I can muster at this point.  Guests dancing at a reception providing awesome photo ops = Good.  Guests stepping in and trying to direct the bride and groom during their private shoot so that said guest can grab their desired shot (true story) = Little short of infuriating.  But, one app is poised to take it to a whole new level of hot-under-the-collar for photographers.

Ceremony is a free and novel little mobile app that now allows happy couples to crowdsource their wedding photos.  In other words, the bride and groom can compile an entire wedding album from each of the smartphones snapping away throughout the day, basically rendering the need for a wedding photographer moot (or, so it would seem).

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Invitations to “join” the wedding event can be sent via email or text directly to guests who will be attending, or you can share the event code at the venue for those who didn’t receive it previously.  Guests can then snap away throughout the day and upload their images to Ceremony, even if no Internet connection is available at the time of capture.

Afterwards, the bride and groom can peruse the entire collection, sharing images over social media, or even downloading full-resolution copies of the original images with the $4.99 upgrade to a Ceremony Pro.  This means that, for less than the cost of a McDonald’s value meal (which, just admit it, isn’t much of a value anyhow), a bride and groom can have digital copies of all the memories from their special day…without having to hire an outside photographer.

I see posts frequently on sites like Craigslist by couples looking for wedding photographers who are “looking to expand their portfolio,” stating that their budget tops out at $150.  Which is fine.  My wife and I couldn’t even afford a budget photographer for our wedding, so I completely understand.  For them, an app like this is perfect.  You can’t even target that demographic and still run a profitable business…it’s just impossible.

There’s also the high-end clients who want to spend $9,000 on a wedding package and wouldn’t dream of substituting a free phone app in place of it or entrusting their precious memories to a bunch of drunken frat boys, sorority sisters, and crazy aunts looking for a little post-wedding action.  Sure, they might include the app as part of the day, but there’s no chance in Hades that they’re going to use it as a substitute.

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Where this hits home is for the demographic somewhere in the middle – those who are budget-conscious but still want quality; those who can afford to hire a mid-range photographer but are entertaining the idea of going with a friend; those who want the momentary “fun” of the day to be captured in hilarious ways rather than looking at immortalizing a momentous day for years to come (without having to look back in embarrassment).  THOSE are the ones that could pose a problem to the average wedding photographer looking to stay afloat.

The key to fighting off this ominous cloud is a good sales pitch.  Our fellow photographer and writer JP Danko shared a little bit about his approach when dealing with clients considering this approach:

“There are a bunch of these.  I tell my clients to use them as an excuse for me not to go to the reception. The pitch goes something like this:  ‘Why not pay me to take the high priority photos of you throughout the day?  These include you preparing for the ceremony, the ceremony and formal photos afterwards, the venue and detail shots, your introductions, and your first dance if you have it scheduled before the dinner.  Then, you can collect your guest photos of the dancing and the rest of the reception.  In all honesty, is it really worth paying me to stay for an extra three or four hours for one photo of the cake cutting, one photo of the garter toss, and four or five random photos of the dancing?’  I also require of clients that they provide my meal if they want me to stay throughout the reception, which is an additional cost on their part.”

So, does this mean a decisive end to wedding photography as we know it?  I highly doubt it, just like the Ford Focus didn’t spell the end of the Ferrari.  But, it can present a unique challenge when working with potential clients and, as time progresses, modifying our traditional sales tactics to better appeal to what really matters to the client.

However, for those interested in giving Ceremony a try or even using it for your own wedding (I won’t judge you), it is available for both iOS and Android devices.  Just bear in mind, you might not want to see what Uncle Oscar’s phone has seen.

[via Imaging Resource]

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Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery

Allen Mowery is a Nationally-published Commercial & Editorial Photographer with over 20 years of experience. He has shot for major brands as well small clients. When not shooting client work or chasing overgrown wildlife from his yard, he loves to capture the stories of the people and culture around him.

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17 responses to “This Simple App Could Spell The End of Wedding Photographers”

  1. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    Not one of those images was taken with a mobile phone…if they used real mobile images nobody would touch it…utter bollocks…and that’s that ?

  2. Rebecca Maier Avatar
    Rebecca Maier

    Still hiring a photographer…. I don’t want but maybe 15 to 25 people at mine….

  3. John Crippen Avatar
    John Crippen

    Why must the title be so dramatic?

    1. Grant Watkins Avatar
      Grant Watkins

      because that’s how they get hits….

    2. Rafael Agustin Vazquez Avatar
      Rafael Agustin Vazquez

      Click bait

  4. Scott Tyack Avatar
    Scott Tyack

    And every crowd photo taken will show everyone holding up a phone taking their photo. This will be a disaster for anyone who chooses the App over a photographer.

  5. Ems Avatar
    Ems

    Isn’t this the digitalised version of the disposable cameras thingy that people used for decades?

    1. Michael Goolsby Avatar
      Michael Goolsby

      Yep. Pictures are just as lousy. Just more instant.

  6. William Pead Avatar
    William Pead

    This assumes the happy couple are willing to wade through a sea of dreadful crap to find something worth saving. I’m betting they’d prefer a sure thing!

    1. Paganator Avatar
      Paganator

      That’s the worse, I think. A few people will use this app knowing exactly what to expect, and that’s fine I guess, but I bet a lot of newlyweds will use this app and end up disappointed. It’s not like they can just reshoot their wedding afterward.

  7. Tony Dunn F1 Avatar
    Tony Dunn F1

    No. It means the end of low budget cowboy Wedding Photographers. The Pros are safe and will continue unaffected.

  8. Mitchell Flores Avatar
    Mitchell Flores

    Why promote this app on a photography website knowing it could end wedding photographers?

  9. Danielle Avatar
    Danielle

    adobe had app exactly like this, now retired https://www.adoberevel.com/apps/grouppix

  10. Alex Benvenuto Avatar
    Alex Benvenuto

    OK…. what’s next!!

  11. Helen Avatar
    Helen

    Face palm at title, smartphones incapable of print quality and proper zoom AND assuming family and guests know how to compose, 90% skill, 10% gear. Ppl don’t realize even candids follow photographic principles. GL capturing memories, lol

  12. Steven Avatar
    Steven

    I think this is more likely to be a novelty add-on than an actual replacement for a professional wedding photographer with proper gear. Anyone who would choose this over a pro obviously has no concept of the skill and work that goes into producing amazing images, so wouldn’t appreciate them anyway, and would be a nightmare customer, so they’re welcome to use this instead…

  13. catlett Avatar
    catlett

    If you can’t differentiate yourself from a smart phone or from wedding guests then what do you expect? This is only a threat to low end wedding photographers.