Navigating the wedding industrial complex can be tricky. This blog series, Lifting the Veil, aims to set the record straight on some common beliefs held by engaged couples. We want you to be an informed consumer and a savvy wedding planner, so without further ado, let the myth busting begin…
There’s a trend in the wedding photography industry that’s bothered me for years: referring to the cost of photo services as an “investment.”
It’s not that I don’t think wedding photography is important. In fact, I think wedding photography is extremely important. I’d even argue that it’s the most important expenditure of your entire wedding budget. Sure, I may be biased, but it is the only thing that lasts beyond the day of your wedding. Memories fade, but photographs serve as a concrete reminder of those memories. That’s a wonderful thing, the value of which is impossible to quantify.
But it’s not an investment. Not unless you figure out a way to sell your photos for more money than you paid. An investment must result in some sort of profit or material gain, and a wedding photograph most certainly does not meet this criterion. Well, maybe it does if your last name is Kardashian or Jolie. But even if this is the case, I’m betting it’s your photographer who will be reaping the residual monetary benefits.
Of course, it can be argued that wedding photography is an “emotional investment,” but this is something else entirely. Buying a hamster or a brand new jet ski is an emotional investment, but a poor financial decision. That is, if your goal is appreciating value. Just ask your local broker.
Yet if you do a search for wedding photographers in your area, you’ll inevitably come across a link to an “investment” page. Where did this concept come from? Most likely, somebody, somewhere along the line, decided that the word “pricing” sounded a bit indelicate for the purposes of selling wedding photography packages. As a result, they decided to apply the misnomer “investment” and the trend caught like wildfire.
But I, for one, think it’s okay to call it what it is. I think that savvy brides- and grooms-to-be fully understand the value of wedding photography without having to be cajoled. Trading currency for goods and services is something we all do on a daily basis. It’s what makes the world go ‘round. But when you walk into your local Jeep dealership, the salesman doesn’t say, “for a low $400 dollar monthly investment….” That would be weird. Because it would be a lie.
From a business standpoint, I suppose the word “pricing” can, in fact, sound a bit gauche. But there are plenty of good substitutes. “Rates” is one. “Get a quote” is another. “Photo packages” works just fine. Every time I see the word “investment” on a wedding photography website, I can’t help but cringe. Not because I don’t value wedding photography. Just because it’s factually untrue.