Emotion Wedding Photography, a ‘disruptive’ new photography start-up run by an experienced troika of industry figures, plans to shake up the market by guaranteeing clients next-day photos for a total cost of $1650 – with an all-up $600 flat fee for photographers.
There’s also the option to pay an extra $300 to receive a 25 x 25cm, 50-page wedding photo book with 200 images, designed and printed by Michael’s new post-Nulab venture, Luxe Albums.
Emotion Wedding Photography is headed by chief executive officer Vittorio Natoli, chairman Michael Warshall, and chief operating officer Peter Myers. Vittorio is a AIPP Grand Master Photographer and former president, who established the successful Viva Photography franchise; Michael founded Nulab Professional Imaging in 1980 and sold the business last year, and Peter Myers was the AIPP executive officer for nine years. Michael Warshall and Vittorio Natoli are directors.
‘With wedding photography being a cottage industry, the average consumer is bombarded with multitudes of different choices, packages, prices, services, and what the photographer includes and excludes,’ Peter Myers told Inside Imaging. ‘It becomes utterly confusing. So we wanted to create a really simple business model, with no confusion about prices and an easy booking process.’
The $600 photographer’s fee is for a maximum of eight hours shooting. If weddings run shorter than eight hours, the photographer is still paid $600. They are covered with public liability and professional indemnity insurance.
Photographers are responsible for organising transport, and culling any images they are not happy with. Peter says there is no need to do any post processing, and photographers are only required to upload the images to a Zenfolio gallery on the night of the wedding.
‘We’re not only providing a service we think consumers want, we’re also providing a solution for modern professional photographers – the part-time transient photographers, operating out of their home,’ said Peter.
‘In this world of “part time-ism”, people’s ability to maximise marketing and sell their photography is limited,’ he explained. ‘These people enjoy and are good at taking photos. What they don’t enjoy is the business side – marketing, branding, lead generation and conversion, optimisation and SEO. It’s the problem we’re trying to solve.
‘It’s my view that a modern SLR camera is capable of taking a shot that is absolutely fine,’ said Peter Myers. ‘If you set the camera to P mode, about 85 percent of the images will be sharp, in focus and well-exposed, with the right colour balance and white balance. Photographers just have to frame the image. Then, with the other 15 percent where images can be improved, some swift post-processing actions can be applied.’
The AIPP connection
Vittorio resigned as president of the AIPP at the end of February and Peter Myers served out his notice in May, following inner turmoil which resulted in the closure of National Office and resignation of the board. Within weeks Vittorio had pitched the concept of Emotion Wedding Photography to Peter.
With such strong former ties, one of the first ports of call was to the AIPP seeking a trade partnership which would facilitate direct access to AIPP members. Peter said that the approach was rejected as ‘not meeting the criteria for sponsorship’.
There was speculation that the fairly modest $600 fee paid to photographers may have been a point of contention, but AIPP president John Swainston told Inside Imaging that was not correct.
‘The AIPP was initially asked if Emotion could sponsor a wedding category. Since that category of sponsorship is already taken by a long-standing partner, there was no immediate opportunity to bring Emotion into our sponsorship program, whether we wanted to or not,’ he said. ‘The $600 fee had nothing to do with the matter. On an hourly rate, given the contract being offered, by contrast, the AIPP recognises that this rate is somewhat higher than achieved by many Institute members offering booking, preview and post production.’
He said that the idea of bringing AIPP photographers together with Emotions Wedding Photography had merit ‘but also some potential conflicts of interest, requiring further discussion.’
‘I have indicated to Peter Myers in a recent phone conversation that it will be covered on the agenda of the next meeting of the board,’ said John Swainston. ‘I also stated that with the work ahead of the AGM and preparing a new constitution that, working as volunteers, we simply did not have the capacity to meet their very short time frame for response.’
‘A low bar?’
Peter said the initial idea was to work with AIPP members and market all Emotion photographers as ‘award winners’, by making it a requirement to have earned at least an AIPP Silver award.
‘I thought it was a great message to send to the clients, while also creating commercial value for the award process, and those award-winning AIPP wedding photographers,’ said Peter.
‘The AIPP is afraid we’re setting a low bar in terms of price, which we are,’ Peter conceded. ‘But we’re not targeting the market that the high-end AIPP wedding photographers serve. We’re targeting the market below that. If a client wants an extravagant shoot with service lasting longer than eight hours, we’ll turn them down and recommend someone who provides that type of service. We’re targeting that middle market.’
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Emotions is now seeking wedding photographers through Facebook groups and online job searching platforms. Peter said this approach has been a success – seems there are plenty of people happy to shoot a wedding for $600.
Vittorio and Michael, who has served as an AIPP portfolio assessor and is a renowned wedding photographer in his own right, sifted through the applications and recruited roughly a quarter of photographers who applied. Some are experienced AIPP wedding photographers, Peter said, with an interest in securing jobs outside their own business.
‘What Emotion is setting out to do, as explained to us, sets some new benchmarks in terms of speed of delivery and predictability, as well as much of the booking process,’ said John Swainston. ‘The AIPP applauds anything that grows the market for quality wedding photography. If they have developed unique software which helps deliver that beneficial result in speed with quality for the client, good luck to them.
‘I am hopeful that given a little more time we will find a way to provide something of value to both Vittorio and Michael as members. The AIPP wishes them well in their business, as it does to all our other wedding photographer members who use a variety of offerings and price points to cater for different client needs.’
The Emotion Wedding Photography website has just launched, and a client mobile app is currently being developed.
The next phase is a large-scale marketing campaign – a combination of digital and traditional marketing that will involve PR, advertising, attending bridal fairs and expos, and devising a referral campaign.
…And here’s a little promo video: