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Start-up to shake up wedding business?

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.

Couples can book an Emotions Wedding photographer for $1650, with the option to pay in instalments after the event.

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.

Check out the website here.

…And here’s a little promo video:

27 Comments

  1. Silia March Silia March 22/11/2018

    Is it the slightest bit ironic that the woman is reading a copy of “White” magazine?

  2. Jo Jo 22/11/2018

    I find it completely offensive that they would refer to wedding photography as a cottage industry. Yes there may be a number of people in the industry working from home (as there are in any industry), but there are also a large number of successful businesses working in commercial spaces. I can only imagine the quality of the action they plan to put over the whole wedding to deliver it the next day. Not good, and very disappointing to see these guys damaging the industry in this way.

  3. John Brown John Brown 23/11/2018

    Great to see this innovation arriving on the wedding photograohy scene. Well done to Emotion Weddong Photography! The promo clip is itself full of warm emotion. Brilliant!

  4. Emily Emily 23/11/2018

    Bitter ex-AIPP devaluing the industry. Just what wedding photography needs.

  5. Corey Wright Corey Wright 23/11/2018

    For years, Vittorio and Peter spread the message that couples should engage only professional, AIPP photographers for their wedding; championing those of us who have worked hard to educate couples that choosing a wedding photographer is about so much more than clicking a button. Now they’re doing the very opposite.

    “…a modern SLR camera is capable of taking a shot that is absolutely fine. Photographers just have to frame the image”. Sure, cos that’s all wedding photography is about; putting the camera in auto and hoping for the best. Such an insult to established wedding photographers!

    What a low blow to the industry. It’s no wonder the AIPP has turned its back on this venture. It goes against everything they stand for.

  6. Josh Josh 23/11/2018

    Wow Before you know it you will have robots will be taking photos with your iPhone. Otherwise get a 18 year old with 1-none years experience with a basic dslr who has no idea how to get the money shot. You can have a $7000 camera. Doesn’t make you a good photographer. You can have a race car but be a rubbis driver

  7. John Garner John Garner 23/11/2018

    This is a fantastic move in this industry, I have been Binding Wedding Albums and Wedding Books for 54years and this is by far the best innovation since I produced the 1st modern day Flush Mount Albums/Books in 1997 within Albums Australia and photo prints by Nulab
    Great stuff Michael and if your clients want a traditional hand made leather book. Happy to help out
    Best wishes to your venture

  8. PJ PJ 23/11/2018

    Don’t panic guys. There’s room for everyone. The two dollar shop doesn’t attract the same clients as David Jones. McDonald’s doesn’t have the same target market as Nobu. They are targeting a lower end market who don’t recall care about their wedding photos or how they are presented. Those people exist and unless you are targeting them too, don’t need to be concerned.

  9. RJ RJ 23/11/2018

    Shooting a camera in p mode or auto mode and just dumping the photos off that is not the same as actually shooting in manual mode getting the desired effects and then post processing…..the whole exercise is a piss take to be honest………..clients are going to expect photos that are edited …and finished to a high standard….and what they get is a flat lifeless photo straight out of camera raw converted to jpeg …and clients will wonder wtf

  10. DW DW 23/11/2018

    This is how the thought process behind this venture went… “We’ve had our fill at the trough, the market has evolved, we don’t like working for the existing rewards so lets screw every single other wedding photographer with one last grasp before we go. Let’s just hope they forget we utterly failed to promote professional photography during our stewardship of the AIPP and are the main reason why rates have fallen so low. The new crop will probably be happy to work for peanuts while we cream off the top. Oh, and we’ll exploit some third-world sweatshop at the same time to get images to the client the next day.”

    Their mentality that this only affects one sector of the market is a lie and they know it – this will eventually affect every part of the industry because other greedy individuals with mates who know coding will see what they are doing and jump in at different levels – exactly as has happened with other disrupted industries.

    The rest of the industry needs to come together and tell the real story of these get-rich-quick schemes – where it’s the couples who inevitably suffer because the person who turns up has no real experience capturing weddings, speaks less than perfect English or has no real investment in creating a memorable day for the couple because they are not making a living from it. Not to mention no rapport with the couple that develops over the time from initial booking, engagement shoot etc.

    I also hope real photographers will boycott the businesses that are facilitating this brazen attack on our industry and our professionalism.

  11. Nat Nat 23/11/2018

    Current Crime Check Certificates are mainly used for employment in areas where individuals work with “vulnerable” populations like the aged care, children or people with disabilities.

    Somehow Emotions Wedding Photography is trying to use Current Crime Check Certificates as a new marketing strategy because the rest of the photographic industry is taking advantage of vulnerable wedding couples with the quality service and high prices charged.

    Can rest assured that the AIPP has moved on, as these three scrap the bottom of the barrel.

  12. Michael Warshall Michael Warshall 23/11/2018

    In the interest of openness and transparency I thought I would clarify a few points in this article which are at odds with some of the facts…

    John Swainston, the AIPP President is quoted as saying…

    “‘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.”

    In fact, this is not the case…

    I was first approached in June of this year by an AIPP board member who asked if I could sponsor the AIPP.
    I thought about this request, knowing that the EMOTION business was in the early stage of development, and I decided that it would indeed be a good thing to support the AIPP when EMOTION was ready.
    Peter & Vittorio had suggested all along that a key part of the “brand promise” was to use awarded photographers, and as all three of us are aligned with the AIPP we thought this would help the AIPP with their request for sponsorship, and at the same time help us recruit photographers from within the AIPP membership. We wanted to support the AIPP and the AIPP awards.

    I do know that our preferred sponsorship vehicle, the AIPP awards wedding category, was already sponsored, and in fact we told the AIPP (In writing) that sponsoring the wedding category was not a prerequisite and we would be happy to support them with any form of sponsorship.

    In that same paragraph in this article, John is quoted as saying “The $600 fee had nothing to do with the matter.”
    In fact, on a separate occasion, some time later, I was told, this time by a different board member, that the AIPP would not allow myself and Vittorio to communicate as members, with our fellow members, because our business would “cause a shit storm”

    John also says “The idea of bringing AIPP photographers together with Emotions Wedding Photography had merit ‘but also some potential conflicts of interest, requiring further discussion…”
    I know we have asked John to expand on these views, but to date have not been able to get any substantive response from him or the AIPP other than formal response to our sponsorship proposal which says “At this point we are not in a position to offer Emotion a Trade Partner agreement as your business does not meet the criteria we are reviewing…”

    So despite all this “storm in a tea cup”, it has been made pretty clear to us that the AIPP is not interested in working with EMOTION, and that they are not prepared to let us provide this business opportunity to AIPP members, many of whom we know are struggling professionally at the moment. We think this is a great pity as we would have liked to help the AIPP and its members in some way.

    Nonetheless our business is progressing and we are very pleased that we have been able to successfully recruit many quality wedding photographers from outside of the AIPP ranks, all of whom would have been prepared to enter the AIPP awards and become AIPP members had that pathway been provided for them by an EMOTION/AIPP partnership!

    The overwhelming positive response we have received from photographers to this business model shows to us that we have correctly understood the state of professional photography in this day and age, something it seems the AIPP have not!

    • Keith Shipton Keith Shipton Post author | 26/11/2018

      Just to make Michael’s clarification clearer – when he talks of ‘points in this article which are at odds with some of the facts’ he is taking issue with comments made by other individuals quoted, rather than any factual accuracy in the story itself. So far, with many dozens of comments made here and elsewhere relating to the article, there has been no complaint regarding the accuracy of ‘Inside Imaging’s’ reporting. Some people seem to think we shouldn’t have reported it in the first place, but no challenges on the facts!

  13. Paulie Paulie 23/11/2018

    Good on you emotion! this is just what we need in the industry.

    Refreshing to see the initiation in trying to keep the industry alive.

    If i was to hedge my bets it would be to back these guys as they are not only the best in the business they are the most successful.

    Not to be negative but the haters wouldn’t have a pot to piss in to create a concept like this nor the brains. Instead of embracing, and saying good on you. haters will just hate cause they got noting better to do like go make some money.
    What makes me laugh is that AIPP members are joining emotion lol so how comments are trough around on behalf of the AIPP clearly these people are so nervous that they will be packing shelves at bunnings for the rest of there lives. Theirs nothing wrong with that as i shop there all the time!

    Bring on emotion i say and fuk the rest of you! x

    • Craig Craig 24/11/2018

      I realize that you are probably a friend or relation of one of the owners and that this response will likely fall on deaf ears. For the others out there reading this though, who might think “what is wrong with $600 for a few hours work?” It is not about juvenile terms such as “hater” it is about seeing the photographic industry further and further devalued and commoditized. Companies like Snappr, Jim’s Photography, OneFlare and now this, are removing the true value in professional photography – a dedicated passionate photographer cum small business person that lives a breath’s to create beautiful imagery and replacing it with the lowest dollar value. It is ironic that it is called “Emotion” given that pretty much all the emotion has been removed from the process. We might as well be booking an Uber. Do you even meet your photographer before the event?

      $600 a job is not a livable wage. And absolutely no way is this going to be capped at 8 hours. This does not account for any post-processing time or any of the myriad other costs involved in shooting a wedding.

      It is another step in forcing the industry into being something that can only support poorly paid part-time work for the majority. This business model helps no one other than, Vittorio, Michael and Peter. As with their financial backing and marketing savvy – no doubt they have loads of naive people lining up to help these three line their pockets.

      • Bobby Bobby 29/11/2018

        Well said

  14. Oli Sansom Oli Sansom 23/11/2018

    If this is “disruption”, then Benjamin next door opening up a lemonade stand is Elon Musk.

  15. Oliver Smith Oliver Smith 23/11/2018

    This almost seems like a “Starbucks moment” in Australia. A chain experience where it wasn’t necessary, or welcomed, by Australian consumers. Instead we continue to have good relationships with small, local cafes and shun the larger chains. Starbucks later realised this was because Australian’s valued the personalised service that the local cafe provided (and the quality of the end product) over grabbing a ticket and getting in line.

    Wedding photography is an extremely personal service – most couples want to build a relationship with their photographer before the wedding day, and know exactly what they are going to get out of it at the other end. One of the most amazing things about this industry is that there are enough unique providers out there to fill everyone’s needs and styles.

    This new venture is almost the opposite of disruption because there is no new idea or technology behind it. If you want an affordable wedding photographer you can get one from Snappr (which has been around for years now). If you want a consistent service and final product, I don’t see Emotion providing it – you are allocated a photographer at random and the output will vary heavily depending on that photographer’s skill. A look through the sample images on the Emotion website is all the proof needed for that point.

    It is almost a regression back to the ‘big studio’ approach, but at a more, let’s say, realistic price point. Inferior quality and service for a lower price.

    I would almost argue that the markets worldwide are moving back to more bespoke goods and services – what is most desirable are things made with care, by hand, and services that are provided personally.

    Jumping in at the other end waving hands saying ‘disruption disruption’ sounds a bit like a few old dinosaurs having a few too many cognacs at the dinner party.

    The only innovation remaining is the next day turnaround – which is great. But is this what the market actually wants? Next day previews (for social media sharing) is common, and waiting for carefully prepared photographs is part of the anticipation and appeal – couples know that care and attention has been paid to their photographs. A similar thing with videographers – the ‘same day edit’ – remains a niche that never really took off.

    It’s going to be interesting to see how Emotion matures in this market – I’m sure it will do fine, but I would stop short of calling it disruptive.

  16. Kellie T Kellie T 23/11/2018

    These guys should be embarrassed

  17. Ed Ed 24/11/2018

    Old white guys thinking they are “disrupting” an industry by using a discount strategy….

    I’ve worked for one of these guys in a previous life (not as a photographer) what an absolute sh*t show.

    Thanks, Next.

  18. MM MM 24/11/2018

    So from a person who has done the most harm in my mind to photography in Australia (specifically Perth) going back 10-12 years under his flagship stores of Viva by charging exorbitant prices and high pressure sale tactics to now ensuring that the photography industry isn’t about professional members but ‘part timers’. (How do the Viva Franchise holders feel about their market being poached from under them!!)

    We are an industry that should be pushing for some form of regulation – no different to a licensed plumber, accountant or electrician – to ensure a sustainable industry with a liveable wage. This venture will no doubt take off. It is the ‘Purple Bricks’ of the photography world. Those at the top will make their money – those working in the trade will constantly be chasing the dream and getting nowhere.

    It is an insult that people who have been in charge of our professional organisation now see fit to make comments about shooting on P and relying on the camera doing all the work – thus stating no real skill is required. I remember seeing Santa Photo adverts where they call for photographers with ‘no skill required’ and I could see how that could work. But a wedding!!

    Some talented photographers will never grow to their full potential because they will be stuck working at low wages and not able to build a relationship with their clients. Some weddings will be left sorely disappointed with their outcome due to having an inexperienced photographer. I am sure the contract they will have in place will ensure their is no comeback for these unfortunate clients though.

    Emoticon is making it a numbers game and most people find it hard to see past the $$$ sign.

    No way should this photography business be eligible to sponsor a category at the APPA’s.

  19. SM SM 24/11/2018

    Aside from the business model based on a ‘race to the bottom’ pricing strategy, as a pro with over 30 years experience, the most offensive and frankly insulting comment was “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” – so much for creative interpretation!
    These former members of the AIPP should know better,
    Shame, shame,shame.

  20. Malcome Kempe Malcome Kempe 25/11/2018

    Good luck guys, great to see people investing in the photography business in Australia especially the Wedding industry my personal favorite.

  21. Amcojean Amcojean 28/11/2018

    By reading all these responses it’s clear Emotion – you are way to cheap, You guys have gone from the highest end of the market and failed now to the lowerst end of the market to make up for it.
    It’s hard to endorse a product when you are not harmonised with a body or organisation that is trying to sustain an industry. Let your fingers do the walking and advertise in the yellow pages, that’s your market.

  22. wayne wayne 07/12/2018

    What are emotion going to do when uncle sam puts his camera on ‘P’ for professional. Does he know how to pose people to get the natural look. Does he know where to position the subject for the best light. These are just 2 important points to consider. So jane doe gets her images back and they are rubbish no nicely posed or directed images. I guess mr emotion wil pull out a magic wand and send the images to india for processing. No decent professional photographer would get out of bed for the sort of money that is being offered. Six hours of work in the field, 2 hours selecting images, and god knows how long to upload, as previously said its the purple bricks of photography and what the heads of emotion were dead against a few years ago. The hypocrysy in the industry is quite astounding and very sad.

    • Michael Warshall Michael Warshall 08/12/2018

      Wayne, Unfortunately, you are not qualified to make such comments.Interesting that already over 70 photographers have signed up. Master photographers, album of the year winners and photographers with more skill than you can imagine. To assume that no decent photographer will work for $600 is not true. If the photographers know how to shoot, like we did in the film days, they don’t have to spend 2 hours selecting images. there are those that can actually shoot a wedding without having to duplicate everything two or 3 times. However if they need to edit , it is up to them. Uploading happens when you sleep, so no time required from the photographer.Just for clarification, we are not against any previous model. If you can get the top end weddings , you should continue to do so. Unfortunately the majority of the market, no longer sees value in that model and in many cases they cannot tell the difference. These are the 80,000 or so weddings every year that currently do not go to professionals. Our job will be to bring them to professional photography. When you talk about hypocrisy, your website has the following statement at the top. “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
      “Walt Disney”
      So why don’t you lead down a new path, and not be negative and make comments about things you do not understand.

  23. Jim Schultz Jim Schultz 09/12/2018

    Oh, I read all this in awe and wonder. How glad I am to be totally out of it all. Never forget, however that you can please some of the people all of the time, but never all of the people all of the time.
    Jim Schultz, Kelmscott

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