Why Indian Wedding Photographer cannot afford to offer “Covid Pricing” - “Covid-19 Discount Package"
Crushed by COVID-19, Indian wedding industry is staring at a hard reset in the wake of lockdowns and downsizing the wedding guests keeping in mind the current situation and limits of guests allowed with other restrictions such as Outdoor only wedding, Indoor weddings at 25% capacity, No Reception or No Dance Floor.
The ‘COVID situation’ as we call it, has changed the face of Indian weddings as we know it. With changing governmental regulation aimed at keeping celebrations in check, the word ‘The-Big-Fat-Indian-Wedding’ is not in sight anymore. Weddings have scaled down considerably, and in turn, budgeting for a wedding and ensuring you get value for money is paramount. This has led to a new culture of “Covid Pricing” aka “Coivd-19 Discount Package”.
In the United States Indian Wedding Industry, most of the wedding businesses have suffered a lot with all the restriction in effect. Including banquet halls, caterers, florist, decorators, wedding planners, makeup artist, Photographers, DJs, Videographers and Clothing Designers are just few of the main indian wedding suppliers.
A couple of days ago, at Fine Art Production, we have received an inquiry asking about our Indian Wedding Photography packages. As an experienced Indian wedding photographer, covering indian weddings for over 25 years, we have explained them all the services that we offer, we offer them virtual meeting and provided all the information that we generally provide to all the clients. Their wedding is coming up in Early 2021. After all the presentation, they asked us to Provide Special “Covid Pricing for Indian Wedding Photography” aka “Coivd-19 Discount Package for Indian Wedding”
We informed the client that why we are not offering any ‘Coronavirus discounts’ as a company, who will provide them life-long memories regardless of their size of wedding.
We have been speaking to our peers, and it turns out that a lot of wedding photographers are feeling resentful about the fact that they constantly get asked for special discounts because of the pandemic. (And because “other” people at a wedding are offering them).
Is asking for a discount justified? Maybe, maybe not. This post is an effort to address why wedding photographers do not offer (and should not offer) discounts during this time.
But first, why asking for a discount is not bad
The logic makes sense to us all. The wedding has been scaled down, instead of 500-700 guests there are only 50-100. The entertainment costs have been slashed, the hotels are offering huge discounts, and so are the caterers. If costs are being cut across the board, so should not the wedding photography cost. Right? Wrong! Here is why.
In our past blog posts, we have often spoken about setting a budget for your wedding photography. We usually recommend keeping about 10% of your overall wedding cost aside for indian wedding photography. Of course, now, with the overall wedding costs coming down, 10% might not be enough to cover high quality wedding photography.
Wedding Photography Costs DO NOT come down just because the rest of your wedding costs are coming down. Here is why!
#1 Wedding Photography is not about Scale
With the new guidelines and situation, the number of people at a wedding has come down significantly. There can no longer be a guest list of a hundred of people. With only a gathering of 50-100 people allowed (as of Sept 2020), it is understandable that all the wedding expenses have come down. But indian wedding photography remains one service that is not scalable. Our job as expert indian wedding photographer will always remain capturing your story at the wedding from the perspective of a close friend or a family member. For a large-scale wedding in the ‘before’, we may be added a few photographers and cinematographers for extended coverage of guests, but our core work remained the same. Then and now, the most important indian wedding images are the ones of you and your family. Those are the photos that you want from your wedding, important rituals, and intimate moments with your close ones. So, our jobs essentially remain the same. Same job = same costs!
#2 Wedding Photography Prices are not calculated per head
When you are budgeting for an indian wedding, you calculate the total on a per person basis. A lot of costs work this way, like the cost of catering, the cost of the banqueting venue, the costs of hotel rooms, airport transfers, flight tickets and so on. How much you are willing to spend on a person versus how much your total budget is, etc etc. But indian wedding photography is not something that you can scale to a person ratio. For us, a wedding with 50-100 people or a wedding with 400-500 people equals EXACTLY the same work, which is why asking a wedding photography team for a lower price because of the lower per head cost doesn’t make any sense. Your precious memories are not calculated per head – it is the only thing that remains after the wedding!
#3 Our “Product – Capturing Emotional Wedding Moments” remains same
Even when we shoot a wedding of 50 people (and we have in the past), what we do and what we deliver to our clients remains broadly the same. In other words, a smaller wedding does not make our job any “easier”. We still need to shoot your portraits, your family pictures, create your story, get those in-between moments and so on.
Broadly speaking, the structure and workflow for a wedding is the same, whether it has 50 or 500 guests. Apart from executing a wedding, our post-production work and time involved is remarkably similar – we put in the same excruciating attention to detail for any wedding, whether small or big. We still work just as hard to give you the best wedding memories. We put the same amount of passion, creativity, and heart into our work as before. And putting a discount on that seems a little unfair.
#4 Risking our lives to shoot
By going to a wedding with so many people and vendors, or even travelling to a different city for a shoot, we are putting ourselves at risk. During a wedding as well, we are the people getting exposed to the maximum number of people from wedding guests, planners, hair, and make-up artists to hotel staff. It is the nature of our jobs – we need to be everywhere, all at once! If anything, we are the guys most at risk! (If you consider a DJ is behind a console, a makeup artist only interacts with the bride and so on…). If anything, wedding photographers should charge MORE than before to cover possible Covid-19 related hospitalization costs, loss of business costs and so on. Hey, this is hazardous work! But we never complain – like the postal service, wedding photographers will always be there for you, through thick and thin! So hey, we are putting our lives on the line (literally), and that is never done at a discount.
#5 We have all had a bad year, and we need our businesses to be viable
Let us face it. Everything went kaput in March, and we have all had a tough time staying afloat. We know you have too. But at the end of the day, the world is getting back to love, and as we always said, #LoveAlwaysWins! But having said that, as artists, we have all sailed through this period due to the love and support of our clients, friends, and family. As we repair our lives and livelihoods, it is time for our livelihood to become positive once again. For us to build that equity to hire great talent, to pay for great vendors, to reward our teams for sticking through thick and thin and putting themselves in harms way and so on. These goals do not rhyme with discounts!
What you should do if you are a Bride or a Groom looking for a Wedding Photographer during Pandemic Wedding:
Like we said before, even though all your other wedding costs are going down, wedding photography is still something you should invest in, even more so than you would before.
Do NOT ask your wedding photographer for a “Covid-19 discount”. Instead, ask them what packages they have for intimate weddings.
Of course, we understand that a small and intimate wedding should cost lesser than a big-fat-thousand-pax wedding. Of course, we are smart enough to create lighter and easier packages that involve lesser deliverables and lesser coverage.
It’s a little unfair to ask for ‘Covid discounts’ because our work and what we do remains the same. In fact, we will work harder this year than the others. Because all your family, friends and other guests who will not be able to attend the wedding, will relive it through our photos and videos. And we want to make your wedding special for you and your loved ones. So, think about investing a little more in your photography budget this year.
We are here to help, to assist and to make amazing wedding memories. Do not hesitate to reach out to us – We are the same creative friendly team of amazing Photographers and Cinematographers.
Wishing you lots of happiness and luck in your newly married life.
Chirali & Amish Thakkar