It's Been Fun
And the couple of decades I've photographed hundreds and hundreds of weddings, well, I will look back on it all fondly.
But, I've arrived at the end
Inquiries coming in for my services began declining quite awhile ago. Optimizing your website to drive web traffic became a daily Hunger Games and I struggled to find the time to do the work as well as my place within the shifting wedding photography marketplace.
And concurrent with this downturn in inquiries, the number of clients who booked with me each year dropped. Significantly and steadily.
So this is the end of my wedding photography business
I believe my years of experience (venues and planners loved this), my dedication to my clients and the work I do are things that would be attractive to prospective clients.
But it hasn't been enough and people inquiring have dropped steadily for years. Despite my efforts. And despite being at a very economical price point in the marketplace.
The wedding landscape now shifts in seconds
We went from meeting in person with fun discussions about how I can help potential clients, learning about what they liked and guiding them in their choices. To having to be instantly available online, across all social media platforms, and all paid advertising sites. So that someone can book me instantly by making choices on a phone screen, without ever meeting or talking.
The business is so different than it was just a couple years ago. Specifically, running THE business itself is now full time, with the photography part of it becoming like a second job.
Sure, it's always been hard and time intensive. After all, that 10 hours of wedding coverage always required about 40-50 hours of my time. But the number of photographers divided by the number of weddings in our region means there isn't enough to go around. Unless you work full time just on running the business, spending lots, competing fiercely, investing a lot in advertising and systems and whatever else (paid) it takes to bring in clients and survive. Then do your second full time job of being a photographer.
Add in the increasing expense of acquiring each client, and what was a steep decline in revenue, combined with lightning fast changes in non negotiable fads which changed every 3 months that you have to be expert in.
And that was it.
I'm thankful that I've been able to do something creative and tangible as my life's work.
I'm thankful for my buddy Shane at Shane Snider Photography who really guided me and single-handedly helped me succeed. Couldn't have done it without him.
As he said, I had a good run. And in this aspect of the photography business, you don't get a handshake and a gold watch. Either when you choose to take those symbolic things, or when you reach some magical age. You get your run. It runs out. And that's it.
I'm thankful for being a witness to "life" as my life's work.
I'm thankful for the hundreds of couples who trusted me. And the 99.684% of them who were blissfully happy with what I did for them.
I'm thankful for the beautiful days and nights, the beautiful settings and scenes where I worked, never having to set foot in a cubicle to earn a living.
Thank you all for what was a great several-chapters in my lifelong career as a photographer.
I'll be continuing on with my corporate and editorial work. Pay me a visit at www.mitchw.com
Health and happiness to all.
And love is love.