Jonathan Ment Photography the lone photographer at a wedding show held at Belleayre Mountain in 2022.
Where does the time go? It feels almost like last week, but several months are in the rearview mirror. Last November, I displayed some sample work at the state-owned Belleayre Mountain ski area and chatted with a number of couples or representatives for couples with weddings in their future.
Fewer times than I can count on one hand, I have spent a day as an exhibitor at a wedding show.
This recent one, perhaps old fashioned, was called a Bridal Expo – seemingly turning it’s back to same-sex couples who might be planning a wedding at which no bride would say ‘I do.’
I had a beautiful 16 x 20 framed print from such a wedding that I had the hononr of photographing, Jake and Dean’s big day, on my table.
Years ago, I participated in a very small show in Freehold, NY and made connections with a florist with whom I would exchange referrals.. This is another way that participating in such an event can benefit all of us involved, and can bring our services to couples who may not have otherwise heard of us.
As a wedding photographer, I’m routinely contacted by organizers of big expensive wedding shows and solicited to exhibit. Like any part of a marketing budget, I suppose there’s a chance that the cost of participating in such an event is worth it. Book one small wedding and the fee would more than be covered. Alternatively, you may meet someone else in the “business” and establish a network in that way. A positive from that experience is broadening your own knowledge of “who does what”, who is a true professional and will deliver excellent results, and who will not (back to Jake and Dean’s wedding and a VERY late caterer.)
And speaking of many other photographers? Last year a local venue ‘offered’ to book me for their show. They said they were limiting photographers to eight or 12. (Does it matter?!)
What’s the point? I could pay their crazy fee. Squeeze in among the herd and then join in in overwhelming the couples that attend with too many choices and possibly, an unpleasant memory from their attendance. That results in a no-win.
Ever hear the phrase “an educated consumer is our best customer” It was used by a business that did advertise – a lot.
While I’m sure those photographers that do shows regularly find them worthwhile, I’m also certain most charge two to three times more than Jonathan Ment Photography.
At the Belleayre show, a slick downstate type displaying his illegally shot drone footage tried to entice me into some sort of partnership. He’d shoot the video, I’d capture the stills – but it had to be for cash. In other words, no paper trail.
These are probably the sorts of service providers that will dump you the second they get a better offer. You’re nobody to them. Just a dollar sign.
Over the years ‘companies,’ who have booked weddings in my area and are now backfilling photographers to cover them, have also approached me. Their idea of my area is ripe with misunderstanding.
“You’re in New York, right?”
“Yes, but New York is a big place.”
Honestly, I travel near and far for the right opportunity, but rarely for the wrong one. I think these outfits come and go, and probably change their names like any other grifter.
A word of caution:
If you book your wedding via Craigslist, don’t know the name of who will show up and possibly made an online deposit without ever speaking to a human being – you probably are doing business with one of these companies and may be setting yourself up for disappointment. As I have previously stated, I do not overcharge for my services. You deserve the memories that I can provide for you without paying exorbitant fees.
You’ve made it this far. We didn’t meet in a barn or convention hall full of noise and nonsense. Let’s talk about your plans and dreams about photography!
Thank you as always for reading,
Jonathan Ment, Photographer
Please feel free to, follow and like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook and at www.catskillsphotographer.com
You can read more about the Belleayre show here. (a piece I wrote for publication ahead of the event)