In recent years, there’s been a surge in wedding portals that offer a plethora of ideas, and a whole host of listed wedding photographers that they claim are handpicked from the best of the best. Wedding photographers in India usually have to pay anywhere between Rs. 1 lakh upto Rs. 5 lakhs annually for a premium membership on these portals. Portals like WedMeGood, WeddingsOnline and others claim that wedding photographers who sign up will get a significant amount of business through them, exclusive stories on them, features on social media and more.
Portals For Wedding Photographers in India
Sonal, a bride we spoke with, was eagerly looking forward to planning her dream wedding. Everything had to be just perfect, and so she decided to look for some inspiration on one of the Indian wedding portals. There were hundreds of photo galleries, tons of blog posts on colour schemes, décor ideas, wedding favours, food ideas and so much more. Apart from that, there was a dizzying array of wedding photographers and other vendors to choose from. At what point did she realize how overwhelming all of this could get? “After a point, I started feeling like I was losing track of what I really wanted, and not enjoying the process of planning my wedding at all,” she told us. “That’s when I realized it would be better to focus on a few of the most important things and let the rest fall into place.”
A photographer we spoke to had signed up for an account on one of these portals a year ago. While he was initially in the ‘basic’ tier, he upgraded to the next level of membership, which he was told would get him a lot of recognition, which would in turn lead to more clients getting in touch. A year later, he feels extremely disappointed. “Their marketing team was rather pushy about the supposed benefits I would gain from signing up as a paid member so I decided to give it a shot,” he said. “But all I got was clients who would demand for quotes that were far below what my charges usually are, with even the website team pushing me to settle for that quote, and so I did not close a single lead. I was also told I would be promoted on their social media channels and on their blog but I was never featured in anything either.” He also brought up how these portals do not seem to have a selection process in place to claim that their listed wedding photographers are truly the best in the industry. It is almost as if you are guaranteed a listing solely based on whether you are willing to pay.
Another photographer we spoke to differs, though. He has had a great experience with the portal he signed up on, having closed many leads, in addition to being featured for his work. “Such portals give us an opportunity to reach out to new audiences, where we usually get work through referrals and our own websites,” he says. There were often leads who would approach him quoting the name of the portal as the place where they saw his work.
While this does seem to open up new ways of client acquisition for wedding photographers, how many of these leads actually end up coming through? Does the hefty investment involved actually reap any benefits at all?
This brings us to the question – is there a certain approach that is needed in order to truly benefit from being on Indian wedding portals? Do wedding photographers in India have the wrong kinds of expectations from them?
“We cater to a certain niche target audience,” said Karan Singhania from Weddingsonline. “We get tremendous amounts of traffic, mostly from people who are specifically looking for wedding photographers, which is what makes it so beneficial for photographers who sign up. We connect wedding photographers with their potential clients, and set up the initial stage for them to communicate.”
Building up a strong portfolio as a wedding photographer and gaining a strong foothold in the industry can take years, and wedding portals should not be seen as a shortcut route of sorts to getting clients. It may also have to do with the target audience of these websites. It is possible that established wedding photographers may not find clients within their niche bracket to work with. A lot of the audiences visiting these websites may prefer closing with a photographer that offers them the best price.
There are many new and emerging wedding photographers in India today who might be willing to tweak their pricing to suit the needs of the client, to build up their portfolio. Such wedding photographers could possibly book jobs more frequently than their more experienced counterparts. There is also the question of making your work stand out in a sea of options. Developing your craft to such an extent that it makes you distinctive would make clients approach you more, and be willing to pay for it.
In addtion, while wedding portals can be a stepping stone for those who are trying to establish themselves, it cannot be the sole way to market oneself. One has to think about whether the investment would be worth it, while also making an active effort to effectively market oneself and network better.
It remains to be seen that wedding portals are here to stay, but we conclude that while the investment may not seem to be justified for the most part, it may just be lucrative for some wedding photographers if used in a certain way.
Tell us a bit about your experince. Are you listed on any of the Indian wedding photogrpahy portals? Are you a paid member, and do you feel your investment is paying off? We would love to hear form you in the comments below.