What is a “Professional” Wedding Photographer?

With hundreds of people in this area claiming to be “professional” photographers, how do you know who actually is?

Planning a wedding and hiring a wedding photographer for many couple’s is both fun and somewhat stress-inducing. Most couples planning a wedding have never done it before, so the process can create some anxiety, in particular making big decisions about which vendors to work with. And while it’s great to rely on friends that have already been married for advice… we all know that doing something ONCE doesn’t make you an expert. So unless you’re working with a really experienced local wedding planner, it can be pretty overwhelming to consider all the options for venues, music, food, and especially… photography. 

As of the time this email was written, there were more than 1500 Wedding Photographers with profiles on theknot representing themselves as “professional” photographers in Minnesota. There are so many photographers making this self-assertion that it almost kind of dilutes the meaning of “professional”. 

So, what does it mean to actually be a professional photographer, and what do we mean at Studio 220 when we say that we are truly a Professional Studio… 

Well… it’s about more than just taking good pictures. There is a decent number of technically skilled photographers in the market, but that doesn’t mean there are a lot of great wedding and lifestyle photographers in the market that are running their business well professionally and consistently. In our opinion, a professional photographer or photography studio should do more than just deliver great images, they should deliver a great experience, and that means running a professional business. From our perspective, that means having a physical studio location with regular office hours, just like you’d expect from any other real business or company you’re working with. Most wedding couples would not be comfortable meeting a caterer at a coffee shop or their florist at a bar. And most of our family and lifestyle clients wouldn’t be comfortable buying “discounted” iPhones out of the back of a van or “discounted” steaks from a guy on the street (even if the guy was dressed like a chef). WHY? Because of trust. 

They want to trust that the people they are doing business are legitimate and reliable, and that the services or products they are getting are going to be good, and worth what they are paying. Having a physical business location for any business is in a way legitimizing that business or vendor, it validates that they have delivered a good service or good product, and done so enough to provide their customers with a physical business location that clients can actually walk into, and it gives clients peace of mind that they aren’t dealing with a fly-by-night-side-hustle operation that could be here today and gone tomorrow. Customers and clients want to have confidence and trust in the vendors and companies they buy from and work with, and in the photography business, having an actual physical studio location with regular business hours is one of the most important factors that contributes to that trust and confidence. 

We love our Studio home!

There’s more to it than just having a great studio, it also means operating in a professional way that customers and clients would expect any other business to run. Regular office hours and responsive communication are critical. Having a business and operating systems and processes in place to ensure that clients needs are met, deadlines and schedules are kept, communication and products/services are delivered accurately and on time, is exceptionally important. Why? Again, because of trust and confidence. Poor responsiveness, chaotic communication, missed deadlines, mismanagement of client information or data, can all destroy a client’s confidence and trust in their photographer, and that creates worry and anxiety for the client. Those are not feelings you typically want associated with your wedding or family photos. 

Unfortunately, many “professional” photographers have not put the appropriate amount of attention to these areas. And this is one of those areas of working with a photographer that is often overlooked by clients… until a problem occurs. It’s only at that point when a client becomes exposed to their photographers lack of investment in these areas, when they find out they are essentially managing their client relationships and events with a hodgepodge combination of outlook calendars, word and excel documents, and their own memory. 

At Studio 220 we do things quite differently. We believe that the trust and confidence of our clients is paramount. Our commitment is to leverage the best available technologies for business systems such as client management software, workflow management, product and order management, collaboration and communications tools to best serve our clients. We have invested substantial time and money into ensuring we have excellent processes in place, and we regularly re-evaluate our systems and processes to make sure we are always delivering a great experience. We have made significant investments in our physical studio, to provide a warm and welcoming environment for our clients and our staff. And we operate just like you should expect any real business to operate, with regular office hours, to ensure our clients can always reach us, or just stop in and say hello!

Are you planning a visit to the studio? Make some time to do a little exploring in our historic lakeside town of Excelsior and check out some of our favorite spots HERE!

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