Daniel Chris of Vivid Saaga has a Bachelor of Technology from JNTU, an MBA from the UK but took photography more seriously than he ever thought he would and started an Indian wedding photography business three years ago.
Based in Hyderabad, Vivid Saaga is made up of a team of photographers who services all of India by working with other freelance photographers around the country. Daniel's plan is to build a studio focused on candid over traditional Indian wedding photography and attract a new type of Indian bride.
Building a successful wedding photography business in India has to be one of the toughest environments in the world to succeed. Daniel has to constantly refine his approach to attract expats coming home to get married while dealing with families who don't pay, price gauging, negotiating, long hours, plenty of competition, multiple photographers at the same wedding and horrendous traffic on the wedding day.
Here’s some of what we cover in this interview:
- Does faith dictate which weddings a photographer can target to photograph?
- Responding to booking inquiries
- Targeting clients only from the upper middle class and premium markets
- What’s unique about Indian weddings and their changing seasons?
- The difficulty of operating a wedding photography business in India
- Tradition dictates that parents arrange most of the Indian weddings
- The demand for wedding photographers in India
- Daniel’s pricing and wedding packages
- Each Indian weddings differ and normally rely on what traditions the couples follows
- How long does an Indian wedding last?
- How Daniel quotes each wedding inquiry
- Why Daniel chooses to do wedding photography instead of pursuing a career from his MBA
- How Daniel started his photography business
- What Daniel did while preparing to launch his business
- Shooting for free to build your portfolio and gain experience
- Setting up a street frontage studio in India is unnecessary
- Why clients prefer phone calls or emails instead of one on one meetings
- How to handle clients who change wedding packages at the last minute
- What’s expected during wedding client negotiations?
- Indian customers are looking for a bargain
- Modifying the wedding service instead of negotiating on pricing
- How online streaming works during Indian weddings
- How many team members Daniel bring to his weddings and what are their roles
- Indian wedding guest lists average from 250 up to 5,000 guests
- Daniel’s strategy when pricing huge weddings
- How to handle pricing when time limits are exceeded or when extra work is required on the day
- Charging more than your normal rate after assessing your client’s needs
- 99% of the time clients request add-ons at the last minute of the actual wedding day
- Photography styles in India and what is expected
- How Daniel finds and screens freelance photographers to help his team
- How do clients find Daniel?
What’s on Offer for Premium Members
If you’re a premium member, you should have received an email with links to your version of this episode where you can hear lots more content and we dive deeper into some of the earlier topics plus some new ones that I pushed for and include:
- Why Daniel transferred from Facebook to Google in marketing clients for his business
- Every DSLR owner in India thinks they are a professional photographer
- Targeting clients based on their grasp of the English language
- Outsourcing SEO to get found in Google easily
- Referrals from existing clients
- How Daniel deals with the competition in his market area
- The best thing Daniel has done for his business
- What setbacks Daniel experienced in his business
- What Daniel does to find what his clients really want from their photography
- Attracting inquiries from UK and US based clients coming home to get married
- What Daniel would do differently if he was to start his business all over again
- How to handle an unhappy client
- Dealing with emotional blackmail from clients when negotiating pricing
- What usually happens in a traditional Indian wedding?
- Would Daniel earn more from wedding photography if he is to relocate in the UK?
If you’re on the fence about becoming a premium member, join with the $1 trial today and get access to the FULL interview with Daniel, get access to an amazing back catalogue of interviews and ALL future interviews delivered automatically to your phone or tablet.
I never thought about pricing as a priority – Daniel Chris
Plus, access to a members only Secret Facebook group where you'll connect with other members and interview guests to help, support and motivate you to take what you hear in each episode and put it into action. You will not find more friendly, more motivated and caring photographers online.
Here's what Texas wedding photographer, Anthony Gauna had to say about the members Facebook Group, “Randomly just want to say to everyone that this is by far my favourite Facebook group that I'm a part of. It's so supportive and there isn't any shit talking or time wasting posts that go on in here.
That's hella awesome. I hope everyone has an incredible upcoming week!”
What is your big takeaway?
Following this interview, I’d love to know if you're taking anything away from what Daniel shared. Is there something you heard that excited or motivated you to the point where you thought, yeah, I'm going to do that! If so, let me know by leaving your thoughts in the comments below, let me know what your takeaways were, what you plan to implement in your business as result of what you heard in todays episode.
If you have any questions that I missed, a specific question you’d like to ask Daniel or if you just want to say thanks for coming on the show, feel free to add them below.
iTunes Reviews and Shout-outs
Each week I check for any new iTunes reviews and it's always a buzz to receive these… for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it's confirmation that I'm on the right track with the interviews and that they really are helping you improve your photography business. That's awesome!
Secondly, iTunes is the biggest search engine when it comes to podcasts and it's your reviews and ratings that help other photographers find PhotoBizX. More listeners means more interviews and ultimately a better show.
If you have left a review in the past, thank you!
If you haven't and you'd like to, head to https://photobizx.com/itunes and you can leave some honest feedback and a rating which will help both me and the show and I'll be sure to thank you on the show and add a link to your website or blog if you let me know the URL of your website and your name.
PLUS: if you let me know the key word or keyword phrase you'd like me to use to link to your page, post or site, let me know via email after leaving a review and I'll do what I can to make that work.
For example, If I were linking to my wedding photography page on my photography website ” Impact Images” and want to target the keyword phrase “Central Coast wedding photographer” and left an iTunes review, I'd add something like this:
Thanks for the iTunes review by Central Coast wedding photographer, Andrew Hellmich on September 20, 2016
Alternatively, if you've left a review for PhotoBizX and are looking for more backlinks to help your SEO, leave a review for the new Photography Xperiment Podcast and email me your key words or keyword phrase and where you'd like me to link to.
Here is the most recent reviews for the PhotoBizX Podcast:
In iTunes by Berkshire wedding photographer, Mike Croshaw on September 15, 2016
Incredibly useful podcast no matter where you are in your photography business.
Andrew works really hard on this and is very responsive to user feedback. He's always looking to be as helpful as possible to people trying to make their business work and this podcast has been invaluable to me.
In iTunes by Rope Zen from Australia on September 15, 2016
A great listen and I've definitely used a lot of the ideas from this podcast to help my business. Thanks Andrew
In iTunes by Boston wedding photographer, Morgan O'Neil on September 23, 2016
I find this podcast very valuable and informative!
Andrew's not afraid to ask the tough questions when it comes to pricing, etc. I look forward to each week's episode.
LOVE this podcast!
In iTunes by Blue Mountains wedding photographer, Brian Flanagan on September 21, 2016
I absolutely love this podcast. So helpful for photographers of any level. The interviewees are diverse and always interesting to listen to and the interviewer is always on the mark with his questions and desire to get more out of his interviewees for the end listener.
I always listen to this in the car on the way somewhere and often find myself sitting in the car at my final destination trying to listen to the last bit because I don't want to hop out the car without finishing it! lol
In iTunes by South West London newborn and family photographer, Louise Downham from UK on September 21, 2016
Highly recommended! It’s great to have such thorough insights from other photographers and to hear what works for them – there’s always a good idea to snap up.
The last review and my shoutout goes to husband and wife duo and Louisville Wedding Photographers, Drake and Eliza Bergens who jumped straight into the comments area of a recent SLR Lounge post on podcasts to recommend PhotoBizX. Thanks guys!
The NEW Photography Xperiment Podcast is live and available
Following the success and support shown by listeners after the experimental format of the recent interviews, the new Photo Xperiment Podcast has been launched and is available on this site and in iTunes now.
Interviews are underway and I'll be looking for new guests, not restricted to wedding and portrait photographers. If you have someone you think would be a good fit, let me know in the comment area below or email me, email@example.com.
The idea behind these interviews is to get into the headspace of the photographer and find what makes them tick, what drives them, their thought process, philosophy on shooting and how they achieve what they do with their photography. So yeah, a little technique type content too.
These interviews will not focus on the business of photography – that'll be preserved solely for the weekly and unchanging format of the PhotoBizX podcast.
To hear these interviews in your podcast app, you will need to subscribe to the podcast – these interviews will not be delivered automatically if you're subscribed to PhotoBizX. Open your favourite podcast app and search “Photography Xperiment Podcast” or enter the feed URL, https://photobizx.com/feed/xperiment/ into the search field of your podcast app.
The last episode featured Bradley Hanson who didn't pull any punches when it comes to opinions on the state of the photography industry and in particular workshops with comments like:
Someone needs to be open and honest about the excess of workshops and that they are cash cows for those giving them, and borderline useless for the participants looking for easy answers – Bradley Hanson
Listen to the interview to hear more about this talented photographer and his views on photography, the wedding photography business and why shooting for yourself is one of the best business decisions you'll make as a photographer – Bradley Hanson Interview on The Photography Xperiment Podcast.
Webinar to Improve Wedding Photography Sales – this week ONLY
This one is for the wedding photographers in the group.
GE Masana from episode 177 has been pretty active in the members Facebook Group with some great advice and help. He also gets people talking when it comes to his average sales after the wedding – $7000!
He's putting on a webinar and it'll be for PhotoBizX listeners only. The webinar is live, (no recording) it's a one off, about one hour and he'll be answering your questions.
One Time Only: Wednesday, September 28, 2016 at 9 PM EST | 5 PM PDT | 7 PM MDT | 8 PM CDT – Which is Thursday, September 29, 11 AM AEST | 9 AM AWST | 2 PM NZDT.
The webinar title is: “How To Double Your Wedding Revenues And Get Another $2,000, $4000, $7,000 More Per Wedding”
The link to sign up is : Boost Wedding Photography Sales Webinar
To be fully transparent, GE will be selling a course at the end of the webinar but… and there's two buts….
- I've been reassured by GE that he will be teaching some great stuff in the webinar, it won't be one long sales pitch for the course. I told him that would suck and he agreed.
- I am covering half the course fee for you if you decide to give it a go after hearing about it – with one caveat… you pay me back once you earn double the cost of the course by using what you learn. If you don't profit from what he teaches, you don't owe me a thing.
Why am I doing this? PhotoBizX was never set up to sell “other stuff” and I'm a little uncomfortable doing this seeing as I haven't done the course myself. At the same time, if this is as good and works as well as GE says, I think it'd be crazy to not check it out and learn how to make more $$$ from each wedding.
Either way, the webinar is free, you will learn something and can decide after hearing from GE if the course is a good fit. I, for one am interested in making more from my weddings if I can do that.
If you have questions, post them below.
NOTE: Because of the Webinar software GE is using for this, there are only 100 spots available.
New book release… Perfect Facebook Ads for Photographers
The new book / guide by Zach Prez has been released and is currently on a launch special of $79 ($99 after launch).
The book material was written in partnership with an agency that runs ads for medium-sized businesses so the info in this guide is current, comprehensive, and will save readers thousands of dollars.
You can get a free 10 Page Sampler from the guide here: https://photobizx.com/zach and see exactly what's included inside the guide plus the accompanying bonus material – free and paid.
NOTE: If you're a Premium Member, email me your purchase receipt for a special rebate on the guide. Full details are in the email to accompany the release of this episode – you save up to $30.
The Dare Workshop by Marshal Gray is coming to Australia
I interviewed Gary Lashmar, aka Marshal Gray in episode 70 of the podcast and it was an absolute blast. It was one of those interviews where I had no idea where he or it was going! His work is different to most, his personality is FULL ON and I'm sure his workshop will be packed with goodness.
Have a listen, check out Gary's works and you'll have a good idea off this workshop is for you. All the details are here: http://www.thedarephotoexperience.com/dare-in-australia-2017/
Links to people, places and things mentioned in this episode:
Thanks again for listening to the show and thanks to Daniel for coming on and sharing his thoughts, views and ideas for running a fantastic (and successful) wedding photography business.
Trying to understand the customer is the hardest part in this business. What he needs is what I focus on – Daniel Chris
If you have any suggestions, comments or questions about this episode, please be sure to leave them below in the comment section of this post, and if you liked the episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post!
That’s it for me this week, hope everything is going well for you in life and business!
Thanks and speak soon