long-tailThe popular business book Long Tail, by Chris Anderson details the phenomenon of selling “less of more.  With the proliferation of the Internet, online businesses like Amazon.com and Netflix are able to turn a significant profit from selling low volumes of rare, less-popular, or hard-to-find items, instead of the traditional business model of selling large volumes of popular items.

Wedding photography is anything but a traditional business, and in all honesty, most of the concepts in the book don’t apply. Diversifying our product offerings runs the risk of hurting our brand image and our quality of wedding photography service. In addition, as we talked about in our article “Presenting LESS Not More,” showing too much of our work dilutes the product and overwhelms our clients.

So how can we apply the concepts of “The Long Tail  to wedding photography? Well, in the book, Anderson talks about an important concept that Netflix and Amazon.com utilize very effectively. They both have a very strong, simple, and intuitive system of categorization and recommendations.

As much as we are in a completely different business than online retailers or services, the majority of us are using online proofing to sell our end product. Our balance is between showing too much and not showing something that someone would potentially buy. In general, l do believe that “less is more,  but even then, we’re still dealing with 1,000-2,000 images from a single event. This is when we have to apply the long tail concept of categorization, and we have to separate our images into powerful, simple, and detailed categories, so that our clients and their guests can easily find an image they’re looking for.

For some of you, this might mean making small changes in the way you categorize your images. For others, this may mean actually having to spend the time to categorize your images to begin with. You might even consider separating preparation into bride and groom or separating the reception into cake cutting, first dance, table shots, toasts, etc. You never know what images people will buy, but one thing’s for sure: they won’t buy anything if they can’t find it.