The Dead Pixels Society podcast

The future of professional wedding photography, with Michael Warshall, EMOTION Photography

September 10, 2020 Gary Pageau Season 1 Episode 18
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
The future of professional wedding photography, with Michael Warshall, EMOTION Photography
Chapters
The Dead Pixels Society podcast
The future of professional wedding photography, with Michael Warshall, EMOTION Photography
Sep 10, 2020 Season 1 Episode 18
Gary Pageau

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Michael Warshall, chairman of Australia's EMOTION Photography. Featured last year in the Dead Pixels Society, EMOTION Photography is a digital-first operation built around the belief the customer – in this case, brides – would prefer to hire a photographer with immediate access to images, as well as the understanding there are photographers willing to be paid a flat rate to photograph a wedding. The entire process is handled through a mobile app. EMOTION Wedding Photography was started by industry veterans Michael Warshall, Vittorio Natoli and Peter Meyers.

In this episode, Warshall discusses his company's customer-driven approach to wedding photography, how the company has adapted its services based on customer feedback, the decision to automate the entire process and trends in the wedding business. 



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/DeadPixelsSociety)

Show Notes Transcript

Gary Pageau of the Dead Pixels Society talks with Michael Warshall, chairman of Australia's EMOTION Photography. Featured last year in the Dead Pixels Society, EMOTION Photography is a digital-first operation built around the belief the customer – in this case, brides – would prefer to hire a photographer with immediate access to images, as well as the understanding there are photographers willing to be paid a flat rate to photograph a wedding. The entire process is handled through a mobile app. EMOTION Wedding Photography was started by industry veterans Michael Warshall, Vittorio Natoli and Peter Meyers.

In this episode, Warshall discusses his company's customer-driven approach to wedding photography, how the company has adapted its services based on customer feedback, the decision to automate the entire process and trends in the wedding business. 



Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/DeadPixelsSociety)

Gary Pageau  0:03  
Hello again and welcome to the Dead Pixels Society podcast. My name is Gary Pageau and today we are joined by industry leader Michael Warshall from EMOTION Photography in Australia. Hello, Michael, how are you today? 

Michael Warshall  0:22  
I'm doing great.

Gary Pageau  0:24  
Listen, Michael, we did actually you were one of the first feature length articles we did on the site back in January of 2019. Talking about your new business model for wedding photography, can you describe that model and bring folks up to date on where you're at right now?

Michael Warshall  0:42  
Okay, so I've been involved in in photography for about 45 years. Not many people are in it over that length of time. I ran multiple studios in a wedding portrait industry ran the largest the photo printing lab in Australia spend about nine years photographing throughout Asia. Several years ago, I sold my business I thought I would semi retire. It took me three months and I was bored. So while having a conversation with one of my close friends who runs a franchise of portrait studios said they noticed the change in how the the new consumers behaving. I said, I noticed that when digital came in back in the, in the 90s and 2000s, I said, Everybody started thinking that it's easy. And then when the telephone the mobile phones come in, they totally disrupted the way that professional photography was handled and perceived. I rented Julius at the very, very top end, producing extraordinary work. Very expensive prices. And then we realized that what I realized, because I also ran the lab, we printed for thousands of photographers throughout all of Australia in New Zealand, I noticed that their businesses were changing. And so I had a pretty good sampling. The work was still extraordinary. A lot of them were fantastic photographers, they were struggling to get the volume of work, because the customers didn't perceive the value existed in what they did. Right. So I said, Okay, big change. Also, the printing became challenged in terms of people didn't want to print. And I said, What in my mind, don't forget, I'm old school. I said, if you've done it, you know if it's not printed, it's not real, right? Of course, but that's what was being asked by the new millennial bride. So while I was speaking to my friend who is now my co director in emotion, I said let's analyze the industry and we got more will be is buying IBIS reports and both in the States and in Australia said let's look at what the numbers tell us. So the obvious reports were quite interesting. For several years now, they've been the opening state. I bought them on the photographic industry, the printing industry and the bridal industry so I could get a good handling. And the reports were quite interesting. They kept saying the portrait market in Australia looks bleak. That was the opening sentence. I said, Yes, it is. I ran portrait studios and I'm a very switched on market. I said, I marketed relentlessly. And I ran three or four promotions, which generated 15 sittings a week and around $2,000 revenue, so that's pretty good. And then the market started changing and then I ended up running 15 promotions a week and struggling to get the 15 settings that are needed. That was quite challenging. Yeah. And then the perceived value changed. So I said, I know what it is. But then your customers, some of them perceive value, but most of them do not. Right. I said, so where is there a growth? So analyzing the data? There were some interesting stats. This is an Australian one, I think American, I've still got the USA ones with very similar. And the data said, there is growth in the bridal industry. And I said, That's not possible. Because as a lab owner, or my customers are printing less and less, right. And the report says that there is some growth, it wasn't huge, but it wasn't shrinking. So when we sat and analyzed the 80 pages, the growth was in the new type of photographer who shoots and provide files. That was it.

Gary Pageau  4:50  
Moms with a Camera...

Michael Warshall  4:52  
That's it. Yeah, you know, and I said, That's interesting. I said, so what what does the new bride actually want so in Australia we have an average of 120,000 weddings a year. Okay, so I said, Let's analyze the data. And we surveyed about 1000 brides. This is before we started the motion, basically I said, I need to know what does the new bride want? And I said, then who is the bride because I learned this in America. And I started traveling and learning at Wynonna back in the 70s and met lots of photographers. I learned one thing, who is the customer and what does the customer want? If you know who the customer is and what they want, you give them what they want, not what you think you want to make. Right? So we serve at the Brighton they told us they want unstructured, not post photography that captures the moment. And the most important to them was to get digital files within about 48 hours to share on social media. I said wow. And it didn't end and they didn't want to pay more than $2,000 Wow, wow. Okay. I said photography is a cottage industry and it's a very laborious industry. You have to talk to people several times you have emails and you have phone calls, and you have texts and, and interviews and all that. I said, Well, you can't produce that at $2,000. So I said, so what if we automate the process? I said, because at the lab, we were a world leader in automation injure in our lab, we were the first to change the whole life from traditional silver halide to Indigo. Digital presses were the first to work with with hp in Israel to invent new inks. I said, so I told possible you just got to believe in what can be done. So the bride tells us what they want. And I said to my now co director said, Well, if we can produce what they want at the price point, that they're prepared to pay and we'll make money so we have a pretty good model. So Doing research and we said, yeah, we can do all that so we can automate as much as we could. And at that stage, I think when I spoke to the first time we automated as much as we thought. And at that stage, we also believed that we needed 100. We put it an award winning member of the Australian Institute of professional photography. Okay, I said, Yeah, that was, I believe, because that's how I grew through that system. I'm a member of PPA, and I underpin all of that. So I approached the Institute, and they got very upset with what I was proposing at that stage. So I said, so we'll find photographers for in other ponds. So we ran an ad and we had 500 applications.

Gary Pageau  7:51  
Yeah, there's no shortage of photographers

Michael Warshall  7:53  
Now, everyone's a photographer. So going back to the order. We were in some promotions, we booked about 150 to weddings, to test the market, which is, you know, a good sampling. We then learned that we didn't have the back end infrastructure to handle all these weddings, communication between us and the bride and the photographer, and the processing of the files, and, and all sorts of other things and communication and people not opening up their emails and wanting to talk to you. And, you know, at one stage, we thought we started doing all that. And we ended up with I think, seven telemarketing girls. I said that we're going back in our model, I said, That's not the model. So we then sat down and worked out what we thought we needed, and we continued with developing our software. So we where we are at the moment, our software matches the bride to the photographer based on location automatically. It takes into consideration the review that the photographer had from previous jobs and the number of jobs they've shot for us. So what that means is the photographers who do the most number of jobs with the best reviews get the first weddings of the rank, right? And the software matches him and not asked because before that we would need to look at a list and say, Oh, we have a wedding in the, in the Blue Mountains. One I know which photographers Do we have, we need to call them and all of that sort of stuff. And that just wasn't viable. So we automated the software, then the editing become an issue. took too long. So we were interested in artificial intelligence.

Gary Pageau  9:36  
Can you talk a little bit about that process? So the photographer shoots the job, and then uploads it into your site? Right, then there's AI that happens.

Michael Warshall  9:44  
Yep. And then they 48 hours later, the files are delivered to the customer's mobile device and they wake up in the morning and all the images are sitting there.

Gary Pageau  9:54  
So but but what but you said there's some sort of editing involved. How is that handled

Michael Warshall  9:59  
Color correction and density correction, there are lots of software's with artificial intelligence and you can script it. If you have this. That's that's the case to spend time with the right people who understand and can write the code. Sure, okay. Even Lightroom has some basic scripting. You can look, that's how we started. And I said, Oh, it's too slow. We're talking here. We want to do around 6- 7000 weddings a year.

Gary Pageau  10:26  
Okay, do that average price per wedding.

Michael Warshall  10:31  
In our case, we have two packages. The most common one is our big picture: $1999. That's it. It includes photography up to eight hours. So the photographer doesn't have to do any marketing. They don't have to do anything. They just turn up at the wedding and shoot and they have to upload to us within 24 hours.

Gary Pageau  10:56  
Now one of the things when you launched you had a portrait only package then you also had a 50 page layflat book that was also another like upsell product. Yes.

Michael Warshall  11:09  
Yes, actually, there's a new upsell, which was quite interesting. As we started launching, we started getting questions What about video? And I said, Okay, well I know video I started video in Australia in 1977 with three tube cameras that weighed 100 kilos, I used to call it and and I said, it's interesting. A lot of people were placing as much emphasis on video, as on stills in my world. It was stills first video second. Yep, exactly. But then I realized the new generation, they've grown up in a world of YouTube and tik tok and other stuff. So the video to them is as important as stills. Mm hmm. So, but they also we surveyed them. We did another survey. And we said so if you were doing a video What is the most important part of the die that you want recorded? And everyone gave us the same answer? All of them. It was the ceremony and the speeches. I was that guy said, Yeah, I said, That's easy. I said, That's true. And I said, So what we'll do, and that didn't want to pay more than $2,000. So I said, So what we'll do is we'll have a videographer to an up and just film, The ceremony and the speeches. And then we will do use our stills from when we shoot and do slideshows of all the other bits in between and call it a moving picture or as I used to say it's a fusion video and I did those in the 80s. Okay, we used to do my five by five proofs, we would film them and we would do slideshows, you know, this is back, it says it 40 years ago. So, so we stopped when we started, we've got about without any promotion, much 15% of the customers ordered video straightaway. And then I said that what about I'm old school again, I said if they're going to have some print, some print, we offered a book, just a basic book. And we're getting at the moment again, and all of that becomes come to sort of a slot. Then as we started we jigging the software because all of that had to be automated, right? And then I said, the model that I really want is like IKEA furniture. I said, let them make the design, let them do everything they want. We'll give them software. And there's lots of software where you can click and drag and it auto populates. So let them make their own album. And that's where we're heading now. So the customer will pick their own pictures. They'll click on our software, and they'll say look, I've got 60 pictures and I want to have, you know, up to 20 pages or whatever and yourself We'll know to populate. And that's it. So, yes. And so that's another interesting point. I said albums. So we serve at about 1000 which is a good sampling. Yeah. I said, so if you were to have if you were able to get a beautiful 20 side, lay flat album of your favorite images, would you purchase 85% said yes. Which was to me mind blowing. I said, I didn't expect that. But it's the next question that entered everything. I said, How much are you prepared to pay for that?

Gary Pageau  14:41  
Exactly.

Michael Warshall  14:45  
The answer was around $400. Really,

Gary Pageau  14:47  
I would have said about $200.

Michael Warshall  14:49  
Okay, well, $400 I said, Well, we make albums and we sell them to photographers for around $400 and then the photographer wants to sell it. To the bride for $3,000. I did that for 40 years, right? I said that that model is broken. I said it finished, except for I call it the five percenters, there will be 5% of the weddings, who are got plenty of money to appreciate good photography and who will look for a photographer who is I? high end photography,

Gary Pageau  15:22  
Right? And those are the people who belong to that association you mentioned, right.

Michael Warshall  15:25  
I mean, and, and as you know, there are many photographers with a lot of money, which is quite interesting because what this is the next step, what happened? So we then started as we started propagating into the industry. We started getting some calls from photographers who know me personally, and said, Listen, you know, we want to buy in, it's a great model. I said, we didn't think about that. We're just gonna fund it ourselves. They said, No, no, we want to we want to buy in. So I sat down with my co-director, Vic. I've got, you know, three or four people who hassling me they want to buy in. And I said so if we can rise a reasonable amount of money, we could move into America much faster. I said that's the plan actually. Because you know what the bridal industry business in America is worth? The whole bridal industry business?

Gary Pageau  16:23  
Give me a give me a clue.

Michael Warshall  16:25  
I think it's about $400 billion.

Gary Pageau  16:27  
Really?

Michael Warshall  16:29  
Not just photography. Photography is about the whole photography. Yeah. Well, I'm saying so here we are.

Gary Pageau  16:37  
Well, you know, it's interesting you said because I just had a blip in the newsletter recently about it was a survey that The Knot did. And they did a survey and they said photography was actually one of the areas that brides did not want to cut back on and actually would wouldn't be willing to spend more money on that. Other areas like they may they may they may cut back on, you know, the music or the decorations or you know, certain other aspects of it, but the photography was something they did not want to change.

Michael Warshall  17:14  
Okay, but that that's an interesting comment. It's the same as a survey I picked up from the PPFA Okay, that survey was done by PPFA to PPFA type photographers who are at the top end which is like the institute in Australia. They do not represent market. They're tiny. So when you talk about photography being not cut back that is true, but not at the prices that we were used to getting in the golden years of photography, which is I go back to my world of golden years of photography when I was fortunate enough to to meet people who totally change my understanding of photography, I know Monte Zucker and Rocky Gunn were telling me about I spent time with these people and Frank Chriccio and I learned things that I had no concept about. I was a young kid who had no idea. And then I realized that and at that stage, we were magicians. It was all new. We were producing beautiful work, extraordinary work. There are photographers in in Australia who are mastered great Grandmaster levels, you know, do fantastic photography. They're all struggling. The Friends of mine, they're struggling, they can't get enough volume. Right. Okay.

Gary Pageau  18:36  
Yeah, that is one of the challenges with almost every business now that is based on you know, creative content, whether it's writing or photography or graphic arts, correct. It's all been gig kind of made out basically.

Michael Warshall  18:54  
And it's been automated. There is software to do design, there is software to To lay out stuff there is it's even the medical profession in the medical profession existed. You had to go to the doctor to get a prescription. Right COVID changed all that. You can get a prescription online now. Yeah, you don't have to go and pay full price. You just get what they call a bulk billing and that's it. Huh? Yeah, what I have to do for my mother in law, I've got my mother in law, she's 96. So you know, we care for her because we didn't want to put her into an old people's home. So medication that's by we make a phone call when we have a bit you know, I online zoom meeting, and the script arrives at the local pharmacy and that's it. It's all different. Real estate is different. They're all different because the way it used to be is broken the problem we all have. People don't want to let go of the old way. Right?

Gary Pageau  19:54  
Well, that's difficult talking about before we started recording was how The current worldwide pandemic of COVID has pushed people into change, because COVID has forced them to look at their business, look at how they interact with customers and push them into mobile or online where maybe they were more reluctant to go there.

Michael Warshall  20:23  
And also how they purchase. So this is my observation. So in the old days, even two and a half years ago, well, actually if before we started emotion, if someone told me that a bride would book a photographer, whether that meeting him or her, I would say that would never happen. Right? Guess what, every wedding we're booked to haven't met anybody. Right. Okay, so the next question becomes the typical bride now it's very different to the bride when I started so in the traditional way, so if I look at that brides now I'll give you this as a good statistic. So in my world, you went out with a girl. You like the girl, you got engaged to the girl. He married the girl. You had a kid or two, you got a mortgage and you got a dog. Now, more than half the brides will do. They've been living together between four and 10 years. They have the two kids, they have the mortgage to have the dog and then they decide to get married. That threw me off say why?

Gary Pageau  21:34  
You've got the dog.

Michael Warshall  21:35  
You've got everything in any one year together. You've got your defector. So rang a couple of these girls. They said it's important to us we won't ever party with our closest friends. Yeah. So the weddings now are no longer mega weddings that I did year in year out for 40 years. Right so where I am in my holiday house, we have 62 vineyards within 15 minutes were in one country. So on a typical Saturday, if you drive down here their wedding in each vignette, typical wedding would be 40-50 people it will be cocktail. It'll be when they get married there, by the way. Last year, I think in Australia, only just over 20% of the weddings were in churches, right? The rest of civil ceremony so the church businesses as we knew it, that's finished. They don't need to get married in a church or a synagogue. They get married, right in the garden on a trip behind a tree on the beach, and backyard. Yeah, that's the bulk of the weddings. I'm not talking about the five percenters who will go to the Ritz and whatever. We still have them but nothing like the reception has a zero suffering also, they can't get enough volume.

Gary Pageau  22:49  
Right. On and now with,

Michael Warshall  22:52  
well, now they're closed. Yeah. So. So the model is in our case, you go online and this is up ideal customer. And and we've learned this how we approach the ideal customer was they go online and they just book and we've had some, but the typical one will ask two quick same questions every time. Okay, and we've automated the process. So the question is, are you available on my date? And the second question is how much of your packages? Right? Okay, the answer is already on our website. They don't read that. Right? So they fill in the form. And the form says what state are you in what region you in our software checks the database immediately and answers them within five seconds to say, That's it straightaway.

Gary Pageau  23:46  
And here are the photographers who are available and here

Michael Warshall  23:49  
now we don't even tell her we don't even tell him the photographer's anymore was too complicated. They could make up their mind. This is we used to say these are the photographers that is how it started. And then they would say it's too complicated. Did you pick one for me? Really? If you go on our website now you there are no photographers listed? Nothing. It's emotion. You're booking us.

Gary Pageau  24:09  
Okay, that is a change from last year when we talk.

Michael Warshall  24:12  
Yeah. Well, we learned it was too complicated. Yeah, it was, it took. So this is how it used to be. The bride would would say select your favorite photographers, she would select them. We would then have to contact the photographers. Some photographers didn't reply for three days, because there are all of them are part timers. By the way, there are no full timers as I knew them. Yeah. And I can give you a stat. I've personally spoke to about 500 because the first time we ran an ad out of those, there wouldn't have been a dozen who made all their money from the professional photography. Right? And if they did, they did everything weddings and portraits and real estate and schools and graduations and events, anything that could get their hands on right that's That's how I grew up. When I grew up, I was a specialist.

Gary Pageau  25:02  
Right. Okay, perfect.

Michael Warshall  25:08  
what I was mentioning about people wanting to invest. And I said, look at the people who invest who are asking me, I said, these are the prominent photographers, few who actually have money. Right? And one of them is one of the most awarded photographers and he said, I want him Why? He said, Well, I'm, you know, I'm still doing my weddings. And he used to do 150 weddings a year, he's every so would have been at least 10,000 bucks. Right? is now getting at weddings. He's smart. So I said, we decided we'll sell 20% of the business. So sorry, 25% of the business we already sold 20 Okay. Okay. And the photographers. You know why? These? This? Again, I'm not being facetious. These are people who actually have money, it. It's it's not huge money, but it's serious money. Okay? It's it's the first what I call the first round of angel investors that we did. So I said, so we invested all that money, hundreds of thousands into software development into automation. We've contacted clients using automation, marketing funnels, automatic texting, automatic replies, a chatbot proper, just finished testing it, it's gonna go live probably in two weeks time. Because every time you have human intervention, it costs money. Yeah. And, and if it costs money, you can't produce a job under two grand and make money. Right? Right. So the model has streamlined a bit we've automated all the back end.

Gary Pageau  26:52  
You just have to automate the photography part. Just have a little drone come and show up.

Michael Warshall  26:57  
Yep. For the photographers and we pay them hourly Reasonable money, we get $615 to shoot on, they don't have to shoot. They don't have to do any work. They don't have to edit. They don't have to do anything. They just turn up, shoot and upload. So the average wedding in Australia is about six hours.

Gary Pageau  27:17  
That's 100 bucks an hour. That's good, actually. So have you had an issue? I mean, you said you've done hundreds of weddings so far. I've had an issue with a photographer who's disappointed either you or the client and their performance and what do you do in those cases?

Michael Warshall  27:34  
Okay, so it's interesting. If you look at our reviews, we've had four and five star reviews. We've had one review that was negative so far, okay. Something happened, it happens. We've had a situation where a photographer got ill on the morning of the wedding. Okay, but guess what, we have multiple photographers sub, we get onto under we have a database, we say This guy should have been, in fact that happened to us last week. He something went wrong. He was ill he sent a text at three o'clock in the morning. So my co director rings me, he said, What do we do? I said, let me go into my database. And within within within 45 minutes, a replacement photographer and we pay them more. First a goober. I said, they No, in fact, we're going to put that into the new system. We're going when there's another location, we're going to put someone on standby. Okay, and if if something happens, you will get an extra 30%. Right. Right. Yeah. So if you're a one man operator and a photographer, which are what most photographers are, you get sick, you're in trouble. Yeah. Okay, you're in trouble. So what you know why will sort of Uber is that if you know what I mean and automated it. And that's, to me, that's the way of the future

Gary Pageau  28:59  
you mentioned. Back in January 2019, when we first talked, this is more of a fintech sort of thing as opposed to a photography sort of

Michael Warshall  29:08  
thing. Yeah. Well, fintech being it's an online business, that can be scaled without having to put in more people, except for the photographer, which is the the only human intervention. If you have a general business, in a factory, if you want to put a small unit most staff you need more machines, right. Okay, here, you don't use you.

Gary Pageau  29:31  
I'm just curious. Have you seen what's been the breakdown on people who buy just digital versus who buy the album? Is it like 5050 6040 and 30?

Michael Warshall  29:43  
I don't have enough information on that because a lot of the weddings we've had coming up, they all got postponed. So all we haven't shot a wedding in Victoria since March. Yeah. We've shot we still shoot weddings in in Seattle. The other states were closed. The first state that was opened up was Western Australia. So that's sort of back to normal and we should wedding we had two weddings during the weekend. New South Wales was all good. And then they had a second basic miniature second wave. So they said no gatherings of more than 10 people outdoors and guess what happened to the weddings. They're gone. They're gone. They're postponed till 2021 2020. We've had some people who have postponed their weddings four times. They were hoping that it'll go away. In Victoria. No weddings at all. Yeah. Okay. Prior to the second wave, you could have five people Well, that didn't, you know, get many people excited, so there were no weddings. So there'll be a big influx of weddings. Next year, however, there will be different

Gary Pageau  30:51  
I know a couple people personally who have had to move their wedding to 2020 when they actually got married in front Have a judge but the actual reception and all that they're actually going to try and do it on their anniversary. Right? Because Yeah. Because Well, it's have the wedding.

Michael Warshall  31:10  
This is something interesting. It's the same principle as we have. We had a booking the other day, and they booked for Matt may of 2021. So they're getting married on the 10th anniversary. Okay, they have two kids that are three kids. So they decided to get married. They've been together 10 years.

Gary Pageau  31:34  
Wow.

Michael Warshall  31:36  
Okay, so that's that would have been unheard of in my previous life in photography. That's not how it used to work.

Gary Pageau  31:43  
Have you had any inquiries from people in the trade to say, you know, with a little tweak, you could adapt that to let's say, senior photography or other types of portrait shoots but The same level of automation on the same level of technology.

Michael Warshall  32:05  
no charge, but Okay, so there were two ways the school photography business in Australia was decimated, kids couldn't go to school. So in Victoria, in New South Wales, no schools so there's been the school photography stopped, okay? The big operators are reasonably automated in terms of how they shoot and how they print. They're already moved to presses rather than traditional silver halide, but they don't understand what I call about lead acquisition or customer acquisition the photographer's as I know him the photographer they will never do that because they are special people in their mind. Right so it was I I'm an artist, you know you have to book me when you don't

Gary Pageau  32:54  
nothing I you know that's the thing is I mean that's people don't get into photography generally because They're into lead generation marketing. They like to take pictures. That's why they're in the business.

Michael Warshall  33:04  
Well, let me go back to the people that I interviewed. So, as I said, I personally interviewed to become an emotion photographer, there are quite a few steps you apply, you then need to supply. I fully have a whole wedding. I said, I'm not interested in 20 of your best shots. I said, I want Roy images before you've done anything to them my whole wedding. Okay, I want to see how you think. Okay, then then you to supply me some background information. And that suits I then call them and speak to them. So with us. They need to have a crime check. So they everyone has to pass a police check. That's That's it. Some of them wouldn't apply. And then you realize they had convictions and also not interested in those people. So let's assume they pass everything and their work is good. Right. I then say my next question always is what do you do for a living

Gary Pageau  34:00  
You're not a photographer.

Michael Warshall  34:01  
Well, they're not. Right. So we have accountants, we have solicitors. We have bakers, we have plumbers. incredible work, some of it is incredible work. And some of them you could see they do it because they love doing it and some do it because it's an additional income. Right? So they go out on one day and I learn what they would earn in, you know, half a week if you know what I mean. So, but there are people who enjoy doing this and I learned this because I was in the lab business

I spoke to many in any camera club. And I saw the people these were all more mature people lots of money loves cameras and photography. That was it. Whereas when I got into business I got in the business because I wanted to make money right? So it was a different entrance as. And when I decided to be a photographer, I went back to college and I studied photography. And that's when I studied color printing. And I said that's not difficult because I'm a chemistry background. Right? So I opened my first lab in 1973. And that was it. And yeah, the same here. So people are resisting. And the resistance from photographers predominantly is they don't want to change. Right? Well, the customers don't want what the photographers do, right?

So who's gonna win? The customer.

Gary Pageau  35:37  
Well, that's the thing is I mean, like you said, Yeah, I mean, it's it's very

Well, sadly, the the the customer is changing. And you know, that's true in almost every business. You know, we're talking about, we're talking earlier about, you know, the restaurant business. It's really now you have to become a food delivery business because

Michael Warshall  36:18  
When Uber Eats came to Australia, I watched it, it totally decimated the hospitality restaurant business, right? Because people learned that could get food delivered home, they didn't have to dress up and go and sit in a restaurant and paid a lot of money. And then I can ever go to the restaurant who said it'll never work and guess what it did. And then with COVID

Gary Pageau  36:40  
you know, it's it's basically taught people how to use home delivery services,

Michael Warshall  36:45  
correct for everything. For everything, I use it. I mean, I've used it for some time and it was interesting watching my wife, you're talking to someone who is a baby boomer, so she she wasn't computer literate. We're talking some years ago, and I bought a laptop. And she then learned because she loves shopping. So when we travel should be shopping when we're in the States. Oh, she did she shopped. Right? She knew all the shops and, you know, it would start at Beverly Hills where they drive and end up on, you know, Fifth Avenue as we traveled along. And then when she started, she said Barack can buy from the shops from home. So then, you know, one one day come home and there's my wife in bed with a couple of dogs and somebody do some shopping. She was he was on eBay. She was buying something from a boutique in London, and she ordered something from I herb in America, and then she ordered something from California. And she said, I didn't even have to get dressed up. And if it's no good, I'll just send it back. Yeah, there you go. That's the new generation and she's old generation. But they've learned how to do that. Right and the bride would have learned that Very time poor because many of them already have kids that juggling, they have a job. Okay, they have to go home and cook and clean. And now that decided to get married, so they don't have time to go from photographer to photographer, right? They want someone who they trust and like and who they believe will give them what they want, which is I attended coverage of their wedding that they can have shared on social media within 48 hours. That's what they want.

Gary Pageau  38:32  
So when we talked last year, one of the features was going to be sort of this photographer directory, but now my feeling is that, you know, just like Uber, you're not getting a specific driver. Uber is the brand I think EMOTION is going to be the brand in your case.

Michael Warshall  38:52  
That's exactly what I found was too complicated with having a direct we didn't want to be a directory. I said we want to provide a service. Write a standardized service. So the other thing I learned from from the brides, it was too complicated dealing with photographers, too many choices and you never actually knew what you're going to have to pay when it's all over. Right? I said correct. That's how we used to work with us. It's this is it. We have Petco Pedley. If you go on our website, you'll see its IRB. And that's it. Next first, you just pick on a few extras and you can pay for different ways you can deposit you can you can lie plan, you can ask to pay whatever, I don't care, whatever they want. The communication is live now. So we've got portals for the bride and us. So if they have any changes, they don't have to bring a sub, they put it into the app, which updates our CRM and gives that information to the photographer.

Gary Pageau  39:52  
So what type of information are they putting into the app? 

Michael Warshall  39:56  
we'll get we're getting married at botanical garden It's at four o'clock. And now it's three o'clock. And the reception is going to be at ABC restaurant and now it's going to be in the Botanical Gardens on the trestle table. Okay, before they would have to ring and talk to someone that someone would have to put it into the CRM, they would then have to contact the photographer and tell them, right? Well, that was we worked out there were like 15 touch points. Every time I said, a lot of money being wasted. I said that can be automated.

Gary Pageau  40:31  
So, so looking ahead. You've had a bit of a hiccup with COVID as most as as most of the planet has. Yep. And it has brought some economic devastation in the industry and beyond. So hope, hopefully, by next spring, things will be more or actually fall our time I guess. next March or April. Things We'll be back more normal and weddings, we'll be back

Michael Warshall  41:02  
Whatever whatever the normal will be. And whatever the wedding industry it will be smaller weddings, but not a doubt. They'll be much more casual. The photography will be which is what they want though basically, we haven't pushed the printing because it will come to a standstill because the way I have worked out is this. They do not want to commit to order an album and or a book at the beginning. Right But after the wedding at the right price, they will buy it. Yeah. Okay. So that's what we started and they said we were ready to launch on the 16th of March. And on the 15th the country got shut down.

Gary Pageau  41:43  
Wow.

Michael Warshall  41:45  
Okay, so he said that it happens we will continue developing what we needed to develop and we will continue automating it and as the weddings you know, as they opened up some states weddings come back on so Victoria, the shot There's nothing in Victoria till next February, March, nothing it's finished. New South Wales Queensland has started going back to normal. So we're getting weddings back, you know, shorter lead time. The average bride now books about six months in advance.

Gary Pageau  42:18  
Right. So you said you've got some interest internationally. So how exportable Do you think emotion photography is?

Michael Warshall  42:24  
Very, in our case. It's portable very easily to an English speaking country. So in our case, the the closest that has very similar styles of weddings is USA and then England. I also have a lot of friends and photography who, who would be involved both in USA and in England. Right? Okay, they're all in the same boat. So if it's English speaking and the customs are similar, well, the USA is the same, they're gonna it's, it's in turmoil, and that'll be interesting to see how that pans out because your numbers are much higher. And, you know, it'll it'll work out and then you've got the elections coming up. So there'll be some interesting things happening. But one thing is people will get married. What I've learned is if they're allowed to get married the old way, they'll get married, then they'll have kids, then they'll have a house or then UI. They'll have the kids will have the house and then they can get married. Right.

Gary Pageau  43:24  
But you'll and you're ready either way, right? That's sort of correct.

Michael Warshall  43:27  
Weddings or weddings. Yeah,

Gary Pageau  43:29  
exactly. Well, thanks for your time. I appreciate it. Looking forward to catch up with you soon.

Unknown Speaker  43:36  
Likewise, care. You enjoy your evening and I'll, I'll go and have some lunch. It's quarter past 12. It was good talking to Gary. And keep well keep safe and well,.