A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Community > Forums > Wedding and social event photography > Unarchived > Bella and the Denis Reggie...

Bella and the Denis Reggie Experience--What Do YOU Think?

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Oct 14, 2010; 01:35 p.m.

If you don't already know, Bella Pictures and Denis Reggie have partnered to present a new offering--the Denis Reggie Experience. If you don't know, Bella Pictures is a national 'wedding mill' who has so far made some inroads in the low/middle/upper middle wedding phtoography markets. With this new product they are poised to start tackling the high end. Details can be seen here.


The purpose of this question/thread is two fold.

1. What do you think about the new product?

2. For you established photographers, and particularly photographers in the upper/middle and high end--how does this affect your market position and what, if anything, are you going to do to counter this effort?

Note: Please keep all comment civil.


    1   |   2   |   3   |   4     Next    Last

Pete S. , Oct 14, 2010; 02:12 p.m.

"The Denis Reggie Experience" shot by photographers who has been handpicked by Denis Reggie.

Edited and album designed by designer also certified by Denis. And the final album is personally reviewed by Denis.

Sounds great! Price is from $5500 according to website.

Peter Cohen , Oct 14, 2010; 02:40 p.m.

1. To me, this is like eating at a restaurant owned by a celebrity chef, but the chef's not there. You pay a premium for the name on the door, but the food isn't cooked by the same hands. In short, it doesn't carry much weight to me.

2. The choice of a wedding photographer is -- or at least should be -- an intensely personal decision based on chemistry, like-mindedness, and trust built on experience and personality. I believe that's where the established wedding pro can win over the "certified" photographers. At a starting price of $5,500 plus a fee for a second shooter, you're up over $7,000 if you have more than 100 guests. And this does not include an engagement session or any of the other nice little add-ons that a pro might toss in when sitting across from the B&G, getting to know them, and knowing that something like an Animoto video from their engagement session that they could carry on their iPods would make a difference. A nameless, faceless person is not going to know that.

If anything, the entry of this wedding photo offering should cause each of us to take a good look at why our customers choose us, and bring those qualities up front in our marketing efforts. "Amazing to work with." "Really got to know us." "Knew exactly the kind of images we wanted." "Got to know my family so well and it made a huge difference in the photos."

Just for kicks, I went to "purchase" one of their packages, filled out the date and location (Phoenix) and clicked through. The response I received was "We do not currently service this location." Nice. Real personal.

David Haas , Oct 14, 2010; 03:19 p.m.

1. Like any business they have to continue to change and adapt to the market - this is one way of doing that. Similar to Lifetouch creating Flash! studios in many of the same malls served by their JC Penny Studios. This obviously is aimed at higher end clientelle. Honestly - How many brides are going to know who Denis Reggie is? Maybe if they study the wedding mags...

2. I don't put myself in that group - I'm more upper lower (by choice) and lower middle. If a bride has $5,500 to spend on wedding photos - she's not coming to me - I'm more in the $1,500 and under category.

In general though - it is further making wedding photography a commodity - something that you can apply a template to, follow a checklist, apply a set of photoshop actions and get a consistent result. I'd really like to think that Photography is about more than that - it's about applying one's own unique expertise, experience and VISION to the subject. To me - that's why one chooses a particular photographer - whether it is for a wedding, family event or portraits.

Finally - I agree with Peter - kind of like going into Wolfgang Puck's in the LA airport and expecting to actually get something cooked directly by him - kind of the same - but not quite.


John Deerfield , Oct 14, 2010; 03:47 p.m.

1. What do you think about the new product?

To be honest, I haven't really thought about it. I do think that Bella caters to a very different clientele. Most brides want to hire their own photographer as opposed to letting a broker find one. But of course, there are those that don't mind using a broker.

2. For you established photographers, and particularly photographers in the upper/middle and high end--how does this affect your market position and what, if anything, are you going to do to counter this effort?

I honestly don't see how it would affect me. The bride is either going to interview her own photographer or use a broker. I think they are two different brides. And actually, I would rather defend against a $5000+ cookie cutter package than explain why $3000 isn't a lot for wedding photography!

Nadine Ohara - SF Bay Area/CA , Oct 14, 2010; 03:57 p.m.

As far as I'm concerned, the biggest potential of Bella's product is taking brides off the market because they now have 'across the board' offerings. So if a bride is inclined to check out Bella, based on interest in the high end Denis Reggie product (let's face it, people inquire without having any real intention of buying), the bride can be directed up or down the price range, to be heavily sold at whatever price point she can afford, and you can bet the salespeople will find that point quickly. The value of the package is to get that bride into talking range.

Eric Merrill , Oct 14, 2010; 07:55 p.m.

1. There's a sucker born every minute.

I can't imagine wanting to pay a premium for a famous name and knowing that I'll be having some no-name person show up to provide the service.

2. This doesn't affect me. I'm not competing for the same clients. Same reason as I'm not concerned about Craig's list photographers or new photographers that are driving toward the bottom as fast as possible to compete on price. That's a game nobody can win.

The clients that book me want me to personally show up and create photos. If a bride is looking to check off the box that says she's hired a photographer, then she's not my target market, anyway.


William W , Oct 14, 2010; 10:10 p.m.

Discloser: This “competition” is way out of my geographical location; whist I still Photograph Professionally, I ended shooting Weddings for profit a few months ago. Nonetheless the USA has market trends and I have watched (and used) them for many years, so I think I would like to comment.

I think that a small percentage of prospects buy a “fashion label” or an “original” – even if they don’t really understand what it is they are buying and those folk usually have money to buy. There are others who will buy one of the 1000 numbered limited edition facsimiles and pretend it is an original, they usually don’t have the money to afford the facsimile, but they scrape it together. Then there are those folk who buy a coffee and cake from a franchise chain, simply because they have never tasted real coffee and do not understand the art and taste of Patisserie.

Whilst being neither exactly - this is a combination of: Limited Edition Facsimile and Franchise – and is strategically innovative – maybe I have my head in the sand but I haven’t seen this nuance of flavours before.

Just because it is a big banner name and seemingly well planned and executed – it does not mean it will strafe competition in ALL sectors of the market place.

It is my gut feel that that there would be more "Franchise Coffee Club Diners" having a peek and potentially being up sold to something way in excess of their opening budget, perhaps on a lay-by and a "no interest 50 month payment plan" (hey is that an Idea or what, Denis?) . . . than practical down to earth purchasers who take note of detail, want something personalized and might come, initially from a personal referral to a Photographer in the similar price range - so my guess is, initially anyway, there will be more suck from the low and mid-low market, rather than the from mid and mid-high market - whatever that market is, and how it is defined, in various areas across the USA.

On the other hand, the act of saying “it will not affect me” is not a magic prophylactic.

On theory only: it could be argued that the “Original” (i.e. Reggie originals) will take an hit in value – time will tell.

I think both the magic and weakness is in the detail: the magic is in the broad ranging appeal, interest, big name, well recognised, wide casting net, professional sell once they have the prospects’ attention & conversation.
The weakness is in the one, three, six, eighteen, “Accredited” Photographers each year, who stuff up.
It is a percentage game and the odds are stacked for “most” clients to be happy.
So if I were to battle this, I would leverage that weakness in my favour by playing the “you get me” card once the Prospect is in the door.

But there is the issue of: “there are fewer prospects available knocking on my door”, which is the issue Nadine is raising, as I understand it. In this regard if I were competing, I would be as relaxed now as I have been previously and as my previous comments indicate – I like my business cards, my face to face, my networking, my pro bono work, my follow-up of old customers my creating/marketing to niche market group(s).

On a technical note, I engaged the website, the offer of sale appears not to have full USA coverage - yet, but input capital from intial sales will fix that I would think - that's a pretty standard roll out mechanism.

Mark Anthony Kathurima , Oct 15, 2010; 04:23 a.m.

I think this is an interesting product. Not sure how many takers it will get, but I do see the potential it has for getting the bride's foot in the door ;-)

Like WW, I too operate in a totally different market, so these are my tuppence based on my observations: Bella have probably tried to create a new niche for those brides who perhaps may have the money to spend, like the idea of a big-name photographer and perhaps cant or don't want to invest the time meeting face to face.

What the Denis Reggie name brings is a level of confidence that a competent shooter will cover their big day. That it won't be the man himself covering the event may be largely immaterial, because he will have "endorsed" whoever is doing the coverage.

It's in a sense similar to how Richard Branson's Virgin brand is exactly that; a brand that can be sold to the "right" buyer(s). One doesn't expect Sir Richard to be on hand to serve drinks but one would expect a certain level of service delivery that has come to be associated with that brand. I think it's the same thing in this case, but applied to a different market/industry.

It would be interesting indeed to see whether this new offering will boost Bella's sales. If anything, it could well improve their image to be associated with one of the top wedding photographers in the world...

Finally, if I were a wedding photographer in the US, I wouldn't be too jittery but rather continue to work on refining my craft, service levels and my marketing strategy. We live in ever-changing times, after all. Just do you :)

Neil Ambrose , Oct 15, 2010; 06:06 a.m.

I find it interesting that fewer than 5% of Bella's photographer pool make it through the certification process to take part in the DR Experience. Read the other way, Bella is saying that more than 95% of its existing talent pool isn't up to scratch, which says something about where their usual quality bar is set.

I don't think it's a competitive threat to anyone who already specialises in that type of work or client - as others have noted, the offering is too different. Not to mention that anyone already doing well in that market is successful on their own strengths. Anyone who's even moderately interesting will have their own style that clients book them for. They're not being hired for their ability to mimic someone else.

But this might represent an interesting opportunity (or even occasional sideline) for skilled reportage photographers who want to fill spare slots in their schedule, or who would enjoy the 'no strings' approach of being hired through a broker.

    1   |   2   |   3   |   4     Next    Last

Back to top

Notify me of Responses