I've been shooting weddings for a few years now as a side business, and am really loving it. I purposely don't book too many weddings per calendar year because I enjoy being able to give each client the attention they deserve. I have a solid portfolio, a good website, my prices are competitive for this area (without undermining the veteran wedding photographers), and I actively market myself. Long story short, I listened to the old pros when I was a newbie just getting my feet wet, followed their advice, and...nothing. I've had literally one booking this year. One. Uno. Ein. Un. Singular, not plural. I'm getting a little worried here! Some have proprosed that the slow-down in bookings is due to the economy continuing to wreak havoc on the wedding industry...but people are still getting married, right? Others have suggested that brides are just holding out longer before booking. I guess that's a valid argument, but I still feel like there's more to it. My theory is that the seasoned pros in the wedding photogrpahy industry are taking a backseat to the "bargain basement" photographers that put up ads on Craigslist, backpage, and other free public sites. And this trend is continuing. I know there's a lot of talent out there...and yes, maybe some brides got lucky and found an absolutely AMAZING photographer to shoot their wedding for, say, 500 bucks. The brides are happy with their results, so they tell all their friends, "Hey, I got a great deal on Craigslist. You don't need to pay a pro thousands of dollars when you can get someone just as good for a lot less". And so this results in a preponderence of brides-to-be scouring the Web looking for five-hundred-dollar wedding photographers. And THAT leads to people evaluating photographers based on their price more so than their work. The end result? We lose work. In a recent discussion thread on a popular wedding planning site (I won't say which one), a vendor was venting about how one bride got a photographer AND a videographer for a whopping $200. No, that isn't a typo...I even asked to make sure it wasn't...two HUNDRED dollars for photo and video. I was dumbfounded, yet I felt vindicated in a strange sort of way. I see the ads online. I get the occasionally "Can you shoot an eight-hour wedding for dirt cheap?" e-mail. What's the industry coming to? I can tell you that trying to educate these brides is like fighting a fire with gasoline. I get a lot of "give me your price" and then never hear back from these people again. I know people need to be savvy, but what are we to do?