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Michael Warshall is the co-founder with Vittorio Natoli of Emotion Wedding Photography, a fast-growth photography marketplace FI portfolio company, offering the most accessible professional wedding photo services across the country of Australia. Emotion's co-founder Michael Warshall is a veteran photographer himself, as well as a deep industry expert, whose career and portfolio span the globe through his own Michael Warshall Picturemaker brand and 30+ years experience in Melbourne as the Executive Director of Nulab Professional Imaging, a longtime largest photo printer in Australia. 

Warshall had sold his previous businesses and was entering into a semi-retirement, when the pandemic lockdown in Australia led to avoiding boredom at home by channeling more of his attention toward a newer, fully-digital photo venture: Emotion Wedding Photography. 

Watch the full interview with Emotion's co-founder and Executive Chairman Michael Warshall: 

With more than 100 rigorously-vetted photographers already onboarded onto the Emotion Wedding Photography platform (from more than 700 inbound photographer-applicants that expressed interest), Emotion is rapidly becoming a clear industry leader. Through his past work with Nulab, Warshall had recently printed for ~3000 professional photographers, and was very aware of the changes already happening across the wedding photo industry. 

Emotion provides the simple solution for today’s couples who understand the need for professional wedding photography: a no-fuss, easy-to-understand service that ensures proven and trusted professional photography for a delightful and ageless record of their wedding day. According to Warshall,

Different from the past… most of the weddings that we do now are not church weddings, but civil celebrations: in the garden, on the beach, in the park, very different. As COVID’s impact minimizes—in Australia, anyway—we are working to scale. Our plan is to go to the United States, where the potential market is much bigger. Australia is a $500M market; but when we look at the USA, England, and Australia, it’s a $6B market opportunity.

Recognizing new consumer demands of the digital generation, Emotion guarantees its professional wedding images within 48 hours of the wedding day, delivered to customers to enable immediate viewing, sharing, and downloading. There are no extras, no complicated pricing structures, no ambiguity, and no confusing package offerings. Award winning high-end albums and books are also made available direct-to-order to customers at wholesale prices through Emotion.

Another part of Emotion’s early launch success was driven by the other side of its marketplace: in addition to a more digital customer, Warshall also recognized a newly emerging version of the professional photographer in the gig economy. Mostly, these are part-time photographers, who may have other jobs, but also already have well-established career records and quality portfolios in the weddings and events space. 

Our photographers upload the images within 24 hours. We’re looking for around 600 images… The new generation, because of digital, will shoot thousands of pictures—there are duplicates, so you eliminate some—and we’re delivering around 600 quality photos directly to the client's mobile device or computer.

Warshall was previously a pioneer in Australian photography industry sustainability going back to his time at Nulab, when he pushed the move from silver halide to more sustainable indigo press photo development and printing chemical processes. In the dawn of digital photography, Warshall continued to push boundaries across industry innovation and sustainability at Emotion, noting,

When we were printing, we were the first lab to bring digital printing to Australia back in the 90s. Everything was analog, and my customers said, ‘Oh, digital will never work’—and then everyone went digital. When I saw a new technology, especially not using chemicals… we pushed a boundary, the technology got there, and now it’s the standard technology: a clean process, so there is no chemical pollution.

Today Warshall and Natoli are again at the leading edge of disruption in professional photography, with a successful go-to-market in Australia that caught the industry on its heels. Warshall provides some insight into the entrepreneurial instinct as well as importance of listening to the customer, recounting his experience saying, 

All things are possible, it just depends on your belief and perseverance. Change is very difficult for people, they don’t like it… but I’m very different—that’s my personality, I’ve always pushed boundaries. And that’s what we did at Emotion too—when we launched, the professional photographic market in Australia got upset with us. They said, ‘You’re going to Uber-ize the industry,’ and we said, ‘No, we’re going to give the bride what she’s asking for.' We’re not doing anything special, not innovating on those terms—we’re simply giving her what she told us.

Warshall says that the high-end photographers will always have their own market niche, and can keep their beautiful studios—but that the bulk of the market is going elsewhere, and that is where Emotion is headed. Delivering a fast, fully digital product that newlyweds can share immediately with their friends and family online is the future of wedding photography—and Emotion is leading the way there. 

Warshall and the team at Emotion are working now to expand their offering geographically, and will likely arrive next to the US and UK markets. To learn more—or if you’re in Australia, to book a wedding photographer directly—visit the Emotion Wedding Photography website. 

 

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $1 billion in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey


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