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Old Jun 7, 2007, 2:21 PM   #1
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Well the inevitable has finallyhappened, I wasasked this morning to shoot a wedding for a client. I have been doing a lot of freeportraiture for friends not only for the practice and experience, but also to get some word of mouth and exposure of my photography skills out in the community. It finally paid off. I believe I am ready to take on a wedding and have spent more than enough time researching technique, tips and tricks from existing wedding photographers. I have the equipment, minus one lens which I will order before the wedding.

So what I need to know is what is an appropriate charge for a first wedding? Charge for both time and prints, or just charge for prints? With this being the first, I need to hit a home run if I would like more business from referrals. This being said I don't mind investing the time in order to shoot, the rehearsal, the preparation, the wedding and the reception in order to get those special shots that I might have missed hadI not been there. So give me your ideas on what to charge, for time, for some sort of package, orfor prints. This is where I lack experience, so I need some of yours!

Thanks!

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Old Jun 7, 2007, 2:27 PM   #2
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Best way is to check the pros in your area - websites, or phone for a quote, then price yourself a suitable amount below.


Darren

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Old Jun 7, 2007, 4:34 PM   #3
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I'm not a total fan of dpReview, but your question has been asked a number of times in the past several weeks on the Pro Digital forum..

There is a ton of information there that will answer a lot of your questions..

As Darren, said check out the other pros in your area to see what they are charging..

I'll bet that there is a range of prices being charged depending upon what services that the photographer is offering..You should probably offerseveral levelsof service for your wedding, depending upon how much time you are willing to invest in the shoot..

There is a huge debate going on over some pros shootinga wedding & then handing the bride & groom a CD/ DVD with unprocessed images on it to do with as they please..In other words handing over the disc & walking away with no further contact or responsibility towards the client..No prints, no albums, no nothing..

This would be the least expensive way to price out the shoot.

Apparently there is a growing market for this type of wedding work..To me it doesn't seem quite right, you know??..I always thought that the reason that you hired a photographer was that the pro could do things that the average person could not..That would include the pro providing the finished pictures, which would be altered in the wet/ digital darkroom so as to show off the skill of the photographer & the beauty of the bride..Handing over unprocessed images so that the couple can go to Walmart, Costco, or whereever for the lowest price per print seems a little like a copout..

I am not now & probably never will be a professional photographer earning my living from the taking & selling of images..One thing that I learned in a previous profession is that once you set the cost of your services too low (compared to your competition) then you will have a hard time raising your prices to reflect the rising/ real world costs of doing business w/o alienating your customer base..I learned this working for both myself & for former employers..

This won't matter much if this wedding is just a one-time-deal..However, if you want to earn money taking wedding photos (and it sounds as if you would like to, if I understand the tenor of your post?), then I would not price myself too much lower than your competition..

There are a several reasons not to do so & they are all discussed at great length in the Pro Digital forum mentioned above..

Another consideration might be are you prepared for an influx in business if you do well (I'm sure that you will!!)in pleasing the clients at this wedding??Is your business model set up so as to be ready for additional wedding photographyimmediately following this shoot??

Hope this helps.

Bruce
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Old Jun 7, 2007, 4:48 PM   #4
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I have done that a few times lately. Hit send and the post freezes.

Last time I did a wedding, I shot 4 rolls of 36 exposure film and gave the bride and groom the 7x5 shots as a wedding gift. Well it was my step-brother!


Darren

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Old Jun 7, 2007, 5:10 PM   #5
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Oh yeah, I totally forget there are other message boards on the different forums. I just bookmark the Pentax ones and don't even bother to visit the rest. I'll check out that forum and see what people have to say.
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Old Jun 7, 2007, 5:15 PM   #6
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Good Luck!

The reason that I visit & read posts on a lot of the other forums is that there is a lot of interesting information on the other boards/ forums that I figure will help me somewhere down the road in photography..

Bruce
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Old Jun 7, 2007, 7:11 PM   #7
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It depends on your experience as to what you should charge for your work. I have friends in California that shoot wedding for a living and their price for friends and family is $1,500, while they normally get $5,000 for a complete wedding shoot.

There are many people out there now that digital is available that will shoot a wedding for $500 and walk away leaving you to do what you wish with the digital images. That means the client must be able to do a professional job of processing the images, find a pro quality lab to do the printing and make up their own books.

All of this takes time and know how to do it correctly, so you usually get what you pay for up to a point. I wouldn't do a complete wedding for less than $2,000 is I have to process hundreds/thousands of images, print a proof book and then deliver a package of pro quality images in books to the bride and groom.

Pros know that looks good in a second and get the great shots, an amateur does not and 99% of the time does not do the quality job a pro does, thus the pro gets the big money.

Figure out what you are worth and charge for it!

Tom
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Old Jun 7, 2007, 9:21 PM   #8
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Ishino, since this is a client of yours & I assume that you need to maintain this business relationship, you may want to explain to this person that this would your 1st "wedding shoot" & while you feel confident of your abilities, you might offer to do the wedding for what THEY feel is reasonable & what THEY want to shoot. I have only been the "back-up" to pro's for relatives weddings (for wedding presents) & they were impressed enough that cut back on what they ordered from the pro. But, right now, that is all of the responsibility that I want...maybe later though. I have done a couple of senior pictures for friends & customersthen just told them to pay me what they deemed appropriate. They were happy & I got enough to support the LBA!

I have talked to a few local wedding photographers (both off & on site). About half, still do the "traditional" shoot of the rehearsal, preparing, wedding, formal & reception then they do the post-processing, proofs & then the album. The other half is finding that folks are looking to cut corners. They do all of shooting that the "traditional" photographers do but once they get done with the post-processing, they save it to disks & let the bride & groom decide what to print. It saves the photographer time & overhead & it saves the party $.

If you REALLY want to have this responsibity of shooting someone's wedding, I would suggest downloading a list of photo-ops (available on a few websites) & take the time to sit down with the couple some evening & go over EVERY option of shots with them WAY IN ADVANCE. Just so they can't say later, "oh did you get a picture of Aunt Gertrude dancing with cousin Jack??" or "why did you take so many pix of the cake...I hated that cake!" or "where was Daddy for this shot??" Hopefully, this makes sense! A wedding can beA LOT of work...especially when working it solo. Anybody gonna help you? Not necessarily shooting, but as an assistant...getting that lens, walking around the room looking at angles, getting fresh batteries (HAVE LOTS OF FRESH BATTERIES!) etcetera.

Ishino, I wish you all the luck in the world! Please, let us know how it goes!!!

Ron
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Old Jun 8, 2007, 5:05 AM   #9
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Well how much are they spending on the wedding itself.... that is a good starting point.... $500 maybe $100..... but like $5-10K don't feel bashful about $500 or more, and that is assuming its someone you know personally, just biz... much more.

And you have a laptop with a DVD burner you could even hand them the disc at the end and tell me waht you want in a prepared packgae... or just here's the bill and DIY

And I know some wedding photogs in Key West (second to Hawaii for weddings in the US) that aren't hung up on film doing that now.

The printed still presentation was always the point of payment argument..... just let them DIY and save a lot of time, and still get good money (maybe not as much but no stress and no physical cost but the DVD) for just snapping pics with no real work and gear they don't have or the person to shoot it.

Videographers still have to produce a finished product.... any one once stuff shot can take the DVD to CVS or Walmart and assemble a scrapbook of still images, that they want.



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Old Jun 8, 2007, 12:59 PM   #10
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Hayward wrote:
Quote:
Well how much are they spending on the wedding itself.... that is a good starting point.... $500 maybe $100..... but like $5-10K don't feel bashful about $500 or more, and that is assuming its someone you know personally, just biz... much more.

Whoa... I'm kinda scared... I just agreed with Hayward

But he's right, someone throwing a $1000 wedding isn't going to pay another$1000 for the pictures, much less $2000. But I serously don't think I would do a complete wedding shoot, PP'ing and printing proofsfor $100 no matter what...

...that's not even enough to support the mildest case of LBA.

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