Ok, so don't yell at me... LOL

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Lyncca, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    I just want to say that up front :) Seriously, read the post before you go off at me.

    I have a friend (I know they all start like that) who contacted me and asked me to shoot her and her future husband's wedding. I have recently done one very small wedding, a tag-along, and have another Saturday. I also have been asked to do six second shooting opportunities before their wedding.

    I had already told her in her first email that I would do her bridals or an engagement as a freebie, but that there were so many things with a wedding, that I just couldn't do that for free because of all the work involved, paying for insurance, taxes, etc. I told her I would be working the whole time and not be able to really hang out like everyone else. I wanted her to know that friend or not, I took it very serious.

    So, I asked details of what she was looking for and she said essentially, "I just want to know that someone else is taking care of it so I don't have to. I don't need a second shooter, or albums, etc." I wrote her back and said I would give her a custom proof box (from Finao) with a set of 4x6 prints and all my time for $600 and she could buy prints, or for $800 I would give her the disk (which we all know is CHEAP!)

    After several weeks, she wrote me back and said that they decided they wanted all their guests to have a good time, so they decided to go with a photographer recommended from where they were getting married. I was really upset and really mad! They were absolutely fine putting me out (she even replied back after me telling her all the work it would be) until I told her a price. Then, all of a sudden, she didn't want to put me out. Did she really just think I would do it for free, or like $50?? At $600, with approx $200 in taxes, $250 for the print and proof box, that left me less than $200 for all that work.

    Then, I was torn. Should I have done it for free to build experience? Hell, I'm doing tag-alongs for free now anyway... Is she telling our mutual friends that I tried to rip her off? Is she going to get screwed by finding some $200 photographer? I highly doubt the place she is getting married at (its fairly nice) recommended some crappy fly-by-night, so maybe she hit Craig's list. I know I'm not a $5k photographer, but I am certainly better than most of the people out there for what she is going to pay.

    I don't WANT to be the bottom of the barrell guy. I'm busting my ass to get equipment, experience, insurance, approved at professional labs and product (album) services. It just chapped my butt that essentially this gift was thrown back in my face. I think next time a friend asks, I'm just gonna say, No thanks....

    I don't guess there is much anyone can advise? I don't think.... I'm just still miffed and sometimes writing things out make me feel better. I don't think she meant any harm by it, she just thinks I'm full of crap probably about what is involved. After brewing and going off to my husband, I did answer back and just said, "That's cool, it will nice to leave all the equipment at home and not have a job for once!"

    For years at every wedding, I have had a job from Bride's maid, to unofficial photographer, wedding coordinator, and my husband has married several.

    Later that night, I was contacted by another photographer that I really like wanting to meet to discuss me second shooting with her, so it improved my mood. A little...
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I'll yet at you...;)
    Stop offering things for free or at such low prices. If your work is good enough, you should be charging for it...friends or not.
     
  3. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Mike :)
    That is what the photographer I am currently shooting for said. She said she doesn't care if its her friends or not, that her price is her price. I talked to her about it before giving my price to my friends and now she is on vacation so I can't vent to her.

    I am just getting started though so it is so tempting to cut your prices to do it when you KNOW they aren't going to pay anyone that. I stuck to my guns, but you see how I'm feeling about it. LOL
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I took a class from a long time pro photographer. The class was about how to get started in wedding photography. He said that the number one reason why (good) photographers failed was that their prices were too low. He not only said that, he stressed that to us time and again...it was basically the whole point of the class.

    One exercise was for us to write out things that should not influence out price. We all put things like 'number of bridesmaids' or 'attractiveness of couple'....but what he wanted us to write was 'experience'.

    Now, of course, we all have to start somewhere...and most will probably raise their prices as they become better and more well known etc....but if you charge too little, you may be killing your business.
     
  5. Nicholas James Photo

    Nicholas James Photo TPF Noob!

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    I agree with big mike, DO NOT under sell yourself. I also see your point that in the begining it is tempting to go for the work by reducing your fee but dont. It is a slippery slope.
     
  6. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Its really hard to wrap my head around that, but I am sure you are right since that is what every successful photographer says. I mean, I lowered my price to near nothing and it did absolutely nothing but piss me off and I still didn't get the job.

    It was the same with web development. The more my partner and I raised our prices, the more business we got. But, the difference was that we were building experience as we went, so we were able to offer more with those higher prices.

    If I gave her a higher rate, at least I would have got the satisfaction of having her pass out and konk her head before refusing (ok, I'm kidding!) And, I wouldn't have felt like it was a refused "gift".
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Another benefit is that with higher prices, you hopefully attract 'better clientele'. Not that rich people are any better than us poor folks...but you will hopefully get clients who come to you for your style rather than people who are only attracted to your low price. Those price hunters are usually a PITA to deal with no matter what you give them.
     
  8. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    Ok, so I was going to leave this on your blog, but you don't have comments on, so I just wanted to prove you can't avoid me that easy, so I am replying here since I already typed it all out in the Send to Friend box on accident... :lol:

     
  9. Lyncca

    Lyncca TPF Noob!

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    I know that is for sure. My aunt and uncle were the $500-$800 photographers for years and years. They won't pick up a camera anymore. I heard so many horror stories from them. That is why I want to do better than that. She said they would work for 12+ hours and not even get to eat for $500 for two shooters and photos on disk and the brides would still constantly complain. :whip:
    They were booked solid, but worked themselves to death for nothing.
     
  10. SpeedTrap

    SpeedTrap TPF Noob!

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    I will 2nd everything said here.
    Some people do not put that much value to photography; they would rather spend money on a cake, the hall, a dress or whatever. Let them. If they do not see the value in it there is little we can do to convince them. It sounds to me like they were fishing for super cheep or free.

    I will no longer work for anyone who is not willing to pay my rate. People who ask for a discount are just a pain; because once they can get one thing for a discount they want everything for a discount but are never happy with what is provided.

    I have seen your work and you should be charging much more than you are. You have some strong work and I think if you have a strong business plan you will succeed

    I know it can be tough, but get the prices up there. I know the same instructor that Big Mike referenced earlier and it is true. I could not afford to be in business for less than I make right now and I charge a lot more than $600 per wedding.

    One think to know is that you need to look back to go forward and understand your path. If you did no weddings last year, and 2 this year that is 200% growth for you! Next year your prices will be higher and I bet you do plenty of weddings. Don’t be afraid to say, I have a portfolio now and it is time to make money!

    As for this wedding, if you are a guest and you feel like taking some pictures I am sure they would love, but you are a guest first and foremost so go and enjoy.
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm not a wedding photographer, but this is one concept that I do get.

    There is perceived value, and actual value. They are not always the same.

    Say you're out shopping for a new TV. You see two similar TV's - same size, pretty much the same features, only minor differences between them.
    One of them is $200 cheaper than the other one.
    Which one do you think is better? It costs more, so it has to be better, right?



    Does that help you get your head around it at all?
     
  12. DSPhotography

    DSPhotography TPF Noob!

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    Makes me wonder if I should adjust my pricing for weddings. I've had two possible clients that I've sent my package price list to and both responded with "Wow, those are great prices, the least expensive photographer I could find wanted twice that." and everything sounded good to go and then they ended up canceling. One of them I'll give the benefit of the doubt to because her and her fiancee kept changing the wedding date, calling the marriage off, etc. But the other one was just kind of a ***** about it.

    Her mom was going to pay for half the wedding, including photographer. But she had a "limited" budget, so she wanted a "good yet affordable" photographer. My friend put her in contact with me and I sent her the prices (prices range $700 - $1000). The girl was pleased with the prices and wanted the $1000 package.. she talked to her mom about it and the mom said the price fit perfectly into the budget.. then she found out that I wasn't an ACTUAL business and threw out the "I don't want some two-bit photographer" line (even though the girl had seen shots I'd done at a previous wedding and was thrilled with how they looked). The girl and her mom argued about it, the mom ended up refusing to pay for photography if it wasn't a "professional" doing it (yeah, good luck finding anyone worth a damn for under $1000), so the girl decided she would pay. Things looked good to go (again) then the girl contacted me and said that she really couldn't afford it and was just going to get her friend to do photos.

    honestly, it wasn't the girls fault.. but I still HATE the "Oh we're going to get our friend to do it.. it's free" line. But hey, their loss as you generally get what you pay for lol
     

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