Pricing for Wedding Photos

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by mcoppadge, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    I just shot my first wedding on Saturday, for a friend, and for very very cheap (I'm lucky if what I was paid covered travel costs). I have three more weddings that I have been asked to do, for friends, and I actually want to make money this time. That's why I bought the equipment that I did. So my question is, how do you come up with prices for shooting a wedding? How can I know what is appropriate to charge and what is not, especially as an amateur?
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This should be in the section reserved for the BUSINESS DISTRICT - GENERAL SHOP TALK, not here, really. :)

    Before charging anything... you do a competitive analysis of your local area and base it on that. This is the *correct* answer. It may not be what you are looking for, though.
     
  3. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    The correct answer is not based on your competitors. The correct answer is what it costs YOU to shoot for 12 hours. You need to consider everything. Check out the handy CODB calculator for starters NPPA: Cost of Doing Business Calculator

    Certainly checking out the competition is a good idea. It is not something to base your business model on.

    Love & Bass
     
  4. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It is at the start... if you are rushed, but I sure as hell would not go solely on my own costs if the bottom line is that the competition is shooting for 3 times more than I would be... I'd be losing out a lot of cash... however, there is a TON more to consider before turning professional wedding photographer than a good camera and a couple low/mid-range range lenses and what to charge.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  5. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    The business calculator has nothing to do with gear. I think the thing to consider in this thread is: WHY ARE AMATEURS SHOOTING WEDDINGS? I am for free commerce and all, but so called photographers are quickly shooting themselves in the foot.

    Love & Bass
     
  6. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    Because I have a camera, because I'm semi-good at using it, because I'm cheap, and because those who ask me don't have the money to pay a professional photographer. And no, it's not the thing to consider in this thread. Consider my situation, then leave relevant feedback.

    Sorry about posting this here, Jerry. I don't have time to come around much and things have changed a lot lately...sometimes I don't know where to post things.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2008
  7. craig

    craig TPF Noob!

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    Semi good and cheap is a start. Why you would pull something like that is a question for another day. Topic at hand is what does it cost you to shoot for 12 hours? That is the basis of figuring out what to charge. Tell us what you come up with.

    Love & Bass
     
  8. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    How is it that these threads always turn into "what makes you qualified to shoot a wedding, you lowly amature?". If your friends have seen your work and want to hire you, go for it.
    I've shot 3 weddings to date and the first one was a freebie. After that, I called some local photographers to see what they were charging. In my area, an average cost for wedding photography is about $1200-1500. There are certainly some statistical outlier photogs who charge much more/less. Anyway, the first one, I charged $600 considering lack of experience. I then raised my rates to $800 for my next one. Each time I do one, I will raise my rates until I am charging the "going rate". I direct everyone who is interested in hiring me to my website so they can see what to expect. If they're still agreeable, I will do it, but I don't really push my services on anyone and rarely hand out cards unless it's asked for. The reason is that I really just use this cash to feed the addiction, buy new glass, new gadgets, etc. I don't depend on this income. If I did it all over, I'd probably charge $600 for the first one and have gone up from there. The freebie service is a bad idea I think, but we've all been there and done that.
     
  9. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Cost of all gear/business expenses divided by the number of weddings per year = A

    Cost of shooting a wedding (batteries, gas, prints, albums, etc...) = B

    What you want to make per hour times how long it takes you to meet, plan, shoot, and process the wedding = C

    Taxes (probably about 25% of your profits) = D

    A + B + C + D = what you should charge to shoot a wedding

    How much per hour does your experience level warrant? Only you can decide that.
     
  10. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    That's really all this is for me, too.

    I wouldn't really know how to calculate this. Maybe just take a normal hourly wage plus travel plus miscellaneous expenses?

    That's sort of what I'm trying to figure out. Logically, the more weddings I do the more I should learn about shooting weddings, therefore the better I should get each time. Or something like that.
     
  11. Big Mike

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

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    I took a course about how to get started in wedding photography. The #1 point of the course was that experience should not affect your price...and the most common reason for failure was setting your price too low. You should set your prices to be competitive with other photographers in your area that you are comparable with, in terms of service and quality etc.

    Now of course we all have to start somewhere...and if you need to shoot some weddings for less, in order to build up your portfolio, then that's what you have to do...but beware that you don't want to be known as the 'cheap photographer'.

    Of course, if you are going to charge the 'going rate'...you had better be up to the challenge. You better have the right equipment (included back up gear) and you better know how to use it. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't be taking weddings...cheap or not.

    One of the best ways to get started is to work with someone who has experience. It might be just assisting or it might be 2nd shooting etc. The point is to get some experience and 'on the job' training. Then when you are ready to go on your own and charge full prices, you should be fully qualified...so to speak.
     
  12. mcoppadge

    mcoppadge TPF Noob!

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    This is very helpful and some great stuff to think about. Thanks.

    This is a little off topic, but as a student, I have a work/study job with my university for the Public Relations department, and they're always needing photos of events on campus. Obviously, it's never the same as a wedding but it's always good practice learning how to use my equipment in different situations. Usually the photos only end up in the local papers, so it's not to much about quality, but I always try to get the best shot I can.
     

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