Pricing my first (official) wedding?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by 6Speed, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    So I've photographed 2 weddings for friends for free (they gave me gas money and whatnot), and I helped a local photographer do 1 wedding. I say this would be my first official wedding, b/c it would be the first I would get paid for as the primary photog.

    So I'm totally lost as to how much to ask for. I am a art/photography major in school, finishing up in December, and I also am interning with my schools media/photo department. I wouldn't consider myself a professional...I have a lot to learn, but I also wouldn't consider myself by any means a complete amateur, ya know...?

    Anyway, this is supposed to be a small informal wedding, and the lady requested me for about 4.5 hours. She has not said what she expects as far as post production...just that she needs a photog for 4.5 hours.

    I am fairly well versed in photoshop, and I would be shooting the wedding with a Canon 20d. I have a 580ex flash, and 1 decent all around lense. I might could borrow an extra flash/slave and a lightstand, but I'd prefer not to.
     
  2. Jovian

    Jovian TPF Noob!

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    It's tough to price yourself, and I think that the biggest mistake that a lot of photographers make is not charging enough. If you're only shooting the wedding, and then giving the couple a cd with the photos on it, which is how most beginning photographers do it, then you need only to figure out how much your time is worth.

    With that being said. Personally, even when I was in highschool, without any formal training, I have not ever shot a wedding for less than $500.00, regardless of how little time it took. Now? things are a bit different, ya know?

    How much are you worth, and how much are they willing to spend on a photographer? Thats what you need to debate, don't underestimate yourself.
     
  3. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    500/per in high school! I wouldn't know what to do with 500 bucks when I was in high school! :) Right now I feel like my time is worth a lot, but I'm debating about how low to charge b/c I want the job. In the ladies e-mail she said she had narrowed it down to a few photogs, and she wanted my pricing and packaging information. I keep telling myself 300 bucks, but that seems really low, and I feel like I'm worth way more. Then again, if I do this one for cheap, and do a good job, it'll be great word-of-mouth........
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    You could check what other photographers in your area are charging...then base your price accordingly. I agree with Jovian that a lot of new photographers do undercharge for their time. You should think about how much your education cost, how much your equipment cost...the experience you have etc.

    What services or packages are you going to give them? A CD of files? Edited or right off the camera? 4x6 prints? An album?

    If you are going to be doing the editing...how long do you think it will take you? A lot of people spend more time editing than they do shooting...so if you figure out a per hour charge, don't forget about editing time etc.

    Do you have backup equipment? If not, you will need to buy/rent/borrow another camera/flash/lens etc.
     
  5. niccig

    niccig TPF Noob!

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    I got married in May and since we had a small wedding (and a small budget!), a friend of my husband's sister shot the wedding. She just graduated from art school, and is working at a portrait studio, but this was also her first wedding. We had her for about 4 hours (including formal portraits), and paid her $400 for her time and a CD w/the digital files, plus the cost of the prints of the B&W film pictures (which ranged from $15-60 each depending on the size). She gave us a release to have the digitals printed. That seems like it would be the basic package for a beginner to offer. Of course the going rate may be different in your area. I'd get online and see what the pro's are charging. If your area is anything like mine, wedding packages are $1200+. In that case, $500-700 for unlimited prints from the digital files would be a great deal (if that's what you're offering).
     
  6. 6Speed

    6Speed TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the quick replies everyone!

    I planned on giving a CD, with low res proofs, and then I'd let them pick out which prints they wanted and I would edit those, then provide them with a new cd with the edited full rez versions. If they wanted them printed, I would have no qualms with going to the local photo shop and having it done (for extra of course).

    I guess I could charge 250 for showing up and shooting...another 250 for editing/cd/printing rights, and then whatever it costs me to print them + a small percentage ontop of that if they don't want to hassle with printing.

    I think wedding photogs around here start out around 1500-2000, and go all the way to 8k. I know my friend is interning with a fellow that charges 8k per. The lady I worked with a few weeks ago charges 4000.
     
  7. ksmattfish

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

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    Make sure you know what she wants. Then you add a little more to make sure she's happy. Always deliver more than you promise.

    Consider your costs: Gas, batteries, CDs, prints, food, water, the IRS says it costs 50 cents a mile to maintain your car, everything... Just add it all up.

    Consider your time: Not just shooting, but all post processing, driving to lab, pre-wedding meetings, planning, travel, etc... A 4.5 hour wedding can add up to a 36 hour job. How much do you want to get paid an hour?

    Consider your value: You're new, but not unskilled, and you are giving them the files, which is a huge value and savings for them.
     

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