Wedding photography - seems like so many are going low budget

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by TrueColors, Jun 7, 2010.

  1. TrueColors

    TrueColors TPF Noob!

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    Is it me or does it seem like so many people out there are going low budget on their weddings? I have been warming up to the wedding photography industry for the past year and im always hearing of people doing small cheap weddings. They even rely on friends on familys photographs for their albums.

    I have been considering perhaps tapping into the low budget wedding market by offering a pay XXX.XX now and pay XXX.XX after the wedding. I have considered this for couples that are funding their own weddings and could only afford a decent photographer with wedding gift money. I know that could be risky because:

    A. They may not get what they thought for wedding gift money

    B. They may just decide not to pay (in which case they wouldnt get their photos)

    Should I can this idea and stay with mom and pop funded weddings?
     
  2. ghpham

    ghpham TPF Noob!

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    It's best to make yourself stand out and find the niche market. I know some high price photographers are still making big money. I'd stay away from the low budget weddings. You go through the same stress for less pay.
     
  3. McMommy

    McMommy TPF Noob!

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    For us, our whole wedding cost us about $2,000. We covered the rentals, tuxes, my dress, decorations, and flowers, cake, sweets and snack table, and photography. My wedding photography was $1300, before prints, and everything else, including my dress, was about $700. My grandpa bought the champagne and my dad paid for light sandwiches to be catered. It was a post-lunch, pre-dinner wedding, held at my mother in law's very large and accommodating house with about 215 guests!!

    Photos from the day were the most important to me, but if you remember, I still didn't get what I was expecting. Now I don't know what I should have paid to get stunning results, but where we were living and given our budget (and that I spent over half of it on photography, sacrificing other things and making a lot of it DIY) I thought it was fair pricing. However, the results didn't show, and while I was happy with them then, the proof is in the pudding: I still don't have a single print larger than 4X6 of my wedding. But now I know for our 5-year anniversary, when we'll renew our vows in the small, private ceremony we wanted to begin with.


    Anyways, no I don't think you should cash into the "low-budget" weddings, because people still want to invest in their memories. They may make their invitations, save-the-dates, table settings, centerpieces... etc, all by themselves. But photography is the one thing they can't trust a friend to just do. I think anyone putting on a wedding can afford to find at least a decent photographer!!

    If you are having a hard time finding work, maybe refining your parameters to very specific inclusions is the way to go. Maybe getting beautiful bridals and ceremony photos, and leaving the reception to the chances of guests' point and shoot cameras is a good compromise. Good luck!
     
  4. melbourne

    melbourne TPF Noob!

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    2k all up - fantastic! were you dissapointed with the quality of the photography, or just the lack of prints? I know it was a big part of your budget, but you dont get an awful lot of photography for $1300 really.

    RE:budget wedding photography, I would tend to agree thats its best avoided unless you need to cut your teeth and feel bad charging a decent rate.
    It is just as stressful though (I started that way but am changing my pricing, and only doing print/Album deals, not just photos on disk
    )


     
  5. McMommy

    McMommy TPF Noob!

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    Ended up being quality, we received ALL of our photos on discs. Nothing ever WOW'd me, only one photo and I still haven't printed it. If you search back through my posts you'll see where I talked about realizing what was missing. I think that $1300 for a wedding is reasonable, to be honest, and consider that a typical low-medium budget unless you're a hardcore professional. I have friends who have hired a professional in Washington for $600, and I think that's too inexpensive for a pro. In any case, I know what I'm looking for next time. I was the polar opposite of a bridezilla though, and everything except marrying my groom went wrong. Oh wait, that was wrong too... we forgot to sign our marriage certificate at the wedding, and had to go to the Mustang Ranch the next day to sign it. :sexywink: Long story there. And yes, THE Mustang Ranch.

    But yeah, I think that if you value your work to be of a certain quality and standard, as long as you can still bring in business, you shouldn't lower your quality. Maybe quantity only, and only to tailor your hard and experienced work to be affordable to a bride on a budget. Who knows, if you can take stunning shots, you know, the ones brides really want... you'll get recommended over and over and over because of those. If you are affordable I think you'll get more clients. (And to me, like I said, affordable falls in the $1200-1800 range. Anything more than that, you better have a small team of people, a plan, and STUNNING consistent results!)
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    It used to be more common that you would take a deposit and get the rest of the money when you delivered the photos, then maybe get more money selling reprints.
    If you ask a lot of professional wedding photographers now, many of them are getting all of the money before the wedding...usually in a deposit and then the rest a couple weeks before the wedding (or on the day...but do you really want to carry around such a big check (or cash) all day?)

    Several photographers may share stories about how clients don't get around to paying up, once the wedding is over. Sometimes it's a matter of money (maybe the wedding or honeymoon cost a lot more than they planned) or maybe their priorities change and photos are no longer as important to them...especially when 50 of their friends each took 200 photo on their digi-cams and posted them on Facebook.

    I don't think there is a problem with using a payment plan, but I'd work it so that you get most/all of the money before the wedding. Some people may balk at this idea, but you just need to remind them that they also pay upfront for everything else (dress, food, hall rental, cake etc.) so why should the photographer be an different?
     

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