Wedding Question

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by chrisburke, May 28, 2008.

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  1. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    I've done a few weddings now, and really enjoy it, and I've actually been getting calls lately to shoot weddings, which is awesome, because I really like doing it... even got some new equipement on the way so it can be even better... (new body.. lens.. stuff like that)

    past weddings I've done have always been friends, so I've never charged, mainly because I wanted to use their weddings for practice, and build up my portfolio... but now I'm at a place where people have seen my wedding pics, and are requesting I shoot for them... so its not going to be free... I believe that I have what it takes, and I've got back ups, and assistants, and all that fun stuff.. but I'm not sure as to what to charge, or what kind of packages to offer...

    when you guys get hired for wedding (so not that I'm just talking to wedding photographers here) what do you offer... when someone pays you say $500 bucks, what does that get them??? full day?? half day??? 100 prints?? no prints and a disk???

    I've searched around to other photographers sites in ontario, and I just can't even consider charging the money they charge, (so 2000-10000 dollars) I'm not doing this to make money... It's a hobby, and people happen to like what i've done... but, I'm also not about to do it for free...

    when you do prints, do you put your watermark on them??? do you put them in an album? do you just give a disk??? let me know what you are all doing so I know that 1) i'm not ripping off people and 2) i'm not getting ripped off..
     
  2. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    :popcorn:
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    That's a loaded question and it's been asked many times before in many places.

    The first, and probably most important, bit of advice is this: Don't undervalue yourself and charge too little. Especially if you have aspirations of doing this more and more.

    I took a class on how to start up as a wedding photographer...and that was the biggest point the instructor made. He also said that the number one reason why people failed to make it...was that they charged too little.

    As an exercise, break down the time & expenses involved.
    Time: Maybe a few hours for a meeting or two. Maybe you include an engagement shoot. Obviously the shooting time during the day. Post processing time. Meeting after the wedding. Miscellaneous time that you spend doing other stuff like charging batteries and running your business.
    Expenses: Gas to get you from place to place. Cost of products (prints, albums, discs etc). Cost of equipment, costs of running a business.

    You can't figure your business costs into the price for one wedding, obviously....but that is a expense that needs to be thought about when giving the client a price.

    There is no right or wrong way to set your price or set your packages/services. Some will front load the price and then include things like prints, albums, files etc. Some will have a lower up front cost but then make it up on print sales.
    Some people differentiate their packages by hour or events covered...some do it by products included.

    That's fine. But remember that shooting a wedding for money is a job (not a hobby) and should be taken seriously. There are plenty of people who do this as their only source of income and it hurts them when 'hobbyists' don't take it seriously and give the industry a bad reputation. (I'm not saying that you wouldn't take it seriously...I'm sure you would).

    As you have seen...there is a wide range of photographers and prices in most places. It's probably a good idea to price yourself so that you are competitive with photographers in your area. Think about what part of the market share you want to go after. There are plenty of people who are happy to go after the bottom of the market...and there is no shortage of couples who don't want to spend a lot of money on photography. But you will find that those are often terrible clients to work for...and you end up doing more work for less money and not having as much fun as you should be.

    So...to sum up. It doesn't really matter how you set your price or packages. It can be done all sorts of ways. Just make sure that you are charging enough to make it worth your time, effort and expertise.

    I forgot to mention that you will need to get a business licence and pay taxes on your income. But then you can write off your business expenses against your income. You don't need to get a GST number and collect GST until you make (I think it's) $30,000 per year.
     
  4. Rick Waldroup

    Rick Waldroup No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. chrisburke

    chrisburke TPF Noob!

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    thanks big mike... you make some very valid points there... it really helps me... the advice your teacher gives you really is important... and it helps me a lot... I will start doing more searching around for local photographers and see what they are charging and try to be competitive with them.

    rick... your post is offensive and doesnt help at all so why post it... I'm not some chump with a camera who considers himself a photographer, i've been practicing photography for quite some time now (a good few years) learning all the in's and outs, starting at the bottom and working my way up... I'm not jumping into the world fresh and saying "i have a camera, now I can do weddings" people are finding me and contacting me and saying "i love what you did at "this" wedding, can you please do ours..." not me saying "i do weddings, can I do yours"

    my dad always told me "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all" you sir, are an ass, and it's people like you that make people like me not want to try photography on a professional level... even though I have the talent to do it... everyone has to start somewhere ... putz
     
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