Wedding Question

Discussion in 'The Professional Gallery' started by melissa_sinha, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. melissa_sinha

    melissa_sinha TPF Noob!

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    I have some questions I hope you can help with. I have been photographing weddings for 2 years (about 17 total) and have been running into a small problem. When I am photographing I will have certain guests at the wedding getting in my way. I am not quite sure how to say please move. My assistant does a really good job telling guests without being rude. Do I put something in my contract restricting photos? Also right now I have three packages, the first cover preceremony, ceremony and photos is church after. The second is all that including the cake cutting and dinner. The third is all day coverage to the grand march. Recently I have been thinking about charging by the hour, but I am not sure how to handle a situation where time runs over. Do you have any suggestions.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum. I have moved your question into a thread of it's own.

    A lot of photographers will put into their contract that they are to be the only photographer...and that if guests are taking photos, that is a breech of the contract and you have the right to leave. Actually leaving would be a last resort and I wouldn't recommend doing that...but having that in your contract puts you in a position of power. Also, you don't want to be rude, so it's better if you get someone else to enforce this. Ideally, you should tell the bride & groom and have them tell the family & guests before the day of the wedding. Also, you could ask the Officiant to make an announcement before the ceremony.

    Also, part of being a good wedding photographer is dealing with this type of thing. There will always be some family members who think that it's their job or their right to take photos...and they can often be ignorant to the fact that they are getting in the way of the people who are getting paid to take the photos. If your assistant is good at letting them know...maybe have him/her act like a body guard when the guests get in the way.

    There are pros and cons of doing it either way. It's really up to you. I know that many photographers will have something in their price list or contract that says somthing along the lines of 'to a maximum of ____ hours'...extra time charged at $_____ per hour.' or something like that.

    Some of the more successful photographers that I know, don't want to be bothered with the smaller packages. So they have just one time frame...they charge for all day...and they charge a lot. The packages may vary depending on the products they offer...but if they are hired to shoot a wedding....the price is for all day. If they only want you for 4 hours...then you only stay that long...but you charge the same price. You then set a maximum time...say 12 or 15 hours. If they want time over and above that...then charge by the hour.
     
  3. melissa_sinha

    melissa_sinha TPF Noob!

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    Thank-you for the info. I will apply your advise to my business.
    Have a great day!!
    Melissa
     
  4. CrazyAva

    CrazyAva TPF Noob!

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    Mike said it very well. I charge for the whole day. I only charge by the hour if they want me for more than 10 hours because that, to me is excessive.

    As for people in the way, I don't restrict family and friends from taking photos, but in my contract it does state that family and friends are not to be in the way in either body or camera flash! I require that if they are going to take photos they wait until I am finished and set it up themselves. If someone is in my way I simply ask them to move. Anyone with sense moves out of the way knowing that I was paid to capture the day and their continual disruption sorta ruins that.
     
  5. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You just need to make them understand (forcefully but gently) that you are being paid alot of money to be there and they need to let you get your images. What I used to do is if there was time I would let them get there images and when they were done I would get mine this way everyone is looking at just you. Also, if things are taking too much time they know who's fault it is.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If you have a small wedding, say the couple only want ceremony photos and group photos afterwards I would charge by the hour but figure it out beforehand. Say they know the ceremony will take 3 hours, then give a bit of leeway. Put in the contract that you're charging them for 3 hours of work regardless if they finish early, but if they go to 3 and a half hours then start charging them by the hour after that.

    It accounts for a bit of variance while still allowing you reasonable compensation for your time. A local photographer I know does this when he is asked just to cover a ceremony.
     
  7. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    If I have an opportunity, I will strike up a conversation with the person. I try to do it as early in the day as I can once I recognize they might be a problem.

    "Hey, how do you like that camera? " Then some yadayada about the camera. Usually, that will spark a nice conversation. You've made a new friend, who will in turn, start asking YOU lots of questions. That way, when you ask them to not do something, or to wait, they will accomadate you.

    When I don't have that opportunity, if it's a hurry thing, like they just jumped in front of me in a cake shot or something, I will tap them on the shoulder and say, "excuse me, coming through", and step right in front of them. Then I use my "patented" blast em with flash manuver, gauranteed to move 'em in a hurry. After the photo op is over, I'll say something like (with an aw shucks attitude) say, "Gosh, I'm sorry about that. I hope I didn't mess you up. I know your shot will be great, but they will SUE me if I don't get it right, hehe." Then add something like, "Hey, they are going to do the garter toss next. I'm gonna be standing over on this side....you wanna be over there with me?"

    Now....some people are going to say that this is a very cowardly way to do it. In my opinion, it's the only way to handle it. Many times these folks are family members, close family members, and have even sometimes been oked by the couple.

    I have it in my contract that I'm the sole pro shooter. Would I walk out of a wedding with a "problem guest?" Absolutely not. Would I go and complain to the couple? Nope. Would I get in an argument with the Uncle Bob? Nope, and nope again.

    Yeah, it can be a hassle, but if you handle it right, it will work out great for everyone. Uncle Bob learned a few tips and made friends with a pro, Bride and Groom weren't embarassed, and I ended up with a shooting buddy, and free assistant. :)
     
  8. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    As for the second part of your question. It depends on where you are from. In the US, most people don't offer hourly. Accross the pond, and in NZ and Australia, they do.

    I live and work in the US, and I handle it and think of it this way. This is purely from a sales perspective:

    If you charge by the hour, you are going to attract bargain hunters, which is something I definately don't want. They are going to choose the least amount of hours, robbing you and them of some great photographic opportunities. And then, having seen by fellow photographers, you are going to end up without the whole photojournalistic story, and will have a bride with "buyers remorse" when it's too late to change it.

    Here is my way of doing things. When I'm asked "how long do you work"? I respond with, "From the first curler in your hair until I can't see the limo's taillights anymore". Seems pretty extreme, eh? In reality though, my normal day is between 8-10 hours. Not too bad. Sometimes but rarely it's 4 hours, and sometimes but rarely it's 12.
    But how many deals do I sell with that? All of them.
     

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