Q: Post budget wedding blues

Johnboy2978

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I recently shot a wedding for a couple and they just got the images back. Here's a link to some of the pics http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=81100
I have communicated w/ the bride only though email thus far, and it's hard to get a good read w/o hearing the voice, but she doesn't sound happy. The deal was, she hired a "pro" 6 months in advance, I have no idea what they were charging. Anyway, 2 weeks before the wedding, they tried to contact the pro and discovered she was either in jail or moved w/o notice. At any rate, they had no photog. A co-worker knew I was doing this kind of thing, gave her my name and we met. I gave her a price of $600 which is at least 1/2 what a pro in my area would charge. She wanted prints and I told her I would give them #24 8x10 for that price, or the equivalent. The equivalent would be 2 5x7 or 4 4x6 for each 8x10, and she opted for all 4x6 (#96). I immediately thought, she is looking for a lot of bang for the buck, and probably expects a $5000 result for a fraction of the cost.

I met her at the salon at 9:00 and took 2 hours worth of shots of her, flower girl, and jr bridesmaid. I took shots pre-ceremony of the groom and his side of family. She was late coming back from the salon and guests arrived early for the wedding so her shots were delayed until after the ceremony. In 30 minutes, we shot all of the B/G formals as well as her family shots. I then took candids of the reception. There was no dancing and the traditional garter/bouquet throw consisted of her/him standing at the door and throwing the items out the door to the guests standing in the rain. The reception was primarily a bunch of hungry guests sitting at tightly crammed tables foraging for food, so there wasn't much opportunity for any meaningful candids.

I was there from 9-4:30 and ended up w/ about 450 shots. I edited what I felt to be the best 125 shots for her to choose from for her 96 4x6. She was upset that I forgot one of the formal shots of her and mom and that I didn't include many candid shots from the reception. She also seemed to feel that I should have given them every conceivable shot from the ceremony instead of just the traditional things. I admit that I did forget the mom/bride shot b/c it was so rushed, but I did manage to create this after she pointed it out.

web.jpg


She now wants to see "every" shot taken to choose the 96 from and I don't really want to spend a month processing all of that just for her to decide I was right in the ones I selected to start with. What do you all do in this kind of situation?

Sorry for the long post, but comments/opinions are appreciated
Thanks!
 

ksmattfish

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The business of wedding photography has a lot more to do with customer service than photography. If you want to keep doing weddings in the area you do what you can to make this bride happy, and next time make sure everyone is on the same page before the wedding. Any potential controversy should be discussed thoroughly, and probably written in to the contract. I've never had a bride ask to see all the photos I took at her wedding, because long before the wedding I explain that I won't be doing that, and that they are going to have to live with my editing judgement.
 
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Johnboy2978

Johnboy2978

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Believe me, that will be the first thing I state the next time. Photography is a hobby, albeit a growing one, and I have another job that pays the mortgage. Photography right now is only paying for new toys. In the future, it will be "I will edit and deliver 100 shots you can pick from. Period". Am I out of line thinking this is unreasonable for them to get upset over 1 missed shot, and not wanting to edit all the second rate shots? I almost feel like she wanted a flip book that she could bound together since they didn't have a videographer as well.

Does that pic I posted look passable?
 

mysteryscribe

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It has been my experience with film, that they mostly want to see if they look better in a different shot. I would just chop them down to low res and send her a cd. Explain that they are not finished product but simply proof for her to chose the poses from.

The image you posted looks fine to me. It has bounce light shadows but that's to be expected these days.
 

elsaspet

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First of all, you should see yourself as a professional. You have booked yourself for a nowhere job, and now you need to do it. No excuses. You will make ALL of us look bad.
Secondly, why are you charging chump change? Do you think your work is worth nothing? Yeah, if you leave it like it is, it is. Better your work via Photoshop and see your potential.
You aren't there yet.
If you want to make a lot of money, you need to make your photos valuable. You can't do that letting down the client. it costs you next to zero to make one client happy. Do it.
I bust my ass doing that month in and month out. But look where I am now.
Non or us are all be all end all. They can replace you in a nanosecond. Do what you can to hang in.
 
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Johnboy2978

Johnboy2978

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I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I am a little confused here...

You have booked yourself for a nowhere job, and now you need to do it. No excuses. You will make ALL of us look bad.

You do realize that I did the job already? See the link to the pics?

Secondly, why are you charging chump change?

I'm charging less than the going rate, b/c this was only my 2nd wedding, and the first time I charged anything for doing one. It's nice to get a little compensation for your work. If I charged $1500-2000 a wedding like the pros (Full Time photogs) I think the client would expect similar results, and while I don't generally bash my work, I wouldn't consider it on par with what others are doing 50-60 hours/week, every week.

Do you think your work is worth nothing? Yeah, if you leave it like it is, it is. Better your work via Photoshop and see your potential.

...extracted comments from original post...

Very Nicely done! (Wow, it's hard to believe that is from your second.)

<Constructive, valuable and helpful criticism>


Overall Critique:
Wow! The B&G must be very pleased. You did a fantastic job. :) I believe if you keep up like this, and continue to grow, you are gonna be a hot tamale. I hope you don't live in Dallas.
:thumbup:
 

shorty6049

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you could always just tell her that she can buy them, or not..... at the price you charged, she should know that if one little thing isnt perfect, she shouldnt be able to complain... ( i mean, sure she still can, but that wont really get you anywhere..)
 

JimmyJaceyMom

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And cindy what happens to the bride who really can't afford you. Does she just not have wedding pictures at all.

Well I agree with you here. I know this sounds crazy but I have been thinking about how I was not able to afford a wedding photographer when I got married because of the cost and if I get to do this I am promising myself that I will help some people out. Those memories are important and they're locked away in my mind forever but it would have been nice to have some for my children and grandchildren to see.
 

mysteryscribe

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Every photographer owes themselves a good living so that they will be there for the next bride. I don't mean to imply that they don't.

When I was in business, and my son in law even not but to a lesser extent geared our prices to the wal-mart model. Give a comperable product a little less expensive, then do one in parts.

$$$ gets you this, but if you want an album its $$$ more.. ect and it just keeps going up. It's up to the bride to decide how much she can afford. I (because I no longer make a living at photography) have a 1940 style wedding coverage as well. You can't do this because you cant sell it this cheap and miss the chance to do an expensive job. But in the forties all you got were pictures of the wedding party a few of the bride and groome and families, That's it none before and no reception. The photographer was there about an hour actually shooting.

I offer that now, and then charge by the print. Three hundred bucks for that hour, then low resolution files which can be used to make up to 4x6. Then i sell the larger prints at a reasonable price, Even an album if you want to put out a few bucks more.

Oh you want a big one for the wall that's 200 bucks. Like I said you couldn't do that but I can. I'm just doing it to keep my mind active. The trick for me is to make the max per hour that I can and still provide a minimum service. I don't do but one a month at the most. Of any kind. I'm retired I don't want to work much at all.

It's just my model and I don't recommend it to anyone else. the full story is here Http://811.1sta.com
 

JIP

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I'm charging less than the going rate, b/c this was only my 2nd wedding, and the first time I charged anything for doing one. It's nice to get a little compensation for your work. If I charged $1500-2000 a wedding like the pros (Full Time photogs) I think the client would expect similar results, and while I don't generally bash my work, I wouldn't consider it on par with what others are doing 50-60 hours/week, every week.
I think this is a good example of underpricing. You charged a flat rate for a whole wedding and a cheap flat rate at that and now it all seems like too much. your problem is you underpriced if you would have charged her a decent rate all this extra work would not seem so bad. You charged her a lower rate than others but she is expecting the same type of wok she would get from others so why even bother. Oh and Mysteryscribe $300 for 1 hour of wedding coverage plus up to $200 for a large sized print seems just about right I'm not sure where the value is. If you spread those #'s out to the whole wedding $300 an hour over the whole 8 hour wedding you get $2400 for the wedding wich seems like a pretty pricey wedding to me especially if you only incluse low-res files and no prints.
 

The_Traveler

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To echo other people, one of your basic mistakes to to try and lump editing in with print costs. Editing an 8 x 10 or a 5 x 7 takes approximately the same simte.

I am in the same place you are but doing theatrical pix and head shots.
I am very clear that the editing is a huge part of my effort.
I charge X dollars for the shoot, x dollars for a certain number of camera ready pictures and price the pictures by the size. I 'give' them the entire shoot in low-res, culled but unedited on CD so they can do what they want and appreciate the advantage that editing brings.
 

mysteryscribe

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Spread it out it is possibly more.

But if you can only afford 300 total, you get wedding pictures you can be reasonably sure are usable to make 4x6 prints. then files that are there if you want to buy mom that big one for her birthday six months from now. Assuming the bride was preggy at the wedding/ That is the appeal.

Most of the brides on a very tight budget can't find a competant photographer to shoot anything under a grand. That's the problem not the amount of services for you buck. It's that you can't find anyone to do less than their whole package.

I do not fault the photographers for it at all. I stated out saying a photographer needs to make a good living or he wont be in business long. I can do this chopped down thing because I don't have to worry about a call a week later from someone dying to give me two grand for the same date. A two grand wedding is too much work for me these days. My website ever says that so I don't get many calls.

About the only editing they get from me is the crop and density. I can and will remove blems but it costs more. Shoot it right (to your own standards) and that's about all you need to do. My standards of acceptability might be lower than other folks. But to be honest not many of the brides I did, even back in the day, knew as much about photography as you guys.

Never ever cull your samples for only the best of the best. If you do you are being slightly dishonest because every shot you make at their wedding will not be the best of the best. Not to mention what happens if you wind up in small claims court.. I never have mind you but I have seen peoples court. rofl
 

Alex_B

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I charge X dollars for the shoot, x dollars for a certain number of camera ready pictures and price the pictures by the size. I 'give' them the entire shoot in low-res, culled but unedited on CD so they can do what they want and appreciate the advantage that editing brings.

that sounds like a very reasonable approach!
 

mysteryscribe

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I think that is a reasonable way to price it as well. It is how I did it most of my career and how my son in law does it now. The way I do it a working pro could not survive, but then I'm no competition to them so we get along fine.

Of course back in the day we called it retouch and nobody ever paid for it. It was too damn expensive for wedding candids. Now people expect you to give it to them.
 

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