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01/20/2012 10:07:15 AM · #26
Originally posted by heavyj:

My photography is not a business (Yet...fingers crossed) so if I went there, no contract would be signed...nothing legally binding.

What could happen is if I don't do well by the bride, my manager may catch wind and think 'All he cares about is making money'. We've had similar 'fights' in the past. By 'we' I mean the 'foreign staff'. Japanese tend to bend over backwards for their companies (And when they don't, they quit/get fired) whereas we foreigners don't let the companies take advantage of us. It's a cultural thing. I just don't feel like getting into a fight either...I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Lawsuits wouldn't be a concern.

I think when the time comes to sit down and go over the details with the bride that I will say: "Usually, I do a friends wedding for 500USD. Since you're a friend of the company and looking to save money, I can help you out for 100USD per wedding (Not for both). But this would only be for unedited photos. No albums, no editing, just photos up in a private gallery on my homepage for you to download and edit on your own. Of the photos for download, I'll only upload the photos that are 'quality' or photos that I would have considered editing. Nothing with eyes half open or harsh shadows/lighting etc. You can download them all onto your computer. You have to understand that the quality may not look professional or anything like what I have on my site. That's because the editing process is what takes some time. (Here I'll show her a couple of examples). Because it takes a few weeks to a month, depending on how many photos you may want edited, I need to be paid in advance so that I can clear time on my schedule to do the work. The first 10 photos for editing are X and for every 5 photos after that Y. You can then buy your own album and put it together. However if you want and album like this (This is where I would show her what I've done in the past) then Z would be the final price. In the end, it would be more cost effective for you to go the more traditional route of ordering a 30 page album and I will reduce the cost by XYZ - friendly discount (Which would make it worth my while to shoot editing and present the bride with the album) or it would have the bride thinking maybe she should go with someone in house (I can always refer her to photographers).

Anyone think that this is a bad/good idea? Ways to improve on it? How to handle my boss (Although I have an idea for that already).


I think it's a great idea. You show them how they are getting a great discount and how much time these things take. Its better to educate the consumer on what it takes rather than just shunning them off. And next time when she has a friend looking for a cheap photographer, she won't come ask you to shoot her friends wedding for $100 because she knows what's involved. Do it.
01/20/2012 11:59:39 AM · #27
I'm actually rather shocked that you haven't considered approaching the manager first, as she's the one that got you into this predicament, (although in her mind, this is probably an "opportunity" for you), and because doing or not doing the wedding will only impact your relationship with her.

You need to make it clear to her that the only one who can book your photography time and negotiate your rates is you. This would be the time to also say that you have a prior commitment on one (or both) of those dates. Or you can save face by saying that because YOU TWO are friends, you will honor the agreement, but only at $100 per wedding (etc. etc.) - and let her tell the pianist.
01/20/2012 12:22:01 PM · #28
Originally posted by heavyj:

Both venues are in Osaka. That much I know.

I guess I'll be adding some more photography to my portfolio.

ETA: And I'll be having a discussion with my manager about future referrals.


Maybe you should bill your manager for the difference. When he freaks out, tell him you understood that he was offering a discount to the bride.
01/20/2012 12:44:56 PM · #29
my first thought is...
$100! for two weddings! absolutely not!

Then i think...
well.... it would expand a portfolio...

I read some of the comments and...
i think robert and johanna have a point. I would ask 100 each. learn from it. and move on. but you still need to talk to your boss about things. A wedding is so hard (well not hard, just difficult) and i could never do it for 100 or even 200. I have a hard time in my mind being ok with 5 or 600 being as (in)experienced as i am. i would go higher if i had more faith in myself. I (personally) just need more jobs to come in so that i can build and work on tech. stuff. Either way you have a tough choice.
01/21/2012 02:08:34 AM · #30
A true story from today. My wife has a cousin getting married. She was looking for a photographer (doesn't have loads of money, the last of 14 kids, yes 14) and put a query out on facebook. Well, there were tons of people vying to be the photographer, a bunch saying they'll shoot it for free, or that they knew some guy. Well, my sister-in-law referred me. My wife's cousin asked how much I'd shoot it for (she also saw my facebook page too). I thought about it long and hard and trying to strike the right balance settled on $250 because she was family (I normally charge quite a bit more). Now, she could have picked all the free people who live close, etc., but she ended up going with my offer in the end.

The moral of the story is, if you place a value on your work, others pick up on that pretty quickly and will most likely lead to the best results for both parties.
01/25/2012 11:34:09 PM · #31
Maybe I'm missing something or there's a cross-cultural reason you can't, but why not just tell the manager "I'm sorry, but I'm not really interested in doing it for that price. I was caught a little off-balance that day, but I've thought about it now."

No way she'll find anyone willing to shoot her weddings for $100.
01/26/2012 12:15:15 AM · #32
I have a "friends price", take my regular price and mark it up 20% then hand them a card for a 10% discount on all services and prints.

Real friends will understand that what you do takes time, talent, and money and shouldn't expect it done for free or even a cheaper price. When I work for my parents or relatives they also pay my regular rate.

I have twice in the last year shot weddings for "free" as my wedding gift. One was for my Nephew, the other was my brother.
01/26/2012 01:05:59 AM · #33
Originally posted by levyj413:

Maybe I'm missing something or there's a cross-cultural reason you can't, but why not just tell the manager "I'm sorry, but I'm not really interested in doing it for that price. I was caught a little off-balance that day, but I've thought about it now."

No way she'll find anyone willing to shoot her weddings for $100.


Unfortunately there is...to a degree. I'm certain if I use your words (And I would like to) my manager would be up my ass. Then the office politics (Even though this has absolutely nothing to do with our regular business) would come into play. It can get very 'highschoolish' at times.
01/26/2012 01:38:23 AM · #34
When I shoot friends I generally charge $25 or $50 for the "sitting fee" and $10 per high res edited picture for them to print. I send them select low res watermarked images and let them choose which ones they want. Maybe you can shoot the wedding(s) for $100 and let them know that each edited photo will have an additional charge. Doing this will allow the couple to set their own budget and hopefully give you a little piece of mind that you didn't waste your time.

I also shoot my close friends and family for free. I would never even consider charging my family for shooting... I have a small family, so maybe it is different for others.
01/26/2012 04:16:53 AM · #35
Originally posted by goinskiing:

A true story from today. My wife has a cousin getting married. She was looking for a photographer (doesn't have loads of money, the last of 14 kids, yes 14) and put a query out on facebook. Well, there were tons of people vying to be the photographer, a bunch saying they'll shoot it for free, or that they knew some guy. Well, my sister-in-law referred me. My wife's cousin asked how much I'd shoot it for (she also saw my facebook page too). I thought about it long and hard and trying to strike the right balance settled on $250 because she was family (I normally charge quite a bit more). Now, she could have picked all the free people who live close, etc., but she ended up going with my offer in the end.

The moral of the story is, if you place a value on your work, others pick up on that pretty quickly and will most likely lead to the best results for both parties.

Who are all these people wanting to shoot for free?? Makes me want to stage an event, place an ad and invite nobody but them and just let 'em shoot each other for a few hours while I videotape it for fun.

...holy crap, I am sounding like Slippy!
01/26/2012 04:41:52 AM · #36
I've done 3 friends weddings for free, 1st one because I was young and honoured someone asked me and it was easy because it was just after dslr came out so shot it all with my canon 20d and efs 17-85 haha!!! God but came out alright

The other two have been more recent ones for really close friends but boy it does spoil your enjoyment if what would be a great party with all your friends, although I put the camera away about midnight and caught up.

What they don't see is the hours of pp and sorting that it takes that's the real pain, maybe you'll shoot it for £200 or what the figure was but for prints/albums they pay for pp

Not ideal because if they just want the pics I know I'd want to pp them before I let anyone see them

Tough situation,
01/26/2012 06:29:15 AM · #37
Had you been in any other country my advice would be to revise your prices, explain all the effort that goes in and that you'd be making a loss, and if they won't pay at least your mates rates, don't do it, they're just taking advantage of you. Being Japan though... a friend of mine lived out there for 4 years - her work held an intervention for her one day because they thought she was eating too much sushi versus other foods. Culturally almost the polar opposite to western countries in many regards, so for the sake of your working relationship I'd probably add a vote to the $100 per-wedding pile. Make sure (phrasing it as best you can) that your boss understands you're making a loss by doing this for them though.

Also processing wise perhaps take your own advice on this one.

I'd also start reciting the word 'no' 100 times before you go to bed each night, just to make sure you don't end up in this situation again =).
01/26/2012 06:46:14 AM · #38
there's a difference between "friends" and "associates". there are plenty of times i find myself in you-scratch-my-back-and-i'll-scratch-yours situations where it makes sense to do things that are mutually beneficial. your situation really stretches that idea :-(

like others have suggested, do the shooting $100/ea, with no pp, and let your manager know that you did this for him to save face in offering your services at such a cut-rate, but that is not how you normally handle wedding photography - and then lay out exactly what you would charge and what it would include.

some friends of mine have been kicking around the idea of putting together a low-budget event shooting company to offer 'almost-free-photography'. basically, if someone doesn't want to/can't pay for professional services, we'll recommend the low-budget alternative. for a flat fee, to be paid up front, we'll send out a shooter who will burn a disk at the end of the shoot and give it to a pre-designated person (probably the m.o.b.). no post-production, no guarantees (other than a photographer will show up with a camera and a laptop with a DVD burner). we're thinking of a 70/30 split with us taking the lion's share to cover admin, sales & marketing, and archiving. we will offer complete fulfillment (professional post-processing, prints, videos, albums, etc) for those that find they can't do it themselves...
01/27/2012 12:04:36 AM · #39
Originally posted by Skip:

some friends of mine have been kicking around the idea of putting together a low-budget event shooting company to offer 'almost-free-photography'. basically, if someone doesn't want to/can't pay for professional services, we'll recommend the low-budget alternative. for a flat fee, to be paid up front, we'll send out a shooter who will burn a disk at the end of the shoot and give it to a pre-designated person (probably the m.o.b.). no post-production, no guarantees (other than a photographer will show up with a camera and a laptop with a DVD burner). we're thinking of a 70/30 split with us taking the lion's share to cover admin, sales & marketing, and archiving. we will offer complete fulfillment (professional post-processing, prints, videos, albums, etc) for those that find they can't do it themselves...


That sounds awesome, Skip, and I bet you'll be very successful. My extended family recently hired a pro photographer to shoot some beach photos while we were on vacation (I had zero interest in trying to direct traffic for the 20 of us), and I loved that what we got was a CD of photos for each family that we could use as I saw fit.
02/22/2012 01:57:34 AM · #40
Update:

I talked with the bride, got her to understand that 100 was too low. I asked for 600 and that even then it would be at a loss. I explained "A majority of the work goes into the processing." She was happy that I was honest and said she would have to check with the groom but being cheaper than anywhere else she didn't see any issues.

My manager found out about the price change, got an email from her "We just need the data. My husband will do all the editing." So, I'm going to be doing the wedding for 100 and will explain that I can't do anymore weddings as favors to that manager. I have no idea what she is/was thinking...

And to add to it all, I have a feeling her husband has no idea what a RAW file is. I sent a reply to her message making sure he knew what it was and whether he had the software to edit the files. But, that means I'm there for 30 minutes one day and 2 hours another day and I'm just handing over the CF cards. No responsibilities after that. I made sure that the bride knew that if any editing was required after the fact that it would cost X amount per picture. So if the manager's husband can't pull it off, I'll be making more than the 600.

I've been reciting the words "NO."...
02/22/2012 04:17:24 AM · #41
Originally posted by heavyj:

Originally posted by levyj413:

Maybe I'm missing something or there's a cross-cultural reason you can't, but why not just tell the manager "I'm sorry, but I'm not really interested in doing it for that price. I was caught a little off-balance that day, but I've thought about it now."

No way she'll find anyone willing to shoot her weddings for $100.


Unfortunately there is...to a degree. I'm certain if I use your words (And I would like to) my manager would be up my ass. Then the office politics (Even though this has absolutely nothing to do with our regular business) would come into play. It can get very 'highschoolish' at times.


Where do you work? If my boss asked me to shoot a wedding for $100, I'd be insulted.
02/22/2012 04:35:29 AM · #42
Originally posted by heavyj:

Update:

I talked with the bride, got her to understand that 100 was too low. I asked for 600 and that even then it would be at a loss. I explained "A majority of the work goes into the processing." She was happy that I was honest and said she would have to check with the groom but being cheaper than anywhere else she didn't see any issues.

My manager found out about the price change, got an email from her "We just need the data. My husband will do all the editing." So, I'm going to be doing the wedding for 100 and will explain that I can't do anymore weddings as favors to that manager. I have no idea what she is/was thinking...

And to add to it all, I have a feeling her husband has no idea what a RAW file is. I sent a reply to her message making sure he knew what it was and whether he had the software to edit the files. But, that means I'm there for 30 minutes one day and 2 hours another day and I'm just handing over the CF cards. No responsibilities after that. I made sure that the bride knew that if any editing was required after the fact that it would cost X amount per picture. So if the manager's husband can't pull it off, I'll be making more than the 600.

I've been reciting the words "NO."...


Wow! I think I would rather do all the editing myself and lose the money/time instead of having someone else mess with my photos. I understand why you did it, but that would drive me crazy!
02/22/2012 05:36:44 AM · #43
Tough situation. As a pretty popular wedding photographer I do have some experience with stuff like this. First off, they are a lot of fun to photograph. They might be a lot of work, both before the event and on the day + all the post processing afterwards, but I have never photographed a boring wedding, I mean, who is in a bad mood on their wedding day? You always get such positive energy from everyone at weddings so I like photographing them, one of my favorite jobs. That being said, I always charge about 50% more for weddings than other jobs, even though the work itself is maybe as much, because of two things. The responsibility, you can´t re do the event if it goes wrong, but a portrait session you can just reschedule for the week after, and also the bookings are usually months or sometimes even a year in the future, so the commitment is also why you charge more.

That said, 100 bucks is a joke price. However, sounds like you are in a very tough position and if I were in your position I would either back out of it RIGHT NOW or just do it for that price and chalk it up to experience. When I started out, the very first wedding I did I charged something about a 100$ for photographing the ceremony, photoshoot in between and about two hours at the reception. I did it to get experience and to build a portfolio. I very gradually started charging more, and now I charge more than most photographers around here but I still get booked every saturday every summer, because of my reputation I assume.

That´s the next thing I wanted to adress, your reputation. I would NEVER EVER EVER just hand over raw files and "be done with" anything. Those are your pictures and if raw files are not handled properly, they can look like crap, and trust me, nobody is going to blame anyone else than the photographer it that is going to happen, wich sounds very likely in this case. I have a very simple rule, no matter what, for who I am photographing, what I am charging or however important the shoot is, I always do things properly, or not at all. I often get contacted by people who ask me if I would be willing to work cheaper and instead do stuff like that, do less post processing work and I politely refuse, reciting that what I just wrote, "I either do things properly, or not at all" and it seems to have stuck with me, people here know that now. I have only once handed over raw files, and that was in a very particular case where I photographed a wedding of a buddy of mine who is also a photographer, and I know he knows how to handle raw files.

In short, either do it and do it properly, like you were getting paid 2000$, and make sure you get pictures that you want to put in your own portfolio, or let them know as soon as possible that you won´t be able to. Just make sure you tell your manager that this is a once in a lifetime deal they are getting, you need to sit down and figure out a "price guide" and stick with it next time.
03/07/2012 04:02:54 PM · #44
Don't undersell yourself. Weddings are HARD WORK.

Don't feel pressured to take on work that barely covers an hourly-wedding rate, nevermind 2 weddings-worth.

Good luck :)
01/06/2013 09:24:55 AM · #45
Originally posted by snaffles:

Be very very careful. Offering a 'friend' rate is a double-edged sword. One friend may wonder why another friend got a better rate than they did.


this is very true. despite the "friend" rate you have given them, they will still offended because you provided a "friendlier" rate to another friend. I guess it's better to stick to your usual rate, business is business.
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