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DPChallenge Forums >> Business of Photography >> Attention all Wedding Photographers!
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01/18/2007 03:31:48 PM · #1
What did you charge to shoot your first wedding?
01/18/2007 03:34:06 PM · #2
My first wedding, I think I charged about 400.00. Basicaly it was enough for me to cover my costs and to make juat a little.
01/18/2007 03:41:42 PM · #3
My first couple were freebies for friends...
01/18/2007 03:54:41 PM · #4
Whether its your first wedding or your 100th shouldn't matter. You should always price for the value of the work. How much is your time worth? What are you offering them - proofs, prints, frames, wedding album, parents' albums, CDs? How much processing will you be doing?
The cost of all of these things need to be taken into consideration before you can begin pricing.

Edit to say, I priced my first wedding at $1500 and made NO profit by the time I paid an assistant, printed proofs, designed and printed 3 albums, etc... my prices immediately doubled.

Message edited by author 2007-01-18 15:55:27.
01/18/2007 04:08:17 PM · #5
I did a diffrent pricing model than most. I charge a basic fee for shooting the wedding as well as give a price list with packages or indivdual prints would run with a very samll mark up on the prints or other items. Basicaly so they will be more apt to buy more prints but I have a gaurenteed ammount coming to me. General idea is to not rip them off but still ensure Im getting something above the cost of the wedding (ie charge about $200-$300 to shoot the wedding but offer prints about 2-3%(more or less if you choose this is just where I started) above cost so you know your making at least the up front money as profit.

Also if this is your first wedding shoot, I recommend getting a lightscribe CDR/DVDr drive and some blank light scribe media (a good drive can run less than $50 on newegg.com after shipping) and the DVD +R blanks are about $1 each. What this allows you to do though is burn you sample images for your clients to review and flip the disk over and "print" a labe on the disk using the drives laser, makes for crisp text and you can even burn designs and greyscale images on the disk with out using the stupid stomp stickers or a sharpie, looks way more professional.
check it out www.lightscribe.com
01/18/2007 04:13:49 PM · #6
Thank you all for letting me pick your brains! You're the best!
Feel free to keep commenting. Every bit of advice is invaluable!
Thanks!
Becky
01/18/2007 04:15:55 PM · #7
Since I had no prior experience shooting weddings, my first couple were for family and friends and I shot those for free. I've gradually raised my prices over the years as my experience and skills have increased. But I'm still working my photography business as a side-venture (with no plans to make it "full time") and manage to keep my "overhead costs" very low (other than equipment), so even now my prices are still on the low end compared to full time photographers around here.

01/18/2007 04:24:35 PM · #8
I did my sister's wedding reception (they eloped to the Bahamas, so there was no big ceremony) for the cost of the album. The next one, I charged $500, but it was all profit since I did it alone, I did not shoot an engagement portrait and I only provided a CD of images from the ceremony and reception.

I think that once all of your expenses are figured in, $500 is a reasonable profit for the first few weddings.


01/18/2007 04:25:13 PM · #9
Originally posted by idnic:

Whether its your first wedding or your 100th shouldn't matter. You should always price for the value of the work. How much is your time worth?

i disagree a bit here, cin. it all depends on what 'first' really means. applying your logic, a rookie playing for a triple-A farm team should price himself to management just as if he had 5 years playing in the majors...it's too, too easy to overvalue yourself, especially before you have the experience and portfolio to justify your worth.

on the other hand, if you look at it in terms pricing things starting out, and pricing things when you feel established, there is a difference. along these lines, if the first wedding is something that could be comfortably shot by someone just starting out, then it should be priced accordingly. if it's something that really needs an assistant, a 2nd shooter, and all that stuff, it probably shouldn't even be quoted.

as with everything else i do, i ask the customer what they have budgeted, and then i determine if it's something i can work with.
01/18/2007 06:00:03 PM · #10
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01/18/2007 06:14:04 PM · #11
Originally posted by Bosborne:

Thank you all for letting me pick your brains! You're the best!
Feel free to keep commenting. Every bit of advice is invaluable!
Thanks!
Becky


You can find my current pricing here:
//www.leroydickson.com/weddings.htm

Don't pay a lot of attention to the rest of the site, because it's under development.
01/18/2007 06:29:29 PM · #12
I charged $750 for my first wedding. Profit was probably around $600 or so.
01/18/2007 06:58:23 PM · #13
Originally posted by Shakalaka:

Originally posted by Bosborne:

Thank you all for letting me pick your brains! You're the best!
Feel free to keep commenting. Every bit of advice is invaluable!
Thanks!
Becky


You can find my current pricing here:
//www.leroydickson.com/weddings.htm

Don't pay a lot of attention to the rest of the site, because it's under development.


Get rid of the actual prices on the website. Do state there are several packages to choose from. You want them to come into the studio for a free consultation. That's where you show them the prices. It's like getting them to test drive a car once they're in it chances of purchase increase 10 fold.
01/18/2007 07:00:49 PM · #14
Originally posted by Ristyz:

Originally posted by Shakalaka:

Originally posted by Bosborne:

Thank you all for letting me pick your brains! You're the best!
Feel free to keep commenting. Every bit of advice is invaluable!
Thanks!
Becky


You can find my current pricing here:
//www.leroydickson.com/weddings.htm

Don't pay a lot of attention to the rest of the site, because it's under development.


Get rid of the actual prices on the website. Do state there are several packages to choose from. You want them to come into the studio for a free consultation. That's where you show them the prices. It's like getting them to test drive a car once they're in it chances of purchase increase 10 fold.


I know that is the "professional" approach, but as a consumer, it drives me crazy not to be able to see the prices. I just feel like they don't post them so they can set whatever they think they will get out of me. . .
01/18/2007 07:04:27 PM · #15
$600 for 3 hours. Plus $75 for negatives. 3 years ago. I had some experience already.

And my two cents is this: don't use ploys. People appreciate honesty...studio photographers have a really really bad rep for being 'cons' in the sense that they lure you in and then hit you over the head with package prices. I recommend being upfront, keep your prices online. You'll stand out from most photogs in your area I'll bet!

P.S. 500 is an insane number of photos!!! (IMHO)

Message edited by author 2007-01-18 19:08:21.
01/18/2007 07:05:02 PM · #16
Originally posted by Bosborne:

What did you charge to shoot your first wedding?


How many hours are you going to be there? (figure out your hourly rate) What's your hourly rate for post porcessing? (can be different than the onsite hourly rate) What expenses will you have? (and don't forget to mark them up)

As you do more weddings you can rate your time as more valuable than it was but don't undermine yourself to begin with.
01/18/2007 07:08:00 PM · #17
Originally posted by karmat:

Originally posted by Ristyz:

Originally posted by Shakalaka:

Originally posted by Bosborne:

Thank you all for letting me pick your brains! You're the best!
Feel free to keep commenting. Every bit of advice is invaluable!
Thanks!
Becky


You can find my current pricing here:
//www.leroydickson.com/weddings.htm

Don't pay a lot of attention to the rest of the site, because it's under development.


Get rid of the actual prices on the website. Do state there are several packages to choose from. You want them to come into the studio for a free consultation. That's where you show them the prices. It's like getting them to test drive a car once they're in it chances of purchase increase 10 fold.


I know that is the "professional" approach, but as a consumer, it drives me crazy not to be able to see the prices. I just feel like they don't post them so they can set whatever they think they will get out of me. . .


High End WEDDING customers don't care what it costs, they base it on the images they will get. It's one of those once in a lifetime events.... well it's supposed to be. Second weddings are not as often fussed over such and more price shopping happens. And buget weddings are, well budget weddings. So I guees it would depend on what clients you are after.

01/18/2007 07:23:12 PM · #18
Originally posted by Ristyz:


High End WEDDING customers don't care what it costs, they base it on the images they will get. It's one of those once in a lifetime events.... well it's supposed to be. Second weddings are not as often fussed over such and more price shopping happens. And buget weddings are, well budget weddings. So I guees it would depend on what clients you are after.


Moved this discussion here so as not to highjack this thread:

//www.dpchallenge.com/forum.php?action=read&FORUM_THREAD_ID=530250
01/18/2007 07:49:51 PM · #19
I charge $500.00 turn up for the ceremony, do family shots groups whatever thru to the mock cake cutting then its off home; I put in maybe 3hrs. I give them 2 CDS of all I take . thats it
01/18/2007 08:09:11 PM · #20
I got $500.00 (Aus) for my first wedding. Then prints on top of that.
01/18/2007 08:10:10 PM · #21
Dammit now you guys got me all confused. I am meeting a potential client Thursday to discuss shooting their wedding....now I have no idea what to charge?
01/18/2007 08:18:27 PM · #22
I love this site!

I, too, have just set up my first wedding shoot. The bride to be listed on Craigslist looking for a student or assistant phtog to shoot her wedding as they have a tight budget. I figured sure what the hell I respond to the ad. Well I got the job and I used the Skip Method. I asked what their budget was and what they needed.

They had $450usd and wanted the ceremony and reception I said yes!

Why did I say yes well it will be my first and they know it, it is a fantastic location and the promo value of the shots will be priceless, I get wedding experience and I make a little extra scratch to help me get that 17-55.

Well that's my story and I am sticking to it!

Message edited by author 2007-01-18 20:22:17.
01/18/2007 08:22:25 PM · #23
Wazz, are you just going to give them a CD?
01/18/2007 08:24:36 PM · #24
Ok... Here are my 2 cents. I've done 2 weddings and booked 2 more. My first booking was for a friend and they asked me how much to charge them. I didn't know what to tell them so they offered $400. I said ok (but in my head I said "HELL YEA!!!"). Now, keep in mind, all I'm offering at this point is just a CD/DVD with the best pictures at a high enough quality to be able to print them at 8x10. My 2nd booking was for another friend, only this time I told them $400 (they are also friends of my other friends previously mentioned - so I couldn't go more). At this point, I was able to book another wedding through word of mouth and charged them $600. Again, only offering a DVD/CD with the images. Only now, I have a website with Smugmug and they (all) have an online album and ability to order prints. At smugmug, I got the pro account, so I could do my own pricing. Realizing that I was shooting myself on the foot by giving all of the images at hi res on a CD/DVD, I just booked another wedding, only this time I did NOT offer the CD/DVD with high res images, only low res 600x400 at 72 dpi so they can email them and what not. That way, they will order prints from my website.

Keep in mind, I am an art director, so I'm pretty experienced with Photoshop. I feel that the images I take are great, but applying after effect to some selected images really makes a different. Having said that, any wedding I book from here on out, I charge for the full day, approximately 600-800 images, no limits really, and I charge $750 to shoot and provide a proof book with it plus any prints they want on top of that. Anyway, hope this helps.

Check my pics out: //www.seequentphotography.com
01/18/2007 08:29:21 PM · #25
Originally posted by thegrandwazoo:

Well I got the job and I used the Skip Method. I asked what their budget was and what they needed.


That is the best way to go about it!
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