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02/11/2007 01:36:32 AM · #1
i'll just paste the e-mail here, it will explain itself, and then you can all tell me your opinions on what you would do in my situation.

E-mail one from mother

Hello,
I am xxxx xxxxxxx mother of the bride. Xxxxx xxxxxx will be married May 26th. We are engaging your
services for the wedding. I have a list of additional pictures I want taken. I will email them to you soon.
Do I need to sign a contact or pay a deposit?
Also the wedding will be at Springhill United Methodist Church
in Springhill, LA. It will be a-lot closer for you. Looking forward to working with you.
Thanks

XXXXXXXXXXX

==================================

MY REPLY

hello, mrs. XXXXX

i got the list from your daughter, and all those will be fine, and anything else you want as well, just let me know.

If you would like a pre-wedding Engagement photo session, it will be $50.00 for the shoot (plus transportation if required), and this comes with an 8x10 of their choice of pose. All pictures from the day will be made available on my website for proofing and ordering of prints. My print prices are below.

I have two different pay packages for weddings as follows:

1. Shoot for prints: $600.00 - This takes care of the full day of shooting, multiple hours of editing the images (i do not charge extra for glamour / special editing).
Also includes $100.00 worth of print credit through my professional print lab. they do amazing work, and are very fast.
Here are a list of my print prices:
4-wallets $8.00
8-wallets $12.00
4x6 $6.00
5x7 $12.00
8x10 $20.00
11x14 $32.00
(plus applicable shipping fees)

2. Shoot for all images on CD: $850 - This is the most popular, for it gives the family a cd with the finished, edited images. It includes the following:
This takes care of the full day of shooting, multiple hours of editing the images (i do not charge extra for glamour / special editing).
I will also throw in $100.00 print credit with my professional print lab. All pictures will be available for prints if you would like to use them in the future. their quality is amazing.
The cd with the pictures on it will include the pictures taken at the wedding, all edited, and w/out copyright symbols. It will come with a signed copyright release form so you will have no problem making prints in the future.
I will have the pictures in two forms on the cd. One folder will have them full sized, ready for printing. Another folder will have them smaller resolution, with my small company logo on them, for web viewing. (e-mail, facebook, myspace, etc)
If the cd route is purchased, you own all legal rights to the pictures, and can print/distribute them as you wish without a problem.


I require a non-refundable $400 down payment. This will book the day of your wedding. In the incredibly unlikely event that I have to cancel (only if it's completely uncontrollable by me, i.e. death in the family, etc) every penny of your deposit will be refunded and i will do my best to find you a great replacement photographer. But like i said, this is only if circumstances are out of my control, and i do not see this happening.

I really look forward to working with your family, and let me know if there's anything i can do. If you would like to book a time to do an engagement shoot, please feel free to contact me.

have a great week!


Jon Ed Rowe
Photographer
jrowephotography@gmail.com
//www.JRowePhotography.com

=============================
Her final reply

Hi Jon,

I'm not sure if you know that the wedding was moved to xxxxxxxx,xxxxx which would eliminate any extensive travel. We would only need your services from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In my previous experiences, a photographer only has about a 50 % markup for wedding coverage. With your prices, that would be $75 the first hour and $30 for the following hours. Including transportation, 1 hour, that would only come to a quote of around $200. Also, industry standard usually only requires a 25 % deposit on such services. I was wondering if renegotiation was possible. Please reply.

Thanks,

XXXX XXXXXX

ok, i took all names out, so that's where the x's come from. First off, this woman came TO ME, i did not advertise, i did nothing but put a website up with my portrait work, and she came to me asking me to do her daughter's wedding. i replied back with what i think is fair pricing packages (correct me if i'm wrong) and i really don't know who she thinks she is coming off like that. my normal sitting fee for portraits is $50.00 an hour, $25 an hour after the first.

i'm thinking of responding back "we can definitely work with the hourly rate you're talking about, but then i'd have to itemize the countless number of hours i'll be editing your daughter's pictures, which is $50-75 an hour.

i'm open to any suggestions. both on my pricing packages, and also on how to handle this mother. i've bought another backup camera for this gig, and everthing. (i was going to need it anyway, but still). just pisses me off.

thanks in advance :D
02/11/2007 01:44:59 AM · #2
Call her bluff, say no to changes in price. My bet is she will go with the original quote. Good Luck
02/11/2007 02:14:18 AM · #3
Wow, do you edit ALL of the images at those rates?!? "Multiple hours" of editing has to be one heck of an understatement. I mean, if you shoot, say, 1000 images at the wedding with 500 usable images, and then just spend 5 minutes on each photo, we're talking 40+ hours of editing.

I do a quick WB/color/contrast/exposure adjustment on every "proof" I show on my website, but I don't do any editing until they order a print (except in cases where I want to show them what a finished product will look like). And so when they order a CD from me, I am giving them 4x6" sized (1200x1800 pixels) unedited images. I always let them know that if they order prints first, I'll put the edited versions on the CD. But still, my rule is, I don't edit anything unless it gets printed, there just isn't enough time to do them all.

Anyway, my point is... at the $$$ you're charging, I think you're vastly underpaid and the lady is up in the night. She has no clue what goes on behind the scenes. So yeah, I agree, let her know that you'll charge by the hour for editing the images too. And then tell her how many hours you expect it to take and give her a "real" estimate as to the cost!

02/11/2007 03:00:39 AM · #4
Some clients it's better to just take a pass.

I can almost guarantee she'll be constantly trying to negotiate still lower prices, will drive you bonkers the whole time you're there, will drag her feet paying you and will try to get lots of freebies since she seemingly knows so much about the industry.

I'd tell her that in the meantime, you've booked the date and gotten a deposit. (You may have booked it to sit on your butt, but no need to tell her that.)

And yeah, I think you're going rate is pretty low too.
02/11/2007 03:07:11 AM · #5
write her back with a new higher price. seriously! And let her know that industry standard is waaaaay above the prices you are charging. Sheesh!
02/11/2007 03:27:12 AM · #6
If she's pulling this crap before the wedding, imagine what she'll be like the day of, and even after the wedding! Don't sell yourself short and let her bully you into anything. I'd tell her to go pound sand... nicely of course. She's getting a heck of a deal to begin with. Good luck!
02/11/2007 03:57:37 AM · #7
Just write back and tell her the time spent editing the photos far eclipses the time spent shooting, and that the fee is non-negotiable. Your prices are so reasonable they leave me breathless, LOL. All that plus all rights to the photos for $850? Sheesh.

R.
02/11/2007 04:43:14 AM · #8
Yep. Just respond and politely say that those ARE your going rates. Let her know she is more than welcome to shop around for a better rate, and if she still wants to book you, you'll be more than happy to do it, if...the date is still open on your schedule at that point. :-)
02/11/2007 06:03:55 AM · #9
My first thought was

"I cant believe he posted the mother emails here in full.."

If I was the client, I certainly wouldnt want my email posted on a public forum. A slight breach of client confidentiality? Maybe you should of posted an abridged version.

Other than that you are running pretty inexpensive so I would stick to your guns with this one.. Mothers of the bride are notoriously hard to please, and I will forewarn you though, if you upset her during this stage, she will not be happy with x number of images and will try to get some kind of reduction post-wedding.

Good luck!
02/11/2007 06:20:26 AM · #10
WOW man thats cheap $600 is about 375 pounds for doing everything?...WOW

Im shooting my 3rd ever wedding in June, the fee is 600 pounds for the days shoot and editing 25 shots of their choice anything else is extra PLUS they are supplying me with lunch and dinner and drink (i don't drink)

I think this lady might become a thorn in your side and you will always remember this wedding. DO NOT BUDGE ON YOUR PRICE!! in fact as grigrigirl said, find out the industry standard price and hit her with it.


02/11/2007 07:27:33 AM · #11
Hi Jon,

Please I beg of you "Don't touch that".... this person will be picking on you all the time and even after the weeding pictures are taken.... She'll be looking for anything to cut off prices again....

If she called you it's because she had heard about you...

It "ok" for you to show her a few packages...at a determinated prices... but weddings pictures taken (in Canada and Québec) are between 1 300$ up to 4 000$, depending of the packages...

Any way... I've seen this scenario happened before and when the photographer cuts it's price to it's maximum, the person will finaly call to cancel by saying... " I'm sorry but finally, I have a cousin that will take the pictures for free"....

That's my honest opinion...

bonne journée
02/11/2007 08:19:04 AM · #12
Originally posted by Simpa:

" I'm sorry but finally, I have a cousin that will take the pictures for free"....



LOL, heard that before as well.
02/11/2007 08:32:27 AM · #13
I'm going to agree with the crowd... Your prices are painfully low. They are comparable to my prices and I'm just getting started and am shooting for friends/aquaintances. I would NOT lower them. I'm not sure where she's getting her information, but her "industry standard" pricing is waaaaaayyyyyyy off!!!

I live in a small town and wedding photographers are going for $1500 to $3000 per day! That does NOT include engagement photos, rehearsal shoots, or final prints.
02/11/2007 08:50:10 AM · #14
Originally posted by MAK:

WOW man thats cheap $600 is about 375 pounds for doing everything?...WOW

Im shooting my 3rd ever wedding in June, the fee is 600 pounds for the days shoot and editing 25 shots of their choice anything else is extra PLUS they are supplying me with lunch and dinner and drink (i don't drink)

I think this lady might become a thorn in your side and you will always remember this wedding. DO NOT BUDGE ON YOUR PRICE!! in fact as grigrigirl said, find out the industry standard price and hit her with it.


Mak: in England the photohraphers prices are very fair considering all the work you have in the background and the investment you made ant etc.

Unfortunatly that's not the reallity for all Europe, and I guess for around the world.

600$ is more or less 500 euros and I would do for shure a wedding for this money, but with no extended editing of the photos.

So there's some comments here that are also true. If the mother's is allready complainning about the prices beforahand you can imagine what it will be after the wedding. I know, I've been that road before and it's not a nice one. And yes she's very capable of booking with you and in the previous day tell you that a friend is doing it for free. And YES, some clients you're better withought.

If I where you I would send her the same pricing with the expanation like this:

For xxx$$$ you will get:

- X hour coverage
- normally between X and Y photos taken
- as I am a serious professional the images will be corrected from exposure, WB and color
- for the above correction there's Z hours of post editing included
- for further editing the fees are UUU$ per hour
- the printing prices are:

And so on so that she undestands that photographing a wedding is a serious hard work.

I I would put another price if she wants to hire you by the our. For example:
- 100$ per hour fee
- 50$ per hour of editing
- transportatioin above 20 or 30 miles from your office should be charged at x$ per mile

And at the end you will have more or less the same price and she will go for your pevious price.
02/11/2007 08:51:35 AM · #15
Sheesh! I hate micro-managers like that.

I'd say it's definitely not worth the hassle. You should be charging between $1500 to $3000 per day to be up to "industry standard", and you shouldn't have to be negotiating anything at all with the mother of the bride.

~L
02/11/2007 09:16:57 AM · #16
Stay away, stay FAR away. You don't need the hassle of trying to deal with her. As has been said before, if sheis trying to get lower prices now, well then after the wedding she will try very hard to screw you. Good luck with this one, let us know how it turns out.

Chris
02/11/2007 09:40:37 AM · #17
I have gotten a similar email and I think it is a scam. Just this week, I received an email from someone in the UK about getting married here and it was the 3rd one I have gotten since I put my website up about 6 months ago. Stick to your guns and your prices.

g
02/11/2007 09:48:26 AM · #18
Originally posted by dwterry:

Wow, do you edit ALL of the images at those rates?!? "Multiple hours" of editing has to be one heck of an understatement. I mean, if you shoot, say, 1000 images at the wedding with 500 usable images, and then just spend 5 minutes on each photo, we're talking 40+ hours of editing.

I do a quick WB/color/contrast/exposure adjustment on every "proof" I show on my website, but I don't do any editing until they order a print (except in cases where I want to show them what a finished product will look like). And so when they order a CD from me, I am giving them 4x6" sized (1200x1800 pixels) unedited images. I always let them know that if they order prints first, I'll put the edited versions on the CD. But still, my rule is, I don't edit anything unless it gets printed, there just isn't enough time to do them all.

Anyway, my point is... at the $$$ you're charging, I think you're vastly underpaid and the lady is up in the night. She has no clue what goes on behind the scenes. So yeah, I agree, let her know that you'll charge by the hour for editing the images too. And then tell her how many hours you expect it to take and give her a "real" estimate as to the cost!


NO NO NO, let me clear this up, i made it sound that way. if she orders the "shoot for cd" package, the pictures i see fit for leaving with my name on them and printable, i will edit and put on cd, edited. i will not edit every picture. what i usually do for prints is what you stated, i color correct / white balance from raw, and provide a small copyright stamped proofs page for them to see what they would like. thanks so much for your input, bud.

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Just write back and tell her the time spent editing the photos far eclipses the time spent shooting, and that the fee is non-negotiable. Your prices are so reasonable they leave me breathless, LOL. All that plus all rights to the photos for $850? Sheesh.

R.


thanks so much, i will do that. my thing is, i've been doing headshots, portraiture work for a while now (still in college) and have my sitting fee low so i can make the money on the side, and still make enough to pay for my equipment and buying addictions ;) then when i graduate, and get all my student loans paid off, i plan on opening a studio, or at least doing the weekend thing with weddings when i get the experience. that's what these small weddings are for, and why i am charging a lower price. i know that i'm perfectly capable of doing a wedding, and she does too since she contacted me, but i feel like i need to do a few like this to get my feet wet, and get me some examples for my site. i'm also in a small town, where photography is underrated, everyone has a point and shoot, and does not really appreciate what quality professional photography is worth. everyone has their ripped version of photoshop and thinks they know what they're doing, so charging $2,000 for a wedding is rediculous here. (why i'm leaving ;) )

but thanks bud for the explaination. i do plan on upping my prices. might for the next one, to help fund the new 20D and help pay off that 70-200mm 2.8L i just bought :S

Originally posted by marksimms:

My first thought was

"I cant believe he posted the mother emails here in full.."

If I was the client, I certainly wouldnt want my email posted on a public forum. A slight breach of client confidentiality? Maybe you should of posted an abridged version.

Other than that you are running pretty inexpensive so I would stick to your guns with this one.. Mothers of the bride are notoriously hard to please, and I will forewarn you though, if you upset her during this stage, she will not be happy with x number of images and will try to get some kind of reduction post-wedding.

Good luck!


This was an abridged version, w/ just the high points left in to let you all get the point. sorry if there was any confusion on my part.

Originally posted by blazelle:

Sheesh! I hate micro-managers like that.

I'd say it's definitely not worth the hassle. You should be charging between $1500 to $3000 per day to be up to "industry standard", and you shouldn't have to be negotiating anything at all with the mother of the bride.

~L


i agree! :D once i have a few weddings under my belt, and am confident enough to jack it up to that, i will definitely be charging more.

to everyone, thanks so much. i'll work up a reply and possibly post it to see what you all think. i really appreciate this. as i'm working my way up into the industry, it's really comforting to know that there's people out there like all of you willing to help. thanks so much, it's much appreciated.
02/11/2007 09:59:45 AM · #19
IMO you are charging way to little for what you are providing. As I was reading through you mail I was thinking that you were way cheep. Especially with the $100 photo credit coming out of your price in the end. At these prices, you are surely giving something away, being that your time or your pictures.

I would make it clear up front to the Bride and Groom that you are the Photographer. I understand that you were hired by the mother but this really is the Bride and Grooms Day. Make it clear that you are the professional and are willing to take any additional shots requested but the execution of those shots are completely within your control. Make sure that it is understood that your contract is not negotiable. Really, if they already signed a contract and the location has changed (location should be in contract), the contract is void. You should right up another contract with the new terms, prices, location, hours, etc. and they will either sign it or wont sign it. Their choice. Even though you are working for them, they have hired you as a professional and you do have the right to mandate your terms to them.

Your hourly rate of $50 first hour and 25 additional hours is crazy!!! You need to up those prices and stop selling yourself short! I do however think your individual print prices look good. Those are almost identical to my print pricing. I however charge $110 per hour for doing gigs unless already part of a package or negotiation made with the client.

Good luck and don't take any crap off of people... Well, not too much anyway. Like someone else said, you sometimes have to make the choice to pass up a client to save your self grief.
02/11/2007 10:22:23 AM · #20
Dude,

Just say no. I am reading this and thinking, wow you are too low and then you give a print credit, wow. For all the work you will be doing, you are esentially working for free. You will not make a profit off of this. I am also thinking, run away, run away fast. This woman is a smooth talker. If you were in front of her I am sure she would sound like a used car sales person. She knows you are new and is hoping that she can throw phrases out there like "industry standard" to either throw you off your game or intimidate you. I know that you are trying to build your portfolio but this may be one that you have learn to say "Mrs. X, thank you for your interest in retaining my wedding photography services but I feel that we are not a good fit for each other so I recommend that you look elsewhere for a photographer to photograph your daughters wedding. Good luck on your search and may your daughter have a wonderful wedding."

There is no shame in saying no to a potential client. You do not have to take them all.
02/11/2007 10:38:29 AM · #21
Originally posted by gayle43103:

I have gotten a similar email and I think it is a scam. Just this week, I received an email from someone in the UK about getting married here and it was the 3rd one I have gotten since I put my website up about 6 months ago. Stick to your guns and your prices.

g


This is important! I think this is true - I have a cabin I rent out, and every time I post the info to a public venue online, I get responses that are scams. And they are SO clever. They always come from afar - across the ocean, or offshore, etc. And they always negotiate a lower price, and in the end they want to send a cashier's check for too much, and get money back.
Be careful!
02/11/2007 10:42:36 AM · #22
I've got quite a few weddings under my belt now and I've been lucky not to have any dramas as yet! I think with this I'd probably feel like backing away, even though I'd love to shoot it!
02/11/2007 12:14:46 PM · #23
This is why there are written contracts that cover your @ss and spell out their rights as well (like the bit about getting or not getting a refund).

You can explain it several ways, but one of the easiest is "I can only shoot one wedding a day, and I charge $600. I don't offer smaller packages or lesser time on weekend weddings, sorry." and let her decide what she wants.

For the other bit...I've seen $100 to 50% (even on $5,000 packages) around here and everyone requires payment in full before the wedding - from day of to 30 days prior (to make sure checks clear!). In Maryland it's more common to have a small amount (10-25%) payable at the time the album is selected. It's really up the individual photographer so tell her that it's your policy and you don't change it for nobody.

Some advice -----------------------------------------------------------

BTW, if you don't sell albums you should - it's 50% or more of the profit of a wedding and with practice using Lumapix Fotofusion you can layout an album (20-25 pages/sides) in 4 hours - and literally double your profits!
Also sell Save the Date cards, magnets and all that other stuff the bride is gonna buy anyway - she might as well buy it from you! Between that and taking pics of guests at the reception for the website sales, I've upped my average take per wedding $200, and this year I expect to double that - it's almost like free money !

Also, as you charge more you get more respect from the client - around here most churches charge more than you for what, an hours useage? That (sad) fact got me raising my prices, and even thought I'm still very moderately priced, I'm finding I'm getting better venues (prettier), prettier everything (limos, cakes, dresses, tuxes, etc - not sure about the people yet LOL) and the most important thing - more respect - none of this haggling, and if I tell them 'we need 90 minutes for the formals after the ceremony' I'm getting it - more cooperation means better images!

Interesting how one has to charge the client more to get their cooperation and respect isn't it?

Message edited by author 2007-02-11 12:18:28.
02/11/2007 12:20:14 PM · #24
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

Interesting how one has to charge the client more to get their cooperation and respect isn't it?


Sad but true, the more you charge the more they seem to respect you and your services and less trying to get you to give them a better deal.

Around here, "retainers" are anywhere from 200.00 to 50% of package cost with full payment required 3-4 weeks before the wedding.
02/12/2007 08:47:44 AM · #25
MY POSSIBLE REPLY

Hello MS. Kirby,

I was aware of the wedding's move to Springhill, that is just fine. As for my regular charges, ($50.00/1st hr, etc), the majority of the profit for my professional portrait services come from my sale of prints. that is the reason for setting my regular session fees so low. as i've been told by fellow photographers in the industry, i should be charging the standard $200 session fee, but i do not see this advantageous to me while the majority of my clients are college students working on modeling portfolios and could not afford this.

as for weddings, i respect your request for renegotiation, but please allow me to explain. for the quality of work i produce, and the time not only at the wedding (3 hours), but the week or more afterwards i'll put in editing the pictures (countless hours) i feel like even the top package ($850) is not anywhere close to industry standard of pricing for a one-day wedding shoot. i've been told i'd be crazy to charge any less than $1500 - $3000 a day for the quality and service I am able to produce, but at this point in my business i will not do that.

i have thought about charging a set wedding session fee ($xxx.xx) and then charging per hour of editing, but i figured it would be most cost effective for the end-customer if i use my $600/%850 packages. with my experience with photographers in the industry i have worked with, getting a cd with the edited pictures on it with copyright release forms alone costs no less than $700 - 850 alone, not counting the shooting and editing fees.

i will respect your request on the down payment of 25%, and will supply a contract for you to read over and us both agree to in the event you are still interested.

i hope this does not offend, but i feel that with the quality of work and service i will be supplying, my prices are extremely fair. if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know. just let me know, because for some reason May is the month to get married, and i have every weekend but yours booked that month, and i'm holding it for you now. honestly no rush though, you contacted me first, so i will leave it open for a while.

thanks so much for your time Ms Kirby, and i hope to hear from you soon

have a great week,

Jon Rowe
JRowe Photography
//www.JRowePhotography.com
jrowephotography@gmail.com

Hi Jon,

I'm not sure if you know that the wedding was moved to Springhill, Louisiana which would eliminate any extensive travel. We would only need your services from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In my previous experiences, a photographer only has about a 50 % markup for wedding coverage. With your prices, that would be $75 the first hour and $30 for the following hours. Including transportation, 1 hour, that would only come to a quote of around $200. Also, industry standard usually only requires a 25 % deposit on such services. I was wondering if renegotiation was possible. Please reply.

Thanks

=====================================================================

I really appreciate all this help, you have no idea how helpful this is. just looking for opinions if this is a good reply to her demands. thank you

-jon


Message edited by author 2007-02-12 08:49:03.
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