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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Should I Shoot a Wedding?
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02/28/2004 12:00:38 AM · #1

One of my friends suggested to one of his friends that she call me to photograph her wedding. I called the girl and told her that I had never photographed a wedding, was under-equipped to do so, and pointed her towards another photographer that I know who does great work. I also told her that I had no particular desire to photograph a wedding.

At this point, she told me that she had already spoken to about 8 local photographers. She was unhappy with the pricing they gave her, so she is out bargain hunting now. She asked me how much I would charge her to do the work.

1. I can decline the work.

2. I can build her a price package.

What would you do?

02/28/2004 12:03:04 AM · #2
Would you feel comfortable doing it?
02/28/2004 12:14:34 AM · #3
A bargain price isn't worth the effort. Anything less than $1000 isn't worth your time. For some reason brides spend all this time and money on decorations, flowers, food, etc... but they want to chince out on the one thing they'll have to remember the day.. THE PHOTOS! I personally will not do another wedding for anything less than $1000. If you feel comfortable with being able to gather the people and pose them for the group shots, then the rest is gravy. Just make sure you know the flow of the service so you can be in the right place at the right time. Good luck with whichever decission you choose.

02/28/2004 12:21:48 AM · #4

The ones who want to cut the most corners, want to demand the most as well.
02/28/2004 12:22:55 AM · #5
You know what they say about doing business with friends.
02/28/2004 12:24:27 AM · #6
well, i visited your site, very nice btw, and you specifically said, you dont do weddings, you must have your reasons, and if I were you, Id stick to them.
02/28/2004 07:22:07 AM · #7
There's a reason wedding photographers are not cheap and the ceremony is the easy part. It's good steady money if you can put up with the BS. I did them before, but I don't now because of the hassle factor.
02/28/2004 07:31:33 AM · #8
i don't think that doing the wedding for a low price is bad.... like a few hundred $$... or even free. it IS your first one after all. if you are interested in that type of photography, it would be a great chance to get comfortable, and have low pressure to present'stellar' photos (if they are getting a deal.)
02/28/2004 07:42:33 AM · #9
The bitching will be inversely porportional to the amount you charge. Don't do it for less than the going rate in your area.
If you are not interested in wedding photography, don't do it.
I feel in this case, if you charge less than the going rate, you will be undercutting your neighbors and your community and building a customer base that expects you to do the work cheaply. If you get additional work, they will not understand why you worked for so&so for a lesser dollar amount.
02/28/2004 08:15:36 AM · #10
I second pcody. Why would you want to do the work for free or cheap when you could get well paid? By the way, nothing gets the local pros attention more than undercharging amateurs.

The bride's going to have photos, simple as that. The question is what's she going to pay?
02/28/2004 08:33:06 AM · #11
My suggestion is to find out what the other locals are charging.

Talk to the bride to find out what she is really expecting such as:
all candids, lots of formals, 4 hours or 8 hours of coverage, etc.

Decide if what she wants is reasonable for a lower rate than the others are charging.

If you can find another photographer to shoot it with think about it...
otherwise, run like hell.

Message edited by author 2004-02-28 08:34:27.
02/28/2004 08:39:19 AM · #12
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

She asked me how much I would charge her to do the work.

I would first figure out if I really wanted to shoot a wedding...

Then if I didn't, I would let her know I'm not interested...

If I wanted to get my feet wet, then I would come up with a competitive price plan and present it to her...
02/28/2004 09:47:38 AM · #13
I think it depends on what she is expecting.

If this is a chance for you to shoot a wedding and you want to try it out, go for it. If you really want to stay away from weddings, don't do it.

You don't need to do this really cheap, you are a professional John - your work is fantastic.
02/28/2004 09:57:40 AM · #14
I have done two baby shovers and three aniversary parties.Everyone is eager to call me for photos but when time comes my work to be paid,their hands start shaking!People compare your photos (pricewise) with 5 $ snapshot camera and 10 $ walgreens 1 hour photo package (second set free).
When I told them that I work for 8 $ per page,means 3 4X6 or 2 5X7, they looked me as some crazy person!
Watch out!
02/28/2004 10:00:35 AM · #15
so, what did you decide, john?
02/28/2004 10:11:29 AM · #16
I did weddings for 19 years, and, trust me, the bargain hunters are the worst! They demand more and are complain about the work the most. I never cut my prices. The people who pay full price are the ones who are serious about the work you do for them.
02/28/2004 10:19:37 AM · #17
John, read through these three threads--there is some great info there, and it will really make you think:

[url=//www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=10713&highlight=girlfriend+wedding ]Thread 1[/url]

[url=//www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=20164&highlight=wedding ]Thread 2[/url]

[url=//www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=11747&highlight=wedding ]Thread 3[/url]
02/28/2004 11:06:38 AM · #18
Originally posted by tfaust:

You don't need to do this really cheap, you are a professional John - your work is fantastic.

I agree with tfaust...
02/28/2004 11:30:13 AM · #19
I will work for beer.
02/28/2004 11:48:45 AM · #20
Unless you're intending to get into this further, which I think you've said before that you aren't, then I'd advise not doing this, or at least not as the main photographer.

If you do that, you'll be expected to take all the incredibly dull shots of family groups etc rather than following your instincts and taking only what appeals to you and is a little different.

You might suggest to her, if it appeals, that she book another photographer to do all her formal shots and group shots and that you would be happy to negotiate a package for candids and unusual portraits.
02/28/2004 12:45:07 PM · #21
You're the only one who can decide if you want to do it or not. If you want to do it, make sure you make it worth your while. She may not want to have you do it if she has unrealistic price expectations. You can ask her what her price range is and tell her what you are willing to do for that much money. If you do that, make sure you get it in writing, and you might want to add a clause specifiying a charge for additional shots outside what's in the agreement.

You might try it, if nothing else to expand your horizons. I didn't think I'd like shooting weddings either until I actually did it. Make sure she knows she has to FEED the photographer as well and that doesn't come out of your fee. (Just a tidbit based on my experience) Just make sure that the bride's expectations are within your abilities.
02/28/2004 01:00:34 PM · #22
That's great advice. Ask her what she thinks is a fair price. She might feel that $50 for 3 hours of photography is reasonable a bunch of prints for an extra $25. Then you'd know you have to run away real quick.
02/28/2004 01:41:18 PM · #23
Go for it! you will learn:O) be cheap
02/28/2004 02:25:06 PM · #24
You could always tell her that you'll shoot her wedding for expenses, but you're going to use a pinhole camera. Then explain how that your pinhole camera will be made from an old oatmeal box and each shot will take 10-15 minutes to get set up, including going into a closet to unload and reload the camera between each shot. If she still is interested, ask her for a deposit up front, so you can go buy oatmeal.

Message edited by author 2004-02-28 14:27:33.
02/28/2004 06:14:33 PM · #25
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

You can ask her what her price range is and tell her what you are willing to do for that much money. If you do that, make sure you get it in writing, and you might want to add a clause specifiying a charge for additional shots outside what's in the agreement.

Spaz, thanks for this. I believe this is the best piece of advice I have gotten so far. I will take this approach. I will call her back and ask her how much she is willing to spend and then let her know what I will do for that amount of money.

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