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07/25/2008 02:24:18 PM · #1
So there's a bit of a debate on another non-photo forum about the prices wedding photographers charge. A friend is getting a 'deal' for 500USD. The photographers site is no quite professional, her photos are bland, poorly composed, washed out and just not that great. The friend asked for an opinion (Since there are a couple of us interested in photography) and he didn't think we were right.

I see some of ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21.gif', '/') + 1) . ' simms wedding photos and point him to his site and all he says is "It's not capturing the true moment, it's PP the moment."

I'm sure price was an issue, and although this lady usually charges 900USD for the wedding, she says she'll do it for 500USD. I think she's aching for business by doing that, but I can't say for sure.

I live in Japan where the wedding photographers are usually provided by the wedding chapel (Which is usually in a big fancy hotel) They others on here do far better work that what I've seen, but this chapel charges a minimum of 2800USD for a 105 photo album. I've see the album, and while I like the layout/style, the photos are often fuzzy or composition is just not that great. Apparently the head of photography in the hotel heard my comment and is arranging to make a new portfolio for possible customers...a good idea. BUT, how do you decide how much is too much. What's a good price and what is going over-board?

I do wedding services so I'm around wedding photographers all the time and good friends with the head of their department. I've learned so much from DPC that I often point out 'errors' in photos if I see them...perhaps stepping too far into another persons area of expertise but so far it's been received well.
07/25/2008 02:42:23 PM · #2
I've only ever shot one wedding before, for a friend, for $500, a DVD of files as the only deliverable. I did Photoshop up some of my favs for her as well, cuz I'm such an all-'round great guy, and she's done a lot for us and our older daughter. [some shots here]

But you can be sure that the next wedding I do, if I ever do another, will be a minimum of $2,000. Because I'm just that damn good.

word-up
07/25/2008 03:00:25 PM · #3
I agree with Slippy. I just finished shooting a wedding for a friend and the number of images, and work, is overwhelming. Next wedding is $2500 at least. If they bite, great and if not, great. Its a pretty serious commitment on your part and should be on theirs as well.

$500, not worth it.

Just my two cents.
07/25/2008 03:05:17 PM · #4
Can you post a link to the Photog in question?
07/25/2008 03:15:56 PM · #5
Originally posted by Ivo:

.... Next wedding is $2500 at least...

Well if Ivo says $2500, then I'm going to change my # to $2499. :-P
07/25/2008 03:55:33 PM · #6
Originally posted by Strikeslip:

Originally posted by Ivo:

.... Next wedding is $2500 at least...

Well if Ivo says $2500, then I'm going to change my # to $2499. :-P


This sorta reminds me of the "Price is Right". ;-)
07/25/2008 04:36:45 PM · #7
There are different levels of pricing and product just like blue jeans, cars and coffee. There are different style of photography from the older classic all-posed to the PJ extreme where there aren't even formals.

Like most things there is middle market where most of the customers are. Bride magazine and the like publish budgets for weddings - the reception should be about 50% of the overall cost, the video/photo 10%. So if you know where the reception is, and the gust count, you can get their overall budget and see what they might be thinking.

However, I've been the cheapest thing at a wedding and the most expensive so alot comes down to what value the couple places on photography. I've been most appreciated by those folks who have a house full of pictures, 'wall of fame' and the like. Others tell me it's not that important to the groom/bride/mom (pick one) as they don't have a lot of pics laying about.

From a business perxpective you've got to gross about $100/hour for every hour worked (including product costs) so if to meet, prep, shoot, backup, edit, proof, edit and design an album, package it all and deliver it takes 25 hours then $2500 is a fair price. You could charge twice as much and perhaps work half as many weddings and be better off (same pay for less work) or charge less and be twice as busy but there reaches a point where you make more working a minimum wage job than shooting weddings.
07/25/2008 06:54:35 PM · #8
Originally posted by DarkRider:

Can you post a link to the Photog in question?


[url=//www.sonyacogan.net/ ]//www.sonyacogan.net/[/url]

If you are a member here sonya...sorry. But I doubt she is. When asked if she would shoot RAW or jpg, she had no clue what my friend was talking about.

Message edited by author 2008-07-25 18:55:10.
07/25/2008 07:14:40 PM · #9
Hmmm....ive never heard of giving people their own photo editing software with the cd....

Your wedding on Photo CD. Includes free photo editing software & shared copyright so you can make copies.

Something I am noticing on a local level with the huge influx of new wedding photographers is that the churches are becoming far more strict. It has been over the last year that rules are getting ridiculous. I blame the fact that there are too many new photographers going into the cathedrals and overstepping the boundaries and general respect or even knowledge of what to expect. Great, now we all get to suffer. Thanks! ;)

I am waiting for the day when people realize how much work really goes into wedding photography and how you really dont make a ton of money, no matter how much you charge. Also, that must be why all the "famous" wedding photographers stop shooting weddings and start doing workshops. They know how hard weddings really are and they have found a new way to cash in on the market.

Whatever. I still just want to shoot...
07/25/2008 10:47:46 PM · #10
Originally posted by grigrigirl:

H

Something I am noticing on a local level with the huge influx of new wedding photographers is that the churches are becoming far more strict. It has been over the last year that rules are getting ridiculous. I blame the fact that there are too many new photographers going into the cathedrals and overstepping the boundaries and general respect or even knowledge of what to expect. Great, now we all get to suffer. Thanks! ;)

I am waiting for the day when people realize how much work really goes into wedding photography and how you really dont make a ton of money, no matter how much you charge. Also, that must be why all the "famous" wedding photographers stop shooting weddings and start doing workshops. They know how hard weddings really are and they have found a new way to cash in on the market.

Whatever. I still just want to shoot...


I hear that every so often from my brides during a consult -"The preacher says absolutely no photography during the ceremony". I always call the preacher before hand and give him a card at teh wedding, and if i've hears the above I'll visit the church the week before. Had one last Saturday. Bride told me 3 times over 6 months of conversations that the preacher was adamant about no photography. I go visit - I shoot, my assistant shoots and we have a remote camera on the altar. No probs - he never said anything to me about it in any way. But I've seen the posts on some forums from weekend warriors "I will use flash and go where i want to get the pictures my bride wants!".

I don't know. Used to be $900 for shoot and burn type weddings - nice extra cash for a new lens or so, but I've seen that dropping around here to about $600. That's not good money for the work and investment if you ask me. But then, the economy is slow, right?
07/26/2008 01:13:54 AM · #11
Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

But I've seen the posts on some forums from weekend warriors "I will use flash and go where i want to get the pictures my bride wants!".



Strangely enough, at the last one I did, which was a reaffirmation of vows after 25 years of marriage, the priest told me that he really didn't mind where I went (basically, he said go wherever you need to and get in the way if you need to get the picture) and that it was more than acceptable to use a flash. At one point, I really wanted to cross from one side of the church to the other (I made sure that I tucked myself away on the side), but couldn't bring myself to disrupt anything. I missed a couple of shots by not crossing the church, but I'd got enough of the ceremony by then anyway.
07/26/2008 01:21:47 AM · #12
Originally posted by Mr_Pants:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

But I've seen the posts on some forums from weekend warriors "I will use flash and go where i want to get the pictures my bride wants!".



Strangely enough, at the last one I did, which was a reaffirmation of vows after 25 years of marriage, the priest told me that he really didn't mind where I went (basically, he said go wherever you need to and get in the way if you need to get the picture) and that it was more than acceptable to use a flash. At one point, I really wanted to cross from one side of the church to the other (I made sure that I tucked myself away on the side), but couldn't bring myself to disrupt anything. I missed a couple of shots by not crossing the church, but I'd got enough of the ceremony by then anyway.


One of the priests here (who is apparently very happy when his couples tell him I am their photographer) allows me to where ever I like as long as I don't climb on his shoulders lol! It is normal for me (in his church) to stand on a chair behind him and shoot down over his bible or to lie on the raised area at the front of the church to shoot across the floor at the page boy entertaining the crowd. I have been scrunched up under the registry table (and wiped my head out much to everyones laughter) to get the bridal group sitting on the pews.....where I need to go, I go....BUT...I keep low to the ground so as not to block anyones view....and the priest knows that the whole situation makes for a happier time for the couple and their family and friends.
07/26/2008 01:28:20 AM · #13
Originally posted by Judi:

Originally posted by Mr_Pants:

Originally posted by Prof_Fate:

But I've seen the posts on some forums from weekend warriors "I will use flash and go where i want to get the pictures my bride wants!".



Strangely enough, at the last one I did, which was a reaffirmation of vows after 25 years of marriage, the priest told me that he really didn't mind where I went (basically, he said go wherever you need to and get in the way if you need to get the picture) and that it was more than acceptable to use a flash. At one point, I really wanted to cross from one side of the church to the other (I made sure that I tucked myself away on the side), but couldn't bring myself to disrupt anything. I missed a couple of shots by not crossing the church, but I'd got enough of the ceremony by then anyway.


One of the priests here (who is apparently very happy when his couples tell him I am their photographer) allows me to where ever I like as long as I don't climb on his shoulders lol! It is normal for me (in his church) to stand on a chair behind him and shoot down over his bible or to lie on the raised area at the front of the church to shoot across the floor at the page boy entertaining the crowd. I have been scrunched up under the registry table (and wiped my head out much to everyones laughter) to get the bridal group sitting on the pews.....where I need to go, I go....BUT...I keep low to the ground so as not to block anyones view....and the priest knows that the whole situation makes for a happier time for the couple and their family and friends.


I guess that that's something that comes with familiarity with the priest.
07/26/2008 01:39:47 AM · #14
Originally posted by Mr_Pants:



I guess that that's something that comes with familiarity with the priest.


Yes...and a good humoured priest...lol! BTW...he is also a redhead...lmao!
07/26/2008 01:55:29 AM · #15
Originally posted by Judi:

Originally posted by Mr_Pants:



I guess that that's something that comes with familiarity with the priest.


Yes...and a good humoured priest...lol! BTW...he is also a redhead...lmao!


After a particularly sunny day, I often end up a redhead, too.
07/26/2008 02:07:14 AM · #16
Originally posted by Mr_Pants:

Originally posted by Judi:

Originally posted by Mr_Pants:



I guess that that's something that comes with familiarity with the priest.


Yes...and a good humoured priest...lol! BTW...he is also a redhead...lmao!


After a particularly sunny day, I often end up a redhead, too.


So I noticed!!!!!
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07/26/2008 07:50:12 AM · #17
well, around here, its not the priest who is harsh, its the church lady/coordinators. Seriously.

We never use flash, its usually forbidden as a given in our cathedrals. Every now and then we get a priest that says everything is a go, almost no rules barred. Another church forces us in the balcony and the alter is a football field away. Ive had consults with church coordinators beforehand who give me the rules and then before precessional I have some crazy organist come down and tell me i'll be kicked out if i dont stay in the back of the cathedral, but then he is nice to Max who is up on the altar the whole time! Ok, that guy hated women im convinced. We have tons of old cathedrals and they all have their own rules but the rules are mostly the same....until lately. Even the st. Louis Cathedral is starting to crack down on rules and where we can stand...and they were always so lenient before, as long as we did not use flash.

I suppose if you shoot to burn then $900 or $600 isnt bad if your only doing it as a supplement to a normal day job. The trick is time in editing, meetings, emails etc. I work non stop...non stop. My life is work. Sure, I get paid a lot more than $900 for all the time I put in, but when you break it all down, im not sure I get paid more than anyone else. I just work 20 hours a day! ;) I cant imagine doing weddings for $2500 and being able to break even. But, I guess those folks arent editing everything the way i do..or as many. My way is wrong by the way..this much i know. Wrong for the market we have in this day and age. I still get work though.

07/26/2008 10:20:11 AM · #18
One of the most used locations here for weddings (i've seen SEVEN bridal parties at this place at the same time on summer saturday! Looks ridiculous by the way)

Their Rules:
Photography & Videography

The following photography and videography guidelines are based on past experience and are designed to preserve the dignity of the occasion and minimize distractions for the guests.
Before the Ceremony

* Flash photos and videotaping of the groom, groomsmen, and parents may be taken in the ambulatory, the narthex, or on chapel grounds.
* Flash photos and videotaping of the bride, bridesmaids, and parents may be taken in the bride’s dressing room.

During the Ceremony

* Flash photos and videotaping of family members being escorted to their seats and of the wedding party during the processional may be taken from the midpoint of the center aisle.
* At any point during the ceremony, nonflash photos and videotaping without auxiliary light may be taken from the interior double doors of the narthex or the gallery. These locations must be used for photographing and videotaping the exchange of the vows and rings.
* Flash photos and videotaping with auxiliary lighting may be taken from the base of the chancel steps for any of the following.
o Lighting of the unity candle
o Sign of peace
o Greeting of parents
o Tribute to the Blessed Mother
o Breaking of the glass
* The photographer and/or videographer must return to the interior double doors of the narthex or the gallery immediately after photographing any of the above.

After the Ceremony

The one hour scheduled for the ceremony usually allows time for posed photographs of the bridal party after the ceremony.

Please note: A delay in the scheduled start time and/or a particularly lengthy ceremony will reduce the amount of time available for photography. Our goal is to work with everyone involved to allow the maximum amount of time available for photos after the ceremony.

All participants must adhere to the scheduled departure time.



Gallery means balcony.
Narthex is the back of the church.
And yes, they are serious about where you can and cannot go.

Some of it comes down to you and your personal take on things. Whose day is it? (Bride, family). What are you? (hired help) What did you promise, show, that you could do, what do they expect - in pictures and behavior from the photog. Respect - do you want it? Then you have to give it too.

I had an early ceremony where I did the over the priest shot - nice shot, but it felt wrong to me. I'll do it at outside ceremony with a 200mm lens, but not inside.
I've only used flash during the cermony once - last week actually. ISO 3200 2.8 and 1/20th - i didn't have any choice.
I get compliments all the time from MOB and wedding party members - many have been in weddings before so have have worked with other photogs - "We didn't even know you were there during the ceremony!" is a common one. "You seemed to be everywhere but never in the way" is another.
If it works for you keep going. Referrals will tell you a lot. Also, vendors talk - DJs and video guys, receptions halls, pastors even. Are you getting referrals from those sources? If so you're doing something right. If not, why not?

I had a pastor come to me for shots for his 25th anniversay at the church. Wanted me to recreate a shot he had done 15 years earlier. Why me? He likes the way I handle myself at his church.
There may be other ways but mine is working for me.
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