It can be difficult to understand how photography payments are made, regardless of whether you are a freelance photographer or a consumer booking a photoshoot.
You are extremely fortunate today! This article will provide the answers to all of your burning questions concerning the most frequently asked questions regarding payments for photography. We are going to have a conversation about industry standards so that you can learn how to budget your money as a freelance photographer and know what to anticipate as a customer.
In most cases, photographers will take payments in the form of cash or bank transfers, with the remaining fifty percent due prior to the shoot. It is primarily up to the photographer to determine when a retainer and the remaining balance are required to be paid in full. In order to prevent a time slot from being advertised any further and to cover the cost of renting equipment, up-front payments are required. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
When is the best time to collect payment for a session?
I'm going to write about what I do today, and hopefully it will be helpful to those of you who aren't satisfied with the way in which you are currently collecting payments from customers. If you're currently dealing with last-minute cancellations, no-shows, or if you don't enjoy talking business with clients on the day of their session, then here are some great ideas on how to change how you're currently collecting payments. If you're currently dealing with last-minute cancellations, no-shows, or if you don't enjoy talking business with clients on the day of their session.
COLLECTING PAYMENT AFTER SESSIONS
When I first began operating my photography business, I did not begin collecting payments from customers until after I had provided them with their gallery of photographs. I believe that it was due to the fact that the business side of everything felt brand new, and I wasn't one hundred percent confident in my pricing at the time. To request payment before delivering the goods or services that I had promised to provide felt almost unethical.
I had to find out the hard way that clients are able to easily back out of session obligations without incurring any costs, and after having to deal with an excessive number of cancellations at the last minute, I decided that I had had enough. For me, requiring payment up front was the only way to increase the number of clients who valued the time I put in for them.
COLLECTING PAYMENT DAY OF THE SESSION
I changed to accepting payment on the day of the session, but I was still required to deal with clients who cancelled at the eleventh hour. When it came to "talking business" with customers and collecting payment from them before shooting their session, it was always a little strange. When I'm working with a client, the last thing I want to do is discuss business or try to collect payment. I want to put most of my energy into making art with them. I would like for them to keep in mind how much fun we had while we were all working together. I don't want them to have any recollection of having to make out a check to me.
HOW TO AVOID LAST MINUTE CANCELLATION OR POSTPONED PAYMENTS?
I have been requiring full payment two weeks prior to a client's session for several years at this point. When the majority of my clients choose to officially book my services, they will then submit full payment. It is required to be paid in full one month prior to the wedding date for weddings. Choosing the right wedding photographer in Melbourne to capture every moment on your wedding day.
I did. I realised how valuable my time was and came to the conclusion that the only way to successfully run my business was to request payments in advance of each session. Since that time, I have never had to deal with the stress of a job being cancelled or the anxiety that comes with working hard on something without getting paid for it.
I also get the opportunity to put the emphasis on providing a memorable experience for my clients on the day of their session. I want that day to be completely focused on them and the session that they are having. My customers absolutely adore it, and so do I.
READY TO REQUIRE PAYMENT UPFRONT
It is not necessary for it to be complicated; all that is required is for it to be straightforward and simple to comprehend. The most important thing is to make it perfectly clear to your customers exactly what it is that you anticipate from them.
You can require payment for the session to be made in advance if you offer in-person sales of any kind, or you can even have a minimum amount due that will go towards selecting the ideal prints, albums, or canvases. If you offer in-person sales of any kind, you have two options. This method is useful for any photographer, regardless of the types of sessions or packages that they provide their clients.
Keep in mind that you are a photographer and spend a significant amount of time working, not only on the act of shooting but also on working on all aspects of your business. Consider the value of your time and of yourself, and acknowledge that it is acceptable to stipulate that payments be made in advance.
The Best Payment Methods for Photographers
The part of the job where you talk about payments with customers may not be your favourite, but you still have to do it because it's required. When it comes to accepting payments, the good news is that in this day and age, you have a wide variety of options available to you. Today, we are going to talk about a variety of options, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each. Create lasting memories through your Yarra Valley wedding photography that will be cherished forever.
Before discussing how you’re paid, let’s first discuss when you’re paid after a client’s committed to booking you.
1. Initial Retainer: When a client wants to reserve a date for their session, you should request an initial retainer payment from them. The deposit is typically non-refundable, as stated by the majority of photographers. By doing so, cancellations are cut down, and you avoid having your busy schedule disrupted by clients who aren't serious about their business.
2. Recurring Payments: If you're a wedding photographer or booking an expensive package, offer a payment plan. Paying hundreds or thousands of dollars at once is avoided. Offer customers customised payment plans. Some may prefer to pay $X per week for 10 weeks, some once a month, and others over a year. Whatever you and the client agree on is best. Keep organised records. Having too many recurring payment plans is fine. Do what's best for your photography business.
3. Final Payment: There are instances in which a customer chooses to pay the initial deposit initially, and then the remaining sum in one lump sum at a later date. If you have a client who missed a recurring payment and still owes you money as the date of their session approaches, setting a final "due date" prior to the actual session will save you a lot of headaches. We strongly suggest setting a final due date at least two weeks before your client's scheduled appointment.
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Online Payment Methods
When you can electronically transfer money from your pocket to the pocket of another person in a matter of minutes, you will know that you are living in the future.
PayPal: There is a good chance that you are already familiar with PayPal. E-commerce has been made significantly more effective and convenient as a result of the proliferation of this particular method of making payments online. It is possible that many of your customers already have a PayPal account that is set up and linked to their bank account; therefore, making this method of payment available to them is a smart move on your part.
Additionally, billing your customers through PayPal is simple and straightforward, which makes setting up automatic payment schedules a breeze. The fact that you will be required to make payments is the most significant drawback. This fee is 4.9 percent plus for personal checking and savings accounts. 30 cents per transaction. That's $25 deducted from your payment of $500, so it does add up over time. Let's say that PayPal becomes your primary means of collecting payments from customers.
If this is the case, we strongly suggest that you sign up for either the Premier or the Business Account because the fee is reduced to 2.9 percent plus.30 cents for each transaction with those two options. This can be accomplished quickly by logging into your PayPal account or by calling the PayPal customer service line.
WePay: WePay is an alternative to PayPal that gives users access to four straightforward tools for the purpose of monetary collection. You can send invoices, sell items online, collect donations for fundraising events, and sell tickets to events. If you were a photographer, you would almost certainly only use the second choice. WePay, much like PayPal, has its own fee structure. When payments are made with a credit card, they will deduct 2.9 percentage points in addition to.30 cents for each transaction. They only charge one percent plus thirty cents for each transaction for payments made with a bank account that is connected to the service.
Swipe or PayPal Here: Swipe and PayPal Here allow mobile credit card payments. If you have a PayPal account, download their "Here" triangle and app. Swipe's "Square Up" is similar. Pay with debit or credit card.
This payment method is ideal for those who regularly meet with clients, attend bridal shows, and book sessions on the spot. Mobile payment options aren't convenient for collecting recurring payments because you must meet with your client each time. You'll pay a fee. Swipe and PayPal each charge 2.75 percent per transaction. Fees add up. It's smart to add that fee to session/product prices.
Offline Payment Methods
Paying “offline” may be old school, but it’s still a viable means of exchanging money. In some cases, you may find clients prefer to pay offline.
Checks: Checks are the most common payment method besides online payments. Checks are fee-free, unlike many online payment methods. Checks are simple, straightforward, and leave you and the client a paper trail.
You may be able to deposit a check by phone if you have a smartphone and your bank has an app. If your client has insufficient funds, checks can bounce. Your contract must include a protocol for bad checks.
You should charge extra for a bounced check to cover bank fees and your time. If a client writes a bad check, they must switch to another payment method.
Money Orders: Although money orders are not as convenient for your customers as checks, they do not result in a bounced payment. The one and only disadvantage is that if you lose a money order, you are out of luck just as if you had lost cash. This is because losing a money order is equivalent to losing cash.
Cash: Although we do not specifically recommend that you do not accept cash payments, we do believe that other methods of payment are superior. To begin, transactions involving cash do not obviously leave a paper trail of the money. There is always the possibility that a customer will falsely assert that they have already paid you, even though this occurrence is extremely unlikely.
Second, because it's not exactly prudent to walk around with large wads of cash, if you're a wedding photographer or you offer more extensive packages, think about how much cash both your client and you will be carrying at any given time. These days, people typically do not have hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in cash on hand.
A Guide to Photography Payments
Putting in place payment procedures and infrastructure that enables you to provide excellent service to your clients while also managing your growing financial success in a responsible manner. Here is a step-by-step guide to formalising your payments for photography, as well as an explanation of why doing so is so critically important.
Give Customers a Seamless and Secure Purchase Option
You can increase the size of your potential customer base in both the physical and virtual worlds by giving customers the option to pay for your product or service using the method that is most convenient for them. Credit cards are used to make payments for approximately ninety percent of all transactions that take place online.
Even though the majority of website providers and even blogs make it simple to include a shopping cart icon on your website, that does not necessarily mean that you are prepared to accept and process customer payments in a secure or PCI-compliant manner.
When looking into different payment processing options, you should make sure that you understand whether the processor functions as a payment gateway, which securely authorises and processes payments for e-commerce websites in tandem with the online shopping cart, or whether the processor requires that you complete the integration between the two systems, which typically requires copying and pasting a bit of provided HTML code into your website. If the processor functions as a payment gateway, you should make sure that you understand whether the processor requires that you complete the integration, you should make sure that you The majority of payment processors provide customers with access to technical support in order to assist them in completing this process.
Even though the payment processor you choose will have its own unique set of instructions and requirements to meet in order to open a merchant account, the majority of them will require you to provide certain basic information, such as your business name, contact information associated with the business, your address and phone number, your EIN, and the bank account information for your business.
In certain circumstances, you might be required to wait for the payment processor to conduct an investigation into your company in order to verify that it is a legitimate enterprise. This could take a few business days.
Before you will be able to get paid for the credit card sales that you make, the payment processor will likely require you to verify that the bank account information that you have provided is accurate by having you complete a couple of test transfers. This will happen once the payment processor has "approved" you as a merchant.
What are Chargebacks?
You and the payment processor both bear the risk of chargebacks, which occurs when a customer disputes a transaction that appears on their credit card statement. Chargebacks are in addition to the fees that are charged. The creditor comes to the conclusion that they are entitled to a refund. If this occurs, the funds in question will be taken out of your account, and there may be an additional fee associated with this transaction.
One of the most effective ways to reduce chargebacks is to give your processes a more formalised structure. At the point of sale, provide customers with written information that is simple to understand regarding your service, exchange, and return policies. Additionally, ensure that the experience a customer has when checking out online includes details regarding the contents and price of their shopping cart, as well as any applicable taxes, fees, and shipping costs.
When you set up your merchant account with the payment processor, you need to make sure that your company name appears on customer receipts and credit card statements in a way that the customer will recognise as a legitimate transaction.
Consider the service levels that a payment processor provides in addition to the fees that are charged. These service levels should include the ability to contact the company's customer service department during the hours that you are open to serve customers and the level of technical support that is offered.
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Get Paid Faster
Putting your policies and procedures regarding payments into writing can help ensure that your hard work is not in vain. Author Erika Napoletano suggests that accepting mobile credit card payments can equip you to require that clients pay a deposit on the spot (often, for at least half of the total price) before work commences. This is in addition to making your policies clear (regarding when payment is due) when you meet with a client for the first time (during your initial meeting), which is when you should discuss when payment is due.
Additionally, eCommerce shopping carts and formalising payment processes can help you "enforce" deadlines to keep a project moving forwards, such as when a customer must provide final image selection. This is one example of how these tools can be utilised.
Get paid upfront. Your time has value, and if you are going to commit that time to someone else, there is nothing wrong with asking to be compensated not only for the time itself but also for setting that time aside for someone else. If you are going to commit that time to someone else, there is nothing wrong with asking to be compensated for setting that time aside for someone else.
Get familiar with the regulations that govern deposits and fees in your state or country.
Create a business model and set of fees that alleviates pressure and stress for both you and your customers, allowing you to instead concentrate on providing a positive experience for your customers and cultivating a relationship with them that isn't predicated solely on monetary exchanges. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.