Pricing photography is often one of the greatest hurdles for people looking to break into the profession, bringing beads of sweat to the forehead just thinking about it.
It’s especially nerve-wracking when you’re faced with a client demanding to know why they have to pay that much for your services. And chances are if you’ve just adopted the prices you’ve seen some other photographers in your area charge, without taking the time to actually calculate and understand what you charge what you do, then you’re going to be in some hot water to explain your worth.
You need to not only know the worth of the services you are providing, but you need to know how to articulate what you’re worth and why you’re worth it. Photography is an amazing creative outlet and career, but don’t doubt for a second that it’s a business. You’ve got to wear a lot of hats in this industry.
Make sure you’re equally versed in the business practices as in the visual principles. When you can negotiate and state your worth with confidence and how you arrived there, you give your client confidence as well. Here are a few things I find critical when I find myself in the position of negotiating my worth.
You know your worth, you’re prepared to articulate it with confidence, and now it’s time to listen to what your clients are telling you. This is important in adapting your product to your clients’ needs. There is no cookie-cutter format that works for everyone, and if you’re pushing a service one client doesn’t want or need while neglecting another, they do, then you’re probably looking at some lost business.
If it’s something you can remove without affecting the quality of what you provide, do it. Additionally, you may be able to add on some services and charges that different clients request. It’s all a balance. If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
Be tuned in to your clients’ reactions and body language when you’re discussing your product and pricing. Learn to recognise the hidden signals and not just the verbal ones. If you’ve got a couple leaning forward and nodding a lot while you’re talking, chances are you’ve hit the right chord with them. If you find them leaning backwards in their chair (a disengaging move) or appearing distracted, these are some red flags. Watch for when they happen if they do. You can’t provide solutions to your clients if you’re not listening to them.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Negotiating With Wedding Photographers
Okay. So let’s say you decide to go down this path. It can be a tricky subject to broach, and you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. Our exclusive range of Melbourne wedding photography will help you not miss a thing on your wedding day. To help guide you through the process as tactfully as possible, here are some “do’s and don’ts.”
Be excited about photography. Photographers want to shoot with couples who are pumped about capturing unique wedding photos, not those who are simply hiring a photographer because it’s what you’re “supposed” to do.
Start with price. If you begin your email/phone call/meeting with the line “what are your prices?” it’s going to make the photographer wonder if you like their work or if you’re simply shopping around for the lowest possible price.
Book an awesome venue/location in which your photographer would love the opportunity to photograph.
Use another (cheaper) photographer’s price point as a bargaining chip. For example, let’s say you’re looking at two photographers. Photographer A charges $3,000, and Photographer B charges $6,000. It might be tempting to try and gain leverage by mentioning to Photographer B that you can book Photographer A for half the price. This will make sense if you’re calling Subaru dealerships to get a quote for the new Impreza. The product is identical from dealership to dealership. The only thing they have to compete on is price. But unlike Subaru Imprezas, not all wedding photography is created equal.
Get married on a Thursday in November. Or a Friday in February. Saturdays between April and October fill up fast, and your photographer will be more likely to work with you on price if you pick a less popular date.
Be a “Bridezilla” (or a “Groomzilla”).
Be a good source for referrals. Do you have friends who are engaged? If so, let your photographer know that you’d love to send over more business in the future.
Be that guy (or gal) who expects a photographer to work for “exposure.” We can’t pay our mortgages and grocery bills with exposure, so for the love of God, let’s stick to legal tender. The same goes for trades. Offering a partial trade for goods just feels tacky.
Have a compelling story. We photographed a wedding a couple of summers ago for a bride whose grandmother was in hospice care. The bride wanted nothing more than for her grandma to be present for her wedding, so she and her fiancé decided to hold their ceremony in her grandmother’s back yard, allowing her to watch from her hospital bed. It was an incredibly moving ceremony, and we photographed it for about one-fifth of our normal rate. Remember, wedding photographers are people, too, with heartstrings that can be tugged.
Assume that your photographer is trying to build their portfolio. It’s probably not their first rodeo, so the prospect of giving up a free weekend for portfolio building isn’t an appealing proposition.
How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost?
After months of planning and years of dreaming, the wedding day flies by in an instant. That’s why photographers are one of the most important vendors—they capture every moment so you can hold onto the memories for a lifetime. Wedding photographs are the one thing you walk away with from your big day,” says photographer Emily Millay. “Brides and grooms are going through the motions of the day, but think of all the candid moments they miss. Those are the moments that make up their wedding, and that’s why wedding photography is such an important investment.
But reliable and talented wedding photographers don’t come cheap. According to Millay, a seasoned wedding photographer in Cleveland, a wedding photographer’s cost is influenced by experience, demand, and location. While wedding photography prices vary, there are some commonalities.
While wedding photography styles vary, some photographers lean toward bright and airy images while others prefer dramatic or documentary-style images styles that don’t usually affect prices. Costs are based more so on experience and demand, but a higher figure doesn’t necessarily mean better photos. “The price point doesn’t always dictate how good a photographer is,” Millay says. “A lot of times the price is based on experience, as most photographers raise their prices annually.” So what does a photographer with, say, eight years of experience cost? Wild Romantic Photography has the best range of services of wedding photography Yarra Valley. Check them out here.
What’s Included in a Wedding Photographer’s Pricing?
Under this $4,250 investment, Millay offers 10 to 12 hours of wedding day coverage with a second shooter, an online gallery with digital downloads, and an engagement photo session. It also includes travel within about four hours and photo editing. Millay’s $4,250 is just the base level for coverage. She charges $200 per additional hour of wedding day coverage. Add-ons like albums and prints, which Millay offers a la carte, vary from $300 to $1,200 depending on the couple’s selection. She caps her pricing for prints because she doesn’t want to price clients out of the products that matter most.
“When you pull out old photos, you’re not looking at the quality. You’re looking at the memory,” she said. “Sadly, if prints are $75 or more per photo, people just aren’t going to print them. That’s why I try to keep them reasonable.” Another extra her clients have been interested in recently is rehearsal dinner coverage. This is priced at $400. “I encourage this as much as I can,” she said. “It’s great to meet the family beforehand so everyone is comfortable with me and knows me on the wedding day.”
Videography is not included in most wedding photographers’ packages. Typically photographers and videographers are separate vendors from different companies, although some husband-and-wife teams offer both. A wedding videographer is slightly less than a photographer; for 10 hours of coverage and a five-minute highlight film, you’ll likely pay between $1,000 to $5,000, and in some cases more. Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
How to Choose Your Photographer
The quality of a photographer’s portfolio should be the first thing that captures your attention. A good photographer should be able to offer clients a variety of styles, capturing the personalities of the bride and groom and showcasing the happiness and fun of the day. Be clear on what style you would like and make sure the photographer can provide this in their portfolio.
If you are drawn to a particular photographer, make sure you ask to view all of their images (not just the favourites they pick for their websites!) so that you can check the image quality is consistent throughout.
Be aware that photographers have different editing techniques. If an image is heavily edited, then chances are this will be a common theme within their photography portfolio and is usually an attempt to try to cover up poor quality.
Above all, the style of the images should say something about you both as a couple. Whether you are looking for relaxed and informal photography or going for a more adventurous and contemporary style, be sure to do your homework and shop around.
As a bride and groom, you put a lot of trust and faith in your wedding photographer. In order to get the best images and a true account of the most important day of your life, it is imperative that you feel comfortable and relaxed in their presence. You can usually tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone whether you feel a rapport or connection. First impressions are key, and if you instantly strike a bond, then you are on to a good thing. If you feel uncomfortable around your photographer for whatever reason, then this will become very apparent in your wedding photos. We have an exclusive range of wedding photography Mornington Peninsula services. Check them out here.
Also, think of your guests. If your wedding photographer is approachable, friendly and down to earth, your guests will be at ease, allowing the photographer to blend in and capture the day as it naturally unfolds rather than a forced and posed account.
Remember, a true smile is impossible to fake, so choose wisely and ensure you meet with your photographer a couple of times before confirming your booking.
Value for Money/cost
This can often be a deciding factor for a lot of brides and grooms, and although it is a vital element, it should not be the basis for your decision. High-end prices do not always guarantee the highest quality, but likewise, reasonable pricing does not always depict low quality.
A photographer should be open about their pricing structures, and in turn, you should be clear on your budget. Neither one of you wants to waste any time, so a clear dialogue right from the beginning will resolve this.
Your photographer should offer a variety of packages to suit all and should always be flexible with pricing and what is included within each package. Your photographer is providing a service, and each couple will have different expectations and requirements so do make sure that your photographer can tailor make a package to suit your needs.
Always remember to ask about any hidden extras. Some photographers charge an additional fee for editing, VAT, creating artwork for an album or even travel and food expenses. You should always ensure that all costs are detailed in a quote before entering in to any contractual agreement.
The experience a photographer has will play a large part in the organisation and structure of the day. I am sure many photographers will agree that they have often played the role of coordinator, photographer, master of ceremonies and children’s entertainer. Taking photos is just a small part of being a wedding photographer and without the necessary experience and the ability to perform under constant pressure, important moments can be easily missed.
Always try to choose a wedding photographer who has already worked at your wedding venue. This isn’t a necessity, but your photographer must show a willingness to meet at the venue regularly, explore the best photo locations and opportunities, and take the time to run through the structure of the day. It is also a good idea for the photographer to meet with the venue proprietor/wedding coordinator to make sure everyone is clear on the days agenda from start to finish.
Ensure you ask how many weddings they have covered since they began trading and how long they have been in the business. This doesn’t mean that they are any less capable if they have only been trading for a short period of time but will give you a good idea of experience gained. Similarly, if a photographer has been in the business for years and has experience in abundance, you may want to check that their style has moved with the times and will meet a modern-day bride and groom’s expectations.
Recommendations/Word of Mouth
A lot of my bookings have come through recommendations from previous clients and word of mouth. If your friends and family have been happy with the quality of a particular photographer’s service and work, then chances are, you will be too. Again, this should not be the main reason for your choice but should be the jigsaw’s final piece.
Speak to your friends about their experiences with their wedding photographer and try to make use of tips and advice from those who have organised their own weddings. A good photographer will always be able to give you a testimonial from previous clients upon request or even provide you with contact details should you wish to hear from them directly.
If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
In conclusion, these top 5 tips should not be considered to be in any order of importance. Each point is as important as the next and when choosing the right wedding photographer for you, a combination of all of these factors should be used as a basis for your decision. May I wish you all the best of luck in your wedding planning and a long and happy future together.