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Thread: Wedding prices?

  1. #1
    Member Alysia's Avatar
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    Wedding prices?

    I have never done any wedding photography before. But I have been asked to do my friends wedding next July.

    I was wondering if anyone could help me out with pricing.
    Is there a rough hourly rate that I should use?

    Or is there any other tips anyone can give me on pricing.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

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    Dont do it. I know that's not helpful, but, unless you are a wedding photographer already and/or have considerable experience and all the gear then it's a recipe for disaster.
    Darren
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    No rough hourly rate, sorry. When you consider some shoot weddings for $800.00 and others charge $20,000.00 and more, there is no 'going rate', you have to work it out for yourself.

    There are a huge range of factors that come into play when quoting for a wedding.

    Your hourly rate, post processing time, travel time, gear, production of an album (and the cost of the album), photos on disk. DVD of the photos (with music). etc etc.

    It is impossible for someone to say "Charge $xxx.00", without a good knowledge of the actual agreement you are entering into with the happy couple.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I would like to add some comments too!

    Just had a look at your Flickr pages. I notice you have a 450D, do you have a backup camera (what if your camera dies part way through the wedding - it does happen), backup batteries, flash? What lenses do you own?

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    because you are shooting a friend - I would not charge at all for the wedding photos, or dont do it.

  7. #7
    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I say ^^ is good advice. If you did it for nothing and got it wrong, they might hate you, but charge them and get it wrong and they will surely hate you.

    As Rick has said, if you do something so critical, ensure you have back-up gear in case the worst happens. To have decent wedding kit would mean having enough gear, and that is worth perhaps $10K+ quite easily.

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    Sorry Alysia .. we dont mean to be harsh here (well maybe not kiwi, he likes being harsh ) but I also had a look at your flickr and to be brutally honest i dont feel that your skills are really up to charging for wedding photography just yet. Rick makes a good point as well, do you have backup gear ?? You will need at least 2 of everything. You cant really say "sorry guys cant finish the job because my camera broke" So backups are very important.

    Ill say to you what I say to every newcomer that asks this question (and it comes up about once a month here),

    1. The first step is to be COMPLETELY honest with your potential client about your skills and experience.
    2. If they are then still happy to engage you, I really feel you should consider doing it for free to gain experience, or for a very small token fee.

    I know thats probably not what you wanted to hear .. but its not just just pointing and shooting. Its hard work and it doesnt end when the reception does. Youll need to edit multiple images, then prepare the files for print. Do you have the knowledge/skills/software to be doing that correctly ??

    I really think that if wedding photography is something you want to get into, do it for free to gain some experience. It all counts, but i tell you now the pressure will be on for you to create images that these people are going to keep for life. Are you confident you can deliver on your own ? Cause if you do it, its ALL on you.
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    I know I am not the best photograper out there...but I enjoy photography and just want to learn to become a better photogrpher.
    I wasn't planning on charging $2000 or anything for the day, it was just a curious question as to what people do charge.


    I know about all the back up gear and by next July, I am hoping to have upgraded from the 450D. I do have over a year to get that sort of stuff organised.

    The people who want me to do the photography have seen my photos and know that I haven't been doing photography for the last 20 years, like the professional wedding photographers (seen I'm only 22 years old!!), but also aren't very keen on paying huge amounts of money for a photographer when they are trying to pay off a mortgage.

    Also I know that it doesn't just end after the reception on the day. I know I will have lots of pictures to go through and edit. And I am prepared to do that.

    Maybe I worded that first post a bit wrong and made it sound like I am going to charge full prices, but I'm not. Was just a curious question more than anything.

    Sorry if it touched a raw nerve with anyone on here....

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    It's not a raw nerve, but I don't think you should consider a wedding until you are a very good and experienced photographer regardless of the $ issue, it's just the ethical thing to do

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Agree with Kiwi. I have seen people get friends to take their wedding photos and it all end up in Court. Friendships ruined and a LOT of money spent on legal fees. Just cause they are friends, never forget that you are being paid to provide a service, and if for any reason they feel their expectations are not met, your friendships could well be over, at a minimum. It happens more than people realise. We don't consider it a raw nerve, rather we want to make sure YOU are ready for this. Along with all your new gear, get yourself some insurance..just in case.

    Our posts were just to ensure you had a good understanding about what you are in for, and what you need to do, if you agree to take on this wedding

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    No raw nerves here either .. just trying to save you a potentially hostile situation. Bottom line, if you value the friendship I wouldnt do it.

    If the couple are an acquaintance more than a friend, take the gamble and see how you go. As for money, basic shoot and burn packages usually go for between $750 and $1000. But these are guys that are experienced (mostly) and pretty good .. those prices are at the lower end of the scale not because the work is average but because the product is basic.

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    It would depend on how close a friend you are to them and what they expect as an end result from you. Do they want just a record of the day to show overseas friends and relatives, or are they after an amazing set of highly processed shots with stunning poses? Could you give them the photos as a gift perhaps? Ask them why they chose you.

    IF you are going to do it I would try to be a second photographer or their shadow for as many as possible and take millions of shots to prepare yourself.

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    As someone who has done wedding photos for a friend, take it from me, it's a VERY hard job especially when you're green. They'd seen my landscapes and little vignettes and thought that would translate into people/wedding photography. Nooooo, it didn't. At all. I had no idea what I was doing and I basically ended up getting very amateurish happy snaps. Not even good happy snaps.

    To be frank, I botched my friend's wedding photos. I knew it, they knew it - and saw it when they got their disc of images. They don't hold any grudges (fortunately for me they are fantastic people) but I knew they were disappointed as none of my photos ended up on display anywhere - not even on flickr or Facebook. It's the unmentionable subject between us now, even though they've asked me to do pictures for them since then.

    The day only happens once. There's no going back - there's often no time for redoing shots and you only get one attempt. It's a big day for them and they can't be worried about what you're doing.

    You're in Victoria so I would suggest you look up a mob called Creative Photo Workshops (CPW) run by a photographer called Shelton Muller. Great bloke, excellent teacher, knows his trade. Does a lot of stuff for Nikon and Kodak, etc, etc, etc. Get yourself to a couple of the CPW workshops if you can. It'll help, with creative lighting using natural light and posing. There's also a very popular weddings workshop which you will benefit from if you want to pursue this line of photography.

    I've had a look at your flickr account and what you've got is good, but not good enough to move those skills over for a wedding - paid or unpaid. Encourage your friends to forgo the wedding cars and invest in a good photographer. There are lots who are sub $2000 who do a fantastic job.
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    Member Finlaw's Avatar
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    I have done a wedding for a friend. They weren't going to have a photographer as they couldn't afford it and were arming their family and friends with disposables. Now I'm no wedding photographer but I do enjoy portrature so I knew that I would at least get some okay shots and that most of them would be better than from disposables so I offered for the experience. The final result was obviously not up there with professional wedding photographers but they were over the moon and have just recommended me to their friends (eek - I would need to politely refuse, way to much pressure to get the results).

    I guess it depends on your skills and what the couple are expecting your results to be like. To ensure my friend knew what to expect I shot their engagement party as well.
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    Shore Crawler Dylan & Marianne's Avatar
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    If they are asking it as a friend and want a bunch of images that are just snap records of the moment, then that will probably be fine no matter what you do.
    If they are wanting a traditional kind of wedding package of which you have no experience so far, I'd say you have a couple of options : 1. Frantically find lots of weddings in the next year to be second photographer for and see how you go in your learning curve before accepting anything 2. Say no for the reasons everyone else has stated.

    Expectations and delivery need to match and if they don't , both parties are setting up for a world of hurt given that weddings mostly only come around once in a lifetime.
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    Even in that situation still say mo but take your camera as a guest anyway and take photos under no pressure and with no expectation

  18. #18
    Ausphotography Site Sponsor/Advertiser OzzieTraveller's Avatar
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    G'day Alysia

    I started doing weddings "a couple of thousand years ago" - way back in the 60s - and all of the comments and helpful advice above rings bells with me

    1- you've got to start somewhere ... so IF you do this job, be honest, tell them all about your fears
    2- go and do some dummy runs - both with your friends & other s to whom you can latch onto
    3- talk to another wedding pro to see if you can tag-along to see what they do & how they do it
    4- borrow/beg/steal a second camera body/flash etc for the big day
    5- line up others in the wedding party to back you up with their point & shooters ... it's sometimes amazing what gets shot over your shoulder

    ie- use the next year to learn lots & lots more before you do the "big one"

    hope this helps a bit
    Regards, Phil
    Of all the stuff in a busy photographers kitbag, the ability to see photographically is the most important
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  19. #19
    Member SRR33's Avatar
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    - Try and do a few 2nd shooter gigs atleast till your friends wedding day. Get the experience first and see if you still want to do it. Trust me weddings is a really hard job!!

    - Instead of spending $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ in upgrading all your gear, why not rent it out for a day or two. Ask your friends if they can chip in the cost and leave it at that.


    If you were in sydney i would have let you swing past a few weddings and take some photos.


    I first started off with doing 2nd shooter gigs and getting as much experience as possible. Its the only way to start and learn.


    Best of luck.

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    The first few weddings I did, there was no money involved, I simply asked my friends if they would sign a release form so i could use their images to show prospective clients in the future. Soon after that stage, I graduated to " release form and a bottle of scotch". After that, I started second shooting with a full time professional and gained some confidence and it was only after after that I was starting to feel comfortable to charge. By then I had also built up redundancy (ie. multiple lenses, multiple cameras, spare batteries etc etc).

    As others have suggested, be completely honest with your friends. Tell them if they really value the photography side of their wedding they really should pay for a professional

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