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Thread: How to price my wedding photography?

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    Smile How to price my wedding photography?

    Hi all

    So, I photographed my first wedding ALONE after gaining experience in the field - YAY! I must say I am extremely happy with the way the photos turned out. The wedding was a close friend of mine, who had a very limited budget and didn't want anything to flash (reception at our local pub? lol) Anyway, as they were close friends I decided I'd do it for a couple hundred dollars. I now, want to get into the wedding photography industry and start advertising but I'm so caught up at how to price the packages?

    What do I include? I want to give them quality images but not undersell myself. Seriously, I don't know what I'm worth? lol. As I've never put together proper "pricing and packages" I don't know what to include, should I start at low pricing and work my way up or what?

    Any advice, ideas, etc from any fellow wedding or portrait photographer or anyone that has a clue, would be greatly appreciated

    Once I've finished the last final touches to the images, I will post some for critique

    Thanks x0x0

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    Member jasevk's Avatar
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    I've done a 12 month plan, and this dictates my price for wedding and portrait sessions.

    Firstly, I determined ALL my costs: insurances, business cards/flyers etc, advertising, website, professional membership fees, car running costs, telephone and electricity costs, presentation boxes, discs, prints, office equipment, gear upgrades and maintenance etc etc etc.

    Then I estimated that 75% of my costs would be sitting with weddings. So I totalled up all my annual costs and split it 75 weddings, 25 portraits.

    So let's say for example, my annual cost is $10,000. Therefore my annual cost for weddings is $7500 and for portraits is $2500. I then estimated that I would do 3 weddings this year and 10 portrait sessions.

    So now I know that, each wedding I need to make $2,500, and $250 for each portrait session just to break even. Do I set these as base prices? For Weddings, pretty much, have 4 weddings locked in, so I'll make a profit this year. For portraits... no, because if I tell someone they need to pay 250 upfront before they receive anything, they'll tell me to jump! So I accept some risk and set a modest sitting fee and do my best to produce great images and sell some prints etc.

    Right wrong or indifferent, this is my approach, and it's seen my costs covered and some profit to invest into some new gear, which as a part-timer with another full time income, I'm happy with at this stage
    Last edited by jasevk; 18-10-2011 at 11:18am.
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    A bit of a reality check, before going to shoot any more weddings your existing equipment list on face value is woefully short of quality and backups.......maybe start by throwing a few thousand additional $ into a professional kit before you become professional ?
    Darren
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    Member jasevk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    A bit of a reality check, before going to shoot any more weddings your existing equipment list on face value is woefully short of quality and backups.......maybe start by throwing a few thousand additional $ into a professional kit before you become professional ?
    So true... even at over $30k, I'm still needing more gear... When you consider computer equipment and software packages, other lighting gear, backups etc, the amount of gear needed is quite amazing and expensive

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Do you have public liability insurance? No..there goes your $200.00 and more that you planned to charge for your first wedding. Guess what..a guest at the wedding trips over your gear bag, breaks a leg, cannot work and sues you for $40K...business gone.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    A bit of a reality check, before going to shoot any more weddings your existing equipment list on face value is woefully short of quality and backups.......maybe start by throwing a few thousand additional $ into a professional kit before you become professional ?
    I agree with this. Whilst your 1000D will take good photos, what are you planning to do if the shutter seizes up 10 minutes into a 5 hour wedding shoot?

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    My friends call me Dave
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    I agree with this. Whilst your 1000D will take good photos, what are you planning to do if the shutter seizes up 10 minutes into a 5 hour wedding shoot?
    lol Iphone. I did a friend's wedding as back up tog just for the experience and all I wanted was a slab of beer and I now regret it, I gave all the images to them to select what they wanted PPd and now I cant be bothered, so thats just one thing to think about, post processing is a time consuming part of the process So I think you need to be efficient in that aspect
    Last edited by MarkChap; 18-10-2011 at 5:24pm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by christay View Post
    I photographed my first wedding ALONE after gaining experience in the field - YAY! . . . I now, want to get into the wedding photography industry and start advertising but I'm so caught up at how to price the packages? . . . [goes onto explain that pricing issues are a problem] . . .

    Jumping to Pricing your Packages, appears desperately premature.


    Quote Originally Posted by christay View Post
    Any advice, ideas, etc from any fellow wedding or portrait photographer or anyone that has a clue, would be greatly appreciated.

    STEP 1. Define accurately: “The Business” you wish to make.
    STEP 2. Make a comprehensive Business Plan, addressing EACH element of the Business Definition.

    The “Business Plan” will include three Key Plans, but be not limited to only those elements:
    1. The Fiscal Plan (as in the daily running)
    2. The Internal Logistics Plan (ALL Business Systems, including Advertising and Marketing)
    3. The Capital Plan (as in Capital Purchases)
    4. A Timeline for implantation of each plan and each portion of each Plan.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Pipe View Post
    lol Iphone. I did a friend's wedding as back up tog just for the experience and all I wanted was a slab of beer and I now regret it, I gave all the images to them to select what they wanted PPd and now I cant be bothered, so thats just one thing to think about, post processing is a time consuming part of the process So I think you need to be efficient in that aspect
    I'm with Duane, I did one wedding for a friend at no cost, terrible experience and no desire to do it again. I also find that whenever I do some work for anyone, I am happy to do the shoot, then I just get lazy and lose interest when it comes to PP. For a wedding and having many images that probably need to be processed, I just could not be bothered. As I don't make a living from it, that may be part reason for my lack of interest and then further compounded because I am not that efficient with the PP, it probably takes me far longer to pp than most, and that is time you can't necessarily charge for.

    Saying all that, I have been approached a number of times by locals out here to do weddings, and I could charge a pretty penny simply due to the market here, but every time I get asked, I just shake my head and tell them no thanks, I don't need the headache...

    There are many things to consider besides clicking the shutter button and doing some PP.
    Last edited by Wayne; 22-10-2011 at 2:40pm.

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    It is one thing to do a wedding for a friend and just recover costs. I would probably do it as a present as the $ per hour is pretty pointless if doing all your own processing.

    Now it is a completely different matter if you are doing wedding photography as a commercial venture. You need to price your job based on a combination of experience and the quality of what you can reliably deliver. It also needs to cover the costs mentioned above but the exercise of doing commercial wedding photography is not about delivering "cost plus" but quality and perceived value. It is the latter two that determine what you can charge.
    Cheers

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    For a wedding and having many images that probably need to be processed, I just could not be bothered.
    Here in lies the trick. From what I gather, most wedding photographers do not do their own post processing. Furthermore, it it take more than 5 mintues to post process any image, it wasn't worth taking it in the first instance. Professional wedding photographers in the business tend to take less photos than non-professional photographers but then there are far less that don't get the cut. I guess that is the advantage of experience and ultimately how some people can make a living out of it.

    For the OP, good luck on what ever you decide.
    Last edited by peterb666; 22-10-2011 at 3:45pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb666 View Post
    From what I gather, most wedding photographers do not do their own post processing.
    Could you outline the sourse(s) / sample group(s) for that opinion, which you have, please?

    WW

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    I am older than I look. peterb666's Avatar
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    My niece who is a wedding photographer and several former wedding photographers I know. Not a big sample group but 100% on not doing their own processing, either from film days or digital days. It just isn't time/cost effective when you do 35 or more shoots a year.

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    I personally know at least in excess of 500 wedding shooters, and the percentage who outsource their processing to my knowledge is less than 5%. So I'm keen to know the source of it being a majority who outsource.
    William

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I know a few around Hobart who 'out-source'. What they seem to do here is get a person with some PS skills in, train them up in what they want, and then when the wedding is done, give them the files, the person edits them at home, and returns them to the photographer. They are usually paid something like $100-$200 to do the editing.

    Though I would not really call this out-sourcing as they are using an employee to do the work, however all the ones I know of, are paid in cash and are not really employees in the legal sense. I have always wondered if these photographers tell their clients that editing is done by 'employees'.

    But this is all getting right off-topic from the original thread questions.
    Last edited by ricktas; 22-10-2011 at 9:14pm.

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    I dont outsource, because I dont need to atm - can process and edit a wedding to final submission in under a week easily. Last weekend, shot just over 1000 RAWs, processed and edited and submitted 380 shots.......in 3 days - to my usual high standard.

    If you know how to maximize your work efficiency and streamline a lot of things, like making your own presets and actions for PS, and other other stuff - it doesnt take long. But then again this is my full time job so I dont have the added burden of working another 9-5 job and come home and only being able to edit at night time.

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    If you could someone in India to do it in three days for $10 an hour ? Then what ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwi View Post
    If you could someone in India to do it in three days for $10 an hour ? Then what ?

    then you should/would realize that they would not have the same vision or artistic direction the way you want it to be? So in the end, 99% of the time I would not be happy with their end product. Each of my wedding photo is not the same so there is really no uniformity to follow, even each wedding is different. So the said Indian would have no reference of style or guideline to follow - guidelines on paper is different to what the eyes will see and interpret.

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    I agree btw

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    then you should/would realize that they would not have the same vision or artistic direction the way you want it to be? So in the end, 99% of the time I would not be happy with their end product. Each of my wedding photo is not the same so there is really no uniformity to follow, even each wedding is different. So the said Indian would have no reference of style or guideline to follow - guidelines on paper is different to what the eyes will see and interpret.
    Interesting about the outsourcing thing. I absolutely agree where the vision and idea of the shot cannot be conveyed unless the person doing the PP thinks exactly like the shotmaker. It's like a baker handing dough to his assistant and expecting his assistant to know he wanted to bake in the first place. Makes no sense and IMO absolutely unprofessional.

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