Pricing your photographer for weddings & other events.
So you’re shopping for a photographer? Great! However you may get frustrated if you ask ‘so what are your prices?’ Most photographers cringe at this opening question because of its ambiguity. How is one to tell you price when they don’t know what you want? Or even from fear of one’s initial gut reaction. Also then you aren’t aware of what all is included because all you can think of is the price tag. We’re so used to price shopping from food to clothes or houses or the like. And we all do this (me included). I’m also not saying that price shouldn’t be a factor. But if you start with budgeting you miss negotiation opportunities (or working with someone to create something as this case would be).
Photography has undergone a very large change in the last decade plus. Between the large shift from film to digital and large “big box” studios closing overnight much to the surprise of everyone; it’s now up to those with a passion to responsibly fill the gap. Yet there is no comprehensive way to do pricing. Everyone has his or her own thoughts and take on this touchy subject. Add in people who buy a camera or get one as a gift believing it to be an easy way to get money on the side. It makes it more tiresome to price shop.
So how should you shop for a photographer?
- 1) Make sure they’re running their business, well, as a business. This does not mean that they much have the latest tech. But it does mean that they’re invested in their business and therefore you if you become their client.
- 2) Explain what you want and what you need. If a deal breaker is you need three albums, instead of two, inside a particular budget – be upfront and show them that you value your time and theirs. If you really aren’t sure, it’s ok to ask for options. This way it’s all in the contract you (should have hopefully) signed with them (it protects you and them see #1 if there is no contract/agreements). There should be no reason to renegotiate after signing unless you’re adding to your purchase. Remember most will have a no return/refund policy. This is, in part, because of budgeting and (typically) planning year(s) in advance.
- 3) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Make sure you click. I’m not the photographer for everyone. There will be no photographer for everyone. Styles and personalities differ too much. For example, my knowledge of personal space goes out the window when I’m working and in the zone. Instead of editing out bra straps, dirt, or the like, I prefer to fix it before the picture (so I sometimes get up close and personal).
I believe all three of these should come before price and are universal for any reason you’re price shopping services. When you get to the price you should feel comfortable enough to either openly discuss with the photographer and/or ask for “x” amount of time to think. Either way you should let the photographer know if you don’t think that they’re the one. (It goes back to respecting the value of every body’s time). You can apply this method to other places too. (Videographers, make-up artists, or DJ’s/MC’s to give a few ideas).
Take a look at these questions you should ask your photographer from Bridal Tweet at http://www.bridaltweet.com/page/13-questions-to-ask-before-hiring-a-wedding-photographer