Wedding Photography Pricing
Pricing a wedding correctly depends on many factors…
How you set up your wedding photography pricing is a really tricky area to advise on. I won’t give you actual monetary values as such but will try and give you an idea of where to start.
You can start one of two ways:
- 1Start big and maybe adjust downwards depending on success or failures - Bad!
- 2Start low and work your way up - Good!
- 3Find a mid-point where you don't undersell yourself and build on that - Best
If you start out charging too much with no real experience, portfolio or conviction to back up your prices, you will get much less work in general.
Start out low and take on more jobs and you will receive more referrals, build a fantastic portfolio and then you can start to think about putting up your prices. You have earned that right as you become more established!
If you can find a mid point where you are earning more "what you are worth, even better. Never undersell yourself, especially if you have a talent for this. I have known photographers new to weddings to go straight in "high end" with great success!
What you charge to start out with depends on many things
Don’t be fooled though. Just because the economy where you are may be in decline, people still beg, borrow or steal to have the perfect wedding. They are prepared to pay for a good wedding photographer (but not too much). The couple may not even live in that area!
In the same way, just because your area is quite affluent, don’t think you can charge the earth. Many people get rich by being tight with their cash (but not always)! The couple may not even live in that area! ; )
Are you having to travel to shoot a wedding? Do you need accommodation and car hire? Take these factors into account and explain the price increase to the couple to account for this well in advance.
Just starting out with a small portfolio? Don’t blag it and show the couple wedding photos or a portfolio that you didn’t take. The truth will out and then you are in trouble.
As I said before, start small and humble and even shoot a couple of weddings for free until your confidence, experience and portfolio build up nicely.
Got experience and a good portfolio? Then you have earned the right to charge a little more as this should show in your work and final packages but don’t overdo it.
The Wedding Couple
I suggest that you include or give an idea of your wedding photography pricing on your website or within any material that you give out to prospective clients.
If not, you may well get inundated with requests, enquiries and meetings that come to nothing as your prices may be out of their budget. It is better to know that any enquiries you do get already know your pricing structure so that you can concentrate on other things like getting the contract.
All couples are different with different backgrounds and budgets. Sometimes it is worth dropping one or two items from your package and reducing your price to accommodate a discerning couple who may not be able to genuinely afford your prices but love your work. The referrals could be worth it in the long run.
Size of Wedding
I have shot everything from a 2 person wedding in a cave in Spain (Norwegian eloper’s) to a full blown, 300+ guest wedding at a 6-star Ritz Carlton Hotel. Obviously the wedding photography pricing is in direct proportion to the size of event, especially in these extremes.
Charging more for a larger wedding is, in my opinion, well justified as there is a significant increase in workload. Not just at the wedding itself but during the organisation and post-processing too.
It is important not to overdo it when pricing for larger affairs or weddings that fall outside of even your high end package. Work out the extra effort, materials, travelling and work required and add an amount to your usual package that is fair to both parties.
Remember, it's not just the wedding day where you will be working. There is:
If the couple start arguing or disputing your prices, stand firm if you can. Politely explain the above and maybe hint at your hourly rate when all of that is taken into account. It's not just one day.
There will normally be some negotiations during pricing that fall outside of your standard terms
So, to recap on wedding photography pricing, I would say that you are better starting low and increasing with time/experience/knowledge than you are jumping in with higher prices. However, if you have a great portfolio, bags of experience and confidence to match, there is no reason why you shouldn’t start a bit higher.
Perhaps high end if you can match your wedding photography pricing with your impeccable service?
So there ends my wedding photography tips section for All Things Photography. I hope it has enlightened and motivated you enough to get out there and give it 100% at your first/next wedding. Please feel free to leave any comments below or notify me of any spelling mistakes etc.
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Nick Stubbs - Wedding Photographer Dorset