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Thread: Asked to do my first wedding....price advice.

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    #1

    Asked to do my first wedding....price advice.

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    My SIL's mother asked me to do her sons wedding in Dec. She loves my photos and wants to know what I would charge but I have never done one so I have no idea a price to tell her. Any advice?

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    #2
    If you've never done a wedding before I would 1) be very hesitant to accept and 2) charge little or nothing and use it to build a portfolio.

    I would not be comfortable being the only photographer at a wedding if I had never done one before only because I would be worried I'd miss the 'big' shots from lack of experience. Can you shadow anyone photographing a wedding before the event?
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    Too many variables, but first figure out what you are expected to provide:

    1) Do you just send her the untouched raw/jpegs or do you do corrections/touchups?
    2) Do you keep copyright or do you sign copyright over to them (ie does she have the right to make as many copies as she wants, or does she have to pay you for duplicate prints?
    3) Do you provide the prints or the digiatals or both?
    4) How many hours will you be there including pre-wedding photos?
    5) Will you need to hire an assistant?
    6) do you need to rent any equipment? (flash umbrella's, tripods for extra flashes, etc)
    Do you provide all prints, or up to X amount?

    Also, how much of a discount do you want to give her based on what other photogs would charge?

    Easiest answer is just charge her per hour of your work for being there taking photos. Then add on per hour of processing charge. then just send her a thumb drive with copies and let her make the prints. If she wants you to make the prints, charge her your cost plus a percent or two for the time.

    How much per hour is up to you, but If I was going to charge at all, I would not take less than 25 per, or, since it will likely be 4-6 hours of your time at the event, $400 is a nice round number. And a HUGE discount against what she could get anywhere else.
    if you have no additional costs except your time and skill, maybe $1000 for everything?
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    Oh!!! And get everything in writing! you don't need the family drama if she claims you promised something that you didnt because she thought it was part of the deal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
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    Anyone else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleMsSunshine View Post
    I think it's really funny when people come on here, and automatically assume that everyone here is a gung-ho, hoo-rah, i-bleed-red-white-and-blue, kiss-my-military-ass, people-in-uniform-can-do-no-wrong, and i'm-entitled-to-everything bitch.
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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by missinghim View Post
    If you've never done a wedding before I would 1) be very hesitant to accept and 2) charge little or nothing and use it to build a portfolio.

    I would not be comfortable being the only photographer at a wedding if I had never done one before only because I would be worried I'd miss the 'big' shots from lack of experience. Can you shadow anyone photographing a wedding before the event?


    I'd have to agree.
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    #7
    First, I'd find out what she wants (just proofs or an album; edited or not and if edited, how heavily; etc.) as well as what style (candids, posed shots, both), and see if all that fits with your abilities. That will also give you a better idea of the time involved. I'd also ask if they would be willing to allow you to use the shots for your portfolio.

    And I would investigate prices in her area for what she wants, and then charge no more than half that, and probably less, depending on just how confident I truly was that I could capture everything without missing a single important moment. I might even do it for free, or for a token about ($100?), but with a warning that it was my first wedding and I was not charging them typical wedding rates because I considered it training and practice for myself, and that I couldn't fully guarantee the results. I'd want to make that very, very clear up front.
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    I am with everyone else. One of my friends did the same thing with me. She and her husband loved my work and were confident in my ability to take their wedding photos. I did a little contract with them where they agreed to give me $500 for about 10 or so hours (it wasn't set on hours but you may want to set an hourly limit), they also agreed to pay a percentage of the new equipment I needed to make it happen (ie flashes and extra batteries and the like). I also made sure to sit down with them get a list of all the shots they wanted, and explained to them what they were endeavoring to take on with this being my first time shooting a wedding and doing it alone with no second photographer. My price also included very basic editing (adobe lightroom only, so just lighting and coloring corrections). She said she wasn't too interested in an album and I gave her the ability to print her photos and use what she wanted for printing purposes. But if they want you to design an album I'd get an idea of how much they cost and maybe tack on a little extra for taking the time to create it.

    The biggest thing is DO YOUR RESEARCH. I can't stress this enough. I poured through SO many articles about what are the top mistakes new wedding photographers make and how to avoid them, as well as advice articles. And they helped a ton! Had I not known those things before I wouldn't have felt as confident or done as well I think. One thing I wish I could have done though was shadow a wedding photographer or meet with one to get an idea of what advice they had.

    If you feel like this is something you can tackle then I'd talk to them about travel expenses, rentals, equipment, and photos list. It's a scary endeavor at first I admit, but charge what you feel comfortable with and your clients (not SIL mother...) feels comfortable with.

    Good luck and have fun!
    Last edited by bugbabe623; 11-09-2014 at 08:16 PM. Reason: SIL mother to clients because duh...

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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by missinghim View Post
    If you've never done a wedding before I would 1) be very hesitant to accept and 2) charge little or nothing and use it to build a portfolio.

    I would not be comfortable being the only photographer at a wedding if I had never done one before only because I would be worried I'd miss the 'big' shots from lack of experience. Can you shadow anyone photographing a wedding before the event?
    This is basically what popped into my mind too. I would talk to them and find out a bit more about what they want and why they're making the decision to hire someone with no wedding photography experience. Are they 100% confident that you'll get the photos they want, are they trying to save money, what's going on with their thought process. Also make sure they understand that it's really different when you're posing subjects and setting up shots vs. taking photos at a live event that's out of your control, where there's no do-overs if the shot isn't right.

    If they're comfortable doing it, and you feel comfortable in your ability to do the photography, then yeah I agree with a smaller charge and use it to help build your portfolio.


    And yeah I would be extra sure to have a clear conversation with the bridge and groom since it isn't even them that's trying to set it up, it's the mother of the groom. The fact that the couple themselves aren't the ones choosing and contacting the photographer is a red flag to me. Make sure it isn't a meddling parent trying to take over wedding planning! I would straight up tell her that the bride/groom need to be the ones to contact you to discuss pricing etc.
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    #10
    I agree with everyone else. don't deal with the MIL, deal with the bride and groom. THEY are your clients, not the mother.
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