Post # 1
so. Fiance and i thought we’d chosen our photographer. he’s a member of my church, i’ve known the family for like, 20 years. he’s an awesome photographer. prices were awesome, he’s a fun person, everything was great. i had the contract, but was waiting to fill it out until the beginning of the year.
this past week, i got an email that he’d changed his pricing and policies. he now charges almost twice as much, and he charges for travel, for every mile outside of the 30 mile radius. which, before wasn’t an issue even if he did charge. but we changed our wedding location. and it’s now 40 miles outside of that 30 mile radius.
so now, i’m on the hunt for someone who can top him. i doubt i’ll find anyone who can top his prices, cause he’s on the lower end for everything (even after changing his prices). i put out a couple inquries yesterday. i heard back from two. both are $3,000+ for 6 hours of coverage. that’s so high. i know it’s probably average, but we’re trying really hard to keep our budget under $15,000 (which barely is gonna happen, it’ll probably be closer to $16k or $18k). and i don’t know if i can stomach paying that much.
now here’s my dilemma. my cousin is a photographer. he does weddings and events in los angeles where he lives. he’s awesome, both as a photographer and as a person. however, i’m hesitant to ask him. because if i do that, i’m afraid i’ll have to invite all of my dad’s aunts and uncles and cousins to the wedding, which i wasn’t planning on doing, since i don’t know them. (i think i’ve met them a total of 4 times in my whole life). but my cousin and i are close in age, and he has the energy that i want in a photographer. and i know he takes amazing photos. plus, he’d be out this way around the time of our wedding anyway (that side does thanksgiving a month early so everyone can be there).
any advice bees? if i ask my cousin, do i really have to invite ALL of the family? it would add easily 55 people to our already tight guest list. or do i keep looking? or do i suck it up and go with our original photographer even though i’m irritated that he now charges for travel by the mile?
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World
I think since you’ve known your original photographer for 20 years that he should have honored his old pricing scheme since he already knew you were interested in him (or at least given you a heads up to put in the contract before his new prices were in effect). As for your cousin, I don’t think you have to invite the entire family, especially since you don’t know them that well. Your cousin will be providing a service, and not a guest, as the rest of the family would be…
Post # 4
What is your budget for a photographer and is your previous choice within that budget?
Post # 5
If you do decide to go with a cousin, make sure you still get a contract etc even though he is family. We went with a family member, and she has now bailed on us 2 months before the wedding…I think it would be ok to ask the family member though, provided he would be willing to work within your budget. You could also try looking for local photography students, or photogs who are newer to the business. Our e-shots were by a newer photographer and they were amazing and cheap!
Post # 6
- Wedding: May 2013 - Walt Disney World
@Utopia4us: +1 to the contract comment!
Post # 7
You could also try negotiating with your old photographer. Say that you had budgeted to hire him based on his previous quotes, and that this is a really major change that you had not anticipated. Ask about compromise: maybe he’d be willing to honor his old pricing as long as you pay the travel surcharge, or waive the travel surcharge if you guys pay the higher rate, etc. If he’s facing a choice between shooting your wedding for less vs. not shooting it at all, he might be willing to work with you.
Alternatively, if he’s starting to become more in-demand and knows that he can get another wedding that will pay more than you guys can, he does have a right to do what’s best for his business. So, try the negotiation route, but it’d be smart to have a backup plan.
Post # 8
@KateByDesign: i’d like to stay under $2000. the original photographer is now at almost $2400, plus fees for the travel. he was originally $1500.
@prisigtr: i’d have thought so too. i mean, i’m thrilled that he’s expanding his business. he’s a relatively new photographer. so as a family friend, i’m thrilled that he’s building his business so well. but i just got annoyed that he changed everything. from package specifics to policies to prices.
@Utopia4us: his packages start at $1500. and yes, we’d definitely get a contract. Fiance is adamant about that stuff. i think i’d be more comfortable with him, because he’s family. but then on the other hand, i really don’t want to create awkwardness. i think i’ll talk to my dad before i contact my cousin.
Post # 9
@KCKnd2: oh, i don’t doubt that he’s becoming way busier. and i know that i’d go with the party who was going to pay more. i totally understand that logic. i think i will email him and see if we can figure something out. and see if he can explain all of the changes he made. that way, i can make the decision.
Post # 10
If you go with your cousin, and you weren’t going to invite them originally, expect to pay them. They are giving up a whole weekend to shoot your wedding when they otherwise could have shot up to 3 weddings. Honestly, i’d just stick to the original photog. Seems to be the easiest thing, logistically. mixing family and wedding photography can sometimes work out really poorly!!
Post # 11
I wouldn’t go with a cousin or any friend because they will be too likely to spend time socializing and not taking pictures. This isn’t a reflection on your family or your cousin; it’s the nature of people that when they see someone they know, they’re likely to stop and chat for a few minutes. Many photographers that I know will not do weddings of friends or family because they find it too disrupting to their work.
I’d go with the first guy, but perhaps drop him an email stating that you know, by not signing a contract, you did not protect your price quote, but given the high percentage of increase, would he be willing to negotiate a bit, or offer some additional value to the price (i.e. throw in an extra hour or a discount on the wedding album).
Post # 12
So you are expecting your cousin, who wasn’t originally invited, so give up a weekend and pay to fly out here to shoot your wedding for cheap? There is A LOT of cost and work that goes into wedding photography. Your original photographer raised his price because well it’s not sustainable in this area to charge as little as he was. You have to consider it’s not just working on the day. There is a lot of time that goes into preparing for the day, actually shooting the day and then the editing after. I pretty much nail every shot in camera but I still end up with three hours of post production for every hour of shooting. a 6 hour wedding day equals out to 2 hours of prep + 6 hours of shooting + 18 hours for post production. That’s 26 hours of work, and is MUCH more some someone with less experience. PLUS you have to add in the costs of keeping your business afloat like insurance, taxes, gear, computer, software, etc. If you are set on your budget and you like the work the original photographer does then I would go with him with his new pricing.
Post # 13
I would defnitely call your original guy and explain to him your dilemma..calling or meeting in person is better than e-mail in this situation. Surely there is a compromise that will allow him to get paid what he deserves, while sticking closer to your budget…especially since he is a friend.
We are getting a good deal on our caterer and venue b/c we are friends with the owners, but I make sure to express how appreciative we are for the discounts and how it doesn’t matter to us if they take anything off b/c we trust them and love what they do. If you approach him in an honest, friendly manner, I don’t see how you could have a problem…the worst he can say is that you have to honor his new pricing and then you can go from there. You won’t know til you ask!
Post # 14
@PizzutiStudios: like i said, he would be in the area anyway. if he wasn’t going to be here, i wouldn’t have even thought of asking him. because yes, i know how much money it would cost for him to be out here. but since he’s going to be in the area already, i figured i would ask. and no, i wasn’t expecting him to be cheap. i would be paying his normal fees. i’m not expecting handouts from him.
@crayfish: i’d be paying him, definitely (:
@fishbone && @JFay: i’m going to email him this evening when i get back from classes. you’re right, it’s worth a shot.
Post # 15
My recommendation if photography is important to you is to hire a full time professional who specializes in weddings. That’s pretty much always my advice.
If your budget was $2000, and the first photographer who you really wanted is just $400 over then I’d find that $400. If you don’t think he’s worth $2400 then maybe look elsewhere.
Cousins, family members- we call them friendors. There is a lot of risk involved with hiring that sort of person. But seriously, anyone hired to provide a professional service at your wedding should absolutely not be inviting ANYONE to your event. If he/she isn’t capable of treating it like a job, then no way should you go that route.
Are either of these two photographers wedding photographers? There is also a huge difference between being good at photography, and being good at wedding photography. The best analogy I can think of is not all musicians sound good live. Controlled environments are much easier to manage for most photographers, and weddings are not controlled. Good luck!
Post # 16
Just talk with your original photographer, ask him if he can still honor the old pricing. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Likely you’ll have to turn in your contract asap if he agrees to that. Also, make sure your contract states the pricing in it.
May I ask why you were waiting to fill out a contract until the beginning of the year? It could be he thought you found someone else if you’ve had it for awhile & never sent it in.
You shouldn’t have to invite the rest of the family, you are going to be paying your cousin to be working at your wedding. However, its possible that he takes time off from photography since he’s with his immediate family, or he may charge you including travel. Just make sure you talk to your original photographer before talking with your cousin, it might get awkward (since you’re family friends) if you have 2 photographers thinking they’re photographing your wedding!
Do you like your cousin’s work more than the original photogrpaher?