Post # 1
I’m just wondering whether anyone has had experience negotiating rates with established photographers. Photography is so important to me, so I’m reluctant to hire newer photographers, but budget constraints make it difficult for me to pay upwards of $6000 for an established photog whose work I love. Any thoughts on this? I was thinking, with the economy being in recession and all, that wedding photographers may be more willing to reduce their rates, but I’m not finding a lot of deals out there. Thanks so much!
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2010 - The Pierre Hotel
Hi! From my experience, it seemed like the photographers I spoke to were more open to customizing a package to fit your budget, rather than lowering the price outright. For example, if you are flexible to fewer hours of shooting, no albums, or any other part of the package, they may be willing to do that. Good luck!
Post # 4
We negotiated with our photographer. One thing you might look at is if the photographer is willing to cut or replace certain items in his/her packages to reduce the price. For example, ours cut out the albums and replaced it with the copyrights for all the images. It reduced the price and saved us money because we can now make our own albums for half the cost on Blurb and also distribute/print any and all of our pictures whenever we want. We were also able to negotiate two photographers for the price of one by shortening the time period, and ours knocked off the traveling costs he normally charges because we referred him to my sister for her wedding as well.
I would go into the meeting with reasonable expectations. You aren’t going to get a 6k package for 2k, but you might be able to bring down the price by cutting things out, asking for substiutions, or asking for reductions when you give referrals, letters of recommendation, etc… Honestly, when we told our photographer what we could do, he willingly adjusted the package to meet our amount. And I probably wouldn’t have hired anyone who wasn’t willing to work with us, no matter how much I loved thier pictures.
Post # 5
Photographers (and other wedding vendors) are usually really willing to find something that works for your budget. Find a photographer you love, and tell him/her your budget, and they will often find something that works for that.
Post # 6
- Wedding: April 2020 - The Grand Old House, Grand Cayman
I agree with wheresmydessert. Customization can go a long way. Or, if you are willing to marry on an off-day or an off-season that could help. And I have found that vendors are pretty flexible if you are having a destination wedding. Paid vacation for them!
Post # 7
Thanks so much, all you fabulous girls. This is very helpful. Let me try your tips and get back to you. Thanks again!
Post # 8
the best option is to take off items if you can. The economy is hard and people are willing to negotiate. I mainly do the negotiation before we even do the meeting. Ours was cheap so we didn’t bother to negotiate, but I negotiated with some while I was getting quotes.
Post # 9
We’ve never just outright dropped our prices for a couple, but we do encourage custom packages-that way you can get exactly what you want, and can build it based on your budget.
Additionally, we also offer pretty hefty discounts for last minute bookings. If we’re available, and the wedding is within 2 months or so, we’ll cut our service fees a bit, just because we know that the likelihood of booking another wedding for that date is slim to none, and if we want to work that day it’s probably going to be with that particular couple.
Post # 10
agree. you need to be reasonable….if our package it 6 grand, we not gonna do it for 1 grand…
you have to remember that a lot of the cost of wedding packages is for upkeep, gear, studio rentals, etc….wedding photography costs money to do! People who do weddings for 500 dollars are not profiting off single weddings…they are aiming to do weddings every weekend to make profit….
we do try and accommodate budgets where possible…we try and be flexible since often times you cant be due to budgets….but as you hear above, you should be reasonable what to expect.
also, an old adage….the best things in life aren’t free hehe
Post # 11
There are thousands of photographers out there, especially in the San Diego area where I’m from. You just need to do your research. You need to figure out:
1. How many pictures you want
2. If you want engagement pictures
3. What your price limit is
If you barter in cash, you may be able to get a better deal. We got at least $400 to $500 knocked off our total and didn’t have to pay tax. We just asked for all the pictures on disk so that we could print them ourselves (since that’s how they make most of their money). I think the most you should pay is $4000. I think $6000 is outrageous. We are paying $2000 and we have a great guy that has years of experience. When times are tough, you’d be surprised how low people are willing to go if you run into the right person (not the famous photographer that does pictures for J-Lo).
Post # 12
we just LOVED our photographer, and got to talk about his art. (it really is art and not JUST a documentation of the day)
as i got to know him and he got to know me, i asked about his rates, and they were WAY too high for us. he asked us what our budget was, and i told him, and he gave us a custom package with just hi-res photos and the bridal/groom 1 hour photog session before the ceremony, the prewedding prep, and pictures of the ceremony and reception and ending.
we figured we would make our own album online- and you can get NICE ones. or i could even go thru a photographer friend and just pay them. they jack up the prices of the prints anyways- that’s how they make the $$.
these are different times, and vendors SHOULD adjust their rates to the times.
Post # 13
There are a few ways that you can negotiate with any wedding vendor. If you plan your wedding on any other day than Saturday, many vendors including photographers will lower their rates for you. Also, if you’re planning your wedding during the off-season (November through Februaury excluding Valentine’s Day) prices are usually lower.
My fiance and I are getting married on Halloween of this year. I recently went to a bridal show and NONE of the vendors were booked for that day, even though it’s a Saturday. Many were willing to negotiate. I would say you should find out if the vendor is booked for your date and discuss custom packages. Let him/her know your budget and your appreciation for his/her work. You never know if the photographer will work with you unless you ask.
Post # 14
I searched for a young photographer whose work I love and is just starting his business. Since I am having a simple encore wedding, I didn’t need the whole 9 yards. I negotiated for 2 hours of photography plus editing 25 shots for $200. And for another $50 I am getting a CD with ALL the raw pics and the copyright will be transfered. So my Maid/Matron of Honor, who is very good with Photoshop can edit the rest. No albums, but hey,I am getting cutting edge photography for $200!
Post # 15
They are negotiable, to a point. However, unless you have a valid economical sob-story, or a very offbeat wedding, they’re not likely to move much, ESPECIALLY if you’re hiring a sought-after photographer.
Post # 16
If you really like a photographer’s work, ALWAYS open up communication. Many, if not most, are willing to customize a package within your budget. If they’re service-oriented people, they’ll want to have happy customers. Some vendors won’t lower prices but they’ll throw in some extras instead. If you tell a photog how much you like their work, they’ll probably try what they can to keep you. But if they’re booked, they can probably refer you to someone they know who may be just as good or the same style or whatever.
We got a great deal on our package since he honored the previous year’s pricing (for contacting him early). In that sense we "negotiated," but it was more of "how can we best serve you?" which we very much appreciated.