(Closed) Can you negotiate photographer's prices?

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 62
Member
7359 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Oh and I can totally agree that almost anytime we give someone a deal out of the kindness, it totally comes back to bite you in the ass. Those clients are 100% the biggest pains in the ass.

I’m not a monger. The great thing about owning your own business is being able to make decisions yourself about how to run your business. I have met with a super sweet couple before who truly loved my work and wanted to book me, but when it came down to it they just couldn’t pull the money together. I felt bad for them, and I really like them, so I gave them a deal. They were SO appriciative and the sweetest clients to work for.

I work in a super seasonal area, unlike most photogrphers who can shoot all year round, we don’t have that market here at the beach. When I got a call for a super off season wedding, and they wanted a discount, against my better judgement I have them a small one because…hey…it’s money during a time of year we’re not making ANY. Big mistake. They were hands down the worst clients ever. They didn’t respect me, my business, or value me at all. I learned right then to be very careful about that.

Post # 63
Member
1935 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

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@photogestelle:  Hm, funny because my pro photographer gave us exactly what we wanted, including a fantastic discount. He’s been featured on Style Me Pretty, and is considered the best in the area. We expressed a little hit of hesitation after a fantastic meeting, and he came back with the perfect package. I’m still on cloud 9. 

Post # 64
Member
7359 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@BlondeBee:  Yes, but did that rate most likely came down because of the custom package. That photographer didn’t look at you and say “thanks for contacting me, have 30% off your package”. You told him what you wanted, and he created a custom package without the additional items and it brought the price down. That’s totally the way to do it – I do that with my clients all the time. What most of us are saying, is that pros don’t consider that a discount, we consider that business. We were all saying its rude for a couple to call up their photographer and say “We want that $6700 package with everything still in it, and we want it for 30% less”.

Post # 65
Member
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I think it depends on you present it. For instance there’s a photographer we loved & when they followed up with me. I was totally honest about the fact that we loved his work & would have loved to book him. However he was over our budget. He then asked what our budget was and offered to customize a package for us. It was still over our “budget” but not quite as high as his original price. I wouldn’t flat out ask hey can you give me this package for $500 less, that’s incredibly rude. 

Post # 66
Member
1935 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

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@starfish0116:  He actually offered 30% off before meeting us when our wedding planner originally contacted him. After our meeting, when we said we didn’t want certain things, and did want others, he honored the 30% and also threw in some other stuff. I know it’s partly because we’re a winter wedding, but I just wanted to point out that things can be flexible if you approach it correctly. 

Post # 67
Member
7359 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

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@BlondeBee:  That just blows my mind. Kudos to you for getting it, it’s just hard to wrap my head around because even for an off season wedding – 30% is a HUGE discount. A package of that price point clearly is full of product, which is what costs us money. If he’s discounting that much, he’s decided he’s essentially working for free and not paying himself for his time. I guess if that’s how he wants to do it that’s his perogative but it’s things like that that hurt other photographers who actually WANT to pay themselves.

FWIW, a good friend of mine got married 2 weeks before me and I photographed their wedding (something I rarely do for friends, and my DH was the best man). She expressed interest in wanting to do an album so she came over and I priced it out for her – we’re close friends and I would have done it for her at cost. She almost peed in her pants when she saw the price for an album AT COST, and said “uhhh, nevermind I think we’ll wait a while”. The *cost* w/out markup was around $500, and that was for a basic album, and doesn’t even factor in the amount of time spent on design/layout. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it does professionals a huge disservice becuase they’re essentially just working to pay for their product in the package.

Post # 68
Member
1367 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I didn’t try to negotiate with photographers to cut down the package for less price but did with DOCs. I presented my budget and asked for only this and up till this time. She did customize for us and gave us discount, and then I asked for a little more price down (I was like why not, she might say no but that’s ok i’m gonna ask), and she said no, but I booked her. She was faaaaantastic throughout.

Our venue even did some customizing for us too. We didn’t have minimum number of guests but had to pay for the minimum regardless, so they included canapes to make up for it.

Flexible venders are awesome. It’s win win because they have happy customers and will receive rave reviews and more customers.

Post # 69
Member
1201 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I would this that this would be true. Just a thought…that photographers have a lot of other expenses and that their prices are often justified considering the cost and profit breakdown when it comes down to it. 

Post # 70
Member
739 posts
Busy bee

I occasionally offer discounts. Not often but I will when they ADD things to their package. Our packages are bare bones to start with and I may discount an additional album, parent books, print credits etc. But I almost NEVER discount hours. I’ve even thrown in some product as a ‘thanks’ when they spend more than $6000 on their package.

@BlondeBee: it wouldn’t surprize me if he had this kind of deal worked out with the planner already. I know a few photogs around here that have kickback deals with planners and venues. Like you send me 10 weddings and i will offer them 30% off sort of thing. You made it out in the deal, so no harm done. 

ALSO, some businesses, not just photographers, work discounts into their pricing so they almost ALWAYS give a discount. Their profit margin is built off of the discounted price. Go into any mall type clothing store like Forever 21. Notice they ALWAYS have sales? The price of the shirt is really the sales price but you are thinking you are getting a deal because it’s ‘on sale’.

 

 

Post # 70
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

Friend of really popular photographers here. Understand that most good photographers have HUUUUGE egos… they consider their work “art”, which I can see why. So if you say the price is too high and other photographers can do cheaper, they get butt hurt and offended because they believe their “art” should be worth more. Personally, I get where they are coming from but I honestly think it’s a bit of an overreaction. Weddings are expensive… couples, who are NOT photography experts, will negotiate for sure to save some money, so photographers shouldn’t take offense. Unfortunately, that doesn’t usually happen because most of the good photographers take it VERY personally when you try to negotiate and they consider it extremely rude. And honestly, some of my good photographer friends don’t even offer discount to other friends… the argument for the photographer goes something like this: if I give a discount to one customer, even if he/she is my friend, then I would need to others… I don’t agree with the argument but it’s just how it works with some of these popular photographers. It’s sad but true. 

Post # 71
Member
190 posts
Blushing bee

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meggaman:  LOL this thread is 3 years old so….

Also, by your logic, I’m 100% sure you give your employer discounts on your wage and salary – obviously because you have no ego.  Photographers don’t take it personally, they have bills to pay.  If you don’t like their responses, move on but don’t blame it on a complex you’re assuming they have.  

Post # 72
Member
2 posts
Wannabee

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FabBride2016:  Just telling people how it is. Everyone has bill to pay, but not everyone takes it personally like photographers. When I sit with a group of photographer, the stories that I sometimes I hear, especially when it comes to giving customers discounts, even when it comes to friends, are pretty amazing. Good photographers think they are the shit, and like I said, I get it… you are good and deserve a premium, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be rude to people. Anybody who’s been close to a good full-time photographer knows exactly what I’m talking about. 

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