(Closed) This is why…

posted 8 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 17
Member
814 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

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@j_jaye:  That’s not even remotely the same thing.

My rates start at $3000 (in Australia, not the US). When I break it down, it turns out to be very good value for money, but people just see “$3000” and freak out lol.

Photography is 100% one of those things where you get what you paid for. Some people don’t know good from bad photography, and will be satisfied with paying Uncle Bob $400 for the lot, but for people who have an artistic eye, it’s worth paying extra.

As for cutting business costs, there’s no way of doing that without damaging the brand, and offering an inferior product. Neither are things I would do.

Post # 18
Member
1403 posts
Bumble bee

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@j_jaye:  I don’t think anyone is complaining, but it puts us in a difficult place.  The client is disappointed with candid guest photos because they all look like the ones posted in that article.  It’s not the photographers fault, but we feel bad because the client is not happy.

Post # 19
Member
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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@continuumphotography: 
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@photogestelle:  Thank you both for replying to my question.  And, again, I just want to re-iterate that I am not at all implying that photogs don’t wory very, very hard for their fee.

But the bottom line is…when you have a $5K budget (for the whole wedding), and the cheapest pro-photog is $2-3K….I am sure you can see why brides are asking for cheaper options….not because we are trying to be “cheap” but merely because I have yet to see a wedding website which suggusts it is a good idea to spend 50% of your budget on your photog (BTW – most reccommed 10%ish).

And in almost every blog post I read like the one posted in the OP, there is a mention of Photog quitting their business b/c they can’t compete with “craigslist guy.”  Which says to me that there is a bit of a problem.  But I am not in the business, so maybe the problem has been exagerated (and everyone knows that 1 really friendly guy who quit his business).

It seems like saying “nothing we can do – this is the cost of taking photos” is not really a solution to the problem.  But then again, maybe those that are still in business don’t really view this as a problem……

Post # 20
Member
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

@corgie- Check this out. This will help figure costs. This can help with Any business.
http://www.stacyreeves.com/photographers-pricing-guide/

 

At Rock-

“And in almost every blog post I read like the one posted in the OP, there is a mention of Photog quitting their business b/c they can’t compete with “craigslist guy.”  Which says to me that there is a bit of a problem.  But I am not in the business, so maybe the problem has been exagerated (and everyone knows that 1 really friendly guy who quit his business).”

They let the CL guy win and gave up. You want your business to succeed you’ll do it. Photography is 90% business and 10% art.

Post # 21
Member
570 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Photos are all you have left- TANGIBLY (other than your spouse, lol) long after the wedding is over. I love photos, and that was the one area I did not set a budget in. We got great deals on everything else, and honestly did get a very fair price on the photographer, but I was not “deal hunting” in that area. I understand that you get what you pay for, and if you don’t already have a family friend who has a photography business then you’re likely not going to get a great discount.

Post # 22
Member
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Thank you for this piece. 

I am in the process of finding a photographer (have an appointment with one that was recommended to me by friends who are great photographers). This lady is about twice what I expected to pay, but the recommendation of my friends carries a lot of weight with me.  If I hire her, the last thing I want is to see that money go down the toilet because of over excited sutter happy guests.  This is something I hadn’t even considered, so thank you very much for sharing that.  I wouldn’t hesitate to request that guests leave their cameras at home.

Post # 23
Member
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

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@Rock Hugger:  Take what I say with a huge grain of salt (perhaps on the rim of a margarita, if that is your thing) because I am brand new to wedding photography (still working part time, only been second shooting/doing portraits for a bit over a year and just booked my first solo wedding). I have some knowledge based on what I’ve seen and talked to professionals about, but again, new. 

So. I don’t think that any photographer is complainting that a bride with a $5,000 budget is not booking them. There are always going to be brides with a wide variety of budgets and there are always going to be photographers willing to work for them. If your budget is $5,000, you know you are going to compromise quality and not just on a wedding photographer. It’s unfortunate (especially it seems to photographers because we value good photography so much), but it is part of life. 

The problem, from what I can gather, is two-fold. First, with the advent of digital photography it is more and more common for non-photographers to have nice cameras. Generally not professional grade still, but something like an entry level DSLR. And what has been happening is a surge of people who take nice photos of flowers and then think they can be a wedding photographer part time. They do it either because they just want a little extra cash on the side, even if they don’t intend to make a real business of it, or because they just love taking pictures and it is fun so they don’t care if they make money. And because they aren’t relying on the income and/or don’t care about making money– they price themselves cheap. Not to mention that a lot of them, if not most, don’t take the time to really learn how to photograph weddings and don’t actually have the right equipment… so the photos are not going to turn out nearly as well as a real professional. This is VERY common right now, and much moreso than in the past. 

Then you have the second issue, brides who are NOT on incredibly tight budgets see that there are a ton of photographers on craigslist offering full wedding coverage for $500 and they don’t understand that there is a difference between them and professionals. So they don’t want to pay what the photographers are worth because they don’t value what professionals do. They either can’t tell the difference or (more likely) or just didn’t investigate enough to see it. They think they can talk someone down to a cheap price because if there are all those people out there offering full coverage for $500 why can’t you do my wedding for $1500? The CL photographers using $500 flat fee as a business model are devaluing the business. And a lot of brides who COULD afford a professional don’t want to pay for it. 

And what are professional photographers supposed to do? How are we supposed to “solve the problem”? Because going into business the RIGHT way is expensive. And if you want to do this full time you need to make a living wage, right? So the prices are what they are, because they are what they need to be for a photographer to actually run their business appropriately and pay their bills, and there isn’t really a “solution” to the problem because your photographer’s mortgage is not going to decrease just because people don’t want to pay them a living wage anymore. 

Post # 24
Member
343 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I’m ambivalent about this subject. On the one hand, I loved seeing our guests’ pics so soon after the wedding and I actually don’t mind the professional shots of people taking their own photos (a couple of my favourites below); on the other, it was a really, really weird experience arriving at the church and nobody made direct eye contact with me because they were all looking into their cameras! We did ask people not to take photos during the ceremony though and I’m glad we did so.

 

Shotgun Wedding Photography: Mary and Ben &emdash; 2944 Mary and Ben 0749

Shotgun Wedding Photography: Mary and Ben &emdash; 2944 Mary and Ben 1123

Post # 25
Member
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

As a small business owner you do it for love not to get rich. 😀

Post # 26
Member
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

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@Styles:  awesome! So excited to read this, thanks!

Post # 27
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I was pretty adamant that there wouldn’t be photography in my church. I wanted happy, smiling faces to watch me come down an aisle, NOT cameras. I had the priest make an announcement and it was posted on the doors (this was the church’s policy, not mine, but I liked it). I didn’t have see one camera when I walked down the aisle.

Post # 28
Member
1000 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2009

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@Rock Hugger:  In addition to what the others said about needing to make a living wage, what are other wedding vendors doing to cater to “budget” brides? nothing. Why are photographers the only ones expected to starve to make their quality services affordable to everyone? I don’t see designers lowering the cost of their wedding gowns or caterers giving away free food, and no one gripes about the price of those things… Only photography because of all those $500 CL photographers who don’t know what they are doing and aren’t even making money, and because people don’t understand exactly what we do and where our overhead comes from, hence articles like this which set out to inform brides about what exactly they are paying their professional for, not “whine.”

Post # 29
Member
743 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

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@PassionatePhotoLady:  Respectully, I would disagree with what you are saying, esp. about bridal gowns – how many bees post about getting knock-offs from china at a fraction of the price.  And there was a response to that – look at David’s Bridal (for example)…a bride has the option of getting a “cheap” chinese knock off (could be risky with quality of material, etc), a “mid-range” David’s gown, or an “expensive” designer gown.  Likewise with caters – they often offer a “cheaper” option (buffet/not as “fancy” food vs plated dinners).

But please – I in no way meant to imply that phogos are whining…..again, I really do ask this question with respect for what photogs do, how many hours they put into editing photos, maintainin their equipment, etc.  I am really am trying to be very respectful here.

I am just trying to look at this from an outsiders view – I see a problem, but not a resolution.  Well, I guess the resolution I see is that the photogs are just taking the attitude of “We can’t lower our prices, so it is up to the customers to come up with the $$ if they want our service”  which just seems like a bad business model….(but then again, I’m a scientist, not a business person, so I fully admit I am not an expert here). 

And maybe that just is the best resolution to the problem……

 

Post # 30
Member
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

What I do to help budgets is offer a per hour rate (with a minimum of hours) or I have a smaller coverage package instead of a full. I also discuss your timeline so we can maximize the coverage, get more bang for your buck.(most good wedding photographers will) My rates are set to make my profit and cover costs even though its not a full coverage package.

Many photographers do have other options even though they only offer full coverage on their website. Many of us prefer to do full coverage, I know I do and its not just for “more money”, I like to capture the whole day for my couples. I do not like “watching the clock”. Many of us will work within a budget because You Want US out of many other photographers in the same price range.. but its reducing extras or coverage to help fit the budget not discounts in rates.

As a bride thats a wedding photographer that cant even afford myself right now.. Many of us are struggling just like the rest of you so we really do understand but we also have to do what we have to do to survive so we cant just discount or offer low prices to fit someones low budget, we have our own life budget to manage.

Post # 31
Member
11324 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

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@Rock Hugger:  I”m not really sure what kind of solution there could be? The options (that I see) are: reduce the quality of your product, reduce your (already low) income, or stand your ground and try to market to people who can afford you. If you want to make a respectable living selling a product you are proud of, what else can you do, really? Besides of course– doing as Styles suggested and offering smaller packages. I think most photographers do that. For my own wedding, I spent about 25% of our budget on a photographer to hire 1 photographer for 6 hours, no frills/prints/album/etc. I couldn’t afford a big package with a good photographer, so I paid for what I could afford with a photographer I loved and I’d do it again. 

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