However, I've had clients claim to be taking an alternative approach but when the day arrives it's not as offbeat as they made it out to be. Jenny explains that really it's not about how offbeat you are — it's more about how she relates to her clients that determines whether she's willing to negotiate: "The bottom line is your personality.
Do we get along? Do you have a sense of humor? Do you value photography? Are you willing to work together to make some rad images? That connection and commitment transcends what you're wearing and what your favors look like. If you've found a photographer whose work you love, it seems that the key is taking the time to get to know them to see what arrangements you can make.
Lara Swanson told me that for certain offbeat clients, she'll even consider bartering: "I currently receive acupuncture once a week from one of my '09 brides, and it's an awesome way to go — we each earn what we typically charge, but we're trading instead. I've been able to build a friendship with her along the way, and it just reinforces why I'm picky about only photographing offbeat weddings.
I think that we all get something out of it — they get photographs filled with love, and I get their friendship and a fulfilling job. In our Offbeat Bride Vendor Guide have almost 20 pages of wedding photographers offering discounts to offbeat readers! Go see! She lives in Seattle with her son, and if she's not reading or writing books, chances are good that she's dancing or happy-crying.
Subscribe to her newsletter to get the behind-the-scenes stuff. Time of year and how far off the wedding is are other really important factors in negotiating.
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I won't lower our prices for a summer or early fall wedding, even if it's on a Wednesday, because we are booked so solidly during that time. But if I really loved a couple and their wedding sounded great, I would consider negotiating for a March or November wedding, for example. You're also more likely to have success negotiating if your wedding is within one or two months, because photographers usually book months in advance. As a ten-year wedding photographer veteran, this article really hit home for me!
I've seen it all but welcome anything I haven't seen yet ;o. So true about the economy and asking us for a paycut — we suffer, too. And your wedding doesn't HAVE to be far out for us to love it but be excited! This should be fun! Fabulous article — thanks! It's funny we didn't tell our photographers before hand about the Halloween wedding we had but they were more than happy to stay later than they were contracted for because we were all just having so much fun.
Not to mention, I love looking at the reception pictures so much more than the ceremony ones as you can tell they were so excited by seeing everyone in costume they went all out. My photographer is pretty awesome. We had talked on and off, but her prices were steep. She cut out a ton of things that I didn't need that she includes and dropped in different time brackets and added complete reprinting rights with the images on CD for about half her normal price. She just loves winter weddings and we clicked so well.
I felt bad, but she was amazing about it.
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I didn't even ask her to drop her rates, but we talked and came to an agreement. As someone just starting out in weddings, I totally agree that the 'offbeat' types are better for the portfolio. While an experienced photog with set pricing and a full portfolio already may not be able to negotiate a lower price for a unique-style couple, I'm sure there are many new photogs who need the experience and the photos who'd be open to this idea. As a seasoned wedding photographer I hear you about the economy, so true.
We welcome out of the ordinary, and we have fun with it. It is always exciting to try something new and offbeat. None of our packages are set in stone, the couple can add or drop from a comprehensive a la carte menu as they like.
The photographer's guide to negotiating
Cool discussion. While I'm not opposed to giving discounts to couples whom I click with or even couples that are unique, I would strongly caution anyone who is just looking for a great deal.
There is an old saying that is as true today as it ever was — "You get what you pay for. Those who are open to such an idea will indeed get what they paid for. On a happier note, if you plan your wedding for the slower or off season or, as was previously mentioned, even on a weekday your sure to find a photographer who will work at a reduced price. Just remember that a good deal doesn't always translate into a smart deal. A photographer is our single greatest expenditure for our wedding, and it was critical that we not only find someone whose work we appreciate, but also someone with whom we can build a great rapport because when it comes down to it, great photos are a collaborative effort between the person behind the camera and the folks in front of it.
I don't think I am an unusual offbeat bride in that I came upon this blog by looking for elements that are outside the norm — looking to experiment with our wedding, if you will. One of the things that was important to both my fiance and I aside from price is that whatever vendors we work with, they can't try to force us into the same box that perhaps the mainstream wedding world fits into.
I don't want to get on a soapbox here, and while I do to some extent agree with "you get what you pay for," paying more doesn't always equal more. I personally have to be able to tolerate the person who is taking the picture, or, dare I say, even LIKE them. I'd treat hiring a photographer the same as I would in finding a job — it has to be a good match for you all the way around and your goals have to match.
As a client — I'm sure you want wonderful that hopefully represent you and bring back the memories of that day, and the best photographer for you is the one who shares that vision. If you're like us and you don't fit well in a silver-and-white box with a pink bow, than it only stands to reason you'd want to look for the same qualities in your photographer — whether they have 2 years experience, or I'm in sales — so I live by "everything is negotiable".
Last parting words — we found someone who will help us making memories, and we've no problem helping him make money doing so. I just wanted to put in my two cents for remembering the artist inside ALL our vendors—I'm just anxious about money, so all the potential negotiation was giving me the heebie jeebies. And then we started figuring out what we responded to, started talking about that with photographer, florists, even our site people. And so far getting hitched aug 29 09 , it's made it all SO much more fun. Thanks for including both sides, and reminding people that photographers need to eat as well and it's very expensive to be a good wedding photographer, with equipment, insurance, and just all the time spent.
I certainly would never be offended if someone asked for a discount, as long as they didn't have the attitude, like you said, that they are OWED one. I have given many discounts, because I have a soft heart and I like to help people, plus I do love new and interesting things. But at some point I still have to pay my mortgage! I completely agree on the portfolio point! I think its actually the main reason we got such a huge.. It's so difficult for me to keep reading all this economy crap and then see all the articles that basically encourage wedding planners to demand a lot, but then pay just a little.
Yes, there is a place and a budget for student and beginning photographers, but I agree with those who point out that if you really value imagery, it's worth investing in someone who knows their stuff. I think the best advice is to be upfront about who you are as a couple with the photographer whose work you love, and if you click, then things will work out to make it happen. Don't be out looking for a deal and expect to get a discount.
I fell in love with one particular photographers' portfolio, and sent a long email about our "love story" cheesy but true , and the photographer wanted to meet with us right away. Their company name is Lifestyles Imaging — I can only imagine that having more lesbian and gay couples in their portfolio would help their business. But she thought we were great and we loved her enthusiasm and personality, and together we worked out a package that was a third of what their starting price was.
We had a fantastic time, have amazing photos, and our photographer says it was the most fun wedding ever. It's all about synergy… the right personalities and type of wedding will definitely dictate whether or not the budget can be tipped in your favor — and theirs as well, if the photographer can use your photos to grab more cool brides and grooms.
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Don't forget to look in unusual places for your photographer, too. I went to her website and fell in love with her portfolio, too, and emailed her begging to be in it. I needed someone who could just pick up on what would be the best shots, not operate from a list of "shot of the family, shot on the altar, blah blah. She's added my stuff to her portfolio and it's been picked up all over the internet — I'm so happy for her.
Great topic, Ariel. I actually posted an ad on Craigslist outlining what our wedding was and that we were on a budget. The photographer that I was in love with ended up contacting me! We're so excited! I did the same thing, and got a ton of responses! I agree that I would be willing to negaotiate fees for Offbeat Brides: I once had a groom rise from a coffin while the bride walked down in a black dress to "the Corpse Bride" theme!
Pricing & Negotiating Archives - A Photo EditorA Photo Editor
I am always looking for photos from "beyond the Goth"…. I love the Swing Kids theme, vampyres, Steam punk, and anything else that you normally don't get with an "I do. As far as "getting what you pay for" — there is something to that, however, everyone as in, every photographer has to start somewhere. If you take a risk on someone new, or inexperienced, it might really BE a risk, or it might be a great deal!
There are a number of factors that "wow" a photographer and open the possibility of negotiation. In no particular order:. It's important for the excitement to be mutual for any photo shoot and a couple enthusiasm can certainly help soften the photographer's prices. The single easiest way to cut expenses for wedding photos is to ditch the wedding book.
They can sometimes cost just as much as all the photographer's time at the wedding. Try to get just a DVD of the images and take them to a photo lab for printing yourself. As a wedding photographer getting to know my clients, I always ask about their background. If one of them have an interesting job that I feel I can benefit from, I will propose a bater as partial wedding services payment. So far, I have gotten hair cuts, eyebrow waxing, tattoos, graphic design, and even a shark tour for my whole family from bartering.
As a bride, I would share all the unique details of my day with my potential photographer. If they feel you are going to be their "dream bride" they may end up offering you a free bridal or a day after session. Please remember though that wedding photographer can not usually negotiate their Saturday wedding rates. We depend on Saturday shoots to make a reasonable annual income. The reason we photogs charge so much once we get in the business is indeed the overhead involved.
And you wouldn't believe the amount of time we put into each wedding. More than the 8 hours you are booking us for, I can assure you. However, that is the biggest difference between a seasoned pro and someone just starting out. That means that I am at your beck and call for more than 40 hours a week… leading up to your wedding and after. I help my customers with wedding planning and as a seasoned pro, I keep the wedding day flowing with as little stress on the couple as possible.
I'm great at troubleshooting. This is what comes with experience, since I've seen it all and I've seen worse things happen than the drama at your wedding. You don't get that from someone starting out. The clients generally are happy because they were able to pay only for what they needed initially and are now willing to pay for the extended use. The photographers are profiting from their work, even in a time when assignments and stock sales are down.
Have you given away all rights to your work for a lower fee because the client asked for it? Negotiating skills are important, especially now, and understanding some basic principles can make a big difference in whether you are paid enough to stay in business through a rough economy. The need to be a great negotiator is why we have been so conscious of giving you more than just prices and categories in fotoQuote. The usage tips and coach are loaded with negotiating tips for different situations. Please take advantage and read this information.
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