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Thread: A wedding photographer's struggles

  1. #21

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by wesley View Post
    Hi there,

    Word of advice, I've been doing weddings since 1990. Done both DIY and apprenticed. Best way to learn is apprenticeship. It's a lot of hardship but you will skip all the bitter lessons from DIY.

    If you want to apprentice, email or call (best) the photographer who's work most inspires you and offer to work for free. Within 3-6 months you will learn his workflow and within 6-12 months you will learn why his business is making money and he's shooting the style/stuff he wants.

    Best
    Wesley
    Although I share your view... The classic learn from the best type of starting photographer who is willing to put themself through it is like finding a needle in the haystack. Getting paid small amount as apprentice already complaint like no tomorrow let alone not getting paid at all.

    Most beginners have lost the ability to see long term... hence never get anywhere eventually. That really separate those who can and those who can't see the future.

    Most beginners have mentality of buying a camera, get the exposure right, then call themselves a photographer... if they happen to accidentally took a few nice shots that win a local competition, then they start to call themselves "AWARD WINNING PHOTOGRAPHER", then they wondering why they never get any assignment and turn and blame to the next person who charge cheaper than them. I am not pointing fingers to anyone... but this is the trend that I see whether I like it or I don't.

    Regards,

    Hart

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by ellery
    sinned79 - the last time I looked, the hotel's license is for their public areas, that means the ball room when the dinner is going on may be considered a private area. Then there is that issue of a license for linking music to a slide show or a video; it is different from the one the hotel got which is just to play music on a PA system. No hotel is willing to time mark your slide show with their music unlike the march in of the couple. It is a messy right held by many parties standing in line to stiff to photographers. Stick with royalty free it is less painful.
    Well. There is actually a smart way of doing. Like I always did. For express highlight, whether video or photo slide, I always rendered without audio. During play back at dinner or ballroom. Ask the staff to play thier own music from their pa system with their own music.

  3. #23

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by theandycreation View Post
    Well. There is actually a smart way of doing. Like I always did. For express highlight, whether video or photo slide, I always rendered without audio. During play back at dinner or ballroom. Ask the staff to play thier own music from their pa system with their own music.
    That is a very grey area . IMO , not enough ROI to do such a thing

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by lobsterkia

    That is a very grey area . IMO , not enough ROI to do such a thing
    It seems zero cost to all 3 parties, how would there be no ROI if photographer has one less thing to worry?
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  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by lobsterkia

    That is a very grey area . IMO , not enough ROI to do such a thing
    What is ROI?

  6. #26

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    Return of Investment

  7. #27
    Senior Member oracle0711's Avatar
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    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Return on Investment

  8. #28

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Do you specify a song to the hotel staff that can match the transitions of your highlights? Or maybe your slideshow is independent of the rhythm of the music so anything is ok? Most I know find a song to match the pace of the images being displayed. Random elevator music somehow does not convey that romantic feeling as much.

    Quote Originally Posted by theandycreation View Post
    Well. There is actually a smart way of doing. Like I always did. For express highlight, whether video or photo slide, I always rendered without audio. During play back at dinner or ballroom. Ask the staff to play thier own music from their pa system with their own music.
    Nikonian since 2003
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  9. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Entity
    Do you specify a song to the hotel staff that can match the transitions of your highlights? Or maybe your slideshow is independent of the rhythm of the music so anything is ok? Most I know find a song to match the pace of the images being displayed. Random elevator music somehow does not convey that romantic feeling as much.
    Usually they hav music that are mostly sentimental and slow. So the best is to make ur express highlight in a slow rythmn

  10. #30

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonB View Post
    One month later he delivered the pictures - it took very long for a newbie, part time, to process a full day 11 hours of photos. He was editing daily for 2 hours every evening, except weekends. The couple was not happy because he promised and thought 1-2 weeks should be enough.

    Cd delivered. He thentried getting the couple to choose pictures for the album but the couple did not get back to him for nearly 2 months. They just dont want to talk about it. His payment hanging too.
    If you mean that he gave the photos (hi res jpg) to the client on a CD then things are difficult. The photos are 1 of 2 deliverables and with it the client can do what they like (including producing their own album).. unelss payment is received (or at least a certain percentage - no matter what industry you are in) you do not deliver and then start chasing for money!

  11. #31

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by Kit View Post
    He was being squeezed because there was probably too many contractual loose ends left untied.

    For me, I make it a point to separate the various scope of works. One quotation for photography works and another for publication. If I can, I don't even include printing in my quotes. I can prepare the book and liaise with the printer(for a fee) but my clients pay them separately. Of course, this has to be put in writing and communicated with the client up front.
    Wonderful advice from Kit. Not one I thought of though, but one that I will apply everywhere! Also, at the moment your friend's loss is time, taxi etc. One way to look at it is to move on(!), learn from it and do not waste your time souring (?!) over it. Its probably better to go and make more money, rather than to go and fight for money that you may never see (do consider it when the head has cooled off, hard as it might be due to the feeling of the unjust treatment that has been dished out in your opinion).

  12. #32

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Oh...for those who have already gone past the 1000th shoot mark, sure a lot of stories one.

    Do you know people do get injuried due to fire/accidents (2nd degree burns) and even DIE on their wedding day? Or they divorce immediately? (PS I did not shoot that Hilton incident). Absolutely crazy i tell ya... Even hotel staff get stunned. But yes, it happens. Getting 50% is better than getting 0%.

    Too much to share....so good luck to all.

    Too many contractual stuff not tied down, for example....even if the couple does not know about those additional hours thingy, just ask if they'd like to continue coverage at $xx for say 30 minutes more or $xx for 60 minutes. Tell them it's non-obligatory as you can stop now, coz you'd not want to stress them as some will bite back later. You have to be firm even if the VG they hired is not making noise (either his loss, or he's charging pretty high already in the first place).



    And yes, many years ago i already learnt not to return pictures on DVD before full payment, also do not shoot without a deposit, and the deposit must be 50% or above. Bro Agetan even advocates getting 100% prior to the big day but that's difficult if you are not full time. Any good couple would give you deposit, as well as a good ang pow. For the lousy couples, just don't do their business, no loss. We are in the service industry yes, but that doesn't mean you got to kow tow.

    That last statement above is harsh yes...but already fed up for....doing other businesses and investments already. Of course if you are in the higher end > 3k league then you should know that this is really part of the job and you are sort of "paid for it". Remember, young Singaporeans last time are not the same as the folks today.



    Clients expect photographers to be professional about their weddings like to arrive on-time, dress properly, have backup equipment etc.... but then they do not act professionally and do their part as customers as well and misuse/abuse the system, sounds like bullshit to me.


    Cancellations are not unheard of, of course as quoted originally in the first quotation in PDF usually people would put down the term that the deposit/retainer fee is not refundable. That is why it's called a deposit. But couples would still want to go through all lengths to get that back, even after offering the goodwill response that you are willing to shift the date to anytime till 1 year later with the same price somemore. Sometimes i really fail to comprehend.

    PS. When i board any taxi, most of the time i'd greet the guy, ask if he had his meal or just changed shift (standard for morning session), and when alighting i'd say "ok...good luck har, take care boss".
    Last edited by 2100; 27th February 2012 at 07:22 PM.

  13. #33

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by theandycreation View Post
    Usually they hav music that are mostly sentimental and slow. So the best is to make ur express highlight in a slow rythmn
    OT but I think It is appropriate, I would rather not to offer express highlight if I can't tag the pictures to the emotion of the song... it is very important, otherwise, it is just a case of photos and won't achieve any "impression" that one would want with express highlight.

    Many would think, giving express highlight is to earn some extra few hundred bucks... but if you think long term, I would rather not charging for it but give the client a surprise gift... this will make the clients to remember me as a photographer rather than how much they pay for it. But the key is to charge enough to cover that.

    Running a business require a long term vision to be successful and you can't always calculative about little things... but remember to charge enough to cover it.

    So think about it...

    Regards,

    Hart

  14. #34

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Oh...for those who have already gone past the 1000th shoot mark, sure a lot of stories one.

    Do you know people do get injuried due to fire/accidents (2nd degree burns) and even DIE on their wedding day? Or they divorce immediately? (PS I did not shoot that Hilton incident). Absolutely crazy i tell ya... Even hotel staff get stunned. But yes, it happens. Getting 50% is better than getting 0%.

    Too much to share....so good luck to all.

    Too many contractual stuff not tied down, for example....even if the couple does not know about those additional hours thingy, just ask if they'd like to continue coverage at $xx for say 30 minutes more or $xx for 60 minutes. Tell them it's non-obligatory as you can stop now, coz you'd not want to stress them as some will bite back later. You have to be firm even if the VG they hired is not making noise (either his loss, or he's charging pretty high already in the first place).



    And yes, many years ago i already learnt not to return pictures on DVD before full payment, also do not shoot without a deposit, and the deposit must be 50% or above. Bro Agetan even advocates getting 100% prior to the big day but that's difficult if you are not full time. Any good couple would give you deposit, as well as a good ang pow. For the lousy couples, just don't do their business, no loss. We are in the service industry yes, but that doesn't mean you got to kow tow.

    That last statement above is harsh yes...but already fed up for....doing other businesses and investments already. Of course if you are in the higher end > 3k league then you should know that this is really part of the job and you are sort of "paid for it". Remember, young Singaporeans last time are not the same as the folks today.



    Clients expect photographers to be professional about their weddings like to arrive on-time, dress properly, have backup equipment etc.... but then they do not act professionally and do their part as customers as well and misuse/abuse the system, sounds like bullshit to me.


    Cancellations are not unheard of, of course as quoted originally in the first quotation in PDF usually people would put down the term that the deposit/retainer fee is not refundable. That is why it's called a deposit. But couples would still want to go through all lengths to get that back, even after offering the goodwill response that you are willing to shift the date to anytime till 1 year later with the same price somemore. Sometimes i really fail to comprehend.

    PS. When i board any taxi, most of the time i'd greet the guy, ask if he had his meal or just changed shift (standard for morning session), and when alighting i'd say "ok...good luck har, take care boss".
    Clients do need to play apart. But they need to be educated by the photographer what they expect.

    I have seen way too many people just jump in and get the job without properly providing enough information for clients to understand how you work. It is a shame really.

    I was at BabyCare Festival last few days... my job is to educate my clients and I do exactly that... I don't sell them anything, but they can choose to buy my service. Same same but the different is by a mile.

    There was a customer who approach us and look through our portfolio and say "your photos are so simple and nothing special".... of course, typically, you will get offended because people say your work is no good. But I then ask her what would make a "special" photos, and she mentioned, using a lot of props... of course, this is not something we believe in, rather than trying to convince the customer why we are "better", I simply say, we will be the wrong company for her and recommended my competitor to her.

    Always think long term when you do your business... it may be slow to start, but gives you a lot better foundation to work for when you grow bigger.

    Regards,

    Hart

  15. #35

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    Clients do need to play apart. But they need to be educated by the photographer what they expect.

    I have seen way too many people just jump in and get the job without properly providing enough information for clients to understand how you work. It is a shame really.

    I was at BabyCare Festival last few days... my job is to educate my clients and I do exactly that... I don't sell them anything, but they can choose to buy my service. Same same but the different is by a mile.

    There was a customer who approach us and look through our portfolio and say "your photos are so simple and nothing special".... of course, typically, you will get offended because people say your work is no good. But I then ask her what would make a "special" photos, and she mentioned, using a lot of props... of course, this is not something we believe in, rather than trying to convince the customer why we are "better", I simply say, we will be the wrong company for her and recommended my competitor to her.

    Always think long term when you do your business... it may be slow to start, but gives you a lot better foundation to work for when you grow bigger.

    Regards,

    Hart

    Spot on.

    Props, hmm, can use a bit, its only one of the many means of expression and creativity.

    But if one's photography is relying totally on props, a photoshop action, a certain lighting situation a turn of a trend will put one's style out of favor. Then does the photographer adopt another style and lost the identity?

    The voice comes from within and that is the path of the artist. Unfortunately for some and fortunately for some too, that many pursue a piece of equipment, a photoshop effect, or a piece of prop.

    WTB Manfrotto RC4 L Bracket

  16. #36

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by Agetan View Post
    Clients do need to play apart. But they need to be educated by the photographer what they expect.

    I have seen way too many people just jump in and get the job without properly providing enough information for clients to understand how you work. It is a shame really.

    I was at BabyCare Festival last few days... my job is to educate my clients and I do exactly that... I don't sell them anything, but they can choose to buy my service. Same same but the different is by a mile.

    There was a customer who approach us and look through our portfolio and say "your photos are so simple and nothing special".... of course, typically, you will get offended because people say your work is no good. But I then ask her what would make a "special" photos, and she mentioned, using a lot of props... of course, this is not something we believe in, rather than trying to convince the customer why we are "better", I simply say, we will be the wrong company for her and recommended my competitor to her.

    Always think long term when you do your business... it may be slow to start, but gives you a lot better foundation to work for when you grow bigger.

    Regards,

    Hart
    Agree with what you say bro. I actually try to educate clients what i can do and cannot do. Recently I have fewer cases happening like "You did not provide enough photos at my wedding dinner, or you get some funny accusations that you did not capture my mum's boss talking to my mum and now i'd like to print it out to let my mum offer to his boss as a momento". I have been scanning my clients but i guess some still get through.

    But yeah you are right too, for the OP's friend case mentioned here, these kind of cases can actually be "factorered in". So far so good, if i am not wrong i still have not refunded more than 1k total to my clients....IIRC it stands at about 1% of the cases. My friend is not so lucky, as a pro he has to pay slightly over 15k in damages out of court for a fault at the banquet.


    On the same subject of staying back :
    I have come across a case of a jie mie who boasted by saying she took her wedding PG to task due to failure to deliver sharp family photos, you know those stuff which some stay back to take for the whole extended family of anywhere in size from 40 to 100 people (and never charge extra for the time somemore, like in the OP's case). So in the end reshoot family portrait with FOC albums and big prints + frame etc... Well done loh....i am sure she has posted in the forum as well.
    This is why you need to charge, it's not only for your extra effort to stay back, and also you need to profit and also as a buffer. I also would disclaim first that if it's for a very important shot coz it's some special extended family gathering from many different countries, i charging 100 bucks for staying back does not mean i can deliver tack sharp pictures that you can print at A3 under that kind of ballroom high ceiling condition which you would not get enough flash power to do even f4 @ 1600 (let alone f5.6)

    So that's info for the newbies or even those in the 1-2 year experience maybe 50-100 weddings bracket and its so-far-so-good, beyond that should be enough exposure to see and experience a good range of clients out there. For me I am actually quite afraid already by some of the horror stories i heard lately (and some by 2k range VGs).... There are such people in Singapore, unfortunately. My wife's encounter has been the same too in her line....

    As a PG nowadays, you really need to protect yourself to a good extent. There is so much s*** I have seen but luckily it is with protection and T&Cs/contractual agreement. If not nowadays quite a few couples don't even pay up on the actual day.
    Last edited by 2100; 27th February 2012 at 11:34 PM.

  17. #37

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by 2100 View Post
    Agree with what you say bro. I actually try to educate clients what i can do and cannot do. Recently I have fewer cases happening like "You did not provide enough photos at my wedding dinner, or you get some funny accusations that you did not capture my mum's boss talking to my mum and now i'd like to print it out to let my mum offer to his boss as a momento". I have been scanning my clients but i guess some still get through.

    But yeah you are right too, for the OP's friend case mentioned here, these kind of cases can actually be "factorered in". So far so good, if i am not wrong i still have not refunded more than 1k total to my clients....IIRC it stands at about 1% of the cases. My friend is not so lucky, as a pro he has to pay slightly over 15k in damages out of court for a fault at the banquet.


    On the same subject of staying back :
    I have come across a case of a jie mie who boasted by saying she took her wedding PG to task due to failure to deliver sharp family photos, you know those stuff which some stay back to take for the whole extended family of anywhere in size from 40 to 100 people (and never charge extra for the time somemore, like in the OP's case). So in the end reshoot family portrait with FOC albums and big prints + frame etc... Well done loh....i am sure she has posted in the forum as well.
    This is why you need to charge, it's not only for your extra effort to stay back, and also you need to profit and also as a buffer. I also would disclaim first that if it's for a very important shot coz it's some special extended family gathering from many different countries, i charging 100 bucks for staying back does not mean i can deliver tack sharp pictures that you can print at A3 under that kind of ballroom high ceiling condition which you would not get enough flash power to do even f4 @ 1600 (let alone f5.6)

    So that's info for the newbies or even those in the 1-2 year experience maybe 50-100 weddings bracket and its so-far-so-good, beyond that should be enough exposure to see and experience a good range of clients out there. For me I am actually quite afraid already by some of the horror stories i heard lately (and some by 2k range VGs).... There are such people in Singapore, unfortunately. My wife's encounter has been the same too in her line....

    As a PG nowadays, you really need to protect yourself to a good extent. There is so much s*** I have seen but luckily it is with protection and T&Cs/contractual agreement. If not nowadays quite a few couples don't even pay up on the actual day.
    Here is one suggestion, I will get the couple to give me a list of shots that they want before the wedding, as in the family member type shots, and I will make sure I check it when I shoot it, and just going through the list on the day. If they don't give me the list, well, it won't be an issue as I don't have get those shots... so if I miss anyone without the list, my couple generally understand


    Regards,

    Hart
    Last edited by Agetan; 28th February 2012 at 01:05 AM.

  18. #38

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Quote Originally Posted by sjackal View Post
    Spot on.

    Props, hmm, can use a bit, its only one of the many means of expression and creativity.

    But if one's photography is relying totally on props, a photoshop action, a certain lighting situation a turn of a trend will put one's style out of favor. Then does the photographer adopt another style and lost the identity?

    The voice comes from within and that is the path of the artist. Unfortunately for some and fortunately for some too, that many pursue a piece of equipment, a photoshop effect, or a piece of prop.


    It is easier to sell with props and nice post-processing and there isn't anything wrong with it. If you have to rely on that.... what you need to do is always be the trend setter and not the trend follower...

    It is about matching the right product to the right clients...



    Regards,

    Hart
    Last edited by Agetan; 28th February 2012 at 01:05 AM.

  19. #39

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    For newbies who are thinking of turning photography into a profession, don't charge cheap maybe because the client may be your friend, or this couple may look nice or because I need a portfolio or maybe because I am new. A commerical project means the clients pays you and their expectation of you is limitless. That means your error margin has to be less than 5%.
    You have to work out a proper costing including extra buffer just in case unnecessary issue that may crop up.

  20. #40

    Default Re: A wedding photographer's struggles

    Hi everyone, would like to seek the advice and input of shifus here. What sort of terms and conditions should a photographer set and specify to protect him/herself and the business? Thanks in advance for the advice!
    My photo page: TDR Photography

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