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Thread: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

  1. #1

    Default Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Hi all, need to know if you guys include your retention fee in your package price offered.
    eg. package A is worth $2000, retention fee is $300, balance $1700

    or any of you do not include your retention fee with your package A?
    eg. package A is worth $2000, retention fee is $300, balance $2000

    And yes this fee is not refundable.

    Im in a middle of revising my rates, and one of the process is that im thinking of applying the 2nd option. What u guys say?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Hi Artfakeme,

    The industry practice is 1st option. Strictly speaking, the deposit is not a retention fee, it's a downpayment for a job to be completed. Retention would infer retaining over a period of time, which in the case of wedding day photography isn't exactly correct.

    Also, going for the 2nd option might confuse your customers and it will likely be seen as an extra cost.

    Best
    Wesley
    Last edited by wesley; 16th February 2007 at 10:21 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    i'm using the 1st option. i agree with what wesley said.. if ur client is paying $2300 in total, why dun u just tell them ur package cost $2300?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    I came up on the option 2 idea, when one of my clients asked me if the package fee includes the retention fee.

    I think $300 is an average fee for a retention fee. So all clients at that point will have that $300 in hand. So as long as we told them that it is not included in the package fee, the next thing is, the couple have to take it or leave it. As long as they are clear on what they are paying, and by giving them an explanation to why I exclude the retention fee, then I think the couple is clear of any doubt about my pricing. FYI, the retention fee, at the same time is my DI fee that is included in my cost.

    To me logically, retention fee should be higher. Just that it has been somehow "traditionally" anchored to around that price, hope im right . Imagine if your client cancel their wedding 2 weeks or 1 month before their wedding, there goes your $2000. No way that you will get an enquiry that can replace that date. You have to be very lucky if that were to happpen.

    So how, wat u guys think?
    Last edited by artfakeme; 13th February 2007 at 11:00 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Quote Originally Posted by artfakeme View Post
    I came up on the option 2 idea, when one of my clients asked me if the package fee includes the retention fee.
    ........
    So how, wat u guys think?
    It's highly unusual but if you have a majority of clients asking for the option2 way then it might be better for you to go option 2 then.

    best
    Wes

  6. #6

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    I prefer to collect deposit upon confirmation by the client; then the balance on the actual wedding day.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Hm you guys must be making big bucks with version 2.

  8. #8
    Senior Member jOhO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Quote Originally Posted by artfakeme View Post
    I came up on the option 2 idea, when one of my clients asked me if the package fee includes the retention fee.

    I think $300 is an average fee for a retention fee. So all clients at that point will have that $300 in hand. So as long as we told them that it is not included in the package fee, the next thing is, the couple have to take it or leave it. As long as they are clear on what they are paying, and by giving them an explanation to why I exclude the retention fee, then I think the couple is clear of any doubt about my pricing. FYI, the retention fee, at the same time is my DI fee that is included in my cost.

    To me logically, retention fee should be higher. Just that it has been somehow "traditionally" anchored to around that price, hope im right . Imagine if your client cancel their wedding 2 weeks or 1 month before their wedding, there goes your $2000. No way that you will get an enquiry that can replace that date. You have to be very lucky if that were to happpen.

    So how, wat u guys think?
    not really.. i collect quite alot more as deposit, and if the wedding is cancelled, the deposit is non-refundable. call it what u will, deposit, retention, remenuration.... it's not returnable NOR transferable NOR allowed to change date.

    and er.. it's kinda quite alot more than $300............

  9. #9

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    I think generally 1/3 to 1/2 up front is fair.

    I have in the past i have asked 1/3 to book, 1/3 after the photography is done and the final payment in full upon delivery.

    It's up to you to figure out how you want too be paid. There are no hard and fast rules, what is suggested are just general guidelines or what has worked for people. I think once you have experienced enough nasty couples, you'll figure out really quick what works and what doesn't.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Quote Originally Posted by jOhO View Post
    not really.. i collect quite alot more as deposit, and if the wedding is cancelled, the deposit is non-refundable. call it what u will, deposit, retention, remenuration.... it's not returnable NOR transferable NOR allowed to change date.

    and er.. it's kinda quite alot more than $300............

    That is a good strategy which I will in time go in this direction for payment collection.

  11. #11
    Senior Member zoossh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    purely from the view point of a customer point, i think it is better to include everything with a final nett price, then explain each item separately. i.e. option 1

    as for asking for a higher retention or deposit or whatever it is called, it depends on how well known and well established you are to the couple, that the couple will give that amount....

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Retention fees is used for services, deposit refers more to products or goods. I use the term downpayment in my contract now.

    I think most of the full-time professionals would collect at least 50% upfront upon confirmation of services. The remaining 50% on the wedding day itself and all these payment terms are reflected in my service terms as well.

    If couples are having albums made, I will collect in FULL even before I start working on the album layout. Also, clients tend to be more motivated to get back to you their selection of photos for the albums since they've paid upfront. I used to have couples who took 4 months to select their pictures because of the 20% balance upon delivering of prints/ book.

    Some of my imported albums can cost a few grands and we are photographers, not their bankers.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    Quote Originally Posted by canturn View Post
    Retention fees is used for services, deposit refers more to products or goods. I use the term downpayment in my contract now.

    I think most of the full-time professionals would collect at least 50% upfront upon confirmation of services. The remaining 50% on the wedding day itself and all these payment terms are reflected in my service terms as well.

    If couples are having albums made, I will collect in FULL even before I start working on the album layout. Also, clients tend to be more motivated to get back to you their selection of photos for the albums since they've paid upfront. I used to have couples who took 4 months to select their pictures because of the 20% balance upon delivering of prints/ book.

    Some of my imported albums can cost a few grands and we are photographers, not their bankers.
    your approach sounds the most logical and doesn't give your clients the impression of hidden fine print.
    a contract protects you but should not be so convulated that the client gets confused or leads to disputes later.
    Many are culled, few are chosen

  14. #14

    Default Re: Retention Fee (AKA deposit) for wedding photography

    I collect $500 as a retainer to reject all bookings for the dates.
    I collect the rest 2 weeks before the wedding.
    If the wedding is cancelled at anytime before the date but 2 weeks after the retainer is paid, there is no refund.
    If the wedding is cancelled within the 2 weeks after the full amount is paid, 50% is refunded and the 50% forfeited because of opportunity cost.
    If the wedding is rescheduled and I can still cover it i.e. new dates still available.. no change.
    If the wedding is rescheduled and I cannot cover, then retainer is forfeited together with amounts paid up to the time of rescheduling.
    The retainer IS a retainer for services to be rendered at an agreed date and this blocks off opportunities for jobs for others so it should not be considered a deposit or a downpayment.

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