Advice Needed on Charging Rates for Wedding/ROM


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Adzz

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Jun 20, 2004
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#1
Hi all. I will like to hear some advices from brothers in CS.

I started out photography back 2-3 years, and have done considerable number of events (both FOC or paid). Recently, I am being offered an assignment by my gf's friend to cover a ROM lunch reception next year. I predicted it's going to be roughly a 2-3 hour event, but the exact details are not known yet.

The problem comes in deciding a fee for my services, which I have to let them know (soon).

My portfolio has a number of event shoots, but when it comes to wedding, I only have 1 so far, where I helped my friend as a backup photographer (to gain some experience).

Because this client is my gf's friend's friend who is getting married, and plus the fact that I have no real experience in wedding photography, I thought of offering them at a lower rate for a start, and subsequently, after 3-4 wedding events, the rates will be increased too. This is not to say that I cannot handle wedding coverage, but just that I have no actual wedding portfolio to show except 1 and I thought of taking this chance to build up my wedding portfolio.

Now, I am wondering, if I were to offer a lower rate for this first paid wedding coverage, and in the event she recommends me to her friends in future, is it ok for me to charge them at a higher rate because I gain experience in this field? I am just worried that future clients will use my present rate I am offering to the present client as a base. Do you all think it is possible to up the fees in future? For example, the first 3 clients gets special promo price. I will not want to charge a high price for now when I have only 1 wedding portfolio to show, and probably cannot justify the fee I were to be offering if its the market rate.

I am not intending to spoil the market by offering a lower rate, but I guess one will have to start somewhere. And my main concern is lower rate for a start, and subsequently with more wedding portfolio to justify the higher rate in future - is it feasible?

Hope to hear some constructive advices,
Thanks in advance!
 

eric69

New Member
Dec 22, 2003
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#2
Adzz said:
Hi all. I will like to hear some advices from brothers in CS.

I started out photography back 2-3 years, and have done considerable number of events (both FOC or paid). Recently, I am being offered an assignment by my gf's friend to cover a ROM lunch reception next year. I predicted it's going to be roughly a 2-3 hour event, but the exact details are not known yet.

The problem comes in deciding a fee for my services, which I have to let them know (soon).

My portfolio has a number of event shoots, but when it comes to wedding, I only have 1 so far, where I helped my friend as a backup photographer (to gain some experience).

Because this client is my gf's friend's friend who is getting married, and plus the fact that I have no real experience in wedding photography, I thought of offering them at a lower rate for a start, and subsequently, after 3-4 wedding events, the rates will be increased too. This is not to say that I cannot handle wedding coverage, but just that I have no actual wedding portfolio to show except 1 and I thought of taking this chance to build up my wedding portfolio.

Now, I am wondering, if I were to offer a lower rate for this first paid wedding coverage, and in the event she recommends me to her friends in future, is it ok for me to charge them at a higher rate because I gain experience in this field? I am just worried that future clients will use my present rate I am offering to the present client as a base. Do you all think it is possible to up the fees in future? For example, the first 3 clients gets special promo price. I will not want to charge a high price for now when I have only 1 wedding portfolio to show, and probably cannot justify the fee I were to be offering if its the market rate.

I am not intending to spoil the market by offering a lower rate, but I guess one will have to start somewhere. And my main concern is lower rate for a start, and subsequently with more wedding portfolio to justify the higher rate in future - is it feasible?

Hope to hear some constructive advices,
Thanks in advance!
Primary question you have to ask yourself is <How much are you willing to compensate the couple if you "ruin" their photography shoot?>. Instead of asking how much you want to be paid.
 

catchlights

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#5
dragos said:
it is always hard to up your rates in future....charge a rate which you are comfortable and bring backup...
Not ture.

It is not hard to up your rates at all.

It is hard for YOU to TURN DOWN some potential customers.
 

kensh09

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Feb 1, 2005
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#6
Easy......just tell your gf's friend that you are charging this low rate bcoz they are your gf's friend and u normally charge higher. So in other words this is a special rate for them and tell them not to let other ppl know your price to them.
So assume u did well and they recommend u to their other friends. U just do the same thing by telling them it is a special price, but at a higher price. Of coz u shld do a progressive incrase and not a big jump. In this way there wont be a big jump in your price between each associated couples but the price between the 1st couple and the last couple could be 100%-200% difference, provided they do not know each other.
Always rem dont be greedy in your charges. But the most impt thing is however DO NOT UNDERCHARGE A LOT!!!!! DONT SPOIL MARKET!!!!!;)
 

Adzz

Senior Member
Jun 20, 2004
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#7
eric69 said:
Primary question you have to ask yourself is <How much are you willing to compensate the couple if you "ruin" their photography shoot?>. Instead of asking how much you want to be paid.
I'm not worried about this part actually. haha. except to bring a backup body perhaps, and get a cp-e2 for more flash burst. Just need to get familiarise with the flow of the events can already.

Btw, what do you considered as "ruined"? Would like to hear different opinions of "ruin". To me, it will mean way underexposed shots, and nothing significant and impactful on the pic itself, and missing the moment, like kissing, exchanging of rings etc.
 

Adzz

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Jun 20, 2004
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#8
catchlights said:
Not ture.

It is not hard to up your rates at all.

It is hard for YOU to TURN DOWN some potential customers.

Haha! Why hard to turn down them?
 

espn

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Dec 20, 2002
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#9
kensh09 said:
Easy......just tell your gf's friend that you are charging this low rate bcoz they are your gf's friend and u normally charge higher. So in other words this is a special rate for them and tell them not to let other ppl know your price to them.
So assume u did well and they recommend u to their other friends. U just do the same thing by telling them it is a special price, but at a higher price. Of coz u shld do a progressive incrase and not a big jump. In this way there wont be a big jump in your price between each associated couples but the price between the 1st couple and the last couple could be 100%-200% difference, provided they do not know each other.
Always rem dont be greedy in your charges. But the most impt thing is however DO NOT UNDERCHARGE A LOT!!!!! DONT SPOIL MARKET!!!!!;)
It doesn't work this way....
 

Adzz

Senior Member
Jun 20, 2004
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West area
#10
kensh09 said:
Easy......just tell your gf's friend that you are charging this low rate bcoz they are your gf's friend and u normally charge higher. So in other words this is a special rate for them and tell them not to let other ppl know your price to them.
So assume u did well and they recommend u to their other friends. U just do the same thing by telling them it is a special price, but at a higher price. Of coz u shld do a progressive incrase and not a big jump. In this way there wont be a big jump in your price between each associated couples but the price between the 1st couple and the last couple could be 100%-200% difference, provided they do not know each other.
Always rem dont be greedy in your charges. But the most impt thing is however DO NOT UNDERCHARGE A LOT!!!!! DONT SPOIL MARKET!!!!!;)
Well, should I let them know right from the start or after when I deliver the photos when they are happy with the shots and I know they will recommend ppl to me?
 

catchlights

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#12
eric69 said:
Primary question you have to ask yourself is <How much are you willing to compensate the couple if you "ruin" their photography shoot?>. Instead of asking how much you want to be paid.
Is nearly impossible to reenact a wedding ceremony just for photography, and there is no sure thing it can recreate about the mood, ambient or whatever, so any amount of money to compensate a "ruin" wedding day photos is futile, wedding day photography is irreplaceable.
 

catchlights

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#13
Adzz said:
Haha! Why hard to turn down them?
it is about YOU, nobody else.

Anyway, turn down customers to a freelancer, a part-timer is easy, no assignments, still have a full time job in come, or still have pocket money from parent if you are a student.
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#14
kensh09 said:
Easy......just tell your gf's friend that you are charging this low rate bcoz they are your gf's friend and u normally charge higher. So in other words this is a special rate for them and tell them not to let other ppl know your price to them.
So assume u did well and they recommend u to their other friends. U just do the same thing by telling them it is a special price, but at a higher price. Of coz u shld do a progressive incrase and not a big jump. In this way there wont be a big jump in your price between each associated couples but the price between the 1st couple and the last couple could be 100%-200% difference, provided they do not know each other.
Always rem dont be greedy in your charges. But the most impt thing is however DO NOT UNDERCHARGE A LOT!!!!! DONT SPOIL MARKET!!!!!;)
You done this?
It is easier said than doing it,
yes, is possible when you are nobody.
 

Adzz

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Jun 20, 2004
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#15
Hi guys, guess I will have to decide for myself. haha. i think somebody would be defined as a pro-photographer. I won't reveal the rates here too. later kena shoot for undercutting the market. Thanks for the advice so far. I guess I should set about 80% of the market rate perhaps, and move up to 100% in future. :)
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#16
Adzz said:
Hi guys, guess I will have to decide for myself. haha. i think somebody would be defined as a pro-photographer. I won't reveal the rates here too. later kena shoot for undercutting the market. Thanks for the advice so far. I guess I should set about 80% of the market rate perhaps, and move up to 100% in future. :)

Yes, I shoot for living, but I don't really bother anyone charging super low rate, so don't worry about kena "shoot" about charging low rate, I'll not "shoot" you for this.

Anyway no matter how low you charge, sure have some one charge $5.00 cheaper then you.
 

Virgo

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Dec 23, 2003
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#17
Hi Adzz,

I think skill wise, you should be in a better position than us whether you can cover such events. I have full confidence in you doing a good job though.

As for the charges, it depends on you giving the quote as well as the other party accepting the quote. Try to give a quote which you're more comfortable at, but according or as near to the market rate as possible. If you think it's your first time doing it, then a lower but near-to-market rate is desirable. Once you've built up your reputation, you can slowly increase the charges. Yet again, it also depends very much on the couple accepting the charges. They may not bite.

Lastly, all the best in your coming event, and hope to see some of your work soon! :)
 

kensh09

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Feb 1, 2005
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#18
catchlights said:
You done this?
It is easier said than doing it,
yes, is possible when you are nobody.
yes....it works for me.....isnt he nobody in the 1st place? This is the way to start charging at a progresive rate
 

Oct 16, 2003
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#19
Hmms. I'm gonna shoot a wedding soon i think.
Can anyone share on things to look out for during a dinner ceremony? Stuff that is a must-shoot, little tips and tricks etc?

Thanks! Quite a newbie in this area!
QX =)
 

Del_CtrlnoAlt

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Feb 15, 2003
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#20
Timber Wolf said:
Hmms. I'm gonna shoot a wedding soon i think.
Can anyone share on things to look out for during a dinner ceremony? Stuff that is a must-shoot, little tips and tricks etc?

Thanks! Quite a newbie in this area!
QX =)
wow, u going to snatch all our rice bowl liao... young achievement awards!
 

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