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Just had an enquiry from a bride to be. Asked her what her budget was and she said £300. I told her my cheapest packages were £200-£300 more than her budget and she said that she spent that on her photographer at her first wedding and did not want to spend it again as her photos were just going to end up in a cupboard. I explained that if she booked a photographer at £300 there would be a compromise on the final product. I can understand if people are on a limited budget then they will cut on all aspects of their wedding but this woman is getting married at quite an expensive venue and dont seem to understand why she would want to cut corners on the person responsible of capturing the memories of the day.
She seen me advertised in a local magazene that gets put through the doors each month, the add i have has my website and mobile phone number. Most brides to be would look at the website first to see if they liked my photography but this woman called me and after telling her my prices was more interested in how many photos she would get for the money as opposed to making an appointment to see me to see the quality of them. I just dont understand some people. Has any other wedding photographer experienced people who dont seem to care or dont have a realistic budget?
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I guess weddings are becoming so expensive nowadays that they dont see 'quality' photographers as good value especially now that everyone with a mobile phone camera believes they are photographers.
I think you are better off not getting her booking as the problems afterwards might be more trouble than its worth.
In the good old days when I did wedding photography, a very up-market father of the bride was planning to get the wedding photography for around the the same as the per-head price of the reception.
Now we're all digital, wedding photographers don't have any running costs to meet, do they?
Agree with Colin
Well on the subject of mobile phones and compact cameras taking pictures. I recently done a wedding recently. The bride and groom came to collect there album and thought it was great. The groom pulled what i think was an iphone out his pocket and he had 450 photos on it that guests had taken with compacts and phones e.t.c. He was aware that the quality of them was not good but said that he liked some of them but also know some were overexposed, under exposed, dark background, blurry e.t.c. Before they went home they said that many of the guests were wanting to buy reprints of me so it shows that some people appreciate nice sharp vibrant images despite what people can do on their compacts. I just get the impression that there are some individuals who think that photography is about swithcing a camera on and pressing a button and it is a shame that some people look at it like that.
The wedding photographer is just another item on a long list of things to do / buy / arrange / book / budget for. For the vast majority of couples we are just another cost.
Being the 'wedding photographer' we do not see it in the same way that the couples do. We can see the value in good photography and quality presentation.
As soon as the wedding day is done and the expensive wedding venue, cars, dress, suits, flowers, cake, drinks, food and evening celebration are memories, the wedding photographer becomes the newly weds new best freind. Now they will want to see the greatest photographs ever taken of their very expensive, carefully planned wedding day, regardless of how much they have paid you.
It is our job to make the couple realise the value of the service that is offered, after all, once all is said and done all they will have is their wedding album to remind them of their big day.
As photographers we are most likely to consider that a quality product is important. However, this isn't necessarily the case for the customer. If they are happy to accept lower quality standards (be it because they genuinely don't care or simply can't afford it) I don't think we can blame them.
At a wedding I once attended all the guests were given cheap disposable cameras to capture the day. The couple aslo had a very good official photographer. The quality of the official photographs was excellent, but they are just gathering dust in an album on the shelf. It is the ones taken on the disposables that get brought out at every party and get together - despite them being poorly exposed, poorly composed and often out of focus. In today's digital age it is even easier and cheaper to get guests to send you the pictures they take, so maybe for many couples the service they need from an official photograher is diminishing (or even disappearing altogether).
Maybe we are a little too biased to genuinely accept that some people don't want or need top quality pictures - and that quality photographers aren't that important.
Just a view, so feel free to disagree.
Well if that's the case John, we might as well not bother)
I have to agree with Picture Newport in that after it's all over and the guests have gone home, the photographer becomes the Bride's best friend and she expects quality. I think with the age of digital photography, we are seen as an expensive option, after all everyone can take a good, well exposed picture nowadays, can't they) - NOT!!
I think I will take my iphone to the wedding on saturday Im doing and see what the reaction is - should be fun)
I think there is an awful lot of hype about weddings these days with amazing figures given as to the average cost of a wedding. It is only an average, some will be astonomically expensive and some couples really do it on the cheap, I know I did. My photographer cost the princely sum of £30 (more than my dress!) in 1977. For that I got a perfectly acceptable album with 24 8 x 10 photographs of a very good quality and I think he did an amazing job, given that the church was in a town centre with no attractive backdrop available (not that you would realise that from the photographs). We only had photographs taken at the church, none at the house or reception, which would have more than doubled the price. Maybe I hit lucky and found someone who was not only good but didn't charge the earth. It may be interesting to hear from anyone who was doing wedding photography back in the late 1970's as to what they were charging then.
Given an inflation rate of 430% since then I don't think £300 is that unrealistic for a couple looking to keep the costs down. I think it's just a case of accepting that not everyone is going to spend a fortune on a wedding, including the photographer. They will always find someone to do it at a price they can afford and mostly be quite content with the photographs, even if they may not be up to your high standards.
Perhaps if you indicate in your advertisements what price your packages start from you can avoid receiving enquiries from potential customers who clearly can't afford you.
It is our job to make the couple realise the value of the service that is offered
Yep and you're up against the caterers, the dress, the church, the wedding coordinator, the cake, the stag/hen night, the invitations, the flowers, the car, the honeymoon, etc.....
A lot goes into a wedding and even on budget people try to get much of the above fitted in in some form. However each group has their own arguments as to why their area is highly important and why it needs to cost X amount - I mean bad photos won't give all the guests food poisoning the day after
In the end you just have to play your game and make sure that your marketing strategy is aimed (as best it can) at the market area you are pricing yourself into - no point advertising in places where budget shoppers will be since they just can't afford the prices.
I'd also agree that displaying a guideline price on your website would at least give potential brides the chance to see if you are in their budget area. You'll still get the hagglers trying to work you down but you should see fewer of them.
In the end there are different areas of the wedding market and in recent times the financial pressure puts more people under the feeling of trying to save on costs. All the other groups in the wedding will be feeling the same pinch.
There seems to be plenty of weddings at the moment and i am sitting on far more bookings for next year compared to the same time last year for this year. Years ago all people needed to get married was a wedding dress, minister, church and photographer but going by some of the things brides seem to be discussing on wedding forums it seems that they are blowing money on rediculous things that are not even needed, stuff like goldfish bowls in the middle of the tables and lots of strange stuff.
As a photographer i want to be booked because they genuinly want me to be their photographer and not secure a booking just because i knock £100 of or am £50 cheaper than the next photographer. I know i have lost work in the past because the certain couples have sent me e-mails saying thanks for your time but we have found someone cheaper. I would rather be told that they have booked a more expensive photographer because they think he/she is better than me, i know it sounds silly but thats how i feel.
I have spoke to several photographers who have been in the business for years and they say that they are doing less eddings now than they ever have done.
When my wife and I got married 4 years ago we decided that the photographer was not something we really wanted to skimp on but we could not afford some of the top rate photographers. At that time Kodak had a reasonably priced wedding package using local photographers across the country, although it was more than £300. He was there at the Service and then came with my wife and I to an old ruined priory nearby for some posed shots with an interesting background. He also took the group photos at the start of the reception before the meal. We got some really good 'official' photos.
However, at the dinner we also handed out disposables to the guests. These were as much for them to take pics with for themselves as for us, as not everyone has a camera or remembers to bring it
What worked for us was the mixture of shots, high and low quality, as even the best wedding photographer cannot be everwhere at once.
Back to the OP: if the photos were just going in a cupboard then why bother with an Official Photographer at all?? Clearly she was disappointed with the phots from her first marriage, which may have been some time ago, and not prpared to take into account inflation! Sounds like you're not neccessarily missing out on this one
It would be better for the industry though if people with this sort of budget would need to do without a photographer because they could not find one for £300. Reality is that there are so many photographers that want to do weddings now that they will do them for next to nothing to gain experience therefor many people may thing that £300 is the normal price for a photographer therfor making it increasingly difficult for more expensive photographers to make a full time living.
Quote: It would be better for the industry though if people with this sort of budget would need to do without a photographer because they could not find one for £300. Reality is that there are so many photographers that want to do weddings now that they will do them for next to nothing to gain experience therefor many people may thing that £300 is the normal price for a photographer therfor making it increasingly difficult for more expensive photographers to make a full time living.
It sound like you resent that these £300 photographers are making it difficult for you. There is no reason why someone shouldn't offer to do a wedding at £300 as long as they are honest about what you get for that price.
Several big changes are co-inciding here. Firstly the costs associated with setting up a wedding photography service have dramatically reduced (cameras and other kit are relatively cheap), getting good images is easier than ever (good in camera light metering, auto focus, face recognition, etc.) and a recession (meaning that more people are looking for paid income). These things all conspire to drive down the price people will charge. It may be unwelcome from your perspective, but it is the reality and being bitter about it won't change it.
Quote: Just had an enquiry from a bride to be. Asked her what her budget was and she said £300. I told her my cheapest packages were £200-£300 more than her budget and she said that she spent that on her photographer at her first wedding and did not want to spend it again as her photos were just going to end up in a cupboard.
And her first marriage was in 1980?
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