I started shooting weddings about three years ago and did the first one for free. The next one I did for the cost of printing and then made a few $$$ on reprints. Then I put together a "package price" and shot several more at a modest cost to cover expenses and pay for my time. I don't do any advertising and depend on word of mouth. I always talk to the bridesmaids and let them know who I am and give them all a buisness card for "future" reference. All brides have known from the beginning as to my experince level and this has not been a problem, In fact I will admit that my finished work has been very well recieved. I thought all along that the more experence I gain the more that I would charge untill I reached a point that was close with the going rate for my area. I shot several weddings last year and this year I raised my rates by $200.00. I'm still nowhere near the top end but feel that I'm going in the right direction. I've had two brides call me so far this year who knew of me from being in other weddings that I had done. I went to talk with them and their parents and when I presented my price sheet I got the same reaction from both of them. That this is more than their frind had to pay and they did'nt think that I was that expensive. I tried to explain that the going rate in the area was much more and that this was still a good opportunity for them to get quality work at a fair price, but I have not heard back from either one of them and am now worried that I've reached a price point that is costing me business. Should I offer a discount for brides that come to me from a "reference".
BTW, I'm only at $800.00 for a full wedding where I shoot approx. 250-300 shots.