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Thread started 11 Aug 2010 (Wednesday) 15:47
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How much should I charge for weddings?

 
spesmeadeus
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Aug 11, 2010 15:47 |  #1

I am asking your help to decide where I am at and what you think a reasonable price would be to charge. It is part of our philosophy to give a disc of high res pictures to every person while still holding the right to publish any of the pictures on our own. We just got into this business and are currently charging 600. What we want to know is...

is this too much.
is this not enough
are we actually good enough to make a go at this
and what should we realistically ask for a price based on our pictures so far.

please feel free to check out our flickr (external link)to see some pictures.



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nicksan
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Aug 11, 2010 15:56 |  #2

spesmeadeus wrote in post #10703133 (external link)
I am asking your help to decide where I am at and what you think a reasonable price would be to charge. It is part of our philosophy to give a disc of high res pictures to every person while still holding the right to publish any of the pictures on our own. We just got into this business and are currently charging 600. What we want to know is...

is this too much.
is this not enough
are we actually good enough to make a go at this
and what should we realistically ask for a price based on our pictures so far.

please feel free to check out our flickr (external link)to see some pictures.

How much are others charging in your area?
How do you think you stack up against them?
Do you have a website or just the flickr stream?
Do you have a distinct style? (seems like you may have one IMO)

I've checked out some of the photos, and while a flickr stream is generally not the easiest way to judge, I would say $600 is not charging too much at all. How much you should charge really depends on your intended market, your competition. I suspect you should be charging much more than $600, that's for sure.

I would start with creating a dedicated website if you don't have one already.




  
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spesmeadeus
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Aug 11, 2010 16:01 |  #3

nicksan wrote in post #10703187 (external link)
How much are others charging in your area?
How do you think you stack up against them?
Do you have a website or just the flickr stream?
Do you have a distinct style? (seems like you may have one IMO)

I've checked out some of the photos, and while a flickr stream is generally not the easiest way to judge, I would say $600 is not charging too much at all. How much you should charge really depends on your intended market, your competition. I suspect you should be charging much more than $600, that's for sure.

I would start with creating a dedicated website if you don't have one already.

I am in the midst of creating a viable website for weddings.

The pros in this area are going around 1500-2000.

I have seen some of the work that comes from them from family members and friends in the past and I would actually say i am right there with them or better. My sister paid the local big shot company 1500 6 years ago and printed none of them.



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bdpaco
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Aug 11, 2010 16:31 |  #4

if you feel you are as good as the local pros and they are charging 1500 then that should be the price point you should be at as well...if you are just starting out maybe do a few for a little less to get started then raise your prices after the 1st of the year....


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mikekelley
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Aug 11, 2010 17:55 |  #5

Think of a number that scares you and add 20%.


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Jimconnerphoto
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Aug 11, 2010 18:38 |  #6

How many weddings have you photographed?
$600 is a really low number, are you attempting to do this for a living or just a weekend filler?
How are you planning on advertising your services? What are your business expenses? Do you have insurance and back up equipment?
There is a lot to consider when you are pricing your services. It can be a daunting task to price our own but not knowing what your associated costs are going to be it is darn near impossible to figure yours.
I will tell you I average $100 per client in advertising, $60 per client in insurance related costs and a typical wedding will take me anywhere from 16-40 hours total.
That doesn't even come close to calculating my overall costs per event but just figuring in those costs I could not profitably offer a $600 package and expect to put food on the table.
If you are only starting out, not expecting to do this for a living, not worried about profit, have a ton of free time and getting business by referrals and word of mouth you are probably fine with $600 an event.
If you are wanting to someday do this for a living, do yourself a favor and price your services at a point where you can make a living. One of the toughest things to do in the wedding biz is raise your prices from a meager amount to a level where you will profit from. you will find the phone will stop ringing and you referrals will dry up.
In my area, I have 12 full months to market, a full 52 saturdays that I can expect business, in Canada I imagine you have much fewer.
By the way, you may notice those other photographers are not driving mercedes... Even at their prices you are going to need to supplement your income in some way.


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spesmeadeus
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Aug 11, 2010 19:30 |  #7

So this is the situation. My wife and I both do the weddings. This is our first real year of doing them and we have 5 based off of referrals. What we are trying to do is supplement my income. My wife and I have a small child and she doesn't want to go to work a 9-5. We believe we have the talent to do this. Realistic figures we are looking for is to add 15-20,000 to my income so that my wife doesn't have to be gone every day and pay a daycare. We have a contract with a hockey league for the next few years, as well as a kids baseball league. Between the two of those we are looking at roughly 3,000-4,000 for those two. We also have maternity shoots here and there as well as family shots here and there. Realistically is this a smart way to go or should we do it all or nothing. What i mean is could we sustain something like this or will it drown in a few years if we don't go full time with it?



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Billo78
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Aug 12, 2010 01:35 |  #8

If you're looking to make 15-20k each year you'll need to shoot around 20-25 weddings at your current price point in addition to your hockey league contract. In addition to full time work this is a MASSIVE committment for not much return. 20 weddings is so much more than just 20 SAturdays of shooting each year, it's also 20 Mondays editing photos, 20 Tuesday nights meeting couples leading up to their wedding, 40 Wednesdays nights meeting those who book you and those who don't, 20 Thursdays nights updating your website and doing the neccessary social marketing to ensure these jobs keep rolling in, 10 Friday nights doing the admin the goes along with running a business. This will seriously take over your life, and for what? $15,000? No, wait, take $5k off that in taxes. Now take another $5k off in equipment costs, LR and Photoshop upgrades, website and a myriad of other costs. After totally busting your balls and pushing you and your wife to the limit (especially with a young child), you're walking away with maybe $5k in the bank if you're lucky.

Ignore what the 'togs in your area are charging. Work out what price you need to charge to make it worth your while, if you're unable to get people to pay that price then walk away. $600 per wedding is no where near enough to make it viable IMO.


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spesmeadeus
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Aug 12, 2010 07:51 |  #9

Billo78 wrote in post #10706177 (external link)
If you're looking to make 15-20k each year you'll need to shoot around 20-25 weddings at your current price point in addition to your hockey league contract. In addition to full time work this is a MASSIVE committment for not much return. 20 weddings is so much more than just 20 SAturdays of shooting each year, it's also 20 Mondays editing photos, 20 Tuesday nights meeting couples leading up to their wedding, 40 Wednesdays nights meeting those who book you and those who don't, 20 Thursdays nights updating your website and doing the neccessary social marketing to ensure these jobs keep rolling in, 10 Friday nights doing the admin the goes along with running a business. This will seriously take over your life, and for what? $15,000? No, wait, take $5k off that in taxes. Now take another $5k off in equipment costs, LR and Photoshop upgrades, website and a myriad of other costs. After totally busting your balls and pushing you and your wife to the limit (especially with a young child), you're walking away with maybe $5k in the bank if you're lucky.

Ignore what the 'togs in your area are charging. Work out what price you need to charge to make it worth your while, if you're unable to get people to pay that price then walk away. $600 per wedding is no where near enough to make it viable IMO.

Thanks for this I do really appreciate it. I must say i have considered all of these things but never really put them into perspective. I think that we will make sure that we charge enough to make it worth while for us. We can't keep doing it for the price we have. I think at first we priced it that way because we didn't know if we were able to actually do it well enough that people would pay good money to book us. But I am feeling more confident about it.



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NaKiD ­ EyE
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Aug 12, 2010 09:37 |  #10

mikekelley wrote in post #10703862 (external link)
Think of a number that scares you and add 20%.

bw!




  
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nicksan
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Aug 12, 2010 12:47 |  #11

Billo78 wrote in post #10706177 (external link)
Ignore what the 'togs in your area are charging. Work out what price you need to charge to make it worth your while, if you're unable to get people to pay that price then walk away. $600 per wedding is no where near enough to make it viable IMO.

And I guess since OP is looking for supplemental income, he would be able to afford to walk away from gigs.

I am thankful I have a good paying day job. It's hard work, even doing this stuff on the side.




  
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jmborkowski
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Aug 12, 2010 14:34 |  #12

Also, read Best Business Practices for Photographers (external link), it has a ridiculous amount of good information.




  
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spesmeadeus
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Aug 12, 2010 17:57 |  #13

Thank you we will be purchasing that immediately!



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Karl ­ Johnston
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Aug 12, 2010 18:36 |  #14
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I think you'd have more luck trying out mutual funds or some other form of investing if you wanted to supplement your income, your much better off safely investing it.

Though I'm not a financial planner and don't claim to be one, you'd be surprised how much committment a business can take out of you, even a part time one.

This is a good link I have been reading lately:
http://www.sagewedding​pros.com/ (external link)


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Billo78
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Aug 12, 2010 19:50 |  #15

nicksan wrote in post #10708851 (external link)
And I guess since OP is looking for supplemental income, he would be able to afford to walk away from gigs.

I am thankful I have a good paying day job. It's hard work, even doing this stuff on the side.

Same. I set my photography prices such that it's actually worthwhile shooting a wedding. If I only shoot 5 weddings a year it's a nice little earner on the side. If I shoot 15 weddings a year it's a very nice earner and maybe enough drop back to 3 or 4 days a week on the day job. If i shoot 30 weddings a year it's enough to entertain the idea of going full time. If I shoot zero weddings a year then my mortgage still gets paid and there's food on the table.

When I started out I (like everyone) was charging next to nothing, I learned pretty quick that it's not easy doing this in addition to a 9-5 and unless you're charging good rates it's a pathway to frustration. Clients can also pick up any desperation, sure, be super enthusiastic about shooting their wedding, but just don't go dropping prices and throwing in free engagement sessions just to get work, it devalues your product and cuts into your profit. Being able to walk away from gigs is massively important IMHO.


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