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Thread started 09 Jan 2017 (Monday) 21:15
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Should I charge extra to use a backdrop during wedding, even though they are providing it

 
Luigi1234
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Jan 09, 2017 21:15 |  #1

I offer a service where I use a backdrop and external lighting for an additional fee. As I offered this to a client she emailed me back stating she will have a backdrop set up already. I haven't responded and thought what you would do in this situation.

My thoughts are either: there is nothing different in taking photos of them and their family/friends in front of a fountain or in front of the backdrop they are providing, after all I won't be using any off camera lighting as I do with the paid option I offer.

At the same time, I can see many people posing many times in front of the camera and me spending quite a bit taking many photos. (Latino's wedding, and they are not shy to pose for a camera). I tend to spend more time editing portraits because I know they're, in a way, more important that most candids.

How would you respond to the client? Would you request an additional fee? Limit the number of photos they can get? Limit the time I am to spend taking these portraits? Or just go with the flow and do whatever they request?

Thanks!




  
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JacobPhoto
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Jan 10, 2017 00:31 |  #2

If a client asked me to shoot photos with a camera, they provided, my rate stays the same. In fact, if anything, it may go up for being asked to work with equipment I'm unfamiliar with.

If you bring a slab of meat to a butcher, would you expect him to use a less sharp knife?
If you bring car parts to an auto mechanic, would you expect him to use lower grade tools?

The fee is less for the cost of the equipment and more for the knowledge / service of making your subjects look their best in the end product. I would suggest charging the fee AND using the lights to make the client(s) look their best regardless of who supplied the equipment.


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Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 10, 2017 02:03 |  #3

Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239436 (external link)
I offer a service where I use a backdrop and external lighting for an additional fee. As I offered this to a client she emailed me back stating she will have a backdrop set up already. I haven't responded and thought what you would do in this situation.

My thoughts are either: there is nothing different in taking photos of them and their family/friends in front of a fountain or in front of the backdrop they are providing, after all I won't be using any off camera lighting as I do with the paid option I offer.

At the same time, I can see many people posing many times in front of the camera and me spending quite a bit taking many photos. (Latino's wedding, and they are not shy to pose for a camera). I tend to spend more time editing portraits because I know they're, in a way, more important that most candids.

How would you respond to the client? Would you request an additional fee? Limit the number of photos they can get? Limit the time I am to spend taking these portraits? Or just go with the flow and do whatever they request?

Thanks!

Your price should remain the same, It's your expertise with lighting and photography that makes your skill, not the equipment. When potential clients want a discount based on gear, I send them links to my gear at Best Buy and say "Go for it".




  
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F2Bthere
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Jan 10, 2017 02:30 |  #4

I think charging for extra service makes sense. If it were me, I would explain that the extra charge "for shooting on a background" is about my time, talent and effort to create images for them and that my time setting up the background is a tiny fraction of that effort, which is true. The more expensive gear is the lights. The more valuable service comes from my technical knowledge and my ability to evoke emotion and expression combined with flattering posing.

I would be concerned that the background might or might not be good. When a client is providing a piece of the equation usually handled by the photographer, you are counting on them making competent decisions which they may not have the experience to make. Will the background be partially in direct sunlight? Too reflective and catching a green cast from plants? Too translucent in a way which makes background elements or light come through in an uneven way? Trying to save a few bucks, they may be creating a nightmare for the photographer. It may end up being more work for you.

When clients work collaboratively with your process, it generally leads to much better results. When a client tries to control the process, they may cause you hours of extra work and frustration.

I often ask why they want to do things differently. If the answer is to save money, I offer some alternatives which can do that which make it less "expensive" for me in a way that works for everyone and doesn't reduce the quality of the product.

Being friendly, attentive, collaborative and striving for the best results are good things. Going with the flow in a way that puts the client in the drivers seat of the photographic process, which they don't have your experience to understand, is like putting a normal driver behind the wheel of a semi truck.


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AceCo55
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Post edited over 2 years ago by AceCo55. (2 edits in all)
     
Jan 10, 2017 02:32 |  #5

Have to 100% agree with the the first two replies.
I think your pricing model is flawed and you should re-think it.

Are you going to charge more for using a full-frame camera versus dx?
What about charging extra for using Photoshop versus Picasa?
etc

I would strongly suggest you get rid of this pricing structure - it just makes you look petty.


From the "Land Down Under" ... South Australia

  
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ksbal
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Jan 10, 2017 09:08 |  #6

When I show up for a wedding, I always have enough for a 3 light portrait. Then I use it or don't based on the needs of the situation. Last wedding the Bride allowed me, (thank the skys above) to used a huge umbrella during the ceremony, as bouncing light off a dark wood wall/ceiling and going ambient only at 12,000 iso wasn't going to get her the best photos.

Given that they are spending the time to buy and set up a backdrop (she's probably put quite a bit of thought into) and I don't have to drag around and set one up - I'd be delighted.

Formals are part of a wedding. I don't charge extra, and I'd be tickled to death with more volunteer photos than trying to herd cats and get some cheesers! That said, I don't do extra PP on every single photo. They get a certain amount edited, and can ask for more edits, and pay for the extra editing time.

Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239436 (external link)
How would you respond to the client? Would you request an additional fee? Limit the number of photos they can get? Limit the time I am to spend taking these portraits? Or just go with the flow and do whatever they request?

Thanks!

Specifically.. I'd go with the flow, and say that there is a charge for more photos to edit, if it turns out you shoot a bunch more than usual. It might be they just do the formals there, a few more relations and friends in front of it, and that's it. I already have a base fee I give them, and let them know $XXX per hour is above and beyond-- so cover that base if the worlds biggest family shows up and they want pics of every combo possible and you run over your time.


Godox/Flashpoint r2 system, plus some canon stuff.

  
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Luigi1234
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Jan 10, 2017 11:37 as a reply to  @ JacobPhoto's post |  #7

Thank you Jacob. I really appreciate you taking time to respond to my question.

The problem is I don't set a limit for how many formals I take. I charge per hour. And I don't give them an exact number of photos they will receive, I simply choose anywhere from 250 to 500 depending partly on the length of the wedding, and as long as the entire wedding is covered in detail. BUT when it comes to formals I give them at least one photo for every pose (otherwise they would not have posed with their cousins if they didn't want a photo with their cousins).

I know I will be taking formals for them at the Church after the ceremony, and even some at a park nearby. Usually that's just about all the formals I turn in, but I'm thinking that if they have a backdrop set up at the reception hall..... am I expected to do another batch, possibly larger in number if people get exited about the backdrop? But like I said, I just don't want her thinking "well if he's willing to take photos of us in front of the entrance door what's the difference in getting photos in front of the backdrop we set up". The difference to me is that everyone is going to want to get photos taken in front of the backdrop but not everyone will start to pile at the door, but that doesn't sound to me like a solid justification for me to give for some reason. How can I better explain to her the reason for my additional fee?




  
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Luigi1234
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Jan 10, 2017 11:44 as a reply to  @ F2Bthere's post |  #8

Thank you F2Bthere,
Very very true..
Only thing now is, how do I explain that I must charge her more if she wants me to stand in front of a backdrop while taking the photos as opposed to in front of the venue main entrance (for example).
Wouldn't I have to make those entrance door photos just as good applying similar techniques?
My issue is that I know that if there is a "background" more people will be interested in posing in general, throughout the night.... I usually turn in all of the posed formals I take because I know they want them, but they're usually taken at the church and at a park near by for example (things that will also take place at this wedding). So I'm afraid after all of those formals they and friends will pose for many more formals at the reception because of the backdrop.




  
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plantastic
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Jan 10, 2017 15:36 |  #9

If you charge per hour, wouldn't you want as many people in line as possible? I may be misunderstanding...




  
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Luigi1234
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Jan 10, 2017 17:25 as a reply to  @ plantastic's post |  #10

What do you mean? Could you explain further?




  
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Scott ­ Spellman
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Jan 10, 2017 19:38 |  #11

In event photography where you charge by the hour, you should explain the extra charges for extra services as requiring an assistant or second shooter. I charge an extra $250 for studio lighting setup by an assistant at a station.




  
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F2Bthere
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Jan 10, 2017 20:18 |  #12

I share the same confusion.

If you charge per hour, why would you limit how you spend the hours you are paid for? Is it because there is a larger amount of post processing? Because it makes it harder to provide coverage?

Your pricing model is not transparent enough to us, I think, and clearly not for the bride, either :).

If it were me and I was doing a straight up hourly charge, I would build in my post-processing time to the hourly. If post is the issue, I would explain that there is an up-charge and why (I need to bring lights and assume liability for them, need an assistant to help with it, need to do more post-processing for this type of image, or whatever the reason is). If you are transparent in how you price and set expectations (I'm not saying you need to be open book about costs of materials, rental fees or if gear is supplied by you, etc.), you will get into fewer challenging situations.

Since you charge by the hour, I can see why she would be confused that there is an issue.

If you will need to set up lights and leave them set up for a long time, which you don't normally need to do, and hence have greater risk of drunk people knocking things over, that is entirely different. If it were me, this would be the time to bring an assistant to monitor gear and guide the flow of participants. And I would charge for that.

Heck, if the shooting was going well, I would send the assistant out to promote the service and wrangle others in to participate! If you make things fun and people remember you as the photographer who did that, you just got a bunch of great marketing out of it.


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ksbal
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Post edited over 2 years ago by ksbal.
     
Jan 11, 2017 09:08 |  #13

Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239976 (external link)
Thank you Jacob. I really appreciate you taking time to respond to my question.

The problem is I don't set a limit for how many formals I take. I charge per hour. And I don't give them an exact number of photos they will receive, I simply choose anywhere from 250 to 500 depending partly on the length of the wedding, and as long as the entire wedding is covered in detail. BUT when it comes to formals I give them at least one photo for every pose (otherwise they would not have posed with their cousins if they didn't want a photo with their cousins).

I know I will be taking formals for them at the Church after the ceremony, and even some at a park nearby. Usually that's just about all the formals I turn in, but I'm thinking that if they have a backdrop set up at the reception hall..... am I expected to do another batch, possibly larger in number if people get exited about the backdrop? But like I said, I just don't want her thinking "well if he's willing to take photos of us in front of the entrance door what's the difference in getting photos in front of the backdrop we set up". The difference to me is that everyone is going to want to get photos taken in front of the backdrop but not everyone will start to pile at the door, but that doesn't sound to me like a solid justification for me to give for some reason. How can I better explain to her the reason for my additional fee?

But WHY do you need to charge more? I'm confused as the bride here. I'd set her expectations to not expect more editing of those photos..if she doesn't want to pay more. But if you are paid by the hour, and they have a spot they want you to stand and take pictures in that hour.. I'd say you signed up for that per your original agreement. Unless you have to bring in lighting/assistant/oth​er equipment I don't know why you need to charge more. Make sure exposure and wb is as close in camera as you can and shoot away and offer to edit those for xxx more if she wants.

Editing of the formals is built into your price structure, but the editing of candids to the same level as the formals is not in your price structure.. but most likely she isn't expecting that anyways, if you make that clear.


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RDKirk
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Jan 11, 2017 17:39 |  #14

Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239976 (external link)
The problem is I don't set a limit for how many formals I take. I charge per hour. And I don't give them an exact number of photos they will receive, I simply choose anywhere from 250 to 500 depending partly on the length of the wedding, and as long as the entire wedding is covered in detail. BUT when it comes to formals I give them at least one photo for every pose (otherwise they would not have posed with their cousins if they didn't want a photo with their cousins).

I know I will be taking formals for them at the Church after the ceremony, and even some at a park nearby. Usually that's just about all the formals I turn in, but I'm thinking that if they have a backdrop set up at the reception hall..... am I expected to do another batch, possibly larger in number if people get exited about the backdrop? But like I said, I just don't want her thinking "well if he's willing to take photos of us in front of the entrance door what's the difference in getting photos in front of the backdrop we set up". The difference to me is that everyone is going to want to get photos taken in front of the backdrop but not everyone will start to pile at the door, but that doesn't sound to me like a solid justification for me to give for some reason. How can I better explain to her the reason for my additional fee?

Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239436 (external link)
I offer a service where I use a backdrop and external lighting for an additional fee. As I offered this to a client she emailed me back stating she will have a backdrop set up already. I haven't responded and thought what you would do in this situation.

My thoughts are either: there is nothing different in taking photos of them and their family/friends in front of a fountain or in front of the backdrop they are providing, after all I won't be using any off camera lighting as I do with the paid option I offer.

At the same time, I can see many people posing many times in front of the camera and me spending quite a bit taking many photos. (Latino's wedding, and they are not shy to pose for a camera). I tend to spend more time editing portraits because I know they're, in a way, more important that most candids.

How would you respond to the client? Would you request an additional fee? Limit the number of photos they can get? Limit the time I am to spend taking these portraits? Or just go with the flow and do whatever they request?

Thanks!

IMO, there are some basic problems with your charging structure and your expectation setting (part of the same process) that are showing up here.

Shooting formals: She's right in thinking there is no difference between shooting them on the front steps or in front of a fountain or in front of a backdrop they have already set up. That, as stated, should not affect your fee.

But what you're afraid of here is a "photo booth" or "red carpet" session. I would not include a photo booth as a service except by a third photographer (the guy who can't do anything more creative than focus, count to three, and click). Your contract should make clear that a photo booth is an add-on that requires an additional photographer--not you, not at "prime photographer" prices.

I would never, ever charge strictly by the hour. Not for weddings, not for anything. Ever. First, it doesn't really do you any good unless you're able to squeeze in a second or third wedding in a day if you've scheduled a "short" one. But nobody does that. Even a justice-of-the-peace wedding should be counted as a half day. Second, it begs clients to try to save money by hacking off your time--but they'll still expect full service.

Now, your charges ultimately do have a time basis. You have to know how much time you're going to spend in prep, in travel, in shooting, in editing, in packaging, in correspondence--all that stuff. Ideally, you might even have different per-hour rates for each step...as though you were outsourcing it. You might not figure as much per hour for editing as you do for shooting (even if it's you doing both). Eventually that will help you determine how to balance your time--for instance, judging whether it's more cost-effective to "do it in camera" or "do it in post." If you outsourced it, who are you paying more? The photographer or the editor?

With data collected on your actual weddings, you can start to figure what your "averages" are for each service and step and make that your price basis. For instance, if you do deliver an average of 5 formals that take an hour of editing and 500 candids that take an hour of editing, then that's your price basis. If you get some beautiful people who take only 20 minutes of editing for the formals, then you're money ahead for that wedding...but if you get a couple that take two hours of editing, then you're a bit behind for that wedding. But over time, it should average out to your basic price.

But you should not IMO quote your prices as "per hour" to the client. You should have your basic service plus some limited add-ons. If there is a time factor involved, it should not be any less than half-day increments (and a "half-day" is four hours, btw), but the charge for that four-hour period is based on your average calculated costs per hour.




  
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mikeinctown
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Jan 12, 2017 13:52 |  #15

I'm really confused reading this. It seems as though the OP wants to charge the client more money for taking a photo of someone in front of an artificial backdrop rather than a natural backdrop such as a wall. You are being hired to take photos, so do what you have been contracted to do. If you are worried that the client may not have purchased somethinig appropriate for use, why not just ask and find out what the client has in mind or wants to purchase.

I also wonder how much you charge extra for a backdrop that the client has found that actually buying the stuff herself is more cost effective.




  
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Should I charge extra to use a backdrop during wedding, even though they are providing it
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