Luigi1234 wrote in post #18239976
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
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?
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.