WEDDING DAY PHOTOGRAPHY
You've been contacted by a woman wanting you to shoot her wedding day. She wants a disc of all the best images and for you to shoot from bride/groom arrival at the church (12pm), until they sit down for the wedding breakfast (5pm). What price will you offer, what will your costs be based upon, when will you deliver the images to the client, how will you deliver them, what will you do to make the job stand out from the crowd and ensure that you build a good reputation to increase the chance of referred/return work?
Although weddings are not going to be the main or indeed a primary focus of my business in any way, I am aware that it is likely I will be asked to shoot some during my time as a photographer. I shot my first wedding last summer which was a very relaxed event and I was recommended to the bride and groom by a friend. They were keen to follow a very informal, candid style of photography with only a few group and couple/family shots which is very much in line with my preferred style. Although I only charged a low fee as it was my first wedding, they were really happy with the end result and ended up paying me more through their own choice rather than my request. This post will follow the process I adhered to last time although I have now increased my prices to reflect the fact I have more experience and more understanding of how much work is involved in shooting a wedding.
I currently quote the following information on my website:
Whilst wedding photography will of course include a formal portrait session, it's important to let you know that my style is mainly candid photography rather than posed and staged shots. I prefer to capture the little moments that take place throughout the day in order to provide you with a reportage style set of imagery that perfectly encapsulate the emotions and celebrations throughout the day.
Starting with the bridal preparations and continuing through until the end of the wedding breakfast. You will receive a minimum of 200 edited images on a USB, although in most cases the total is normally higher.
For those couples looking to capture their first dance, their evening guests and perhaps some more nighttime portraits, an additional 3 hours can be added to the Day Rate. This will give you a minimum of an additional 100 edited images.
If you are planning on a smaller wedding and simply wish to capture everyone arriving at the ceremony and some portraits and group shots following the wedding, then a smaller package can be booked. This will give you up to 3 hours photography and a minimum of 100 edited images.
All wedding bookings will include a pre-consultation meeting to get to know you and discuss your photography requirements. If required, a second meeting can also take place at the venue to finalise any last-minute changes or details.
I have based my pricing on the time spent at the event and then the editing process. Although I am aware that in comparison to full time wedding photographers my prices are relatively low, the style of shoot I would prefer to do involves less dedicated time to getting families and couples to pose. Although it is no less time spent at the event, I feel that the relaxed informal nature of my work is a little less time intensive during the day and also makes the editing process a little easier. As time progresses and I gain more experience then I would look to slowly increase my prices.
With regards to delivery of the job, then I would provide a disc as the client has requested - although I would try to encourage them to choose a USB instead as more people can use these. I would also offer an on-line gallery of images that they could share with friends and family. Likewise, when providing the images I would prove them in hi-res for any printed material but also a social media ready size so that they can share them easily.
Should the couple be going on honeymoon after the wedding then I would look to deliver the images once they had returned. If not then I would provide a small selection of edited images within 3 working days and the full gallery within 2 weeks.
I would visit the client in person to show them the image gallery or hand over the USB so that I could go through the images with them to ensure they were happy with them.
This would also give me the opportunity to offer some extras such as changing images from colour to black and white (although I would provide a selection of both in the final edit anyway), discuss any print or canvas requirements they may have and ensure that they had the selection of images they were hoping for. As stated previously, I would also have supplied them with a file of images sized ready for social media. Although most weddings often have their own videographer, I would also have asked them in advance for a favourite song and made a short video montage of the images to this song and would include it in the gallery as an extra item. This is one I prepared for the wedding last summer.
Having worked for many years in various different jobs, I am well aware that the key to any future and ongoing success is professionalism from start to finish. Acting in a calm, confident and friendly manner will be essential at all stages of the process. This is their big day and they are relying on you to capture it for ever. Preparation prior to the wedding so that you are familiar with the venue, have a shot list ready in advance (created through meetings with the bride and groom and your own ideas of shots you think they would like) and the right kit is essential. Likewise being punctual throughout each stage and delivering what was agreed is key to being recommended for other work in the future.