The most common question I am asked by prospective brides shopping for wedding photographers isn’t a question. It’s simple a request that takes a long complicated answer; “Tell me about your different packages”.
Well in a way, I don’t have “packages”. But yet I kind of do. I base 80% of my price on time. And the time I am talking about starts when I am scheduled to start shooting on the wedding day, until the time we agreed I will pack up and leave. Here’s the secret number: $190 an hour. Sounds like a lot, but let me explain, and you will see that this ends up being pretty cheap compared to many or most other photographers.
I like to meet with couples at least once, in person, to talk about the wedding and what they want. We normally meet at some Starbucks, half way between where I live and where they live. Most often, it’s really close to them. Of course I don’t charge for that.
Then I may scout the venue. Either with them, or on my own. I don’t charge for that time either.
When I can, I also like to attend the rehearsal. This is time well-spent on my part. Not only do I get to see what everybody does, but I get to meet with the minister which is enormously helpful. I usually bring my camera and get a few shots that I include with the wedding pictures later on. I don’t go to the rehearsal dinners though.
As I said earlier, I only charge for the time I am shooting the wedding (and reception if that is included). Later, I go back to my computer, download the files, maybe do a little Photoshop, cull out the bad shots, and order some proofs. I don’t charge for any of that time, and that could easily take up to 10 hours.
Then I normally like to gather everything up and deliver it, and there is no charge for that either. (I find it better to deliver because it’s often cheaper to deliver than send FED EX or UPS, and I know it won’t get lost or damaged)
I prefer to keep my wedding time down to no more than 6 hours. Often, longer than that, the reception hall starts clearing out. The old folks and people with very little kids always leave first. Of course, there are exceptions. Weddings with 200 guests or long distances between the church and the reception venue can be factors that would extend photo time an hour or two.
If I am shooting the reception, the first person I want to talk to when I get to the reception hall is the DJ. I tell him/her my time line and they are often more than happy to keep me on schedule.
If its teeny tiny wedding, and I am only going to be needed at the church or chapel for about 90 minutes, I do a super-saver. But you only get the DVD. No prints, no Photoshop. And I do just mail that. Super Saver pricing is $300 and is limited to weekdays.
Now having said all that, here are the really important things you need to know or consider
- I give a military discount of 10% for weddings $500 or less. And I give a 20% discount for anything over. I would like some proof that the bride or groom was or is in the military. Some people will say anything to save a few bucks. A DD-214 or Military ID will do the job.
- I always keep a copy of your images on file for a minimum of 2 years, in case you lose the DVD, or it gets damaged. First replacement is free. 2nd is $20.
- I always have the wedding photos ready for delivery or shipment within 3 weeks.
- Just because I said I like to limit weddings to 6 hours doesn’t mean I never go longer. I just find that 6 hours is usually enough. If we need an extra 15 or 20 minutes to get a few more important photos, that’s no problem.
- If the wedding is over an hour away, we will probably charge a bit more. We don’t mind traveling. Some our favorite weddings were over a hundred miles from Indianapolis.
- Engagement pictures are an a la carte item. I think, as a photographer they are the most fun and allow me to be the most creative. Normally it seems to take about 90 minutes for a good session, but I only charge for an hour.
Are you ready to talk? Call me today at (317) 253-3013 or fill out my contact form to connect!