Wedding Package Pricing

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!

Getting the Most Out of Your Wedding Photos

So you’ve looked at about nine thousand bride magazines and see all these photos of great looking couples that must have gotten plucked out of The Hallmark Channel and you dream that your wedding will have maybe one or two moments that will resemble something like that.

Well maybe, Anything is possible.

But in reality, the average wedding day is one of the most hectic days of a couple’s life. Finding time for those really artistic, or romantic, or blissful photos is tough. If you set an hour aside for the photographer to get those kinds of pictures, that will be an hour you’re not with your guests. It’s a tough trade off. To be honest, most couples compromise and allow about 15 minutes for those stunning pictures and opt for to trying to be the perfect hosts to the most important party they’ve ever had.

The result is a couple of nice pictures, and not missing out on your own party. Not too bad a deal.

If you really want those bride magazine shots, come up with a strategy ahead of time:

  • Some venues are just built with weddings in mind. These are places like country clubs or chapel/reception venues. They often have ready-made places for your group photos or romantic poses.
  • When you reserve your church or reception hall or restaurant, scout it for areas that you think would be good places for photos. AND TELL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER ABOUT THEM! I often scout those places weeks or months before the wedding and then discuss my ideas with the bride and groom.
  • Keep in mind that if you’re doing your big group pictures, there is actually enough room for everybody. This is critical in the winter when doing indoor photos. Sometimes the area designated for the group photos, is only about half as big as it should be. We end up with too many people in the back row standing on their tiptoes, and worse- at least one person that has one eye blocked by a tall guy or a lady with big hair.
  • Speaking of backgrounds, remember they are in the background. I don’t know how many times I’ve been told “there’s a beautiful fountain, let’s stand in front of it”… Great, now where’d your fountain go?
  • If you can line up a nice place for a few quick photos between the church and the reception, go for it. One bride liked some guy’s farm pond so much, she knocked on his door a few weeks before the wedding and asked him if he didn’t mind us using his beautifully landscaped yard for some photos. He gave his blessing for us to use it, and it was absolutely great.
  • One bride wanted to do a bunch of photos on the grounds of the Indianapolis Art Museum. I told them the traveling alone would take about an hour, and with the photography, they wouldn’t make it to their own reception until it was almost over…The solution was that about a week after the wedding, the groom put on his suit, the bride put on her dress, and we went out to the Art Museum on a quiet Sunday morning. We got dozens of great shots, with no reason to rush.
  • Let the photographer be a photojournalist. We often see moments that are unplanned, unexpected and unbelievably great.
  • If you see any poses in one of those 900 bridal magazines that you want to try, show it to your photographer. Let them see if they can do something similar. We get in ruts like everyone else. The challenge of stealing somebody else’s idea, and maybe improving on it, is irresistible.