Wedding photography rates?

Discussion in 'Weddings' started by EASmithV, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I have someone who is looking for a "photographer who is just starting out or does photography on the side" so they obviously don't want to spend a whole lot. Is $60 /hr with an additional $30 materials fee too much for someone like this? I wanna snag this before someone shoots thier wedding with Instagram.
     
  2. daleeman

    daleeman Member

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    I imagine you can do the shoot for that, your $ 30.00 in materials will be eaten up quickly, depending on the expectations the bride and family has on the images. Film makes great wedding images, just how many images are you "contracting" for, proofs, enlargements and other considerations.

    My big thought is have a contract (2 copies) signed by both of you with a copy for the bride and yourself. Include as many conditions as possible including delivery time, proof time, prices, reprints. All of it, or do not get involved.

    Sell the real photography aspect vs pixels and scratched or lost CD disks.

    Make money!!!!
     
  3. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    Wedding photographers do their gig for the even budget end process they might charge for a very good reason. I have done three wedding, over 20 years ago now.

    It is not an easy gig. Count on it eating way more time in communcation and coordination than you could ever imagine. It is your reputation as a photographer that depends on you keeping up with these aspects of the event. You are more than a guy with a camera here, what ever that it is you think you are doing.

    Do it as a package, not a by the hour thing, or she will be paying way more than she thinks.

    Coordination and planning time is a cost. You as a minimim must intervuiew the client for whayt they want and then look at the venues at the times the event is to occur, to plan out the lighting if it will be sunny or overcast (natural or flash assisted to tame contrast ratios, or just to get enough light in the space?). Alos you need a contingency plan for rain or snow.

    Will the gig need an assistant to hold a reflector and herd the guests? The photographer does not have time for that.

    You are really going to do more than turn over a CD of all of your images are you not? At least weed out the real duds? That takes time. Provide colour correction if necessary, because no online service is going to deal with that. An the end result, the images is what you are standing behind, whether you printed it or some onlone service.

    I hope this bit of a rant lets you see I think there is always more than just a guy with a cmaera working by the hour for these type of assignments. Maybe I am way too old school. Oh well.
     
  4. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    A quick look on CL will show the typical rate for a "photographer who is just starting out or does photography on the side" in your area. Most of the ad's I've seen are a flat rate for time and CD (obviously digital). You'll have to do the math between an hourly rate and fixed fee for their event.

    If I take my niece's recent wedding (a fairly typical event), there was a posed shoot prior to the ceremony (1.5 hours I would guess), the ceremony (1 hour), the reception (4 hours, but not sure the photographer was there the whole time). Plus a bit of dead time between ceremony and reception. That doesn't include any prep time (meeting with bride and groom, reviewing the location, testing equipment, etc), travel time, or post processing.

    I think it somewhat depends on whether this couple wants the wedding captured on film or doesn't care. My guess is that they'll also want scanned images so factor that in as well. Also, will you be getting any revenue from print sales?

    I also think the common expectation is for lots and lots of images, rather than a fewer number of carefully composed and selected images. If shooting film, you'll need to manage their expectations.

    $30 would not cover 2 rolls of film, processing, and proofs (except perhaps mail order).
     
  5. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Subscriber

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    Starting rate for "cheap" wedding photographers in our area is about $800, and its usually a soccer mom with a Rebel and a "spray-n-pray, I'll give you my RAW files on a disc" knowledge base.
     
  6. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I occasionally do jobs like your looking at. I have a minimum fee of $300, the rate is $100 per roll which includes materials, postage, developing, proofs, and scanning.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    Don't charge by the hour or pay by the hour. Charge/pay by the job. I don't do weddings-did one and learned how much I hate it. If you charge by the hour you will feel rushed and your shots will look it. If you pay by the hour you will feel rushed and the shots will look it. Better for them to find a photographer sit down then sit down and talk about exactly what they want and see if they photog can do that.

    My brother in law and his bride were shown 200 images on the "preview website". Out of which 3 were impressive shots and the rest were shots a monkey could have taken. This whole more is better is crap.
     
  8. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Well long ago I used to do film weddings, 135 and/or 120 format. Plan on 120-180 shots for the whole day, so do the materials and processing costs math, it adds up fast.
     
  9. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Never mind they want it done for "less than 1000". We're good...
     
  10. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Subscriber

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    So tell them you'll do it for $975, then shoot 4 rolls of film and head to the bank. :D
     
  11. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    Seeing as how I still gotta get pocketwizards this is good.
     
  12. ScarletBrown

    ScarletBrown Member

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    Wedding photography is too much expensive rather than other photography because everyone want best wedding photographs and photo album. Wedding moments are unforgettable life moments and everyone want to remember and share that precious moments with their own partner. Wedding photography rates only depends on photographer. If you choose best professional photographer of your own area then they will charge you highest cost.
     
  13. David Allen

    David Allen Member

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    Good general advice here. However, the most crucial thing when shooting a wedding (applies to all commercial photography but is particularly important with weddings) is make sure that you are appropriately insured. If anything goes wrong – be it missing shots, camera not working, lab screws up the film, your gear gets stolen, etc – you will be liable for re-staging the whole wedding including guests travel and accommodation costs. Be warned that, even if you are 'doing it as a favour' for friends, you are engaging in an area of professional practice with all of the professional responsibilities that this entails.

    Bests,

    David.
    www.dsallen.de
     
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  15. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    Pocket wizards? Are you setting up a booth or something?

    All you need is a camera and a flash (preferably a BIG flash, like a Metz, but a canon 580EX II or the new 6xx versions will do ok).

    I'll probably get a lot of flack for saying this, but why the heck are you thinking of doing this on film you're insane! A wedding is the only time and I mean the only time I would highly highly suggest shooting Digital, there's too much going on, it works too fast, the kinds of images that customers expect these days when shooting a wedding are completely different from what they expected back in the day when shooting film. You probably won't be able to provide them with enough images, and you won't be a will to provide them with the types of images they really wanted and expected, it's different than the days when all you did was shoot each table, and then a group shot and a few of the important groups (cousins, uncles, sisters, etc). In a given shoot, with two photographers, I generally end up shooting roughly 2,000-3,000 photos between the two of us, of that the customer sees about 10% of those photos. Of the 3,000, 1,500 are probably dancing photos with the old strict uncle finally caught doing something fun, etc. It's about the only time I'm ever shooting high amounts of images, other times I'm often obviously very very careful because I'm shooting film, and even when I shoot digital, I'm very thoughtful about my shots, but during the wedding, you just have to go go go go go go shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot they are too fast paced, and you better have at least two cameras if you bring film, because you're going to want to be ready for the inevitable time when the disc jockey guy announcer says okay the bride is now throwing it okay and you're not ready because you have no film left and trying to reload and they throw it before you can finish, heck, even with the digital, sometimes I barely get the shot because of how fast that happens.

    Anyway if you think that your materials cost for shooting film for a wedding is only going to be $30, then you are either underestimating your cost, or you're going to end up running out of film...

    I would agree in the statement that weddings are nightmares, and that's why I only do about four or five a year, I don't seek them out and only do them by request.

    I've done $1,000 weddings for my relatives before, it's a nightmare, and I wouldn't do it again, there's just too much at stake to NOT shoot with two people. I always have a second shooter just in case, and so your initial cost has to go up to cover their fee.

    Anyway good luck.
     
  16. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Really depends on what they want and what you are going to provide. Do they want proof books with later print orders, the whole works? I used to have packages starting at 1200 dollars ten years ago in lower Delaware. Not the most lucrative market out there. Do they just want you to show and shoot preparation, ceremony and some reception and then hand over the film/cards? Our base cheap rate for that was 500 for a hit and run.
     
  17. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    Just a heads up guys this is an old thread it just got bumped by a spam account.

    Stone there are still plenty of photographers who shoot weddings on film. Weddings are the biggest reasons you can still buy Portra 220.

    I shot a friend's wedding this summer because they asked me to, and I did it for free as a gift to them. I agree it is really stressful, the worst part is that you miss most of the wedding as you are too focused on shooting it.

    In terms of materials I shot 6 rolls of 220 NPH 400 at the ceremony and portraits afterwards, with two 220 mags for my Pentax that's a lot of shots before you need to reload. I also did a roll of Tri-X in a Mamiya 645, wish I had shot more of that. I wasn't really 'covering' the reception but I shot some 35mm P&S as well as setting up a photo booth with strobes where I shot 6 rolls of Provia 120.

    With film, lab costs, shipping, and putting together an 8x10 album for them I figure it was $600-800 just in materials not to mention quite a bit of time. If you're shooting weddings for $1000 you're not going to make much, that is for sure! I would never do this commercially and I really respect the people who are able to make a go of it.
     
  18. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    Oh, crap didn't notice that on the cell. Can a mod lock this one down in that event?
     
  19. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Stone, I guess I'm giving you flak, technically, but don't mean it in a bad way.

    If I ever get married I will search for a photographer who uses film (if it still exists when I get there, lol). I'm not after quantity of photos, and I prefer the aesthetics. However, I would want someone who had an assistant, as you mention.

    Our old family wedding photos (on film) show more than just pictures of major players and people at tables - I think that is the difference between a good photographer and mediocre one, not digital v. film. I don't want to not have a picture of that conservative uncle just because he didn't do something "fun" for a change.

    As for taking thousands of pictures - the shotgun approach will yield some very good pictures regardless of who is wielding the camera. That can be accomplished with cheap "single use" film or digital cameras handed to guests - statistics are in favor of enough of "keepers" in that scenario.

    While I can't duplicate a very good photo taken by a pro, I can tell if it was a methodical (slow) and purposeful shot, or if the shotgun approach was used. I've no problem with a pro taking action and informal shots - but I think the reason a pro is hired in the first place is primarily for _formal_ photos of a formal event; again, regardless of "capture" medium.
     
  20. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Good point. I have a couple friends I'd implicitly trust to photograph my wedding if I get married. The same is true for live music.
    The problem is, I'd rather have them as guests.
     
  21. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    Of course, you are not the majority of people though that would want film, and in fact most insist on digital, even if I suggest that I would like to use the second camera on film, often I get responses of negative interest, and can actually paint me as an amateur in the customers eyes, regardless of the outcome, you have to get hired first, and people expect Digital. Or at least the people that I come in contact with.

    Anyway, if I ever get married, if the world doesn't stop turning when that happens, I would probably like a mixture of both, I understand and value the digital side, it is very difficult to print large photos off of 35mm film, and 120 is better but still again very difficult if you're going the old Digital hybrid way, even scanning with something like the Nikon 9000 in 120, I would venture a guess that I could still get a much sharper image in a 20 x 30 photo then on film, I know this is terrible to hear, but after doing a lot of send off printing where I take the digital file and send it off, the scans of film are just not as good, The scanners don't have enough detail, and I'm not about to drum scan each piece of film for a wedding. If I were having the images printed from the film itself the old-fashioned optical way, perhaps then the images would be much sharper, but I can tell you from experience printing a bunch of 20 x 30s, that the digital just has more detail, at least from my 5 year old Canon 5D II camera, i'm sure lesser digital cameras especially the rebel brand, cannot produce the quality of detail, regardless of built their pixel size, the chips and the buffer systems etc. are not the same. Anyway I don't want to talk anymore about Digital, this is a film forum, but it's far as weddings are concerned I certainly would probably want a mixture of both, I would want someone with an artistic guy who only took a few photos on film that where the really good quality important ones in really artistic ways that were fun and beautiful and were something that I could use as my art for home, but I would certainly want to have a bunch of fun photos to share with everyone else that I could send off digitally to everyone etc.

    I can't say that I know anyone who shoots on film anymore for weddings, the last person I should saw shooting film for weddings, was an old photographer that shot my cousins wedding back in 2007, I had JUST gotten my old 40D at the time, and took a bunch of shots just to help with the family, and because I wanted to play around and hadn't really shot anything yet. My cousin told me that it took the photographer shooting film about two or three months to get them the photos, and when she did she was very disappointed in the quality of the images, and also that all the colors look very dismal, and thanks me for having my camera because all of my images came out great, and this was a little surprising to me because I knew that this other photographer had shot for a very very long time, i'm not saying that she was a bad photographer, but it's possible that if she was trying to do a hybrid process that that just doesn't work for this type of photography for most clients not all, but most.

    Anyway I think you're right this thread should be closed because if it's not I'm probably going to babble on some more and who needs to hear that really? LOL
     
  22. adelorenzo

    adelorenzo Subscriber

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    You don't know anyone because you haven't looked. For example the Kirk Mastin who owns his own Fuji Frontier to scan film. Or the Brothers Wright who do also do stuff like polaroid photo booths or Super 8 wedding films. Or Jose Villa who is one of the most sought-after wedding photographers in the world. Etc etc.

    I don't even SHOOT weddings and I've heard of all these guys. If you are offering paid services in that market you might want to find out what your competition (other than the shoot and dump style of photogrpaher) is doing and how much they are charging. For example Mastin charges 7-9K for a typical wedding I am sure the others are all charging a ton.
     
  23. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    Yea obviously if I were charging that much, I could offer a lot more services haha

    I don't at all seek out wedding shoots... people come to me and ask me to do it and I reluctantly agree... I shoot about 3-5 weddings a year just on word of mouth... I dislike shooting weddings so I refuse to make it my main gig... I only charge $2,000 and I bring myself and a second shooter whom also does weddings on the side and is an excellent wedding photographer, and she and I shoot the wedding, she gives me her card, I go through all the images, edit, crop, whatever, and give the images to the bride and groom, 2 versions... the printable versions up to like 11x14 sized, and watermarked images that I give them for Facebook posting and other online posting purposes... and I do this through Dropbox... I don't even offer them a CD, I don't offer them a wedding album ... if they want to pay extra for those things, that's fine, I don't seek them out and I don't try and convince them I'm better somehow, I just make it simple for them, and some people like that. If they want me to make professional prints, I will, if not, they can go to walgreens, hardly anyone who hires me even prints their images at all, they only care about Facebook "albums" ... its a younger crowd that hire me, the 20-30 year olds... and not the successful banker types ... just normal folk... that's fine with me...

    yes if I charged $7k for a wedding, I could do a whole lot more ... but a lot of people don't even have $7k in their wedding budget .... these are real people ... not 1%ers... lol
     
  24. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    There's that 1 percenter bit again. I'm not into the narrative, so I don't get it. But I've been seeing that reference ever since it seemed to ride up on the same horse with you-know-who. I'll be glad when the narrative has moved on.
     
  25. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Inactive

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    I don't know who?

    The 1% is a reference to the 1% earners ... as in those who make up the top wealth in the country, the top 1% highest earners of money in the country. It's essentially a reference to the super rich people.

    In this reference I'm sort of joking, because those people would probably pay more like $70,000 for a wedding photographer, but you get the idea. "Normal" people, could not afford a $7,000 wedding photography bill, unless they either had wealthy benefactors, or were really foolish with what they chose to spend their money on (big wedding, small ring) LOL.

    Anyway, the 1% term was used most often by the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, to which I was a part of because my friend Mark Ruffalo was always talking about it on set and he would go down there and support them, his big thing is Anti-Fracking, but he also supported the Occupy movement while he was filming in NYC when they were all tented up that past winter.

    Anyway, hope that explains a few things.
     
  26. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    Stone... you're an alright kid. No disparagement meant by that term. I've got a nephew screwing around on his college education with that fad. I'll refrain from the politics of it here. But I saw pretty much the same silliness in the 60's. I was only 10 and onwards from the mid 60's, so the grown kids high school and beyond were getting swept up in that "movement". I was too young to be swept into it. I thought they were screwy. I still think so. Same crowd, different decade. There's no new ideas there. You've seemed to have found quite a photographic background. Shows learning skill and perseverance. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of that crowd. They're idiots. You're better than that. Were it not so, I would not have bothered to tell you. Carry on.