Booking a Craigslist Budget Wedding - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by valenda_welch, Jun 18, 2009.

  1. Hello All,
    A craigslist bride wants to book me for their August '09 wedding. We've negotiated a price and she's agreed via email to my shortest option of 2 hours of wedding coverage.
    I think I might want to stay longer and capture more of the wedding for my portfolio. My concern is that I don't want the bride, groom, or a family member expecting to receive any images that I take, once the two hour coverage time is over.
    Is there a good way to handle this so I can avoid any problems or misunderstandings later? Or, do you feel I'd be playing with fire?
    I plan to meet the bride and groom next week to discuss the wedding details and sign the contract. However, my contract does not have verbage about this possible scenario and I don't think I'll be able to consult with a lawyer prior to the meeting.
  2. I wouldn't stay longer if you aren't planning on showing her the pictures. There are two (or more) ways you could go about doing this -
    1. Have a set limit on the number of images you will present to her written in the contract. Whether you use some of the images from your 'overtime' or not will be up to you.
    2. Stay extra and present the 'extra' images to her as a surprise. Going above and beyond expectations goes a long way in client/vendor relations.
    Honestly - I think it's a little strange that you would want to stay extra and not expect the bride or her family to want to see the pictures. What's the point? Be upfront and honest. If you don't want them to see more images, don't take any.
    I'm sure someone will chime in with all the legal stuff, but to me you are being a bit naive and selfish -
  3. Colleen- Perhaps I should have been clearer. It's not that I don't want to show her more images. I would upload the "overtime photos" into their online gallery for viewing. However, I wouldn't want to provide them to her for free, on the DVD, with the images taken during my official booking time. I would be more than happy to provide hi-res files of the "overtime images" to her for an additional fee ( my hourly rate for the extra hour(s) I stayed at the wedding to capture them) should she decide after the wedding that she wants the additional coverage after all.
    My concern is that my wish to stay and shoot longer may cause problems down the road. Anyone have any ideas on how I could do this successfully?
  4. I believe Airlia said she didn't want the clients expecting to RECEIVE any images, not see the images.
    However, I believe, Airlia, that you are making this more complicated than it should be. Simply ask the clients if you CAN stay longer to take images for your portfolio, and tell them that in exchange for the opportunity, you will give them x images from that time period--make it a small number so you can be sure to be able to meet that number. Write it up in plain language as an addendum to the contract. After all, you are getting something from them in the way of opportunity to further YOUR business.
    If you stay longer, take a lot of images, and give them nothing, that is playing with fire.
  5. Nadine: I'm not trying to make this more complicated. I'm trying to be responsible and avoid having to post on after the wedding. I feel I'm being pro-active and thinking the options through before discussing it with the couple. I have every intention of getting their permission prior to the wedding. And, I also was planning to give them a few surprise extra images.
    Thank you for your suggestions. It appears I might not be too crazy in considering this idea.
  6. I smell big problems coming up on this one.
  7. Don't stay and take pictures unless you are giving them to her. I would be horrified if as a Bride I only had enough money to hire you for 2 hours, and then you stayed, and had extra photos that I couldn't afford to get from you... That would seem like a bait and switch to me. If you want the extra photos for your portfolio, then do those for free. Or re-negotiate something so you are contracted for the time that you want to be photographing. Give her a good deal I suppose. I would probably add in the extra pictures to the others as a freebee and hope that she's doubly grateful and refers all her friends.
    The way I see it, I can't photograph more than one wedding in one day, so I might as well stay the whole time. It seems ridiculous to leave when your time has "run out" and things are still happening. So I do understand where you are coming from on this one. Good luck!
  8. You could offer them another package:
    - 2hours of photography with X amount of images on a DVD
    - ask if you can stay on and then they can have the option of purchasing extra photos. decide on a price per picture. they can choose this from your gallery.
    Win-win situation really....
  9. If you want them for the portfolio, and want to get your name out there as a "good guy", then stay later, capture her day, and give her the pictures. It's beneficial for you because you're doing something good for someone else. You'll come out smelling like a rose.
    This is why I don't really do hourly bookings. Even with my smallest package (which is supposed to be 4 hours), I'll still stay if things are happening. It's my job to capture the day, not watch the clock.
  10. Sorry, but this question is messed up. If you are going to be giving them the shots from the original 2 hours why would you then turn around and not give them the shots you are taking the entire time. What purpose does it serve you to keep those images and not give them to the bride and groom? Not to mention that you said this was a craigslist ad so if you are advertising on craigslist it would do you some good to show some goodwill towards all your clients. If you are going to be there capturing their wedding day, and you are already providing them with the images from the 2 hours they "paid" for then give them all of them.
    If I were this client and we met and you asked me if you could take photos of my wedding for your commercial/portfolio use without me being able to have them as part of the original deal....I'd walk away. Quite frankly it would take some nerve to ask someone this. I'm sure in your mind you are justifying this as you are working on your own time...which is true...but you are working their wedding.
    I'm with Colleen, sounds selfish.
  11. Airlia says,
    I think I might want to stay longer and capture more of the wedding for my portfolio.​
    I agree with just about everybody else: This is kind of weird.
    You think you might want to stay longer, but apparently you're not sure. You want photos for your portfolio. Sounds like you are still growing your business and want to get more good stuff to show other potential clients. But you have your services priced on hourly packages and the bride can only afford your two-hour package. So for two hours, you're actually at work and under pressure. And then for another hour or two, you're basically a gate-crasher, not working under pressure because you don't have any obligation to show anybody anything at all.
    You might get your client to go along with your request. Many brides are so overwhelmed that they're flying on Trust-Everybody auto-pilot, and if you ask her this, she may just say yes and that's the end of it. But I personally would not make the request. You're certainly doing one thing right by thinking about this ahead of time and by wanting to do what's necessary to avoid misunderstandings. But I think you've defined the problem in the wrong way. It's not about avoiding misunderstanding. You can get her to understand you perfectly well. The problem is that your request doesn't make much sense, from the client's perspective.
    You know, photographers often work with young models on a cash-free basis: The photographers get to photograph aspiring models for free, and the aspiring models get photos for their portfolios for free. With luck, the models are great looking and the photographs are terrific and everybody's a winner. This is basically the basis on which many wedding photographers get started: they shot weddings for free to get the experience and practice, and the penurious bride (hopefully) comes out ahead by getting better photos than she paid for.
    But that's not your arrangement here. Bride's already agreed to pay for your service. Not pay much, and not much service. But you've got a client who's agreed to pay you for a certain amount of what she regards as basically all the same kind of work, and you've negotiated her into this rather limited definition of the gig because she can't pay for your full court press services. And now you offer to work for a couple extra hours for free. No, you don't offer - you ask her permission. It's weird.
    Now, you could (perhaps should) have agreed to work for 3 hours for the same price, in the first place. But at this point, I think you're most reasonable option is to go, shoot your two hours as well as possible per the terms already agreed on - and then simply stick around a little longer. Nobody else will be watching the clock and nobody's going to kick you out, well, unless they've hired another photographer to shoot the reception, in which case your presence might be unwelcome. If anybody asks why you're still there (and assuming there's no other pro showing up) look at your watch and say, "Oh, I was supposed to leave 45 minutes ago - I just thought I'd stick around and try to get you a few more shots. I am going to have to leave soon."
    And then be prepared to show them at least a few shots from that extra hour.
    Good luck.
  12. If I were the bride, I would be confused...and it is very strange, on your contract, you state 2 hours of coverage...then, does this means, ourside the time period, the bride could say no to the image usages you took on your portfolio...
    I could just stay with 2 hours if that both your agreement...or stay longer if you really like to, and just give her those extra pictures ;)
  13. You're making this far too difficult. Your bride has shown you what her budget is. If you want to stay later and shoot for yourself you should include the images with everything else you shot as a courtesy. Don't be greedy. Everybody wins.
  14. Thank you everyone for contributing. The point of my post was to get differing opinions about this. I had an idea and I wanted to bounce it off other photographers here.
    It's interesting that everyone thinks I'm selfish. A bride liked my portfolio, but said she couldn't afford my normal packages and asked me for a two hour contract. I'm guessing that there will be more to cover than her estimate of two hours. Of course, I can stay longer and provide all of the images taken. My concern with this is that she may talk to other brides, and then everyone will expect me to stay one or two hours longer than the contract states. This is selfish? Not wanting to set a precedent that I'll work for free?
    So, what do all of you do regarding your bookings? It seems you're frowning on my accepting on hourly booking. Do you only take full day contracts?
  15. I only do full-day contracts, with the exception of my "Holly Go-Lightly Package", which is 4 hours (enough to do a wedding that has no reception). Really, I do it for me. I hate watching the clock, I hate wearing a watch, and I just want to show up and shoot...without worrying about going over my time. I don't want the bride and groom to worry either.
  16. My concern with this is that she may talk to other brides, and then everyone will expect me to stay one or two hours longer than the contract states. This is selfish? Not wanting to set a precedent that I'll work for free?​
    Your not working for free, you are working in exchange for collecting portfolio work. It's not a precedent it's an exchange of your time gathering extra shots for YOUR use, and this bride and groom getting some additional shots of their big day. I think you are assuming too much to think others will just expect it now and because of that you want to charge for these extra pictures.
    Everything we book is on an hourly basis. But it is generalized hours. We cover certain aspects of the day with each of our packages. If we build something custom then we agree on what it is that they want us to cover within their time. But we don't run out the door at 2 hours and we don't hold back shots we take after 2 hours is up. If we were to ever ask anyone to help us build out portfolio and especially if they were paying us already....we would include any shots we take within or outside of the time agreed to. They are helping you help them out. They only get one wedding day, while you will use their photos to try and generate more revenue for weeks or months or years to come.
  17. I see this as an opportunity for upselling, so you can get more money after this shoot is done.
  18. No lawyer needed. JUST PAYMENT DAY OF WEDDING. Ask for cash, or make sure check clears before you give them any product. Also make sure your contract covers everything from unhappy clients to specific poses not taken.
  19. If you book a time of 2 hours, then stick to the two hours. I'm assuming that by 2 hours you're not billing them for the downtime between the wedding and the reception (if there is any and you're not busy taking formals).
    If you want to stay past the booking time and take pictures to develop your portfolio, why wouldn't you just give them to the bride as part of the package? I don't understand the reluctance. You're going to be there, you're going to take those pictures, you're going to edit those images, you're not getting paid, so just give them to the bride. If your concern is that you aren't getting paid for doing all that work, then don't do the work . If what matters is the 2 hours booking time then stick to the two hours booking time. If you feel you can't adequately cover the wedding in only 2 hours then be upfront about that at the beginning.
    Someone suggested providing them with a specified number of images up front. That might work. But don't only give them photos from the first two hours. If you are there for four hours, give them a selection of images from all four hours.
    It's like you hire someone to paint your kitchen. You can only afford basic white, and tell them so, but when the painter gets to your house, he says "Well, I like how your kitchen looks. I'd like to practice some decorative stenciling techniques, nothing too fancy or ostentatious. But I want you to know that because you're not paying me for them, when I'm done, if you can't afford what I've done, I'm just going to paint over it."
    Certainly, if you can explain the terms of the contract to the couple and get their agreement, and get them to sign it, then you're legally in the right. But I think you need to come up with alternate wording or an alternate way of presenting the issue to the couple than you did in your initial post.
    Good luck! Let us know how what you decide and how it works out.
  20. If you want to take pictures for your portfolio, you should be paying the couple for their modeling services.
  21. Pretty simple. If you are using these people to expand your portfoilio, you should repay them in kind, via supplying some extra pictures. You say that you don't want to set a 'working for free' precedent, but if you fail to give them anything for them providing this opportunity for you, you set a 'precedent' of appearing just plain cheap.
    Easy answer - win/win. Take extra shots and supply extra pictures. Make certain this is understood (in writing, of course) in advance.
    (disclaimer - I'm not a wedding pro, but don't need to be. This is just plain common sense!)
  22. If you want to grow then give her extra time and gift the image files to them and thank them for allowing you to stay and take the extra photos.
    Keep it simple at this stage in your photographic development; plenty of time to get serious later.
  23. <p>You need to look at the big picture here It sounds like you are doing the right thing in building your business....looking for business where ever you can, now take it to the next level. You will be there, you will take pictures,you will edit photos, Don't be foolish.... give them the pictures!! In todays economy it is the person or company that goes way beyond the call of duty who will survive. Don't get to high on yourself and your "ART" and worry about whether or not there friends will expect the same treatment from you when you shoot there weddings. Concentrate on doing as good a job as you possibly can for the wedding that you all ready have in front of you and maybe just maybe you will get referrals from there friends and family. Show then that you are different and willing to go over and above to make them happy. I could understand doing the 2 hours and leaving and not shooting any more then that because that is what you are getting paid, but you want to USE them and THERE wedding for your own personal gain and give nothing back.
  24. Underpromise, overdeliver. Stay longer and give them the photos.
    Whatever money you can squeeze out of them now is nothing compared to a satisifed customer and the referrals they generate.
  25. <p>I would like to thank the people who provided advice and suggestion.

    <p>To clarify for the record, my original post was an IDEA. As the first few people responded, I responded with more IDEAS. I never said my thoughts were etched in stone. In fact, I said numerous times that I wanted feedback, as in I had not decided what would be the best course of action. I came here to post an idea so I could brainstorm the situation with other photographers. Many of you have provided the helpful comments and opinions I was looking for and I thank you greatly for your time.
  26. I have to chime in here. It seems you have the same attitude that most young people have these days. Im right and no matter what everyone else is wrong. Everyone here gave you harsh honesty. The truth is not always easy, but its necessary. I am sure you have a lot of talent to offer the world. But basic common cutomer service eperience will serve you well in this business. What some of the other posters said. Offer your client the world and in return you will receive much more than you ever thought you would. I would advise you to stick around. You can learn an awful lot here. Even with some that have been in business for years that may have a last minute "what do I do" this is a great resource. Cheers!
  27. Good luck in your craigslist shooting. And if you're still around share some of your pictures. Maybe your skills were judeged too soon.

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