Need feedback from pro wedding shooters

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by john caetano photos, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. Ok here's my situation.
    I am getting married in April 2011. My girl and I are paying for the wedding ourselves and have a really strict budget. I am finding that Photographers that we like are in the $3,000 range but our budget is about $2,100 at most. Since I have expirence in photography, and have done one wedding myself, I was thinking about doing the after work myself but have the photog do the picture work.
    I know most of their profit comes from albums and such, but all i really need to the full res proofs and i can do the rest myself. What do you think will be a photographers attitude if i was to present something like this? I would basically ask them for a price on what they would charge to take the pictures, rather then a package price. How much cheaper do you think it would come out if they were to agree?
     
  2. I don't know of any photographer who would agree to that. If someone asked me I would refuse. A large amount of the image making process is creative interpretation. What you're asking is perhaps something like asking a restaurant for the recipe and ingredients so you can cook it yourself.... And more expensive photographers would never agree, as it's directly damaging to their brand and their product.
    But why not ask a different question?
    I suggest you tell the photographer your budget and ask what they can do to meet it. Most photographers are prepared to reduce costs to meet a client's budget (as long as it's in a reasonably similar ballpark). There are simple choices such as shooting fewer hours, supplying only prints instead of digital files, or albums with fewer layouts, or even albums from lower cost suppliers.
    There's absolutely nothing wrong with negotiating. But I think your first idea will be unpalatable to most people.
     
  3. I agree with Neil. I would bet the attitudes you are asking about would vary a lot. So, I'd be extremely diplomatic about asking. I would pull back on the question and ask if there is room for negotiation or shifting of package elements based on budget constraints before proposing that you process the images yourself. This is similar to asking a photographer who uses film to just shoot and turn over the film rolls. Some would do it, others wouldn't.
    In keeping with the above, I'd also guess that there would be a big variance as to how much you could get off the package price.
     
  4. I was in a similar situation myself this past summer. I did approach photographers and ask pretty much the same questions as you did and got a fair response from all of them. A few told me that no, they wouldn't do that, but offered to taylor a package for me. A few said that they don't normally do that, but agreed after I showed them a portfolio with my post work and my own photography. I was upfront about what we wanted- we knew there wouldn't be much as far as add on print sales- a few 5x7's, one wall portrait, and an album. I was honest about what I would do with the images- a few online to share and the prints/album. I also provided album layouts i've done as sort of a referral.
    I think being honest about what you want, where you are able to negotiate, assuring them that fair credit would be given, and providing a reference to what you can do is all very important. I was able to open a very good dialog with photographers by this approach. I don't think there is anything wrong with asking. Like the reply above said, many are willing to negotiate. A factor in my negotiations was skill in post-production that met their level of expertise. I made sure that they knew I wasn't looking to steal their images and that I would be treating them as my own (not butchering them with shoddy post work).
    Again, I don't think it would hurt to ask. Approach them with compliments to their work, why you want them, what you need (honestly), and where you could negotiate. Taking post out of their workload can increase their profit margin, so don't count that out entirely (don't speculate about their business model, though). I think you would be surprised at the honest answers you would get if you just opened a dialog. Be prepared for "no," but discount the fact that some would say yes.
     
  5. Only craiglist photographers would give you unedited files so you can do the postprocessing yourself. Most real professionals would never give you their unedited files.
    If you are set on doing the post processing, you probably need to go hire a photographer from CL.
     
  6. I would agree with the above responses. A lot will depend on how a particular photographer sets their prices. Fewer photographers rely on post wedding sales, albums and the like, for their revenue. (From what I have seen.) That is not to say you won't be successful in your search. Just my 2 cents worth.
     
  7. Hey Mark--I guess I'm not a 'real' professional since I have given RAW files to a client. :^)
    However, I also edited them, because that was part of the deal. And I don't advertise on Craigslist either. There is no harm in asking. Just ask nicely, with respect, and if the answer is no, be gracious and accepting.
     
  8. I would be hesitant in grouping all "good" or "real pro" photographers together in this discussions. Every photographer has a different business model that will allow for case-by-case adjustments to what they normally do. Like I said, I had some great, great photographers that were willing to work with me by cutting nearly half their cost because they trusted me to do my own post work. Again though, some said no. Don't automatically assume that only CL cheop-o non-"real"-professionals will be the only ones likely to even entertain this idea. It doesn't hurt to ask and you may be surprised at the response that you get.
     
  9. Hey Mark--I guess I'm not a 'real' professional since I have given RAW files to a client. :^)​
    hence i said "Most real professionals". the keyword being "most"
     
  10. Just pulling your chain, Mark. :^)
     
  11. Just pulling your chain, Mark. :^)​
    hey..who knows..this is the internet..for all i know we all here are just butchers working at the local grocery store posing as photographers online :)
    /end thread jack
     
  12. Couple of ideas here. You could ask for a digital-only package - no prints, no albums. That might reduce the cost. You could also offer to give the photographer full ownership (they can use it for advertising, commercial use etc.) and that might knock some more dollars off.
     
  13. Actually your assumption that their profit comes primarily "through the albums and such" was more true several years back than it is nowadays. I think you can likely find many photographers that are willing to "churn & burn" a DVD disc for you....just shop around. If you're careful and you really know photography you might find an even better deal on craiglist.
     
  14. That is our No #1 selling package ~! --- Much rather shoot a wedding and hand over DVD's of Raw files. The post work is the most expensive/time consuming portion of the job ...Pass the savings on to the B&G.
     
  15. I am just getting started in my business, been at it less than a year. I mostly do bar/bat mitzvahs, and portraits. I am more than willing to work with a client if they can tell me what their highest priority is.
    If I took the images, I would be going through your wedding photos anyway, so I don't know that your offer is much of a time-saver. It's my work, it's got my name on it, and it needs to reflect my way of working if it is going to generate any more business for me. Plus, if you hire me, isn't it because you liked my images? If you do all the editing, will the final images look like what you thought you were hiring? If it is poorly edited, or edited very heavily, it's not going to look like what I would produce, so it's out there with my name on it and not looking anything like my product. That might be bad for my fledgling business - customer expectations would be thrown off pretty far. Maybe someone with a more established business would be less concerned about it.
    Ultimately, it depends on how you ask. Out of hand, with nothing to go on, I would say no, but if you were pretty nice about it and directed me to a place where I could see your work, especially a before/after edit, I'd at least look there first. Maybe you rock at it and I could learn something from you - you know? I checked your web site and you seem like an ethical professional at first glance - it makes me more inclined to say "yes, we could negotiate". Include your site address in your inquiries.
    The fastest way to reach a compromise, I think, is probably on time spent. If you wanted me to come for the ceremony, no "prep time with bride", that would be a good compromise. If you don't want the reception photographed past the first dance, that would be a way to save time and money. If you were willing to accept only the best 50 pix edited, so I only have to do concentrated editing on 50 of my choice, then that would save time. See what I mean here?
    I don't make a bunch of money on post-shoot items such as albums and prints, and instead charge for my time to scout, shoot and edit the event. My pricing model is to charge up front for the time instead of giving away the time and hoping to make it up in print sales. I give the client a pre-definied number of high quality images on DVD or CD so that if they choose to print it themselves, at least it'll look decent, and I try to make it easy for them to get prints from a professional lab when they are ready. I only expect good money from print sales if I were doing the work in film and custom-printing the work (it's rare that people want this, but sometimes they still do).
     
  16. We edited as much as possible in the shooting process --- so there is very little editing of the images ~ post. Coming from the film days >the final images look very close to the image we shot/saw.... Our coverage has only about 5% PJ. We do no post sell of images/albums.
     
  17. We edited as much as possible in the shooting process
    That's my goal too - I wish I was there! Still working on my white balance to get it nailed to the point where zero adjustment is required. Ah, someday.
     
  18. Jennifer, post a question regarding white balance. I'm sure a lot of people can help you get consistant images.
     
  19. JENNIFER -- you can always read a white card/or object in the room : for the given shoot. I almost always use flash -- maybe 2 stops or more below the meter reading -- but, it keeps the color constant in certain zones at least .
     
  20. Thanks folks, I appreciate that. To OP - Sorry to thread hijack!
     
  21. Since it hasn't been said yet - Especially if you're negotiating reduced services, make sure its very clear what your rights are regarding the pictures or electronic files from the photographer. I.e., can you make your own copies, can you post them to the web, can you use online photo hosts to allow guests to "buy" their own copies, etc.
     
  22. What you're asking is perhaps something like asking a restaurant for the recipe and ingredients so you can cook it yourself
    well, actually its more like asking a chef to prepare the recipe and ingredients so it THEN can be cooked. Not learning how to do something and made from scratch. The poster is just asking about the last step. It still has to be done right but its not where most of the creativity is. As a result it may be acceptable to some photographers, especially if presented int he way Jen described. Also, some of the other package negotiation suggestions may work out.
     
  23. I would certainly do this for you. I am an amazing photographer and my vision regarding composition and lighting is unique. If you feel comfortable processing the RAW images yourself, then that is fine. I would happily undertake this project because I could have fun shooting the wedding and reception and let you deal with the post processing, which is the most laborious part of the shoot anyway.
    Any photographer that is obsessed with controlling the situation and not helping you out is just doing you a disservice. If I asked someone and they refused, then that is not someone I would want to shoot my wedding anyway. I don't have a vision of myself as some sort of "artiste" that must micromanage every situation.
    I think it is patronizing to assume that you wouldn't do a good job processing the images and somehow this would reflect poorly on my work (and thus affect sales). I am sure you would do just fine.
    Good luck,
    Denis
     
  24. If I asked someone and they refused, then that is not someone I would want to shoot my wedding anyway. I don't have a vision of myself as some sort of "artiste" that must micromanage every situation.​
    Well, I guess then you won't be asking any of the top photographers in the world to shoot your wedding.
    It has nothing to do with micromanagement. It has more to do with brand and image management.
     
  25. I assume the prices you're quoting represent people whose work you like, so know that while you might find a taker from among the photographers you have in mind, someone giving you a lower price MIGHT also offer lesser quality.
    But, no one here knows your skill on a computer, and even a very good photographer might have a certain style that causes you nightmares in post-production ("John, it's the last night of our honeymoon; can't we have ONE night out?").
    There are two kinds of limited budgets: 1. Those that are restricted because there is not even a whiff of the dollars you need, and 2. Those that are restricted because people would rather put their money somewhere else (a house, a honeymoon...). If yours is the latter, maybe the photographers you like are the photographers can afford after all.
     
  26. Long gone are the days where negatives were held hostage and any reproductions required expensive equipment and chemicals. Almost everyone today has a computer and on that computer is the ability to manipulate images. Give someone an image and it can and will be scanned. Now even though the original files were never given a digital copy of the image will exist. It cannot be stopped. Holding digital files hostage is a business model that is dissappearing. "Real professionals" (yeh, define that) need to adapt their business model to the real world.
    I know of many professionals that have adpated and now offer a package of high resolution images on a DVD at a significantly reduced rate. They are not concerned about their "brand and image management" because they are already established. That is why they are chosen. Not because of their package offerings but because of their skill as others offer the same package.
    To bluntly state that no professional photographer would offer such a deal is shortsighted and narrow minded. The times are changing.
     
  27. John,
    In what city and state are you having your wedding? I'll do it and gladly hand over the disk. My motto is that it's your wedding and you should own your own photos. That's what I wanted and got at my wedding. I still have the 6x7 negatives. The photographer would have just thrown them away. Good luck.
     
  28. Damn, I posted a response but never hit the confirm button yesterday.

    Anyhow I appreciate everyone's feedback, and total understand where everyone is coming from. One thing i did want to clear up is i'm not looking for the RAWs or even looking to totally tweak the photos, if their processed thats file with me. I was more relating the work of making albums, prints for my wall and etc....will not be looking to make money off of it or anything. I guess it depends how much processing time is put into each file whether the photographer will allow or not.
    It's gotta be a pain to edit each file....but that's not my fault...
     
  29. It has to do mainly with the economy .......times and rules ~ they are a changin'
    "It's gotta be a pain to edit each file....but that's not my fault..." It's the photographers fault and they rely on the editing to be corrective for their style. Find a pro who can cover the wedding without requiring the painful editing ...
     
  30. There are a lot of good photographers out there who offer what you're looking for. Keep looking until you find one whose work you LOVE and who you get along with and you'll be fine.
    I don't know where you are, but I could probably come up with a list of 30 good ones in my area who would work within your budget and give you what you're looking for.
    As an example, I include a DVD of hi-rez JPGs with all my packages. My 'coverage only' package is in your budget range and it includes the DVD with color-corrected and 'clean' processed images. 'Clean' means color-correction, brightness, contrast, sharpness etc...Though these are JPGs they are typically so well exposed/executed that they hold up well to a lot of processing and retouching.
    My philosophy is that I want you to enjoy your images so I am happy if you create an album, make prints, etc...
     
  31. With your budget of 2100$ you should be just fine in every way good luck!!
     
  32. How much cheaper do you think it would come out if they were to agree?
    I think you should just ask! Be open and honest and say something like, "Can you show up at my wedding, shoot, and process (SSP) the files for $2,100?"
    In the NYC area, the market is very muddled at the SSP level for $2,100. Craig's listers, part-timers, new to the market photographers (sometimes very talented), and unambitious lifers all fit into that category. It's going to be hard, but I think you could find someone talented enough to do a decent job.
    If you're talking about the $3K SSP talent level in the NYC area, you're unlikely to find many photographers willing to budge too much on price. They may throw something in, but are unlikely to give away $900. Something to keep in mind- they may have a talented assistant or second shooter they could refer.
     
  33. I guess I'll approach this if the photographer does not meet my budget.
    Thank you all.
     
  34. I think if you let people know where the wedding is going to be & the exact date, you might start getting offers to do the job for you and you could check the quality & style of those that would give you what you are looking for.
     

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