the $500 wedding photographer, some actual evidence

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by dmcgphoto, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Okay, it's been debated hotly often, and I do mean often. This however might be helpful to all those who seem to think that there really is a reason for a client to go with a $500 craigslist photographer.
    My point is that there is an obvious difference to all but the most....I want to be charitable here......steadfast/thrifty....clients.
    As per's rules I cannot post websites or name names. However I would contend that CL exists very much in the public domain and as such is open to all to see and decide.
    Well what I saw was a potential client in Albequerque asking for a $500 photographer......that's not the point here, just wait.
    There was a response, and the responder listed their website, again, this is on CL not, you may research at your leisure.
    The responders website, I feel, provides a superb example of what you are getting when you hunt for the ultimate bargain.
    I'm sure that any client when confronted with the choice of using their photography budget for better h'ors douvres and skimping on the photography, would opt to just keep with the pigs in a blanket.
  2. Which sub-section do people post these ads in? Craigslist does have a photo section but that's for selling cameras and lenses, not for advertising photography.
  3. I'm going to ask you to throw me a bone, too. I spent 20 minutes poking around, searching ABQ & the message boards & never found a match.
    Although, the bride asking for a TWO hundred dollar photog I did find.
  4. Just out of curiosity I tried to find this but couldn't, was this under photo or event, what was the date? A little more info would have been helpful
  5. Well, it may not be fair to judge people asking for 200-500 dollar photographers. Maybe their whole wedding budget is only 2000 bucks.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I find it really unfortunate, maybe more like completely unpleasant, that some people here find it necessary to disparage other people based on their finances. What some people can pay, and what some people find necessary in order to secure work, there are posters here that find it necessary to attack these people (while pretending to be "fair" about it) because they are somehow better.

    I have been to weddings that cost under $1000. Even $500 for a photographer is a wild extravagance for some people.
    Well excuse me for knowing them. Anyone who doesn't have enough several thousand dollars for a wedding photographer should be kicked and beaten, publicly on a web forum.
  7. If you (the photographer) can shoot a wedding with 80 or 90 images total , and provide a 5x7 album of 16 to 20 prints, a two-hour wedding at $500.00 is not going to harm your bank deposit. If, for some reason, you need 2,000 to 3,000 images to get your ideal wedding covered, than the $500.00 wedding is not going to be kind to you (the photographer.)
  8. Jeff,
    Not sure if you meant my post, but I was definitely not disparaging people based on their budget, rather I was trying to make the same point you did except perhaps a little less directly.
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    No, original poster.
  10. The general assumption (not always, but the forbidden broad brush that is being used here for a reason) is that everything about a wedding will be perfect. This goes for the photography as well, whether it's a $5,000 photographer or a $500 hobbyist who just bought a Rebel with the kit lens advertising on CL. It's reasonable for a bride to want everything to be perfect and as much like a storybook wedding as possible, and I think it's very fair to attack that assumption when it comes to hiring the churn & burn photographers with questionable abilities, equipment, and experience.
    I both agree and disagree with the disparaging attitude toward low-budget weddings, but I only disparage when it comes to actually hiring a photographer. In reality, that money is probably better saved for other purposes with photos from relatives and friends being used for the album unless they literally win the CL photographer lottery if the total budget is low enough.
  11. I fail to see the point of this post, to be brutally honest. This topic has been debated ad nauseum here and elsewhere. I say just do what you do, let others do what they do. In my part of the world, for example, 500USD is considered a pretty big amount to be paying for wedding photography.
  12. I'm a bit baffled by posts like this. What purpose does it serve?
    You aren't influencing bargain-hunting brides to spend more money on a photographer or place a higher priority on wedding photography because brides don't read this forum.
    The only point seems to be "look at how lousy these cheap photographers are." So what? Looking at the work of lousy photographers doesn't make your work any better. Being better than $500 photographers is meaningless unless you're also a $500 photographer who is directly competing with them. Do you think that successful chefs are talking about how lousy the cooks at McDonalds are?
  13. The link is not difficult to find. Search the Albuquerque CL for 'wedding photographer'. You don't need to specify a category (results are in 'event_gigs').
    The wedding portfolio of the photographer in question consists of five pictures of a couple posing for the camera. They are not all that bad, as far as I can tell, but they are posted on the web at very low resolution, so it's difficult to see. A couple of pictures have problems with busy backgrounds/bad composition. I'd say that the client gets a pretty good idea of what to expect. A lot of people probably can get a friend to do that sort of thing for free (at least if the friend is willing to sacrifice to some extent enjoying the wedding).
    I love the way the photographer has named the packages: 'Starving Couple', 'White Collar' and 'Executive'. I imagine that would turn quite a few people off (hmm, why not 'Trailer Trash', I wonder...), but I think it's at least preferable to the inane silver-gold-diamond.
    This conversation seems to be never-ending, and it was there before digital, too. I suppose the elimination of film costs has made it somewhat worse, but I remember this sort of thing happening in the 90s. People didn't necessarily call themselves pros, but they'd do $500 weddings for friends of friends and such. There just was no web to put a site on or forums where the pros could complain endlessly.
    There's not much point in complaining, other than possibly the fact that a lot of people call themselves professionals when they obviously are not. I suppose it doesn't matter so long as the bride and groom know what they're getting themselves into. The people on this forum have much more trained eyes and sophisticated tastes for pictures than the average bride. A lot of people simply want pictures where they can see themselves on the big day and don't necessarily know or care about what they might be missing.
  14. If you (the photographer) can shoot a wedding with 80 or 90 images total , and provide a 5x7 album of 16 to 20 prints, a two-hour wedding at $500.00 is not going to harm your bank deposit. If, for some reason, you need 2,000 to 3,000 images to get your ideal wedding covered, than the $500.00 wedding is not going to be kind to you (the photographer.)​
    I have never understood why 2,000 to 3,000 images are needed for a wedding. The 60 or so in my album are more than enough for me and if a couple are getting married on a low budget then a value for money (I didn't say cheap!) service which provides an album with 50 to 100 pictures will be more than enough to provide memories in later years (which is what it is all about really).
    Not everyone needs a big production computer generated album and DVD slideshow with synchronised music.
  15. ...If you (the photographer) can shoot a wedding with 80 or 90 images total , and provide a 5x7 album of 16 to 20 prints, a two-hour wedding at $500.00 is not going to harm your bank deposit...​
    ... and I'd like strongly to dispute this point that the value of a set of wedding photographs, or what a photographer charges for them should be based around the quantity supplied. Imagine quoting $2000 (or $500) to photograph a wedding - then being asked by the client "well we can't afford that, shoot half as much and we'll give you $1000 (or $250)."
  16. Ah, the photos are on Flickr at a decent resolution. His website does have a link to the Flickr account. The small number of wedding pictures are actually not too bad, but then there's a portrait session with a girl, and the posing and composition seem to be off in every shot.
  17. There is a lot of chatter on this subject because times are tough for a lot of people. I've said this over-and-over on other threads.
    Of all of the unemployed folks in the entire USA, over 1/2 of them are here in Michigan where I shoot. So I'm seeing it more than most.
    Out of work people are shooting weddings to help pay the mortgage ... so $500. looks pretty darned good to them.
    Many of the clients are in the same boat ... and having a photographer doesn't mean cutting back to Pig's-in-a Blanket, it means NO appetizers, a "City Chicken" entree, and ice water.
    I have empathy for these good people and wish them all the luck in the world.
  18. Thanks Jeff. Good to know :)
  19. The responders website, I feel, provides a superb example of what you are getting​
    One website that you sought out is "actual evidence" and a "superb example"?
    If that's the standard, I can state I found one website of a much more expensive photographer who displays work that appears substandard and claim it is "actual evidence" and a "superb example" showing that people who pay that amount of money on a wedding photographer are wasting their money.
  20. "Of all of the unemployed folks in the entire USA, over 1/2 of them are here in Michigan where I shoot. So I'm seeing it more than most." -Marc

    While it may feel as if half of them are in Michigan, the actual number of people unemployed is much higher in California (rate = 12.4%) than it is in Michigan (rate = 14.6%) due to a much higher total population number. I agree with the sentiment that many people in this economy are hurting though and deserve some empathy.
  21. Maybe this is a failure of vocabulary. If you're talking about a wedding for a hollywood star, presumably such a photographer needs to be very skilled with a camera, probably have assistants, be a superb diplomat and organizer, have high end equipment, takes thousands of pictures, does a huge amount of post processing, produces very high quality artifacts, etc. $500 for all that seems ridiculous.
    But then suppose you are on a shoestring. You know you can't spend that kind of money for a photographer. But maybe you want a few semi-decent pictures of your wedding and reception with a few group shots and a small, modest wedding album. The photographer need not be as skilled. He needs no assistants. His gear need not be so high end -- maybe he has a couple of middle range DSLRs and a couple of lenses. He produces a CD and/or a small, modest wedding album and maybe a couple of framed pictures. Shouldn't there be a place that couple can go to get much more modest service? Can't you envision such a service for $500? After all, it's just a few hours of his time and a few after for post processing right? He's not doing Angelina and Brad's wedding.
    You guys tell me. Don't different classes of weddings require very different levels of service? What is the total time you spend on a small wedding with friends and family and a small reception (and include the post processing too). What SHOULD such a small modest wedding cost to document in a modest way? I know you need to spend money on equipment and I know customers are paying you for your skill, and you need to recover that investment, but I'm a pretty well paid engineer and $500 sounds like a lot relative to my hourly rate. Would you say someone wanting such a modest service SHOULD be asking a friend to shoot it because it's basically not worth a real wedding photographer's time?
  22. I'm curious. Does the argument for a higher priced photographer assume that the wedding book and photos will be valued keepsakes that will be looked at for years after the wedding? In my own experience, wedding books are looked at for a few months and then take their place on a bookshelf, seldom to be consulted.

    I suppose if you are paying premium prices for a "perfect wedding" then you might not want to skimp on the photographer. But, given that the "perfect wedding" that gets its adjective by paying premium prices can cost what a downpayment on a house costs, that seems like an unnecessary extravagance to an awful lot of people who may chose to define "perfect" in terms that have smaller numbers to the left of the decimal point.

    I have only photographed one wedding, for a young colleague of my wife. I was happy to do it for a bottle of good scotch and the couple was very happy with my work.

    If I was in the biz, I would probably go for the lower price end of the market, let the couple select a number of RAW images that I would edit and provide them with a disk so that they can make their own copies.

    But I am not in the biz, and don't rely on photographs to pay my light bill. If others can provide satisfaction at low rates and take away enough to keep body and soul together, more power to them! They provide a wonderful service!
  23. In my own experience, wedding books are looked at for a few months and then take their place on a bookshelf, seldom to be consulted.​
    That certainly describes my wedding album.
  24. My thoughts regarding shooting for $500...
    There, but for the grace of God, go I.
  25. Given a choice between making $500.00 doing a bare bones wedding, or getting $0.00 doing nothing, I would take the bare bones. Work is work.
    The market is driven by the consumer. No longer are photographers required to have film processing skills and that alone changes the metrics. Digital has changed everything. Not only is the processing easier using a computer, the intelligence of the cameras when on P mode are really quite remarkable. You also have to consider cell phones and P&S cameras and the quality of the images that people are used to seeing from these cameras. To them that is the norm.
    You may be the slickest photographer in the world. But if some chap is doing 20 $500.00 events while you are only doing one $5,000.00 during the same time period who is making the money?
    I try to charge what I can but sometimes have to accept what I can get.
  26. I like what you wrote, Mark
  27. Jeff "I find it really unfortunate, maybe more like completely unpleasant, that some people here find it necessary to disparage other people based on their finances" - well said.
    I've been young and poor and $500 is a LOT of money to some (many) people.
  28. I Detroit there are places were a house goes for only 4 to 10 times the 500 buck wedding folks trash here as wrong.
  29. Well... some people have $1000 to spend on their wedding, some people have $30,000.... thus the $500 photographer is hired... but, believe me, if you have a 20k wedding, you aren't going to hire a $500 photographer.
    I can buy a blouse from a high-end department store and pay $180 for a quality garmet, or I can go to the salvation army and get one for $.50 for poor quality but it'll cover me up. If I've got $5,000 to blow for my shopping trip, where am I going to go? Where would I go if I only had $10?
    Not everyone's parents can pay for a wedding. Not everyone can afford a $2500 photographer. Not because they're cheap, but because literally the money isn't there. I have yet to see a $500 Craigslist photographer that had the skills of the $5000 photographer. Brides know this. I don't see the $500 photographer cutting into the bottom line for the $5000 photographer, I don't see why everyone complains about it.
  30. Salvation Army in Houston, may have better quality on some items then the $180 item, but the Salvation Army does not sell garments for 50 cents as a rule. I don't know why people care what other people charge, and being cheap does not make it wrong, Wal Mart got big buy promoting cheap, after they quit promoting buy American made, I guess cheap sold better than made in America;-)
  31. Let's look at this from a customer's perspective. In general, it does not matter how good you think your product is, it does not matter how good you think your photos are, it does not matter how good your photo equipment is, the only thing that matters is, the customer's PERCEPTION of your product's value.
    Perception is a fickle thing, each person feels differently about the exact same thing, it's emotional and sometimes irrational. That's why business people like to separate out their customers based on something called market segments. Segmentation can be based on price, base on customer's culture, whether the customers are informed consumers or not, based on age, based on style, race, sex, etc etc.
    You cannot hope to ever target your product and services to every bloke on the street. What you would end up is a washed out message, a kind of jack of all trades, master of none and ends up being swept aside. What you need to decide is, based on the market segments, which ones should I go after? Which ones am I in right now? Do I want to market myself to another segment? Do I have the skills and know-how to get those segments? Does it make financial sense for me to go after those segments? How can I market myself to those segments? Once you've decided, then you know where you can excel and let every other photographer make their living in some other segment. You can't be the master of every segment.
    As an aside, next time when you're watching advertising on the TV, ask yourself what the company tried to convey and which target segment they're trying to go after. You might be surprised to find even large companies like Coca-Cola don't try to market to everyone.
    PS: Marketing is not the same as advertising, but this is another matter altogether.
  32. it


    If you own a nice fine dining restaurant are you going to get pissed off if some diner opens in your town and offers $2 burgers?
    If someone wants cheap, it's their option. It's a free market, learn to live with it.
  33. As a direct response to the original question, price is the easiest thing that people try to differentiate their product. But it's also one of the most useless. Why? Because everybody can lower prices, that's easy, it's not an advantage.
    But how come Walmart is so successful? Because they are not only cheap, but they offer everything in one store and because they managed to offer it to small towns where their excellent logistics let's them reap profits where others cannot. Those are Walmart's real advantages, the price is just what the consumers sees, but not every consumer will like Walmart's style and the cheapness of the product. What are the real advantages that you have to offer to your client?
  34. I have done some low cost photography here and there. Sometimes people are putting their wedding together quickly for various reasons, and generally have a tight budget. If I have nothing booked I try to work with them. Not sacrificing my rates so much as adjusting packages way down to meet there needs. Like Ray Say work is better than no work
  35. As a complete layperson, I thought the Flickr versions of the wedding pictures were just fine for the money. (I think it's crazy that the photographer posts out of focus pics on his site, though) I really think the memory was caught and that would be the important thing to me for a wedding. Maybe the composition wasn't worth $2500 or whatever, but the price wasn't that as well. Some people don't care about perfect composition...and if their wedding budget was ~$2500, it would be crazy to spend more than $500 on a photographer.

    I often see pictures (sometimes even here) that are prime examples of beautiful wedding photography. Other times, I see pictures that are supposed to be prime examples that are over-posed, over-processd and look like cartoons. Just as pics can be too awful, they can also be too perfect.

    So we all have our opinions on what value we place on something. The OP's worrying about it is only going to give him an ulcer. It's not going to stop the $500 photographer. Every industry has it's low-ballers. It's not just photography.
  36. I think the biggest problem is just what the original poster stated: There is an obvious difference in the quality of photography between the $500 CL poster and the $3500 Educated, Experienced, Professional Photographer.
    I as a bride 5 years ago had a wedding budget of $2,500. I wasnt going to have the reception catered so I could afford a decent photographer, but I ended up getting a deal with a photographer *friend* who does stills for a living so he just did my wedding on the side as a favor for $400. I KNEW I wasnt getting the works with this arrangement, and even though I didnt get the full blown lighting and props and posing I got what I needed, pictures of everyone there and of the ceremony.
    But as a photographer I know the difference. THAT is why we need to make it a point to show clients the difference in product that accompanies the price. I ALWAYS show/send my pictures to a B&G before prices because I want them to see and appreciate the work FIRST without the price factoring into their decision. The $500 CL lister needs to be UP FRONT about what they are (and are NOT) providing with this price.
    *It does bother me though that the $500 'professionals' are popping up everywhere because I live in second cheapest place to live in the country and people look at the price before the pictures. It is VERY hard to make a living doing this when people around here compare you to WalMart or the CL lister and havent even seen your work because of the prices.
    The true professionals will weather the cycle though- and I'll be one of them. :)
  37. I have to agree with Jeff Spirer and Mike Dixon. We had a very low budget wedding as we just did not have any money to spend on it but that does not matter as wedding is about a couple getting married not about how much money it costs.
  38. And then there are people like my wife and I. We simply chose to have a skilled friend photograph our wedding (my second, but the only traditional one) and agreed that it would be his gift. Cost-free! They weren't pro looking photos but they were decent and a record of all that occured at the event, which is just what many of us want! He even put them in a nice book. Our wedding was NOT cheap either, costing multiple thousands.
    As one poster said, most of these wedding books sit on the shelves forever, some even getting lost! Even I once took photos of a friends second wedding, with good equipment, and gave them the photos as my gift. They were very pleased! I'd probably do a small wedding for $500 if asked, because it would just be a part time job for me. Some people with second weddings only want more of a record, with decent photos, than a fancy photo shoot. Now let me see..where is that wedding book of ours...
  39. So someone tipped me off that there was talk about my website. My name is Shawn Brandow and I am the owner and operator of Da Bull Photography ( Thank you to the person who sent me that nice email.
    To answer some questions asked above:
    YES: I'm a new photographer here in Albuquerque, NM
    YES: The photos in the portfolio gallery are of my FIRST and ONLY wedding so far
    YES: The images are low resolution. I don't care to have someone rip them off of me so they can be used elsewhere. There are only 5 because I chose the best 5 out of 100.
    YES: The website is still under construction. More photos and packages are coming soon.
    YES: My packages are cheap, and this is because I am competitive and inexperienced.
    YES: My package names are a little out there, but hey, it got your attention didn't it?
    Everyone has to start out somewhere. You have to first build a portfolio before you can do anything and that is the hardest step. It's easy for a reputable photographer to get business because they have a full portfolio that is appealing to the customers eye. Well, that is what I'm working on. Perhaps after I get more business, I may up my price a bit, but maybe not. If I earn the reputation that I provide quality photos and that I was affordable, they will spread the word. In the present economy, the average consumer has a hard enough time living day to day, and planning a wedding is expensive and doesn't help that they are looking at photographers that charge an arm and a leg.
    By the way, my lowest package isn't $500, it's $450 ;-)
    Moderator Note: I am removing Shawn's posted image of himself because forum guidelines don't allow for posting of an image that one didn't take oneself. I encourage you, Shawn, to post your image on your personal page.
  40. Our B&G receive the same quality ( 30+ years) for a $500 wedding -- just only end-up with a 2 hour coverage and the 2gb card >> right from the camera.ANd maybe we only wear a suit >> not a tux .
  41. All I can say is that I had contracted a graduation photog, one of the standard guys who was also contracted by the university to shoot every graduate when they collected their degrees.
    The quality wasn't that great, I didn't get a shot when you sit there and holding your scroll. He was more into sitting / leaning on the table ..... The images were a bit washed out, maybe that is his technique, not sure. Perhaps it is a softening effect he used. The 6x4 were better though.
    I had friends who got a senior student who also did photography and they advertised on the campus grounds. More shots than me, color and b/w, they also get the negs, cheaper. I also had friends who went to a children studio like next to Wal Mart, I am in New Zealand, but similar. Think it was Pixicolor. They got some very large nice prints done. Not sure what camera they used though ....
  42. In terms of price, dunno, I think I paid maybe $200US for 2hr sessions, 1hr outdoor at campus and 1hr at his studio. He does weddings too.
    The prints were individually priced, I think I had the 12x 6x4 package in a album that might of been $300US or like, and 2 larger prints, 16x12 I think that were like maybe $100US each ...
  43. Well, after seeing Shawn's limited work ( since he only has 5 images ) all I can say is that I've seen "pros" with worse work charge more than he does... so yet another proof that price does not equal quality
    as for the quality of Shawn's work...I wont comment unless he wants me to :)
  44. I often advertise on Craigslist as a supplemental. I'd rather book a $500-$1000 event than sit on my hands if I have an open afternoon. Maybe I am wrong but who cares??? If a B&G can only afford $500 then that is their business. The reality is that there is a lot of competition at that price point and the best photographer usually wins. If a wedding photographer is too good to be so cheap then it is likely below them to even look at CL. So why do it???
    I have had clients approach me looking for just a dvd of images from their two hour event. If I were in their shoes I would not want to pay over $1K just for that. I may be guilty of being too cheap at times, but I provide quality service, my clients are happy, and I'll gladly take the business if someone else won't do it.
  45. Mark, I am very open to suggestions and I welcome anything you have to say about my work :)
  46. @christopher cerubin: i guess it's fine if you simply shoot and burn and then give the couple their cd with all the images unedited. but i rather sit in my hands 1 afternoon rather than shoot a $500 wedding and have a week worth of postprocessing to go through. I might have nothing better to do for 1 afternoon but I'm sure I'll have something better to do the rest of the week.
    @shawn: ok..since you it comes..and all this is just my opinion..others might agree/disagree..oh.. and just as a warning, i'm pretty direct in my comments.
    your images pretty much reflects the work of a "typical lower end CL shooter" to me. the photos are blurred and out of focus ( i seen point and shoot cameras producing sharper images than those in your port ).
    I'm not sure if it is caused by the resolution resize or what, but you might want to see if the originals are sharper and redo them so they look better cuz as of now they are kind of terrible.
    And put more than 5 images.. I'm sure out of the other 95 images you have some that rival the quality of the 5 you have on right now ( at least I hope so. 5% hit rate ain't that good ). Even CL shoppers won't hire you if you only show them 5 images.. Those goes to the CL shooters that shoot for free..not $500.
    Watermarks.....i hate watermarks... and your images are full of them... let's face it, your images ain't that good, I don't see thieves stealing your images anytime soon. there are far better photographers that put their work online without any watermaks..if thieves are going to steal images, they will go for those. i don't think you have anything to worry about when it comes to image thieves as of now. get rid of the watermarks.
    package names.... you are not going to break into the high end market with ghetto names like those. It is never too early to create an image of yourself so you don't have to re-brand later. same goes to your studio name... da bull? what's that? are we shopping at a hardware store or what? What's wrong with Shawn Brandow Photography?
    the schedule on your website... unless you are booked pretty solid throughout the year, i don't see a point of having an empty calendar on your website showing clients how little to no job you have booked so far.
    i think that ends my rant.
  47. Mark,
    I thank you for your insight and I'll take a look at submitting the higher resolution versions. Another possibility of why they look "fuzzy" is the Portraiture filter I've applied for a softer look. And you're right, what's the point of having an empty schedule showing?
  48. might also want to remove the link to this post from your "home" portion of the website.. I don't think that's gonna get you brownie points with potential clients
  49. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The thrust of this original post reeks of a similar sentiment shown a previous post here at Photonet where an Australian site was torn apart simply because the (American, residing is Australia) owner offered free images. . .
    In that older thread, (apparently now deleted), the owner of the website came on board and made many comments also.
    I agree with J Spirer and M Dixon and others of a similar mind.
    Good on Shawn Brandow for responding, and good luck to him.
    Poor Original Post – Shame.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense
  50. To Shawn :
    Good for you for posting! I agree that you need some more photos, and I think they should be sharp ones.
    Some things to consider for your next wedding, if you want:
    1. Shoot the bride with and without her glasses on. Especially from farther away, the small shape and reflections off of the glasses make her look like she's asleep or has her eyes closed, as in image 1/4. Glasses can be tricky, and they are a style item that will make the portraits dated (not "timeless") that much faster.
    2. Watch for overhead and background clutter, such as power lines and fences. If you can't avoid them, shoot tighter in to the couple and use a wider aperture to take the focus off the clutter and put it on the couple. (Image 3 of 4)
    3. Have a heavier bride put her elbow a little out from her body; it will make her upper arm look thinner.
    For your website:
    4. Package names are humorous, it's true, but there's no harm in calling them something just a little gentler. They might appeal to a feminine audience more if they were just a little sweeter - like "just starting out" instead of "starving couple" (especially ironic with a chubby couple photo right next to that name...).
    5. Navigating through your portfolio is not easy; consider another method of navigation. The arrows are hard to find because they are so low on the page (due to the large banner). Make the banner less tall too - and consider making the banner image less contrasty, a little darker maybe. It kind of looked like lunchmeat at the deli at first glance. Basically there is a lot of upper and lower banner content on the site and not much changing content. Your site should be the other way around - content rich, banner narrow.
    I know it feels scary to maybe have your images ripped off, but really, I don't think you need to worry about that as much as you need to worry about getting customers. You will get more jobs with more content. Some couples also like to be able to see that you can shoot a whole wedding and will look for those other photos before confirming.
    Make sure your images really are sharply in focus in at least one place. If not, find out what happened so you can avoid that next time. You can always apply "soft focus" later, but if you need it sharp and it's gone, you can't get it back. What you give the couple versus what you post on your portfolio can be different. Sometimes it's better that way, if you prefer the image in black & white but they wanted color, for instance.
    Good luck and keep shooting.
  51. Shawn - good for you.
    I haven't looked at your site and have no idea about your work or how you're marketing yourself. But I do know that you've taken a lot of grief that you didn't ask for, and you've had the grace to come here and respond, even when you didn't need to.
    For that you have my respect.
  52. Daniel, I'm not sure this was such a great way to express this, singling out, using enough clues, Shawn and putting him up on a poker like this is really unreasonable. All folks in all price levels have the right to hire and offer services to fit various markets. I vote for posting in poor taste. Good for you Shawn, just keep moving foward. I agree with Jennifer, I thought the pics a little hard to navigate. My first thought was if they were a little bigger? Sorry I am totally website challenged, so I can't help with any techno advise. I also think the link to your personal blog is maybe not the best idea. I would focus on a photography blog and keep things photography and business related and upbeat and positive. So, as I already said, keep moving foward and I look foward to your next endeavors.
  53. Lots of people mentioned Shawn's flickr page - could someone post the link to it please?
  55. Thanks to everyone who has shown me support on this matter, and I thank you all for your insight and suggestions for improving my website.
    For the next few hours the site will be down for maintenance as I make a few changes.
  56. The market will bear what it can bear. I think the issue pro photographers have with the $500 wedding is twofold - it devalues what they do in the eye of the consumer, and since doing $500 weddings is a difficult business model, that photographer can do some damage to the market for the brief time he/she stays in business.
    Given all the costs of being a photographer, including equipment depreciation, skills accretion, time on PS, travel, the actual per-hour rate, and a number of others, you have to wonder how $500 for a 6 hour wedding makes any sense at all.
  57. Come on Mark T....I never said I include advanced retouch work. : ) However, thanks to Lightroom2, I can pop through 1000 images in just two to three hours, make any necessary "tweaks", select those to be presented, and move on.
    I am not stating that all $500 CL photographers are equal to full-time pro wedding artists. I am only saying that there is a market for $500 weddings, and there are qualified artists willing to do the work. Besides, it takes a lot of skill to be good at this business but it also takes a lot of repetition and practice. I'm glad to have had the opportunity to work my way up from the bottom.
  58. Manuel said
    "after they quit promoting buy American made, I guess cheap sold better than made in America;-)"​
    I quit shopping at WM in the early 90's after they were caught lying about where their products were actually made (China, etc.). Not that I mind buying goods from China, but I do mind supporting a business that lies about its terms of business.
  59. gr


    the $500 wedding photographer, some actual evidence(Category:Unarchived)

    I am glad that I got to see this discussion as this has started giving me ideas. You see, I have never been a professional photographer but I have been shooting for the last 15 years or so. I am my biggest critic and my daughter and wife are the biggest admirerers of my photos.
    It's my hobby and I wanted to keep it that way. But recently I started thinking about starting a side business and photography came to mind because this is something I enjoy doing and I am fairly confident in my abilities of doing a good job. However, I do not have a portfolio. I thought about being some established wedding photographer's assistant or second photographer. What I have read so far about being assistant tells me that my chances of getting a willing and established photog as a "mentor" in Minneapolis is low. So, I was thinking about offering my services in the niche market of "starving couples" for around $500. $500 for 5-6 hours of shooting and 2-3 hours of Lightroom work to burn a CD is better than doing the same thing for free for myself.
    Once I have done 3-4 weddings, I will have a good collection of photos for a portfolio. I was in the Como Conservatory the other day and saw some "professionals" shooting photos. If they get paid for doing what they were doing and how they were doing it (believe me, I know the difference between good lighting and bad) , I asked myself, "Why can't *you*?"
    So, like it or not, here I come. I am going to offer my services as a wedding photographer, child photographer, "I will go to your house and shoot photos of your grand parents" photographer.. etc. etc.
    The point is I will be knowingly underpricing my services in the beginning because I need to build my portfolio and if I see that the needs of my $500 clients are being met, that they are happy with my service and word of advertising is bringing in more business I will take that too. As it is, I do it for free but Canon doesn't sell L lenses cheap.
  60. These kinds of posts just makes me upset.
    This website, that is, comes out as very snobbish and seems like lots of mean, snobby "high end" photographers likes to sit around here chatting about "those low end"photographers.
    The thing is, that you gotta start somewhere.
    I am too going to advertise on CL. And I'm going to offer my cheapest option at $800, just until I got the money so I can invest in a better camera, more lenses, and more experience. After that, hopefully after 2-3 weddings, I'll raise my prices...and hopefully one of these days I can pride myself of charging $2500 or even more for my weddings. One thing is for sure. I will always be humble about my work.
    By the way. How many photographers websites I've surfed onto, that charges $2500 and up, that completely sucks!!! THESE photographers are worse than the $500 CL photographer because these guys actually is ripping people off! 2500 bucks for lousy photos?? In one way its good for me, because It makes ME feel good about myself, and really dare to get out there and think "I can do better than that"
    So, Yes, I will be a CL photographer for a while. But I know I've got talent. And one day I'll get there.
  61. I've made some changes to following some of the advice submitted by you guys. Specifically changed is the gallery, which now features a "full screen" mode where the images (pulled directly from my flickr account) can be seen in all their high resolution glory.
    Thank you for the suggestions and the kind emails.
  62. Thumbs up for G. Raychaudhuri!
  63. I can so tell the americans are starving, are jobless and start acting weird with the financial crisis. At least so it looks from here the aussie land.
    $500 wedding = a joke, i'd rather do it $ free.
  64. Hey Shawn, I just want to add to the chorus of "More power to you!"
    A few observations that I don't think anyone else has made -
    • Getting your own gig on Craig's List isn't really any worse than working for Bella for $500.
    • Paying $500 is better for some brides than paying $1600 to Bella. Yes, I know there can be some advantages for the bride such as the way Bella can provide backup photographers and does a minimal amount of certification. But Bella doesn't service Albuquerque which is probably a hint at what the market there is like.
    • Paying someone $500 bucks is better than asking Uncle Bob to shoot it for you and lets him enjoy the wedding
    Again - good luck to Shawn. In time he'll learn to do things like get written contracts and pay for liability insurance, errors and omissions insurance. Maybe he'll even become one of those $5000 photographers someday.
  65. Johanna, if I looked up your posts since 2008, I see that I and several other members answered your questions and helped you out. I think this fact makes my point that not all photo.netters are the same, just as not all people are the same. It is unfair to label all of us snobby, don't you think?
    Frankly, your attitude is multiplied by the hundreds among the newcomers to wedding photography. If you have the desire to and feel you can succeed, that's fine--go for it. But don't make the mistake of letting overconfidence blind you. You will need your eyes, ears and brain--believe me. Anyway, your comments don't sound very humble to me.
  66. in some sense i kind of compare to the sudden rise in the number of "pro photographer" in the 2000s to the sudden rise of realtors in the 90s...
    everyone wants to make "easy money" the 90s it was the housing boom and suddenly everyone wanted to be a realtor since it seems they did little and made pretty good money.
    now that that well dried up, everyone flocked to the next thing..they see wedding photographers charging a lot of money and all they seem to do is just walk around and click a button and say.. "hey..i can do that too".. cheap good cameras further cut down on the barrier to entry and now you got everyone and their uncle thinking they are all professional photographers.
    hey..if you are indeed good at photography then more power to you, but i think after a while most of the wannabes will realize it is not as easy as they thought and will simply move on to the next "easy money" thing.
    i even know of (not personally) some former realtors that are suddenly now "wedding photographers"
  67. I like to know how many realtors became wedding photographers!
  68. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Mark, where is your wedding web site so we can see where you are coming from? I'm with Brian, I know a lot of realtors and not one has become a wedding photographer.
  69. Nadine.
    I did not say everybody here was snobby. That of course would not be fair of me to judge all of you like that. (as little as its fair of pro photographer to judge all the newcomers but that many of you seem to do)
    Since you commented on my post, Did you feel affected by what I was saying?
    Im just saying that posts like this, and some other postings Im reading around this website, are very snobbish and not very helpful at all. It makes you kind of feel like just because you are starting out you are not worth anything and can be made fun of!
    I feel the same way about "all you pro photographers" practically Saying that ; if you charge under $1000 for a wedding and advertise on craigslist, then you are a bad photographer and not really interrested in photography at all. Many pro's are labeling US.
    Not everybody has a big budget or comes from a rich family. Some people actually has to work hard to ge somewhere here in life. I'm one of them.
    My intentions about photography is serious, and I admit that there are lots of people out there who just does it for "some extra cash" and are not interested in art at all. But dont go thinking that all of us newcomers are like that.
    That was the point of my posting. Maybe it came out as if I was upset with everybody here; Im not. But threads like THIS, makes me upset.
  70. And besides. I don't think anybody is more humble than I am. If I would not be so humble, I would probably be charging couple o'thousands by now and started my photography business years ago. But I AM shy, and don't think that I'm good enough sometimes.
  71. gr


    Bullet points help sometimes, so here it goes:
    • Wedding photography is not easy. Actually, it is very difficult.
    • Going to the moon was and still is very difficult.
    • We went to the moon (and more importantly returned safely) 40 years ago with an on board mainframe whose power was probably less than the laptop most of us carry - but we did it. However, we did prepare to do this.
    • Everybody has to start somewhere - some get lucky breaks, some work as an assistant or second shooter, and some start on their own shooting weddings in the so called "starving couples" niche. There is nothing wrong with it.
    • We should not be jumping into wedding photography without proper preparation and research
    • If you can do it with your talent and gear, so can others and let us not forget that people have been taking great wedding photos long before high end digital cameras and L lenses became available
    • Granted there are many great wedding photographers who deserve the price they are charging
    • The entire market is not served by these great wedding photogs - so for other photographers there are some slices of the same pie
    • Need to understand that wedding photography business is like any other business in the sense that the market decides who stays and thrives and who doesn't
    • If we treat it like a business and satisfy the need of our clients we will have a place in this business
    • I am probably a fool for saying these without even a booking a single wedding
    • I don't think snobbery in is rampant.
    • With credits to Senator Smalley - "I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!: " So, why not me?
    • Remember: The market decides who stays and who goes - not you.
  72. If I were shooting a $500.00 wedding I would provide the couple with a DVD of the images in RAW and JPG format. The majority of the JPG's would have a minimal amount of processing while a few shots would be given full attention to detail. I would still the absolute best job possible. Just because a couple is on a tight budget doesn't mean they deserve unprofessional results. It just means they need to think carefully about what they do with the images. If they want a photo album then they can print it themselves later when their budget allows. I would make darn sure that everyone knew exactly what they were and were not getting. I'm sure a lot of you professional wedding photogs out there might not agree with me. Would you shoot a $500.00 wedding? I bet you wouldn't. Are you really loosing any business to the beginners/amateurs who will?
  73. gr


    @John Schroeder: Agreed on all points. A professional delivers. Nobody held a gun to my head to do a $500 wedding, I did it on my own and it's my responsibility to deliver for what I am getting paid.
    Now, do all professional wedding photographers (males, of course) wear a tux? Serious question.
  74. @Shawn
    I think it was a very good idea to remove the link to your blog when you revised your website. The explanations of the dreams you'd had the night before etc. were a bit... much for a business site.
    The gallery looks much better. People like to dismiss Flickr, but I think their gallery/slideshow thing actually works a lot better than many of the Flash galleries on pro photographers' sites.
    @G. Raychaudhuri
    "We went to the moon (and more importantly returned safely) 40 years ago with an on board mainframe whose power was probably less than the laptop most of us carry - but we did it. However, we did prepare to do this."
    This is completely off-topic, sorry. You're rather overestimating the 1960's computers. The typical laptop of today is likely more powerful than any single computer anywhere in 1969. The pocket calculators and cell phones of today are a lot more powerful than the Apollo flight computer was (which certainly wasn't what computer people understand by the term 'mainframe'). In fact, even the Space Shuttle was stuck with a computer design from 1970's for a shockingly long time. I think they flew for all of the 90's with a flight computer that had much less computing power than any PC of the day.
  75. Agree with Mike on the slide show, much faster to upload, people forget that not every one has the fastest internet possible. Make them wait and they will leave.
  76. You know, it occurs to me that the two "sides" here are oddly the same, just at different stages of their business'.
    That is to say, many here (myself included) began shooting for a friend or family member and charged little if anything. They became inspired and more serious about the craft and developed a portfolio by shooting for more friends/family or second shooting etc. Eventually, this group of photogs became "pro" in their own right and began charging for their work independently. Probably the equivalent of $500 or something, just to get started. Skip forward some time and these photogs now charge $2500 or whatever and are established pro's.
    I think the disconnect in this day and age is that many "noobies" are coming in with the $500 shoot and burn mentality without really knowing what they are doing or getting into as a business. This group is perpetuated by the accessibility of digital kit and instant gratification style shooting. Many in this new group will and have dropped out after trying to get to the higher price point, but finding that hard to achieve. Some (a much smaller number most likely) make it to the higher price point and are very successful. Those are usually for good reason (talent, skill, commitment and some good fortune).
    Whichever way someone starts in this business, its a tough business for sure, and it will separate the grownups from the kids as time passes in their pursuit. I have no problem with a $500 dollar shooter, especially if they are great at what they do. They may well soon be charging what I do and the field becomes level playing again. If however, they stink and try to up their rates, they will soon learn that it takes better than they offer to charge more. Better consistency, better talent, better planning, better marketing, better knowledge of business, better whatever, etc. etc.
    I don't want to disparage or indeed discourage a "cheap" shooter, in fact bring it, the competition will drive the market and help to refine the quality of those who remain.
    Rather than feeling bad about (making complaints about) the proliferation of cheap shooters, innovate if you are already established, improve and refine if you're not, shoot and burn if you like. In all cases, best of luck to you.
  77. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Firstly . . .

    “This website, that is, comes out as very snobbish and seems like lots of mean, snobby "high end" photographers likes to sit around here chatting about "those low end" photographers.”

    “I did not say everybody here was snobby.” . . .

    No you did not mention any particular member nor any group of members, instead, you planted one good all encompassing king hit on “this website”

    “This website”
    is the members, and their contributions – some of whom posted on this thread defending Shawn and who previously have helped you.
    You can play semantics and give later "explanations" all you like – but the bottom line is your opening barrage lambasting “This website” was in the same vein as the Original Post – just the inverse view, but just as scathing and using "this website" for purposes exaclty opposite to what its founders intented - and those actions are certainly NOT showing HUMILITY.
    Honi soit qui mal y pense

  78. Wow! What a topic.
    I no longer shoot weddings; however something really struck me as I read every single post.
    I think it interesting those of us who shoot commercial, assignment or even on spec, NEVER see this.
    I can see it now on CL,
    "Will shoot any pics for your publication; $500 flat rate" Hmmm. ;)
  79. It's not the cost of the fiddle that counts but the person holding the bow!
    We live in a free society...people can do what they want.
    Griping about it is fine too...but it doesn't change anything.
    If a photographer has time to moan and groan about his competitor's prices then in my humble opinion he or she has way too much time on their hands. Or maybe they just charge too darn much.....
    Here's an idea...the next time you see someone 'undercutting your price' offer to do a wedding free for someone who needs it. If you can't afford to do a 'pro bono' every now and then you're probably in the wrong business anyway, and the word of mouth advertising you'd get would more than make up for what you think you 'lost'... would make you feel good!
  80. Two responses on Craigslist in Albuquerque, NM, quite interesting:
  81. My whole wedding was about $1200 (in '95) and my photographers were friends who did it for free. I was happy with the photos and my wedding. It seems like that's what was important (and of course the marriage which I'm also happy with :) ).
  82. gr


    @Mike Hollander: Agreed that in my previous post "most probably" was the not needed in "most probably less powerful than the laptop...". Definitely it was less powerful. No doubt about that. The point I was trying to make and failed miserably was : Lot more can be acheived with lot less technology if one prepares. Preparation is the key. That's all.
  83. Would I wear a Tux? If the client wanted me in a Tux I would wear a Tux. At $500 for the wedding the client would have to pay the rental fee. My personal opinion is that the client gets what they pay for. If they pay for a tux they get a tux. If they don't pay for a tux then they get shirt, tie, and slacks. If they want flip-flops, shorts, and a Hawaiian shirt that's what they get. (I'd give a discount for that)
  84. You can only charge what your client is willing to pay... and I happen to be reffered to people who cant pay $2000 for photography... when it comes to producing high quality pictures..... my clients are happy with what they get.... and I get further referals.... I give my clients option when it comes post processing (b&W, sepis, high contrast etc)... does this mean I take away bread from someone who shoots 2000 weddings... I dont think so... I'm just compeating in my price range market.... and I have no problem with that..... I dont think person should be judged by their ability to pay for "art" (which is not a necessity in this economy).... and photogrpaher by providing a service for a price that they are able to do their bussiness in..... and alot of us low price photographers will do wedding for love of capturing memories (even thou wedding photography may not be the easiest job out there)
  85. Johanna--you did kind of say everybody here is snobby. But you explained that--that's fine.
    Re your post affecting me...not in the way you think. It affected me because I remember you and your previous posts. This is one reason I bring up your contradictory statement about being humble. I personally have no problem with $500 Craigslist photographers. I have no problem with any new wedding photographer. I do have a problem with new wedding photographers who close themselves off on the slightest perceived offense and aggressively fight back in kind. There is no need to fight back. Let naysayers have their say and go about your business. I am telling you this to help you, not argue with you. You will miss a great deal if you continue with this attitude.
  86. These are hard times and a lot of people are in dire financial straits. But people still get married even when the economy is bad.
    If you derive your income from a part-time job at WallyMart you're not going to hire Señor Soy Muy-Importante to be your wedding photographer. You might resort to a "trainee" from CL. If El Señor Muy-Importante despises CL photographers so much, perhaps he should do some occasional pro bono work or offer a $500 wedding of his own from time to time (based on need, of course). Who knows, the word-of-mouth might even be good for Señor Muy-Importante's business. The desperate WallyMart clerk might have a wealthy cousin.
  87. haha. seriously?? I say way to go SHAWN!!!! everyone has to start somewhere. and i thought your pics weren't bad.
    and to the DANIEL. of course there is going to be a 'difference' and i am positive the client is going to know the difference. they have a budget for a reason. and being a past bride.. budget of $6000, and yes $550 went to my photographer. got great pics! i have seen photographers charge thousands for crappy pics. so you don't ALWAYS get what you pay for.
  88. My intentions about photography is serious, and I admit that there are lots of people out there who just does it for "some extra cash" and are not interested in art at all.
    Gees, Joanna, and you say we are snobby? That's not exactly a humble statement.
    I want my clients to get the best photos I can make. Is that art? Probably not. Skill, yes. But if I like getting paid for it ("extra cash"), does that somehow make me less "serious"?
    Maybe that's not what you meant?
  89. Personaly I did not agree with this thread when it was started. It seemed more like a witch hunt to me than anything else. But now Shawn has entered into the disscusion and has recieved some great advise from other members which should help him. The thread starter Daniel seems to be a good photographer. It is a shame he has not taken part in the rest of the discusion and constructively offered any advise to Shawn as to ways he could look to improve and move forward as a photographer. For me Bride and Groom portraits are important and they are also the pictures that the couple will likely put on display in their homes. This is an area that Shawn can work on. He can start going through wedding magazines and tearing out the pages of the portaits he likes and study how they are posed and lit. He can also turn to fashion mags or anywhere he may find insperation. Shawn you don't need a wedding to practise Bride and Groom portraits. You can make use of willing friends or family and practise on them. Street photography can also be useful practise for capturing candids at weddings. Hope some of this helps Shawn.
  90. Thank you for your response and advice Stuart. Every little bit helps and practicing on friends sounds like a great idea.
    I personally have taken a lot of helpful hints from everyone here. I'm grateful for this post.
    My new slogan is "The $500 Photographer"
  91. I admit that there are lots of people out there who just does it for "some extra cash" and are not interested in art at all.
    It always gives me a good laugh when "newbies" always say that established pros are always in for the money and how they the new breed are the only ones that are interested in the "art".
    give me a sec while i go laugh
  92. Shawn, another thing you can do for practice is buy a wedding dress or two from the Goodwill and shoot the heck out of it. On the hanger, draped on a chair, with a large teddy bear inside it (or a woman friend if you can find one that fits), whatever you have to. It will get you used to photographing this item, metering for it, and learning new ways to display it so it looks interesting and arty.
    If you can get some netting/veil material from a fabric store and combine that with a $5 white plastic headband from the drugstore, you can work on that part of your bridal portrait repertoire too.
    PS - I like the new slideshow. If you crop the shot of the bride getting ready (black & white) in the mirror so it's closer in, I think it might be more powerful. It's a nice shot.
  93. Shawn, I can only say that I admire your attitude - you've been dragged into something you most certainly didn't ask for and are handling this more graceful than most people would ... kudos to you!!!! As far as "this snobby website" is concerned, I've never met a group of professionals more willing to share their experience and knowledge - not something that should be taken for granted.
  94. Street photography can also be useful practise for capturing candids at weddings.​
    I can't emphasise this enough. If you intend to be a reportage photographer this will teach you everything you'll ever need to know. It's the most affordable photography school you can find - but one of the toughest and one of the best.
  95. I am a $500.00 wedding photographer. In fact I have done them for less. I am experienced, trained and equipped as well as most photographers who charge a whale of a lot more. Why? Because I am a photographer who usually charges a whale of a lot more. I reserve the right to help out people who are on hard times. There are a lot of people out there who could have paid me $3500.00 two years ago who are scrambling to pay anything now. I just did one of those the other day. A prominent family that is experiencing hard times. I was honored to do their wedding for free. I did a formal wedding for two pieces of wedding cake and a dance with the bride. The husband was leaving for Iraq three days later. It was worth it.
    I have seen some pretty good work, by the way, from new photographers who pay attention and do their homework. And lest we forget, $500.00 four times a month is much more than a full time Walmart checker earns.
    I think it is important to use our talents for good as well as treasure. Besides. People remember good people and word gets around. I always try to remind myself. The people you meet on the way up are the same ones you meet on the way down.
  96. I am laughing so hard at all this, it happens in all businesses, get over it. I am a cabinet maker by trade, you wanna know how many fireman are cabinet makers too? I bet there are fireman photographers too. That group seems to have all the time in the world to devalue others occupations.
    “There is nothing in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and he who considers price only is that man's lawful prey.”
  97. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "I am a $500.00 wedding photographer. . .
    I am experienced, trained and equipped . . .
    Why? [do I charge $500]”

    "Because I reserve [my] right . . . [to run my business and my life as I see fit]"

    Exactly, Lee,

    Precisely - EXACTLY.

  98. Putting things in some perspective. I got married soon after I finished college. My wife's bride's maid made the wedding dress. Our "reception" was held in my appartment. Our friends brought the food and wine. I might have taken the photos :^), but actually my sister used my camera after I set it up for her (had to remind her to take the lens cap off once -- it was a Konica rangefinder). $500 would have been nice. But we had fun and some nice photo reminders.
  99. Moderator Note: I am removing Shawn's posted image of himself because forum guidelines don't allow for posting of an image that one didn't take oneself. I encourage you, Shawn, to post your image on your personal page.​
    Maybe a little off topic (but this thread's topic is off anyway)... It's really too bad this thread didn't come up a week sooner. I was just in Albuquerque last week. It would have been fun to meet another photographer that wasn't born with a Canon 1D MkIII in one hand and a professional portfolio in the other. Perhaps we could have taken self-portraits of each other...
    Moderator Note: Another guideline is that the posted image be on topic and related to weddings and events, so I've removed your self portrait, Matthew.
  100. Matthew, next time you're in town definitely look me up and we'll go on a shoot together :) Sorry about the image of myself... just posted that so people knew it was the real me ;-)
  101. "I did a formal wedding for two pieces of wedding cake and a dance with the bride. The husband was leaving for Iraq three days later."
    Bravo! A true "professional" if I have ever seen one.
  102. les


    Kind of off-topic - but it always interested me why people pay so much attention to having excellent pictures of a wedding ?
    Sure, a good picture is a good picture - and without any doubt I prefer to look at a good pic rather than a bad one - if I have a choice.
    But, considering how many marriages end soon after the initial celebrations - maybe it is not such a good idea to invest $$$ to document an event, which, statistically, has about even chance of ending badly.
    I do not have any pictures of my wedding - in fact there wasn't any wedding at all, since we could not afford it, let alone pay a photographer. Still - we are together after 35 years and intend to continue. I am not saying that paying $5K for wedding photography is a big NO-NO, but maybe it is not such a good idea to start one's marriage with a rather large financial burden ?

    So, maybe $500 wedding photography is not such a bad idea after all...
    The really important stuff happens much later and lasts longer (if you are lucky).
  103. There are also a lot of people who are charging $5,000 and thinking they are doing well.
    How many times have they shot $100,000 weddings where the bride should have been investing $10,000 in photography?
    I think photographers should throw away their package pricing and just quote 10% of budget a la carte.
    If the budget was $5,000 I'd shoot for $500 and just put the pictures on smugmug.
  104. Leszek: I'm sure it's part of the princess syndrome and possibly part of wanting to be celebrity.
    A "perfect" wedding demands "perfect" pictures in the mind of a bride who is determined there will be a perfect day.
    Then, there's the desire to look like a princess (or at least a bridal mag ad), and be able to see it forever.
  105. But, considering how many marriages end soon after the initial celebrations - maybe it is not such a good idea to invest $$$ to document an event, which, statistically, has about even chance of ending badly.
    Now here's a new one. Don't spend much on your wedding because statistically speaking, it won't last. :)
  106. Actually, that's not a new one. It's why I quit shooting weddings 15 years ago and am loath to get back in it today. My last 3 weddings all had whiny, spoiled little b***h brides. All three were divorced within 2 years. I had celebratory drinks with the groom of one...
  107. "I am laughing so hard at all this, it happens in all businesses, get over it. I am a cabinet maker by trade, you wanna know how many fireman are cabinet makers too? I bet there are fireman photographers too. That group seems to have all the time in the world to devalue others occupations."

    Most of the living room and bedroom furniture in our home I made myself. I can post some pictures of it, if you want to judge its "quality." It will be easy to do, because I'm a pretty good photographer too.
    Before I retired I was a truck driver most of my life. Truck driver, photographer, furniture maker. Then, after earning a pension, I went to work in a pro color lab. That's right, I was a "pro" lab monkey. I saw weddings coming from "pros" that would bring your breakfast up. One guy shot 25 or 30 rolls of film on every wedding, with most poses done 4 or 5 times, just to be sure he got one good one. And he was not just starting out. Are these the guys we're supposed to be worshiping here?
    Put your attitudes on hold, folks. We're all in this together.
  108. The arrogance is impressive. The vast majority of wedding photos I've seen are pretty average. Not bad, but stuff for which I wouldn't care to pay more than $500-$1,000. And from people charging $2,000 or more. It's quite stunning what marketing, equipment, and that "professional" attitude can get you, while the actual substance somehow falls aside.
    That said, I have seen some absolutely stunning wedding photos, although I'm not sure what those photographers charged. Too many weddings photos are so mundane (a silhouette on a beach sunset! the shadow of a heart from the ring! the couple kissing under a cherry blossom! over-editing!).
    Get over yourselves. If you can't compete with a $500 wedding photographer, perhaps you're only worth $250.
    EDIT: I'm not entirely serious.
  109. Since when does a bride who can't afford $5,000 to $10,000 for a photographer not be privleged to have her dreams come true on paper or in coffee table photo album?
    This is the snobbery of Wedding Photographers. You would NEVER lower yourself to photograph the dream of a bride who can't afford more than $500. You're Snobs, admit it. You contend, Only the filthy rich should have their dreams on paper and in a coffee table album, not the poor and downtrodden.
  110. This is the snobbery of Wedding Photographers...​
    No. This is a reflection of a small and fairly unrepresentative group. If you read the post top to bottom you'll see that around 90% of respondents (most of whom are wedding photographers) have been very supportive of weddings with smaller budgets. One or two have even mentioned shooting them for wedding cake, for beer or for free, I notice.
  111. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    It is interesting reading the comments re” "Arrogance", "Snobbery" and "Attitudes" from the last three or four contributions . . .
    Like Neil, I have read this thread from top to bottom (and also previous commented on it)
    I see very little "arrogance" "snobbery" or "attitudes which need to be put on hold" . . . but rather there is only a small pocket of comments here or there which is taking an extreme view and lambasting the client who wants only to pay a small amount for a Wedding Coverage, or equally castigating the Photographer who supplies that Service.
    Fortunately is seems that (so far after 30 odd years doing this stuff) my customer base is a bit more relaxed and perhaps wider visioned than what it appears the authors of those last few contributions seem to be. . . maybe I am just lucky that I don’t deal with extremists who might cherry-pick one or two examples to inflame issues . . . I don't know.
    I do know for a fact that, on this thread, having just scanned the names of the many Wedding Photographers who have made positive / supportive comments toward Shawn's endeavours . . . many are NOT $500 dollar Coverage folk.
    Moreover, as another interesting fact many of those Professional Wedding Photographers, shoot some gigs Pro Bono, or give one on one support / training to new shooters . . . or both.
    So IMO any comments about of: " Arrogance", "Attitudes" and "Snobbery" as a balnket comment of Professional Wedding Photographers - are just as extreme as the premise of the original posting of this thread - and all of that, is enough to bring my Breakfast up.

  112. You have to wonder if fellow photographers are a bit angry and frustrated that couples are OK with hiring someone from craigslist. When a couple is suffering from hard times and they call me with a some amount of money set aside for their wedding I will book it. If I'm not busy I'll shoot the wedding. If I'm booked I will ask another photographer, a pro photographer to shoot it. I may not make any money, but the other photographer will.

    Some of my favorite weddings have been the backyard low budget weddings, because the weddings have a more carefree, easy going feel. The food may be from a BBQ place down the road, or even food from a local sub shop. I've had so much fun at these I almost felt guilty charging them.

    One of my biggest clients came from craigslist. It was a golfing event for the Southern California 7-11 store owners. Not only do I shoot their golf events every year, but I also photograph their holiday parties. I've had this client for 4 years now.
  113. If they can ask our price, we can ask their budget.
    If they answer, suggest 10%, whatever it is. If it's a lot of money, add products.
    If they don't answer, consider quoting them somewhat high and don't worry if they go elsewhere.
    There's a commercial guy in Oakland who presented at PPGBA a couple of years ago. He said that his basic approach was to ask their budget and then tell them what he could do for that. One time the caller was Hewlett Packard and the budget was $100,000.
  114. People come from all different economic levels and have differing values as well. I remember shooting a wedding maybe 25 years ago and the parents of the bride paid my fee. They ordered my minimum package, ordered zero options, but hired 3 bartenders and had a liquor bill of over $5000 (25 years ago)! They were a family of means but had a different outlook on life. Different strokes as the saying goes.
  115. I only read two posts that interests me...Marc Williams and Jeff Spirer....good for you guys. It's nice to see there are still people with 'class/style'.... I tip my hat to you both for standing up and being counted....and standing for the feelings of others.
  116. The $500 wedding shoot is nothing more than a hook to introduce the better wedding sessions. For $500, the Bride and Groom get a photographer and a DVD of all the original digital images... nothing more. When they see the other sessions include albums and enhanced images, they don't want the cheap package, rather they select a better package which includes B&G and parent albums... and at a cost much more than the $500.
    Some people who have commented in this forum are not real wedding photographers. They may have been an assistant to one or two weddings... nothing more. And they think they are know-it-alls. They even brag about their photographic abilities, inclusive of admitting that they are a members of Professional Photographers of America (PPA). It doesn't take too much to do a "Find a Photographer" search within the PPA website and determine that their membership was only delusions of grandeur.
    For those who comment under these conditions, they have little to offer in advice; it's crapolla!
  117. It's a personal preference as to how much money they want to spend on a photog. Person I know told me once that they would never spend more than $500 for a photographer because it's just pictures "click click and done" So it's all up to the couple, some care about photos some don't they even care less if the service was done for free like some on CL offer. "Nothing done for free is apprecited because it has no value to the recipent, it also shows a lack of respect for yourself"- Fellow Pnet memeber.

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