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How much to ask for occasional wedding gig?


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I've been asked to cover a wedding. It would take the whole day, from the ceremony to the dinner to the party. Technically I feel up to it, but I'm unsure how much to ask.

Right now I'd like to provide them with a quote that includes everything but the physical wedding book, because I still need to think about that. Btw, what's in a wedding book - how many photos or pages? I never paid too much attention to that.

I'm thinking of providing a price that would include a couple of prints already - is that a good idea?


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You might want to inquire what local wedding photographers charge. The last wedding I did I charged $100 per hour for my time. Anything they wanted after that was an additional charge. Doing a full day wedding like you are going to do is a lot of work. Don’t sell yourself too cheap. Personally, there is not enough money in the world to get me to photograph another wedding.

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I hope that a couple of professional wedding photographers will weigh in here, because they have the experience!

As an amateur, I've never photographed a wedding and would never do so. But I have covered a couple of 'events' ranging from 2-hour ceremonies to 6-hour (amateur) sporting events. I've only ever published photos on-line but with enough resolution that they can be downloaded  by participants to make decent size prints if they so wish.

'Static' (formal) portaits of groups have never posed a real problem for me. At a sign 'hey, groupphoto coming up', people 'adopt their pose' and a couple of 'burst' shots are enough to choose the 'best of the bunch'. They're not usually the most interesting photos but some groups want them

For more interesting spontaneous (moving and/or talking) subects, I shoot almost exclusively in 'burst mode' so that at least one shot in a 'burst' captures the subects with their eyes open and with a non-weird expression (especially the mouth). In groups, I try to take multiple 'bursts' in order to capture most people with open eyes and non-weird expressions. As a consequence, I end up with hundreds of 'burst shots' .l end up spending  much more time in photo selection and (light) post-processing than I do at the event itself. I spend 2-3 times as much time on photo selection and final post-processing as I do at the actual event. I'm an amateur and I do it for 4444444444444444444444444fun. But I've often thought that no professional photographer could ever make a living with 'my process'.

At any event, I'm usually there at least an hour beforehand. To get to know the organizers, pick up a programme for the event, check the light/lighting and choose a couple of different shooting positions (with lenses) for different parts of the 'event'.

My (amateur) guess is that for weddings, the amount of time in prepararations, post-event culling/selection, formatting photos for a 'wedding book 'and (possible) design and production in agreement with the couple is huge! If you already have multiple bodies, backup cards, etc, then that's fine. If not you IMHO need to consider additional costs of renting 'fail-safe' backup equipent.  As far as I know, professional photographers carry backup equipment to important shoots. Just in case their main equipment fails in the moment. And multiple bodies attached to both wide-angle and close-up zoom lenses will of course enable you to get different shots quickly.

If you Google 'How to photograph Weddings', you'll probably see at least hundreds of results. These are just a few. Interestingly, these 3 independent websites share similar tips:

- masterclass.com

digital photography school


I'm not sure whether you are also contracted (in agreement with the couple) to produce a  printed ''wedding album', If so, there are also many tips on-line about designing and producing a 'wedding album':


My guess us that you would need to discuss the scope and format of the printed 'wedding album beforehand with the couple,

My personal opinion (bottom line) is; given all the (probably unpaid) hoops you would have to jump through - and the risks you might run as an 'amateur' wedding photographer, I would seriously consider whether you might to take on this a assignment as an amateur. 

The fact that you don't quite know what to charge gives me the impression that you don't yet understand 'wedding photography ' from a professional and business perspective.

So (as a complete amateur) I would talk honestly to the couple. If they hire you on a 'best effort' basis (including prep, shooting, PP and perhaps album/photo production) for a reasonable payment for your total labor and costs, then go for it

T.B.H. I suspect that one-off 'amatuer wedding photographers' probably spend more time in prep and post-event activities that they'd initally budgeted for. And run more risk than pro-photographers.

So my basic question is: should you you go ahead and calcue your (possible) time, equipment and PP costs into a Fixed- Price or hourly price? Or would the couple be better served by a professional wedding photographer who has done these gigs many times before and can probaby do it better more efficientielly and with less overall (real) cost than you can?

IMHO, weddings are not for amateurs. There's just so much that (potentially) could turn out not that the coupld had hoped for,


Uo to you.


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