Are Wedding Photographer Prices Negotiable? James Goodall from Good Snap Photography digs deep in this honest, candid chat about Wedding Photography prices.
Listen to James on the Wedding Espresso Awesome DIY Wedding Planning Podcast…
James Goodall, Goodsnap Photography
James P: [00:00:02] James thanks so much for joining me today.
James G: [00:00:05] Hi how are you doing James? Are you alright?
James P: [00:00:06] Yes. Very well and yourself?
James G: [00:00:08] Yeah not too bad myself. Yeah. All good.
James P: [00:00:10] Your company is “Good Snap Photography” and obviously you provide wedding photography. Awesome. So let’s hash this one out then.
So the question on our minds today is “are wedding photographer prices negotiable?”
James G: [00:00:28] Yes. And it’s an interesting question because in some forms, I think that in a way, it can be negotiable. But it’s down to how cheeky or willing you are, to be honest. Because there’s a lot that goes into producing a wedding as a photographer, from a photographers point of view. I mean, say if a photographer is working for 10 hours, or something like that, you know that’s a long time to be working on your feet, all day, carrying your equipment around. From a bride’s point of view, they probably only see it from the fact of, you know, they’re there for that day, and then that’s it. Pretty much. But then you think about how it could take hours on end to then go through and edit all of the photos, and then, you know there’s also the price of the equipment, and the editing software for instance.
James G: [00:01:32] I mean I’ve set up my business last year, and I’ve probably spent about £10,000 on equipment and bits and bobs. So obviously to make that back, like I was saying to you just before, I mean I was pretty much just breaking even this last year. When brides are asking a lot, for a small amount of money, say you’ve got fixed prices in there, and if you were to take say £500 – £600 off that price, I mean that’s a heavy hit for a photographer, in that sort of sense. Plus you also have other options. So say you wanted a certain amount of coverage, you could probably go for cheaper. You know there are plenty of photographers out there, if you weren’t necessarily happy with paying that much for one particular photographer.
I’d say in a way, it’s how much are you willing to spend on your photography, how much do you value that?
James P: [00:02:32] I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, haven’t you. Yeah I think from my experience I think there are two different types of clients. You know myself included. I fit into this category. On the one hand you’ve got people who basically will drive a bargain every time, without fail. That’s me. I do that! I do that to everybody. And then the other people who basically see something.
They see the price, and they go, you know what, that is a fantastic product for the price. And I’m that person as well. I fit into kind of both categories.
James P: [00:03:06] So I think, would it not make sense, rather than discounting, or brides and grooms seeking a discount. Would it make sense for brides and grooms, if they’re going to haggle, if that’s their nature, and you can’t help yourself. Is it worth just offering them something on top? Like taking the stock package and saying well you know, I’ll throw you in an extra hour at the end, to cover the dances. Does that not make more sense?
James G: [00:03:34] That’s the sort of thing that I tend to do. That I’m striving to do. Because when I first started, I just wanted the booking to be honest. Because I was getting into it and I wanted the experience. I’d go in with a figure, a ballpark figure of what I’d be happy to charge, and then they’d go ” Oh no that’s too expensive. But I still want to book you.” And then straight away I’d knock £500 off the price because I just wanted the experience at the time. And I needed as many Weddings in as I could get. But I wouldn’t necessarily do that now. I think I’m at that stage where I wouldn’t do that. And I don’t think it’s necessarily fair on photographers, for brides to expect you to knock that much off your price.
I think you’d rather ask “can I have an extra couple of hours”, than you know, try and knock a lot of money off.
James P: [00:04:25] At the end of the day, I mean the money that we get paid as wedding supplies, is really our life blood. I mean we’re living off it.
So to negotiate a discount is not really as favourable as perhaps negotiating, let’s say a couple of extra hours, or something like that.
That’s in everybody’s best interest and then the bride and groom actually you know, they get something that is above and beyond the standard. So everybody wins in that scenario.
James G: [00:04:51] Yeah. I mean the one thing that you might want to look at is someone that is maybe starting, but you’ve seen their work. And if you look through all of their work and see that they are really good, you might want to look at going to see them. Because they might be able to do, like I was able to do, you know drop the price significantly.
Or just offer up what you’re prepared to pay. Yeah and just see how it goes. Because there’s no harm in asking.
Everybody needs to get on, to start somewhere.
James P: [00:05:23] I think if you are budget conscious, one of the best things you can do is actually approach people like you, who are going to deliver way above your price point, because like you say, you know, you’re trying to build a portfolio. So the brides and grooms are already on a winner. If they look on your website and they like your work, and you just started out, you are going to get the best price anyway. You know, without even haggling. So there’s that.
James P: [00:05:48] I do remember from our wedding photography, it wasn’t cheap, but it was one of the most important things to us. We wanted a really, really solid record. And we actually brought our wedding photographer over from California. And we had to pay for his flights as part of the deal, so we booked a deal. And obviously if they’re going to come all that way, then you’re going to need two or three days of coverage really to get the value out of it. So it became very, very expensive. But we actually broke it down.
The total cost we spent on wedding photography, we broke it down and found out what each individual photograph had cost us.
And you know what? It was incredible, because it was about the same as we would have paid a UK photographer.
James G: [00:06:35] Yeah. Yeah. Once you add everything into it.
James P: [00:06:37] Exactly. So there’s that to pay attention to as well. It’s not just about the price, it’s about the value.
James G: [00:06:43] Yeah it’s not just that. I mean just going back to the sort of gear point of view. You know all of that, when a photographer has all this gear and everything, it’s not just that they have it, they’ve then got to go and service it. People don’t see that side of it, do they, in that sort of sense. It costs me, for instance, I’ve got two identical cameras, you know so if one of them was to break, I’ve got a spare one. Each of those, I mean I bought them used and they were like £1,500. So obviously you’ve got two of them, and then you’ve got to then go and get them serviced every so often. And that can be £30 per camera. And then do that every sort of four or five weddings. So say if you were asking for a £300 – £400 wedding, then the photographer is not really getting any money for the service that they’re offering.
James P: [00:07:37] Yeah I think what you brought up there is very important because if you think about it,
if you’re pushing and pushing and pushing for a cheaper and cheaper price, something’s got to give. There’s got to be a compromise hasn’t there?
James G: [00:07:49] Yeah!
James P: [00:07:49] You’re pushing that photographer to think, oh well you know, maybe I just won’t get my camera serviced this time. Or I won’t buy that memory card. You’re almost creating your own destiny for failure.
I think everyone sets their prices fairly. I don’t think I’ve ever really seen anybody who’s been unfair with their prices.
And it’s because they know what they need, to cover their bases. Yes. Haggling in that sense, maybe not such a great idea.
James G: [00:08:20] Yeah I know that in the past I’ve been to see a couple and I know that they are struggling, and they want to obviously book with me. And I have been like you know what, I will knock a little bit off. But I’m not gonna go stupid and knock half the value of my photography package off. Because I’ve still got to make a living at the same time. And I’ll be the one up at two o’clock in the morning, editing photos.
James P: [00:08:45] I think the other kind of thing that I’ve always felt on a personal level, and this applies to pretty much everything that I buy, even if I’m getting some work done for the house or something. If someone approaches you, and you know, you get on really well with them, and you trust them, then there’s often no need to haggle. Because you know that you’re getting the right service for the right price. I think if you feel the need to haggle, maybe there’s a slight disconnect there. And like you said, you’re feeling probably more confident this year with your bookings. And you probably feel less of a need to haggle because you’re attracting more of the right kind of clients.
James G: [00:09:24]
Yeah, if you’re not necessarily happy with the products or the pricing, then there is plenty of other photographers out there.
There’s hundreds around where I live. You know, significantly less expensive than me, but then I know what I can offer compared to sort of the opposition. It’s just personal preference. There’s also different styles of photography as well, that some people offer that other people don’t. I mean some people only take background pictures. They won’t do any sort of posing. Whereas other people would do a lot of sort of stuff that you’d see on magazines. So you’ve got to look at that as well on their portfolio, and see what sort of things they’re offering for the money that they are asking.
James P: [00:10:14] Yeah. That’s brilliant. So we’ve actually just got a quick fun question for you since we’ve got some time left.
What would you say is your favourite part of what you do?
James G: [00:10:26] The favourite part of what I do is probably the smile that I see. When I’ve given the photos back to the couple, and they’ve seen that I’ve done a good job, because there’s a lot of stress that goes into it. The first thing I do after I get home from a wedding is you know, regardless of what time it is, I say right, I’m too tired now, I need to go to bed. But I won’t go to bed. I’ll backup my photos and put them straight on my computer. And I’ll sit there for an hour or so. It could be two o’clock in the morning and I’ll be sat there reviewing it and thinking you know… being paranoid, I hope I’ve done a good job. And then I can just relax.
James G: [00:11:02] But when I actually see their faces when they’ve got the pictures, and how happy they are. There’s a case, there’s a couple who have got a great big canvas.
I mean, I’ve only done 13 weddings now, and there’s a couple with a huge canvas that covers their wall. And it’s one of my photos, that I took. That means a lot to me.
So that’s probably the biggest thing for me that I love. And the most rewarding thing for me. Yeah definitely.
James P: [00:11:34] Brilliant. Thank you so much for being so candid with us today and sharing all that information. It’s been great to talk to you.
James G: [00:11:41] Yeah great to talk to you James. Thank you very much.
James P: [00:11:43] And hopefully we’ll speak again soon.
James G: [00:11:45] Yeah definitely. Okay. Thank you very much.
James P: [00:11:49] All right bye for now.