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Archive 2013 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]
  
 
smukshots
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p.1 #1 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


I have my first wedding coming up this month!!... It was a very last minute arrangement, the couple just got engaged and the brides family wanted them married before Chinese New Year... So with that being said there is a lot I am trying to prepare for!! I did not expect to be shooting a wedding any time soon...

Pricing! This is what I have so far with the brides budget

$1,600
- Engagement Session
- Unlimited hours of shooting on the wedding day
- 2 photographers
- Online viewing Gallery
- approx. 100- 200 Retouched images

Prints (I use Miller's)
1 (16x20)
2 (11x14)
5 (8x10)
15 (5x7)
25 (4x6)

Then I was debating if i should give a press book or photo album... I have not made one so I am hesitant to add one ... but I feel there should be!

Also if they were to ask for all the full resolution copies on DVD what do you think the best price is? Right now the price for small images for personal use is $200

Time Frame
Is 3 months a reasonable time to receive all images and prints? ( I don't want to give them a time frame I can't do but most likely it will be less) But I do about 3-4 jobs a month plus school!!

Location!!
I am not nervous to shoot the wedding... But the venues!! The ceremony is in a industrial area ... and it is just a plain asian like church (if you know the visual on that looks like)... but its not photogenic and I know the bride is doing minimal decorations. The reception is at chinese dim sum restaurant, plus it is just dinner no dancing or fun shots!

Contract
My contract is a mess!!! I want to send it to her ASAP so she can go over it! ... Our next meeting and engagement session is on the 13th !! less the then 2 weeks from the wedding!
but I have been over almost every sample contract there is out there... and trying to piece together the right one that fits me!

Deposit
is $400 okay for a deposit to put down on the 13th ... it mostly needed to pay my 2nd shooter as well as travel cost the wedding is in San Diego I live in the San Gabriel Valley area so it is a drive apart... plus there are 4 locations that are each about 2 min apart.
Brides house
Grooms house
Ceremony
Reception

I think that's pretty much it... I have spent lots of time on forums and websites researching.... At this part I am looking for input and opinions. I have less then a month to prepare ... plus I have more sessions then normal this month... Which I am not complaining. Just a an overwhelmed teenager/young adult trying to succeed

So anyone input would be greatly appreciated!!

This is my website I would also like you take a look and judge if you think my quality is good for my price... because I don't want to disappoint...

smukshots.com



Jan 02, 2013 at 05:00 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #2 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


You're already promising a lot for $1,600 (do you have a second shooter already lined up? or is that cost still up in the air?). I wouldn't throw in an album. An album -- especially your first one -- will take a good amount of time to produce. No reason not to offer one, and you might decide to design and print it as a sample even if they are unsure about buying it -- showing them the sample might be encouragement enough for them to buy it from you. But I wouldn't include it at that price. Maybe as a $400 option with additional copies at a discount (just spitballing on the price, here, given your starting point).

Given your portrait work, I don't think your price is unreasonable. (I only hope a certain one of our other forum members sees where you're starting.) But I would say it's worth investing a chunk of that fee in a good, experienced second shooter -- someone who has shot as a primary, if you can find someone. You'll be glad you did, and you'll learn a lot more.

Time frame
Three months is a little on the long side, but it's not beyond the pale. The main issue is setting expectations clearly -- be sure the time frame is in your contract, and that you discuss it and clearly establish agreement with the client before signing. Problems with delivery times are more about failing to set expectations or failing to deliver on expectations set.

Venues
There are usually several shooting locations on a wedding day. They may include: where the girls are getting ready; where the guys are getting ready; a salon if the girls are having hair and/or makeup done separately; the ceremony site; a location just for bridal party or b&g photos; and the reception site.

There may still be time for the clients to consider, or reconsider, where they're getting ready. Often, for tight-budget weddings, they just do this at a parent's house, but if the house(s) are not photogenic locations, it's not usually a budget-buster to get a nice hotel suite for the girls that morning, and that can really lift the feel of the photographer's end product.

See whether you can arrange to take the bridal party somewhere scenic that's near or between the ceremony and reception sites for 30 minutes of shooting.

At the reception, will there still be toasts and/or speeches? Those can make some of the best shots if you and your second shooter are getting both the speaker and the reactions. Dancing images are a dime a dozen, and once you've shot dancing for about 10 minutes, there aren't many new shots to take, so don't fret the loss of dancing too much.

If there's nothing but eating going on at the reception, your portrait work suggests a strength you might build on. Take various people aside, either inside (find an alcove or nice corner), or outside if you can find an attractive backdrop, and get portraits of relatives and friends of the couple. That will also have the added benefit of increasing your post-event print sales, if you don't give the files away.

Contract and Deposit
I collect 50% at signing and 50% no later than two weeks prior to the wedding. That schedule doesn't make much sense for you, but I'd at least aim to collect $800 at signing. Whatever you collect, you need to make it clear that's your expectation right away. In any event, consider including a clause in the contract that says no images will be delivered prior to payment in full. Once you deliver images, you have little leverage to collect final payment, and the client has substantial incentive to bully you down in price.

Hang in there.




Jan 02, 2013 at 06:54 PM
cbres00
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p.1 #3 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


You haven't mentioned whether you have backup gear.


Jan 02, 2013 at 07:20 PM
smukshots
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p.1 #4 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Ian Ivey Thanks for you input and suggestion! This is a major concept to handle in short notice but your input helps a lot, gave me insight! ... My second shooter is my uncle who is an experienced photographer of 8 years but not with actually shooting events. But with short notice he was my option, plus I do not know many photographers. Also because it is a distance and I am fairly new driver who is not comfortable with freeways. He is my transportation.




Jan 02, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #5 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


I see you're in California. Lots of FMers are out there, so you might have some luck just asking for some help from someone who can second with you from this forum. I say that only because, while having another photographer who doesn't know the flow of a wedding is of some help, the single factor most likely to contribute to your success is probably having a second who does know what to expect. It would be worth your effort to find someone experienced in weddings who could join you. Not saying you'll die a firey death if you don't, but I predict you'll be glad later if you do.


Jan 02, 2013 at 09:12 PM
smukshots
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p.1 #6 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


cbres00 wrote:
You haven't mentioned whether you have backup gear.


Yes I have back up gear

My main body is 5DII
second is 40D that I first started using up until I got the 5DII
Then my 2nd shooter (uncle) has a 1D and 7D

Then between me and my other shooter
we a variety of lenses

(2) 70-200
(2)50
(2)24-70
85
sigma 10-20 (for those crazy warp shots)
(5) 580

but yeah I have back up gear



Jan 02, 2013 at 09:22 PM
smukshots
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p.1 #7 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Ian Ivey you are right. I should look into it. I am just afraid people will under mine me because of my age or lack of experience. Especially with a client it has happens to me sometimes.

As for flow of the wedding I met with the bride who does not know what to do. So I helped her put together her itinerary. When we meet again we will go over other details.

I am most confident with my relationship with bride, we keep contact on a daily basis and she ask me for my input on somethings.



Jan 02, 2013 at 09:48 PM
widjayaman
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p.1 #8 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Ian's advice is absolutely spot on. This forum continues to blow me away with the nuggets of info that's being freely shared.

My quick 2 cents:

* I would not offer any prints / albums in the coverage.
* I would not offer 'unlimited hours' of shooting. Specify a clean number of hours with additional hours as extra.
* Nothing you can do about boring venue, but the key to make everything looks better is camera angles and lighting. I see in your portfolio that you are familiar with off camera lighting so I would just do your thing and you should be fine.
* Invest in a good second shooter who have shot weddings as primary before. I cannot stressed the importance of this enough. I don't think your uncle is the best option here, unfortunately.
* 3 months timeframe is way too long. There is no reason why you should not be able to deliver a completed set within 1 month.
* Establish and manage proper expectations on everything - this is where good contract comes into play.



Jan 02, 2013 at 09:51 PM
amonline
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p.1 #9 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


My honest opinion? You should be much more organized, calm and professionally prepared before taking your first wedding. Your post really does not convey any of this.

My questions... Do you have insurance? ALL kinds? Including liability and indemnification? I wouldn't even consider doing a wedding without it.

The only thing I can really add is the hope she wants the disk of high resolution so you can charge another $700-800. Otherwise, you're not making anything off this.

I cannot really judge your work; because, quite frankly, you've done nothing even close to wedding related shooting.

I assume you're around 18. I applaud you for jumping into your talent. However, I think you should spend much more time on preparation if you're going into weddings. Consider shooting second with other seasoned pros first. While you're doing that, get your business in order, insurance in order, etc.



Jan 02, 2013 at 09:59 PM
smukshots
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p.1 #10 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


widjayaman wrote:
Ian's advice is absolutely spot on. This forum continues to blow me away with the nuggets of info that's being freely shared.

My quick 2 cents:

* I would not offer any prints / albums in the coverage.
* I would not offer 'unlimited hours' of shooting. Specify a clean number of hours with additional hours as extra.
* Nothing you can do about boring venue, but the key to make everything looks better is camera angles and lighting. I see in your portfolio that you are familiar with off camera lighting so I would just do your thing and you should be
...Show more

I agree with you! this forum amazes me, I have been researching for days... and its good that I am getting the answers I need to know but also the input!!

Prints, I do not usually offer print packages but she asked for one , So i was trying to be my best to come up with something to appease her wants. I did ex out all digital images and made it clear if she wanted a CD she had to pay extra.

I wouldn't know how many hours to set. I feel bad putting a cap and having to pay extra. I know it is something I will have to get over, but its taking me! I still get nervous telling people my prices!!

with such short nortice can I get a second shooter? I would like to meet and get to know them first, I would feel comfortable if we were not meeting for the first time. Also the main reason my uncle is shooting is because he is driving. I am a fairly new driver and not comfortable driving the freeways of Los Angleles.

Yes 3 months is a long time... but most likely I will have everything done in less, my turn around time for events is 3 weeks.It is just I do not want this one time to be that one time I can't or I am swamped with midterms and 4-6 weeks is actually 7 or 8!!

Contract ... yes I am try to make a clean contract!!! and I am getting lots a help from you guys thank you!!



Jan 02, 2013 at 10:49 PM
 

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Ian Ivey
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p.1 #11 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


I am just afraid people will under mine me because of my age or lack of experience. Especially with a client it has happens to me sometimes.

Some will. Don't fear that, just address it or ignore it. Others won't, and there's a fighting chance someone here will be available and will take you seriously enough to work with you. It will cost you four or five hundred bucks, but it would be some of the best money you'll spend on learning if you get the right person.



Jan 02, 2013 at 11:07 PM
smukshots
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p.1 #12 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


amonline wrote:
My honest opinion? You should be much more organized, calm and professionally prepared before taking your first wedding. Your post really does not convey any of this.

My questions... Do you have insurance? ALL kinds? Including liability and indemnification? I wouldn't even consider doing a wedding without it.

The only thing I can really add is the hope she wants the disk of high resolution so you can charge another $700-800. Otherwise, you're not making anything off this.

I cannot really judge your work; because, quite frankly, you've done nothing even close to wedding related shooting.

I assume you're around 18. I applaud you
...Show more

I agree with you! I need to be way more organized... But I did not expect a wedding any time soon. So when the offer came I told myself I am not ready for this, I told this to the bride that I have not shot any weddings or anything... But she said she really liked my work and this wedding was last minute. My contact info was given by a debut I shot and they gave me a great recommendation. (which my objective when shooting was to shoot as if it was a wedding,which in filipino culture that is just as important) ...

Do I have insurance... No... But how many did have insurance on their first wedding. I am pretty sure there are pros who still do not have insurance.

Profit I don't care so much about... right now I am trying to gain experience. I am going all out on everything so I have something to show for next time. Yes I am just diving in there but the opportunity was given to me, I turned it down and it was given to me again. Wouldn't you have taken it at my age.?



Jan 02, 2013 at 11:24 PM
paregorike
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p.1 #13 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Hi.

Are you friends with the bride?

Weddings are very different. Each wedding can also be different from the next. They can be very challenging.

What I do find is that people tend to think that if you can shoot nice portraits, landscape, or other non-wedding related photography, that you would also be good at wedding photography. In the instances (before i gained experience), I would educate my friends that I would not be qualified to shoot their wedding. The times when they were insistent I shoot, I've actually made sure they hired a pro, and I would shoot with the permission of the pro.

With that being said, you should also practice with either off camera flash or on camera- bounce - bracket- flash. Photographing in dim lighting can be a challenge.

Ron




Jan 03, 2013 at 12:15 AM
smukshots
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p.1 #14 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


paregorike

No the bride is a friend of a previous client. I have met her once during our meeting. I have experience in events but never wedding. The closes thing I have done to wedding is a debut and quinceanera.

and I am very confident in my ability to use on and off camera flash. I rely on them on events and practice a lot.



Jan 03, 2013 at 12:50 AM
paregorike
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p.1 #15 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Good luck!

R --



Jan 03, 2013 at 12:59 AM
amonline
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p.1 #16 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


smukshots wrote:
Wouldn't you have taken it at my age.?


As you have described? Mistakenly; yes. As an adult, I know better. And no, I did not shoot my first wedding without insurance. That would have been quite dumb.

My response is purely about making you think liability through. I'm not telling you to back out, but having a contract for this one might actually be a bad thing. (since you have no official business or insurance)

If she is a friend, then you should handle it that way. Keep the terms super clear. Then, prepare for your "real" first wedding.

Bottom line, I think (based solely on your ecstatic posting) you're jumping into something that can really turn out terrible for you. Again, I highly suggest second shooting first. Maybe even finding a pro to take this job and allow you to second.



Jan 03, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Ziffl3
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p.1 #17 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


if i was close to San diego ... i would jump in and help 2nd for you. I use to live in carlsbad/oceanside.


Jan 03, 2013 at 01:29 AM
That Photog
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p.1 #18 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Post a second needed request and see what happens.
I'd offer if I were anywhere close.

I agree on insurance - must have.
Having someone that knows the flow of a wedding as a second would help a lot. I would have been nervous as I'll get out shooting my first wedding if it hadn't been as a second for someone who knew what they were doing. It is funny how often the photographer gets asked questions (how to put on ties, button covers, where to go, what to do next...) We are expected to know how a wedding runs.



Jan 03, 2013 at 02:17 PM
kwhaley29
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p.1 #19 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


Sterling, I think that you have received a lot of sound feedback so far so I won't repeat what others have said. I will say though that I took a look at your website and I think you have the skills to do quite well. Good luck and please share your experience afterward.


Jan 03, 2013 at 02:36 PM
nguyencs
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p.1 #20 · First wedding coming up! [HELP!]


smukshots wrote:
Do I have insurance... No... But how many did have insurance on their first wedding. I am pretty sure there are pros who still do not have insurance.

Profit I don't care so much about... right now I am trying to gain experience. I am going all out on everything so I have something to show for next time. Yes I am just diving in there but the opportunity was given to me, I turned it down and it was given to me again. Wouldn't you have taken it at my age.?



To be honest, you should probably back out of this wedding. I am not trying to discourage you. I was in your position not so long ago and I would totally recommend you do things right the first time. Starting with an accountant and attorney. You shouldn't be charging money if you need to gain experience. You should 2nd shoot until you known the ins and outs of shooting a wedding. By "diving in there" with no insurance or solid contract, you're just painting a big "SUE ME" on yourself. Then you have to deal with the accounting side of running a business. Don't forget, roughly 35% of that $1600 belongs to the government whether you think you have a business or not.

Good luck and hope the business works out for you.





Jan 03, 2013 at 03:07 PM
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