Upload & Sell: Off
| 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.
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.
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.