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Archive 2013 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?
  
 
misty23
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p.5 #1 · p.5 #1 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
Let's look at Apple. That's a good example. I don't think there's a single corporation that's better at keeping itsel'f from being number one than Apple. Upon it's creation, the iPhone was a marvel. It was amazing. People called it the Jesus phone. But from that very day, Apple's cocky my way or the highway attitude was not even liked among it's users. What I mean is the inability to replace keyboards and launchers, it's lack of battery replacement, it's lack of a memory card slot, Apple's willingness to only deal with AT&T with this device.

What happened? Android came
...Show more

Comparing phones and wedding photography is a ridiculous comparison. You really have no idea what makes brides buy wedding photography. It's all about emotion. What kind of price tag can you place on that ? It's priceless.



Jan 12, 2013 at 01:58 PM
agelessphotog
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p.5 #2 · p.5 #2 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
Ageless, you're not going to because like I said, with some bias, nothing I show you will be good unless the price is high. If they exist, continue to host their website despite the charges, if they continue to do business, chances are, they are getting votes more credible than your bias opinion. They're getting dollars from people and there can be no more credible vote than that. In fact, I'd say a negative nod from one's competition is probably the least credible nod one can count.


You kinda proved my point for me. Places that charge less do it for a reason. Not because they can get more money and chose not to. It's because they are lacking in quality of what they produce or the marketing. From the places you showed me it's not the marketing. You showed me a website where the the majority of the photos looked like they were done by a beginner. Everything outdoors in focus and shot at like F10, blown highlights, off WB, noisy photos. Theres a reason they are charging less. That's all they can get.

You said it perfectly when you said the most credible votes are the dollars. If me and other photographers can charge more per wedding it's because the customers think we are delivering more. Thank you for proving my point.



Jan 12, 2013 at 02:48 PM
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p.5 #3 · p.5 #3 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
Ageless, plumbers, mechanics, electricians and even musicians do not try to site work related expenses and factor them in. They get what they get by the hour or by the job which can then be divided to figure out the hours.

A professional, someone who is doing it to make a living, has to make a living wage. After business expenses. If they don't, they'll find another industry to work in or move, because nobody wants to work essentially for free.

If you want a professional who has a reasonable amount of experience, you end up paying for all these expenses, if it is hourly it is included in the hourly.

You can go with a craigslist photographer or a "weekend warrior" for your wedding if you want. It's a roll of the dice, and the odds are seriously against you. Almost half of the people out there lie about the qualifications, if they can show quality on their webpage it's because they've stolen someone else's photos, and so on. Many people who do this end up regretting it for the rest of their life.

But if that's what you want for your wedding, by all means, go for it. That $250. or $500. is probably better spent buying a cheap disposable camera for each guest and having them turn it in afterwards. I know people who have actually done that, and at least the photos were better than you could expect from an average "Craigslist photographer".



Jan 12, 2013 at 05:13 PM
enigmatl
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p.5 #4 · p.5 #4 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


misty23 wrote:
Comparing phones and wedding photography is a ridiculous comparison. You really have no idea what makes brides buy wedding photography. It's all about emotion. What kind of price tag can you place on that ? It's priceless.



It's priceless and that's poetic. But it's not reality.

It was somebody else that compared Apple to a wedding photographer and I just drew a comparison where one could easily be found as they are both businesses.

Because a wedding is priceless alone isn't an excuse to charge rates that are, in some people's minds insane.

I mean by all means, people should charge what they can. That's economics. Never since I came in here have I said or even thought someone doing well should charge less.

What I am saying is it's silly for people to then come in here and whine about new photographers who are able to do the same job for less. Because that too is economics.

And as long as we have photographers who charge more than what a lot of what their potential consumers think should be charged, as long as one can go to wedding photographers' websites and not find prices listed (different from most other businesses) and then sometimes get the runaround upon price requests til the photographer gets to sit down with you, we're gonna have people that do list their prices up front and sometimes, they will be lower. And complaining about it as was the case for the inception of this thread will not help.



Jan 12, 2013 at 06:57 PM
enigmatl
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p.5 #5 · p.5 #5 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


[Agelessphotog wrote:
You kinda proved my point for me. Places that charge less do it for a reason. Not because they can get more money and chose not to. It's because they are lacking in quality of what they produce or the marketing. From the places you showed me it's not the marketing. You showed me a website where the the majority of the photos looked like they were done by a beginner. Everything outdoors in focus and shot at like F10, blown highlights, off WB, noisy photos. Theres a reason they are charging less. That's all they can get.

You said
...Show more

Ageless, not true, that's your opinion, they are charging less because they see an easy opening. They don't HAVE to make $150 an hour to stay profitable. And can some photographers maintain high prices? Obviously not as high as they once could. Otherwise, we wouldn't see so many of these complaint threads about new photographers who couldn't stay in business if what you say is true.There's always going to be some people that search out the highest price because some people believe the way to gauge the product is to solely look at the price. But the masses price compare, they look at dollar spent and what each dollar buys. And price momentum is currently moving a bit lower right now because there's never been a time when learning this stuff was so easy. The technological barriers of the camera are all but gone as is the learning curve which lets people focus on that which can not be taught.



Jan 12, 2013 at 07:09 PM
enigmatl
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p.5 #6 · p.5 #6 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


Access wrote:
A professional, someone who is doing it to make a living, has to make a living wage. After business expenses. If they don't, they'll find another industry to work in or move, because nobody wants to work essentially for free.

If you want a professional who has a reasonable amount of experience, you end up paying for all these expenses, if it is hourly it is included in the hourly.

How exactly is working for $30 an hour vs $150 an hour "for free"? You talk as if the $3,500 5D Mark III were a disposable camera or something that
...Show more



Jan 12, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Access
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p.5 #7 · p.5 #7 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
How exactly is working for $30 an hour vs $150 an hour "for free"? You talk as if the $3,500 5D Mark III were a disposable camera or something that maybe lasted 1 or 2 weddings.

I don't think you are grasping the economics of it all.
When you run a business, the rate you charge to the customer and the rate that you are actually able to pay yourself are two very different things.

If you charge $30./hr you'd be hard pressed to pay yourself even minimum wage once you factor in things like the cost to rent the studio or office, the cost of transportation, the cost of insurance, the cost of purchasing or maintaining your equipment (cameras, lights, computers, software, website, etc.), the cost of paying any assistants or other staff, the cost of assorted regulations, taxes such as payroll tax, self-employment tax, accounting, etc.

Most of these costs are recurring and they do add up. At $30./hr you probably wouldn't be able to pay yourself anything all. Hence "working for free".

Here's one other trend, in my area we do have a 'full-service' wedding firm that hires wedding photographers to shoot a wedding but handles all the other parts (advertising, meeting with the client, booking, editing, postprocessing, album and digital delivery, etc.) And they pay the photographer between $20/hr to $100/hr (for a respected pro) to show up at the wedding, shoot it, and drop off their cards at the firm (which has roughly 40 people to handle everything else). Everyone who deals with them seems to like them, the client still gets to choose the photographer (based on their portfolio), the photographer doesn't have to deal with the overhead of running a business and can shoot a whole lot more weddings in a year than he used to, so at least on paper, it sounds like a win for everyone involved.



Jan 12, 2013 at 10:48 PM
enigmatl
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p.5 #8 · p.5 #8 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


Access wrote:
Here's one other trend, in my area we do have a 'full-service' wedding firm that hires wedding photographers to shoot a wedding but handles all the other parts (advertising, meeting with the client, booking, editing, postprocessing, album and digital delivery, etc.) And they pay the photographer between $20/hr to $100/hr (for a respected pro) to show up at the wedding, shoot it, and drop off their cards at the firm (which has roughly 40 people to handle everything else). Everyone who deals with them seems to like them, the client still gets to choose the photographer (based on their portfolio),
...Show more
Yeah. It is probably going to be trending this way in the future. And again where learning curve goes, this takes a little more off of it making it even easier. There are probably a lot of photographers out there that are great at their work but either bad at, or could care less about the management of a business.

And at the same time, there's huge potential for these models and downward trending prices as for whatever reason, some either can't pay higher prices cause they can't afford it or won't pay them cause they feeel it costs way more than it should.



Jan 13, 2013 at 01:03 AM
dhp_sf
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p.5 #9 · p.5 #9 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


I brought up Apple as an example of a company that is still wildly successful despite the lower priced competition out there offering similar products. Even Mac vs PC. They are still commanding higher prices and have a loyal following due to successful marketing and branding.

Other industries work this way as well. People who want luxury cars go Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes, while those that just want to get from point A to point B might pick up a KIA. You can buy $10 shirts at Target or Walmart, or you can buy $60 shirts at Banana Republic.. or $500 shirts at Prada. People will always find money for things they feel is worth it.

The point is, just because photography is becoming more of a commodity due to the ease of entry, it doesn't take away the fact that there are still and will likely always be people who value quality over a "good deal."

While yes, there will always be people out there that think that $3000, or even $1500 is "too much to pay" for wedding photography, there will always be people out there that feel $5,000 or 10,000 is a worthy investment for an heirloom that could potentially last generations. It might not be worth it to you, but that's exactly why people like you are not seeking out some of the amazing wedding photographers out there that are constantly busy.



Jan 13, 2013 at 01:27 AM
enigmatl
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p.5 #10 · p.5 #10 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


dhp_sf wrote:
I brought up Apple as an example of a company that is still wildly successful despite the lower priced competition out there offering similar products. Even Mac vs PC. They are still commanding higher prices and have a loyal following due to successful marketing and branding.

Other industries work this way as well. People who want luxury cars go Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes, while those that just want to get from point A to point B might pick up a KIA. You can buy $10 shirts at Target or Walmart, or you can buy $60 shirts at Banana Republic.. or $500
...Show more

As far as Mac vs PC and as far as iPhone verses other devices, sure there are loyal followings. But we're talking about more money = automatic better product and there's not any form of mass agreement that Apple's products are better. Once upon a time, the Mac was better. But there absolutely is no consensus that Apple produces the Lexus, BMW, or Mercedes of their field. The PC has always had wider developer support and more and better hardware accessories. Android phones have faster processors, more memory, bigger screens, and thanks to HTC's new model BETTER screens, more customization options and a better web browsing experience than any iPhone.

So if you're telling me that Apple is an example of some people choose better quality, please tell me how in the world the iPhone is better than a good Android device.

It's nothing more than marketing and making people think it's better yet when they have to explain how, epic fail. Same thing with some of the brands you mention. In shirts, there is no such thing as a $500 shirt that's $440 better in quality than a $60 shirt. It doesn't exist.

You can always fool some people into thinking that the higher the price, the better the quality. Some people even buy or want a Bugatti Veyron because it's the best car in the world, why? Cause they googled most expensive car in the world. What can they tell you about it? It's the bestest car. Just like 9 out of 10 iPhone owners say iPhone's the best cause it's got the WIFIs, it's 4G, you can download apps to it. I'm not even kidding about that. Poll your iPhone friends, at least the ones that say it's the best phone. Ask them why it's the best phone.

It is not a given that higher price equals higher quality.



Jan 13, 2013 at 02:14 AM
 



dhp_sf
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p.5 #11 · p.5 #11 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


I never said it was a given that higher price = higher quality. I said there's always going to be a market for luxury. "Best" is also very subjective. I'm not exactly sure what your point is other than that you don't think anyone should be charging a high fee for photography.


Jan 13, 2013 at 02:19 AM
scottam10
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p.5 #12 · p.5 #12 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
Ageless, plumbers, mechanics, electricians and even musicians do not try to site work related expenses and factor them in. They get what they get by the hour or by the job which can then be divided to figure out the hours.


Any business has to factor work-related expenses, taxes etc into their hourly rate. If you want to get paid $30/hr, you have to charge substantially more than this.

When was the last time you saw a self-employed plumber who charged $30/hr? They'd be losing money - After expenses, they'd be better off working at McDonalds



Jan 13, 2013 at 02:36 AM
enigmatl
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p.5 #13 · p.5 #13 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


dhp_sf wrote:
I never said it was a given that higher price = higher quality. I said there's always going to be a market for luxury. "Best" is also very subjective. I'm not exactly sure what your point is other than that you don't think anyone should be charging a high fee for photography.


That's been all but the theme of this entire thread, higher price = higher quality. And I don't think people shouldn't charge higher prices. What I'm saying is if they then complain about others with the automatic assumption that their work is somehow not as good as theirs because it's cheaper, that's silly. And you know it's silly because when I was a kid, at least where I lived, there were a ton of photographers who placed their watermark on their work and maintained copyright on it often even for family sittings. Now, many awesome photographers give you the full rights to the pictures. You don't think when this started, some old schoolers weren't angry, you think some of them didn't say "If you want crap, go to them then."? Now, probably nobody who reads this message and does photography puts out work that's crap. But I bet you don't use watermarks. The assertion that was made then must have been little more than angry ramblings.



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:17 AM
scottam10
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p.5 #14 · p.5 #14 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


I agree that there will always be competition from $500 Craigslist shooters, some of whom are capable of producing very good work, and paying a lot more won't necessarily get you better results. However the people who can afford to charge $500 are working another job and just doing photography on the side



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:30 AM
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p.5 #15 · p.5 #15 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
joelconner, and if somebody does pay $3,200 for a wedding, and you say that it's well under $150 an hour, are you saying that well over 22 hours is put into a single wedding?


I would be in flipping heaven if it took only 22 hours per wedding. On average, we spend 40-45 per hour per wedding (50-55 if you consider that two of us are shooting the wedding...so it is 20 hours of shooting time instead of 10). There is so much that goes into it besides shooting and editing the wedding. Meetings, engagement sessions, paperwork, prepping, and others.

And...what about all the time spent that is not directly making money like keeping the books, marketing, meeting with clients who do not book, responding to inquiries, et cetera et cetera? We don't make a dime for any of that. There is this amazing myth that wedding photographers are rolling in the dough. We are "successful" in that we are fully booked each year (for what we can handle), but we are definitely not loaded. Trust me, I wish we were



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:36 AM
enigmatl
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p.5 #16 · p.5 #16 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


scottam10 wrote:
Any business has to factor work-related expenses, taxes etc into their hourly rate. If you want to get paid $30/hr, you have to charge substantially more than this.

When was the last time you saw a self-employed plumber who charged $30/hr? They'd be losing money - After expenses, they'd be better off working at McDonalds


WE've had about 4 plumber visits in the past 5 years and they usually go around $65 an hour. One time though, they had to go in a basement and then dig a ditch and all kinds of crap. Plumbing is a lot harder to learn. I can not just go to sites like this site, youtube or DPreview and learn plumbing. There are no pipes to experiment with. The consequences when you mess up are a lot worse than hitting delete on your camera. There are so many hard things to learn and you need a teacher to learn them. Unclogging a drain is so different from changing a pipe. Photography is a lot easier to learn and do than plumbing and it's a lot less difficult.

And I'm talking about specific kinds of photography. Obviously if we're talking hazardous photography of some kind, it's probably worthy of several hundred dollars an hour, possibly more.

But weddings? People should charge what they will, of course. But to complain about undercutters saying they're all low quality is silly.



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:39 AM
joelconner
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p.5 #17 · p.5 #17 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
The real testiment to if they suck is are they in business, do they continue to stay in business, do people continue to go with them...


I do not have stats to back it up, but I would think that the percentage rate of photographers charging <$1,500 per wedding and 1) delivering a decent product and 2) earning enough money to live is very, very low. We used to charge that much, and we could not survive on it...not even close.



Jan 13, 2013 at 03:43 AM
dhp_sf
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p.5 #18 · p.5 #18 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


enigmatl wrote:
That's been all but the theme of this entire thread, higher price = higher quality. And I don't think people shouldn't charge higher prices. What I'm saying is if they then complain about others with the automatic assumption that their work is somehow not as good as theirs because it's cheaper, that's silly.


Okay. In that case I agree with you. I used to charge around $1200 for full day of wedding coverage. People thought I was CRAZY. But they thought I was crazy because it was so cheap for what I produced. So once I realized what I was doing and figured out what i needed to run a business and make a living, I raised my rates. But in addition to that, I think there's a lot of other value that I and other experienced photographers provide other than just showing up and taking pictures. The clients that understand that are willing to invest more.

When brides are looking in the $500-$1000 range it's a gamble. I think there are people out there that don't know any better and also equate higher price to higher quality, because they don't know what they want or what they're looking for. They'll START at like the 3-4k range because that's what they expect to pay for good wedding photography.

I also agree there's no reason to hate on the under-cutters. There's a place in the market for everyone. Anyway I guess I don't have anything else to add if the main argument was over the validity of high price=high quality. Because I agree with you... Expensive photography can be terrible. Cheap photography can be very good (but usually isn't IMO--and if it is, it usually isn't cheap for very long).



Jan 13, 2013 at 04:26 AM
sozypozy
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p.5 #19 · p.5 #19 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


You have competition and hence a reason to show how better you are!


Jan 13, 2013 at 07:43 PM
brewercm
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p.5 #20 · p.5 #20 · Wedding Photographer? Ya' okay! WTF?


scottam10 wrote:
Any business has to factor work-related expenses, taxes etc into their hourly rate. If you want to get paid $30/hr, you have to charge substantially more than this.

When was the last time you saw a self-employed plumber who charged $30/hr? They'd be losing money - After expenses, they'd be better off working at McDonalds


+1

Anybody that owns their own business and doesn't figure in these costs will soon find themselves our of business. Its simply called the cost of doing business. If you are thinking about opening a businesses and don't know what I'm talking about I highly recommend you google it prior to opening up and setting prices on anything.



Jan 13, 2013 at 08:13 PM
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