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Archive 2013 · Veteran Advice
  
 
mgauthierphoto
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p.1 #1 · Veteran Advice


I'm only a month shy of a year in attempting my own photography business. At the moment I am working a full time job, but this is what I love and am in the process of making the transition to do wedding photography full time. Because of the fact that I'm am not as renowned as many of you nor do I have the customer base, I run into certain issues.

Such as this; a bride who is a future client of mine who has yet to pay her deposit for an upcoming wedding because of X circumstance. Most of you would brush her off and wait for her send the check before you set the date. I don't wish to lose this wedding. I also understand she has good intentions, but that doesn't cut it. She lives out of town so no contract has been signed. This would not be tolerated by those more secure, but what would you have done back in the day? I appreciate any and all comments. Thanks guys.

-MG



Mar 02, 2013 at 05:36 AM
SloPhoto
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p.1 #2 · Veteran Advice


How is this an issue until you have a second bride wishing to place a deposit for the same date?


Mar 02, 2013 at 06:46 AM
mgauthierphoto
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p.1 #3 · Veteran Advice


My scenario would not be an issue for you?


Mar 02, 2013 at 06:56 AM
SloPhoto
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p.1 #4 · Veteran Advice


mgauthierphoto wrote:
My scenario would not be an issue for you?


I do not see the issue. Tell her that the date is not fully reserved until a deposit is received but that you look forward to working with her. If a new bride asks to reserve the date, then you have to decide what to do.

Right now all you have is mild interest in the date from one bride, I am not sure what the dilemma is.



Mar 02, 2013 at 07:07 AM
sherijohnson
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p.1 #5 · Veteran Advice


I have never held a date for anyone without both a signed agreement and a payment, you won't get people to do anything if you don't give them a reason to. If she wants you, she will find a way to make it happen.


Mar 02, 2013 at 07:23 AM
alohadave
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p.1 #6 · Veteran Advice


mgauthierphoto wrote:
I'm only a month shy of a year in attempting my own photography business. At the moment I am working a full time job, but this is what I love and am in the process of making the transition to do wedding photography full time. Because of the fact that I'm am not as renowned as many of you nor do I have the customer base, I run into certain issues.


Renown should have nothing to do with it, business concerns should be what drive the way you operate your business. Having a good reputation will attract clients to you (or repel them if the rep is bad), how you operate your business is what earns you profits.

mgauthierphoto wrote:
Such as this; a bride who is a future client of mine who has yet to pay her deposit for an upcoming wedding because of X circumstance. Most of you would brush her off and wait for her send the check before you set the date.


The date isn't held until she pays a retainer. If someone else comes along wanting to book that date and is ready to pay, the first bride loses out for dragging her feet.

mgauthierphoto wrote:
I don't wish to lose this wedding. I also understand she has good intentions, but that doesn't cut it.


What do you mean by that? Either you accommodate her or you don't. You say that you want the gig, but that her indecision won't cut it.

mgauthierphoto wrote:
She lives out of town so no contract has been signed.


Contracts can be mailed or printed out. This should not limit your ability to close a deal.

mgauthierphoto wrote:
This would not be tolerated by those more secure, but what would you have done back in the day? I appreciate any and all comments. Thanks guys.


It's not a question of security, it's a question of business practices. How long you've been in business shouldn't affect how you handle things like this (other than what you learn with experience).

You can either sell her on booking you, or you can wait to see if she makes up her mind on her own. You don't have a booking at this point.



Mar 02, 2013 at 07:26 AM
hardlyboring
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p.1 #7 · Veteran Advice


This is not really an issue for you either. You are working full time so you do not technically have to have her business. My advice is politely remind her from time to time, try to make things easy for her with the contract and the payment etc. and until then let her know that the date is still technically open.

We know you want the wedding and know you would not give the date away but the bride does not have to know that. Keep her on her toes in a polite and helpful way.

Learning how to be firm and also flexible with clients takes some learning ... it is also extremely personal and not everyone does it the same.

Good luck



Mar 02, 2013 at 07:36 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #8 · Veteran Advice


mgauthierphoto wrote:
She lives out of town so no contract has been signed.


Out-of-town contracts are done through the mail. Mail her the contract, she signs it and mails it back with the check.



Mar 02, 2013 at 08:53 AM
D. Diggler
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p.1 #9 · Veteran Advice


mgauthierphoto wrote:
what would you have done back in the day?


I did the same thing back in the day as I do now: tell her you can't hold the date for her without BOTH a signed contract and a check. And then forget about her and go about trying to fill that date with someone else.



Mar 02, 2013 at 08:56 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #10 · Veteran Advice


I had a dad come in to pick up $400 (in 1984 money) worth of Senior portraits of his daughter. He loved the results, then asked: "Can I charge it?" I replied: "We accept cash, check or credit card." He said no, he wanted to set up a charge account. I told him I'd be glad to allow him to pay for them over three months, interest free. As soon as they were paid, he could pick them up. He said, "I can't take them with me?" No was the answer. He shrugged his shoulders, took out his wallet and plunked 4 $100 bills on the counter. That was less than half of what was in his wallet. I found customers will follow your business rules if you stick to them.

If you need to bend the rules to get the work to make ends meet, you need to re-evaluate your business model. How much research have you done? I shot my first wedding for money in 1968. Although I changed careers in 1987, I kept up with the business through friends. From what I've seen over the years, I can think of no worse time to try to do photography as a profession, especially wedding photography full time.



Mar 02, 2013 at 04:02 PM
 

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jefferies1
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p.1 #11 · Veteran Advice


I almost never turn down a job but when the client does not have any money the reality is you don't have a client. You have a client want to be.Want to be clients are free and easy to find and will put you out of business if you don't learn the difference.
I would keep in contact but no way reserve the date for her. I would book it the first chance I get with a client who has money. Just imaging how hard it will be to collect after the wedding cost really hit.



Mar 02, 2013 at 07:45 PM
amonline
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p.1 #12 · Veteran Advice


Post 5. End thread.


Mar 02, 2013 at 09:00 PM
mgauthierphoto
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p.1 #13 · Veteran Advice


Thanks.


Mar 03, 2013 at 06:11 AM
Ian Ivey
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p.1 #14 · Veteran Advice


D. Diggler wrote:
I did the same thing back in the day as I do now: tell her you can't hold the date for her without BOTH a signed contract and a check. And then forget about her and go about trying to fill that date with someone else.

+1

SloPhoto wrote:
I do not see the issue. Tell her that the date is not fully reserved until a deposit is received but that you look forward to working with her. If a new bride asks to reserve the date, then you have to decide what to do. Right now all you have is mild interest in the date from one bride, I am not sure what the dilemma is.

No, no, no. The time to "decide what to do" is NOT when a new bride asks to reserve the date. At that time, the decision is made: the new bride who books by signing and paying gets the date, without any consultation with the earlier party.

The prospective client, not the photographer, is the one who has to "decide what to do." The current prospect isn't a client until she books by delivering a signed contract and payment of the retainer.

The only way to speed this along is to send her the contract to sign, and tell her she gets the date when you receive and confirm receipt of the executed contract and the retainer payment. Politely explain that if someone else wants to book before then, you'll book them without notice.



Mar 03, 2013 at 06:50 AM
ghdarnell
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p.1 #15 · Veteran Advice


I had this issue last week actually. I told both brides interested in the same date that the first one to put a deposit and signed contract down gets the date. Easy enough.


Mar 03, 2013 at 06:53 AM
Chris Fawkes
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p.1 #16 · Veteran Advice


Ian Ivey wrote:
D. Diggler wrote:
+1

SloPhoto wrote:

No, no, no. The time to "decide what to do" is NOT when a new bride asks to reserve the date. At that time, the decision is made: the new bride who books by signing and paying gets the date, without any consultation with the earlier party.



^



Mar 03, 2013 at 02:29 PM
mgauthierphoto
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p.1 #17 · Veteran Advice


I appreciate all the input. I believe sending a contract is a practice I need to start. I see how it's not as much of an issue if I have the right process (as opposed to what I usually do). Again, thanks. Helps a lot.

-MG



Mar 03, 2013 at 04:13 PM
jprezant
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p.1 #18 · Veteran Advice


this is why Square exists.


Mar 03, 2013 at 07:49 PM
mgauthierphoto
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p.1 #19 · Veteran Advice


What do you mean by that?


Mar 03, 2013 at 08:40 PM
lukeb
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p.1 #20 · Veteran Advice


mgauthierphoto wrote:
What do you mean by that?


Credit Card processing

https://squareup.com/?gclid=CJ-QwPG34bUCFQwFnQodA38ANQ

Remember, a contract is meant to protect both parties. Without one, you are un-protected and subject to legal claims that may well be completely unfounded - but you would still need to defend. And that can get very expensive!

http://www.petapixel.com/2012/07/24/wedding-photographer-threatened-with-300000-lawsuit/





Mar 03, 2013 at 09:01 PM
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