Are You a “Cheap Wedding Photographer”?

Are you a cheap wedding photographer?

Back to the subject of Wedding Photography, again (I suspect we’ll be covering this one a lot!).

I was talking to my friend Mark, who I have mentioned before is right now going through the transition from keen amateur to professional. Mark was telling me about the half a dozen or so weddings he has covered for free, or dirt cheap, in order to have the opportunity to get a few weddings under his belt and into his portfolio. Oh, and for the experience of course, which never comes cheap in this game!

The trouble is, he is now in danger of being labelled as a “cheap wedding photographer” for the foreseeable future. Although having covered friends’ and relatives’ weddings at a special rate has lead to a number of referrals, the referred clients have an expectation of an inexpensive photographer covering the event from dusk till dawn.

It strikes me that when trying to make the jump to pro status, the photographer needs to have a plan, almost a prepared statement to read to the lucky couple getting the special deal. My suggestion (much too late for Mark, obviously!) would be to quote friends and relatives the full price you intend to charge once you have made the jump. Then, give them a whopping discount, clearly showing that this is a one-off because you are my cousin/nephew/sister/best buddy or whatever. This way, the photographer has shown his normal price and the friend/relative can clearly see the saving they get from being in the right place in the gene pool at the right time.

Will it actually work? I don’t know. I need someone to try it out and let me know! Any takers?

2 Replies to “Are You a “Cheap Wedding Photographer”?”

  1. I have just been asked to cover my brothers wedding photography as they are doing it on a fairly tight budget. Having never done wedding photography, this is a first for me and I am trying to find tips wherever I go. I am not being paid as such for work, but rather am having part of my costs covered for the travel to Japan. They have also said I can use some photographs (approved by them) for a portfolio for myself to try and gain future work. I have no idea whether this is going to help me gain further work or whether I will be always expected to do this for “mates rates” for friends weddings. I was just interested that you brought the subject up just when it is particularly relevant for me!

  2. Mike,

    Perhaps you can be the guinea pig who tries out my little experiment! I honestly think when/if I find myself in this situation I am going to follow my own advice and quote the full price with a little note outlining the discount for being by friend/relative.

    Let us know how you get on – the transition to pro wedding photographer is a particularly interesting subject for me.

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