May 30, 2020
Most of the time, as an inquiring customer, you’ve got to jump through a bunch of hoops and do tons of internet sleuthing to figure out what a vendor costs.
You look them up on google, The Knot/WeddingWire, Instagram, or Facebook, etc.
You browse their website – maybe you find pricing, maybe you don’t.
Found pricing? Maybe there’s random hidden charges. Or the prices you found were not for what you were looking for (example: you found pricing for 6 hours of coverage but you need 12 hours).
Need to book an appointment in order to hear prices? Now you feel bad if you have to reject them afterward.
It’s not a one-size-fits-all type thing, since every company uses different techniques, workflows, resources, has varying staff sizes, etc.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t have an open, honest conversation about just what goes into the pricing – plus, we want to help you figure out what to look for, especially if there are red flags. Let’s get started.
It’s important to know exactly what kind of company you’re giving your hard-earned money to.
Is it a small studio with just a few photographers (like us)? Is it a bigger studio, maybe with 5-10 photographers? Is it a large corporation that has photographers based in multiple locations?
All of those factors play into a company’s pricing. Smaller companies usually do everything themselves – from social media, marketing, booking clients, shooting the wedding day, editing the images, designing the albums, etc. Bigger companies usually outsource as many tasks as they can in order to dedicate time to other aspects of the business, and that sometimes means outsourcing the actual photography portion in order to focus more time on marketing, etc.
This is totally a personal preference. In my years both observing the industry & being a part of it, I’ve noticed the following:
Small businesses: pros
Small businesses: cons
Big businesses: pros
Big businesses: cons
(This might turn into a rant. Bear with me.)
Coming from someone who has been a photographer since high school, I continue to get questions on why people need to pay for photographers or other art-based careers.
Real talk? I used to get “compensated” with recommendations, gift cards, reviews, and overall just the bare minimum. It wasn’t very encouraging, but I pushed on.
Today, when someone questions photography pricing, I don’t see it as discouraging, and I don’t think others should either – it should be seen as an opportunity to better yourself.
For Vendors: when clients are hesitant to book because of the price, it is solely because you did not make your value as a vendor known. Period.
For Clients: if you have questions about what goes into that hefty price tag, consider the topics I mentioned earlier + how long they’ve been in the business, where they are located, if they invest into new gear or education to better serve you, etc.
All of that being said, the rules of finance/pricing are kind of non-existent when you’re your own boss, since everyone’s advice is normally: charge what you think you’re worth. Buuuut I’m letting you, the client, know: that’s BS.
If everyone charged what they thought they were worth, no one would be able to afford anything. Of course, we all want to THINK we’re worth a lot, but the matter of the fact is, that’s just not true. You have to prove your worth. You have to be flexible. You have to listen to the client(s) when they’re constantly telling you their budget is lower than your starting price.
“Why is it so expensive”, you ask? Because that is the proven value of that particular vendor. Most of the time.
This brings me to my next & final point:
I think the word cheap gets a bad rap. Who doesn’t love a good sale??
It’s controversial to be “cheap” in the wedding world because others (vendors + clients) are concerned about the following:
Now, we’ve invested in education and we have photography degrees. We know what we’re doing. We’ve both (Melissa & Michael) been in the industry for years.
But Sava, the studio, is a newborn. I’m sure others are in the same or similar boat, too.
So our price tag is a little lower. We have no problem being more flexible. But you can bet we bust our butts to give you a luxury experience nonetheless. And that is what you should expect from every “lower priced” or affordable vendor.
Know who you’re investing with; scour their about page, follow them on social media, ask questions, etc.
Make a list of pros/cons and look for red flags. Maybe schedule an appointment to go over pricing and ask all of your questions. (We have a link to do that here.)
Ask yourself: what makes their price tag so hefty? What makes their price tag so affordable? If your larger-than-life photographer isn’t going above and beyond, they are not worth it. If your flexible & affordable photographer isn’t proving their worth ten fold to make up for their low prices, your experience will be subpar and they are not worth it.
I hope this was helpful – I want to give clients the opportunity to go behind the curtain as much as possible in order to truly make the best decisions for their wedding day.
Something missing that you have questions about? Contact us. 🙂