Today we are going to tackle the matter of whether or not you should try to negotiate pricing with your wedding photographer. We’ve been discussing areas that the public has been misinformed about. We are continuing that coversation today.
Weddings are expensive, we get that! And it’s totally understandable that you would want to try and save money where you can. There are many blog posts out there that will tell you that an area you can save is with photography by trying to negotiate pricing with your wedding photographer. Honestly, our question is, why is photography deemed the best vendor to try and haggle with? Wedding venues, caterers, coordinators, etc. all have their set prices. Why would you expect to negotiate pricing with your wedding photographer?
Photography is one of the most important things you’ll pay for a wedding. Maybe we’re being biased, but we don’t think so! After the wedding day is over, the only thing left to remember your day are the images. Wouldn’t you want the best you can pay for? Trying to negotiate pricing with your wedding photographer (like many other business owners) can be quite offensive to them.
Why is it offensive to ask for a discount? It’s offensive because running a business costs money and photographers value their art and time. By asking for a discount, you are essentially devaluing them. The message that many photographers hear when they are asked for a discount is. “I love your work! I want everything you have to offer. But I don’t think you or your time is worth the price you are asking”.
You may see a quote and think that that number is really high. That the photographer can afford to drop their price for you. But the reality is that many photographers have worked set their rate. These are based on the cost of doing business and what they need to pay themselves.
So what does that mean exactly? Well, that number that you are being quoted is not how much the photographer is pocketing. At least 30% of that will go straight to taxes, next the photographer has to cover his/her business expenses. Some will be put back into the business and the rest will be what the photographer takes home. That means that 40-50% of the quoted amount, the photographer will never actually see.
Without knowing what all goes into photography, it is also easy to think that you are just paying for the hours that your photographer will be at your wedding. But, please realize that a lot of work goes into serving you before and after your wedding day too. That quoted amount pays for your photographers time when he/she communicates/meets with you before the wedding, preps to capture your photo wish list before the wedding, and all the hours it takes to edit your images and get it to you. Most wedding photographers aren’t trying to rip you off, they are simply trying to earn a liveable wage based on the time they are committing to serving you and preserving your memories.
All that to say, if you love a photographer’s work, please think twice before flippantly trying to negotiate pricing with your wedding photographer. Wedding photographers are small business owners. We’re not like car dealerships that upcharge, knowing that haggling will be involved. Neither you nor your photographer wants to start your relationship off with offense or awkwardness. As photographers, we want to be able to wholly serve you and capture your memories. Feeling like their art and time isn’t fully appreciated only puts a sour taste in their mouth and dampens the joy they feel about serving you.
This topic is difficult to discuss as money is often a sensitive issue. But please know that the price that a photographer has set is to ensure that they can serve you to the best of their ability while providing for their own families. We hope that we have tackled this topic with grace and that we may have explained an area that may not have been completely clear before.
We know that most people that have asked for discounts from photographers (us included) do not have any ill intent or realize that they are being offensive. Because of this, Daniel and I make the conscious choice to check our reactions and feelings to such requests and respond with kindness while simultaneously educating. Our hope is that we can educate and correct the misinformation that has been given to brides and grooms so that realistic expectations can be set and frustration can be curbed for all parties.