In the last five years I've taken mental notes of what I have encountered and hopefully my experiences can help guide you to what you deserve. I have under charged for my services and those times are soon to be distant memories. I was strapped for cash and rather than charge the rates I should have. I accepted jobs strictly for a few dollars and treated the clients like they just paid me thousands. It has granted me knowledge and experience but delayed the process of purchasing new gear, and other things necessary for the jobs before me.
So whether or not you elect to utilize my services I have compiled a list of questions and concerns you should address when selecting the photography and videography for your special day.
Cost happens to be the first thing on anyone's mind when they begin the search for talent. If you pay too little it may be a huge red flag that you're potentially dealing with someone who may not deliver a high quality end product. Unless you're friends with the individual the price of the services should be questioned if you receive a bid far less than expected. Some circumstances may help in a lower final cost such as travel fees, lodging, assistants, etc. So it's a wise idea to analyze the whole picture before you pull the trigger. It also doesn't hurt to shop around, you don't necessarily want to go with the first talent you find, however you want to make sure you get your date reserved so if a deposit is required definitely address that as soon as possible.
You don't want to cut corners on identifying the right talent for the job and equipment should be the second thing on your agenda. You should familiarize yourself with what you have in mind for an end product and research what the talent has to offer. Will back up equipment be present in the event of failure, are the SD cards new or formatted, if you want to be truly anal request that the talent utilizes new cards. Sometimes you don't recognize a card is damaged before it's too late. I have one card I recently retired as it's nickname is "old blue" it will enter the VG20 without any force but due to a missing piece of plastic it refuses to enter the A7. I wouldn't trust the card on your wedding day so it only sees action when im shooting personal projects. A good memory card isn't $20.
I've never once been tipped, I'm not sure if its because the couples are strapped for cash or are completely unaware of how amazing of a deal they received. You tip at a restaurant so why not tip the services that helped capture your timeless moments. Of the 70 or so weddings I've assisted in capturing or captured personally I believe I've received 5 thank you cards. I don't look for the thank you card because in the 12 - 16 hours spent with the couple I've built an everlasting bond. My sole objective is to capture the day to the best of my abilities.
Follow the Contract
One of the grey areas for me in my experiences is couples claiming to mail the check and it never arrives. I wait for checks just as anyone else waits for a paycheck so there are reasons why my contract states to be paid in full two weeks before the date of the ceremony and failure to do so voids the contract. Im baffled at how people are still sketched out by it and concerned that I won't show up to their wedding however it is so I can have a full gas tank , new batteries, accessories and other expenses covered. The contract is the lifeline, mine answers all questions and concerns as well as all lines of available contact.
Your wedding just happened, your antsy for the end product. I completely understand, however your wedding isn't the only wedding in the queue. Yes your best friend's veterinarian got their photos back a week after. That's great, however I'm not building a snowman I'm creating timeless memories, I don't throw a preset on your photos and call it done, I meticulously analyze every image to verify that it meets my standards whether that's coloring or giving the fine details of an individual's skin the attention it deserves. You want to appreciate the photo, not the acne of a groomsmen in every image. When your venue failed to properly provide functioning microphones it causes me to have to scrub audio in an attempt to salvage your vows as you softly exchanged them with airplanes overhead.
- The client that pays the least complains the most
- Drunk brides will tell you that they reserved you a hotel and to not get crabs
- I live on PayPal because no matter how much a client tells you that they mailed the check it never arrives.
- If you haven't received any of the payments for a wedding don't show up, it only ends up with you getting sued.
- Don't entertain lowball offers unless the couple is borderline celebrity status.
- Always take a chunk out of pricing for a unique venue.
- Know your worth
- As often as you want to stand firm there are times the customer is always right.
- Frustration is inevitable, you can only control what you can control.