To shoot a cheap wedding or not?

Weddings these days cost an arm and a leg! So it's only natural that the bride and groom are looking to make savings wherever possible. Should those savings be made at the photographer's expensive though?

It has been said that the second most important expense on a wedding should be the photographer. And quite rightly so. We are, after all, the ones that capture the emotions and every little detail of the day for our clients to look back on for forever. Heck, some photos will be passed down through the family.

The problem we have now though is the low cost of technology. Literally anybody who buys a camera can throw it into auto mode and shoot whatever is in front of them. This also means paid jobs. Weddings being a prime example.

Because of this, the majority of people enquiring for a wedding photographer are comparing prices more than ever. 

I used to shoot weddings a while ago and when I first started out I needed a portfolio and some real experience. I shot my first few weddings for next to nothing. As my portfolio grew, so did my experience and price. But, so did the amount of clients asking for my skills and services at discounted rates because their uncle Billy owns a camera, or they don't think my prices are justified because a college student will do the same job for £100 and some food. 

This doesn't bother me so much as they are clearly not my clients. I want to be booked for my work, not my cheap price. It does take some of my precious time and attention away from life though. I'm never rude or anything to enquiring clients either. I just thank them and state my prices are too high for their budget.

Ok, so that's a little rant done. The whole point in this post is I got tagged in a post today on social media about shooting a wedding. The potential client stated they're looking at spending £500 max. That's definitely not for me. There is a few reasons for this and these are things you should consider too;

  1. It's a hell of a lot of work to do for such a small return.
  2. The responsibility of capturing the day warrants a greater reward.
  3. Word gets around. Other potential clients will know the cost and will expect the same or similar.
  4. Time of year could be a factor. Booking cheap jobs in peak wedding season means you've now lost that day for potentially higher paid jobs.
  5. The same goes with half day weddings. Booking a half day loses the potential for a higher paid job.
  6. It's a huge confidence boost to get booked for expensive jobs. Cheaper jobs may damage your self-image.

I personally don't shoot weddings really anymore. For them to pay well, you have to invest yourself fully into creating a full business from them and being very selective of clients. or, shoot a wedding every weekend... Social media and local ads tend to favor the cheap photographers. Plus the competition at the lower end of the price range is far too great.

My advice would be to focus on being a higher end of the price range photographer with work to back it up, of course. Also, pay for a beautiful and simple website to show off those skills. Lastly, use Google ads with targeted searches and attend wedding show events to attract those clients. In person people skills gained from doing wedding shows are invaluable!