I was recently talking to a potential client about price. You see, she found another photographer who was willing to shoot her event for half the price I was asking. And while I think fit is always more important than making the sale, I wanted to explain to her why my price is what it is so she could make an educated decision about whom to hire.
I thought you might find it interesting too.
Wedding photography pricing can be a little like the wild west. All kinds of people work in all kinds of price ranges, which can reflect (or not!) so many factors about their business. It just depends how they think about it.
When pricing their services, photographers might consider their cost of doing business (e.g. what they pay in equipment, software, marketing, education, and more), confidence and their experience level, pricing in their local market, if they consider photography a business or a hobby, and plenty of other things that may not actually have a whole heck of a lot to do with the value you receive as the customer.
I can’t speak for them, I can only speak for myself.
When it comes to value, Golden Door Photography has a set of beliefs about the privilege of documenting your wedding day. And those beliefs impact how I serve you and what I provide for you during this experience. They impact the package price, yes, but more importantly, my beliefs impact my value.
Let me tell you about a few of those beliefs
and how they impact my work.
1. I believe your wedding photographer should be so much more than just some person who shows up at your wedding to take your picture.
I want to get to know you. We don’t have to be BFFs (unless you want to!), but we can at least become Instagram-worthy friends.
Because here’s the thing. You probably haven’t done this wedding thing before. Or at least not many times. But I’ve done it a bunch of times and I want to share that knowledge with you. I want to bring my expertise and experience to develop a kickass timeline and to help your day flow as smoothly as possible.
I want to get to know you because it helps me to put your values at the forefront of your wedding experience. It helps me plan for who you are and how I can best serve you, as I capture all the little moments that make up your day.
2. Your wedding, your values.
When it comes to wedding photography, what does putting your values forward mean?
Maybe family is the most important thing in your world. Well then let’s get really into the nitty gritty of how to maximize your family portrait time. Let’s find the most perfect spot to capture them. Let’s figure out what combos and poses best represent who your family is. Let’s make sure I know that when the DJ plays “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” your mom and her sisters are gonna go completely crazy on the dance floor, because it’s their song.
There will be raucous singing. There will be bad dance moves. And I’ll be right in the thick of it.
3. On your wedding day, you should spend less time posing and more time celebrating.
This is SO important to me! I even have a system for making it happen.
You’ve planned this day for months or maybe years. I think you should be present in the moment. You should enjoy the feeling of love that surrounds you. You should be able to take in the enormity of the commitment you are making.
You shouldn’t feel like you missed dancing to your favorite song with your favorite people because you were off somewhere taking pictures.
So let’s strike the balance. Let’s make a plan. Let’s get everything you could ever want out of this day – gorgeous pictures and a gorgeous experience. Let’s spend less time posing, and more time celebrating.
4. You’re at your most beautiful when you’re feeling something real.
Many photographers use posing to make you look more “beautiful.”
Posing. Oh man, I know about posing. I can tell you what to do and how to tilt your head and shift your weight. In fact, I’m (begrudgingly) planning to write a whole blog post about posing soon.
But posing is… not my favorite. My favorite is the action and the feelings and the freaking real life that’s happening right now.
So rather than having you stand a certain way, I’ll ask you to take two steps forward to make sure you’re standing in the best light when you’re doing… whatever it is you’re actually doing. During your couple portraits, I won’t try to manufacture a photo-worthy moment. Instead, I’ll do my very best to capture the scenery and the emotions that are already there – to create something real.
5. Your marriage is a million times more important than your wedding but… that doesn’t mean you can’t throw a kickass party!
It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when you’re caught up in all the nitty gritty details of wedding planning. That’s why I care so much about learning who you are and what this wedding represents for you as a couple. Just because it’s a big freaking deal, doesn’t mean we can’t have fun making it happen!
(Meet you on the dance floor?)
6. Weddings are the best thing ever.
I freaking love weddings! I love talking about them, attending them, documenting them. It never gets old for me.
Maybe by now, your coworkers are rolling their eyes when you bring up your wedding for the 10th time today. Well, not me! I want to hear about every single detail!
How do I show these belief?
- By inviting you to my awesome supportive Facebook community – The Intentional Wedding.
- By giving away a 10 page guide to planning a wedding with intention and staying true to your wedding vision.
- By posting all kinds of wedding advice on my blog every week. (Though don’t hold me to that weekly schedule when wedding season gets crazy.)
- By sending you a sneak peek of your photos within a week of your wedding. (I don’t want to keep you waiting!)
And most importantly,
- By being there for you every step of the way with advice, support, and fun little surprises.
On Pricing vs. Value
So now you know that I’m all about communication, planning, and putting your values forward. And all of that is incredibly important to me. In fact, I’m not willing to compromise it. After all, your wedding is a big, huge life experience. It starts from the moment you decide you’ve found a person you want to marry and it lasts all the way through the party. I want you to have the best experience possible.
But these values do cost me something in time and materials and effort. So my costs might be a little higher than some photographers. (Although honestly, right now they are a lot lower than most in Boston.)
The question to ask yourself is: What do you value? What are you looking for from your wedding photographer?
Maybe you can confidently say that you don’t need or want an “experience.” (Although if that’s the case, you probably stopped reading this post about seven paragraphs ago.)
If that isn’t something you want, need, or can afford, I’m pumped that you know that about yourself. It also probably means that when it comes to wedding photography, I’m not the one for you.
But if you’re looking for something more, well, then I’m here for you. If you’re looking for a ton of value, and if you’re on board with all of my values, then I’m here for you. If you want an intentional celebration and a personalized experience, then I would be completely honored to document your wedding day.