When I receive a new inquiry from a prospective couple, 99% of the time they'll ask about my prices. While it's a completely reasonable question to ask, the answer isn't as simple as sending over a PDF with everything listed. I wanted to write a post explaining the reasoning behind this in order to give you all some background into my process and how I operate.
1. There are so many options
The main reason why I don't offer a pricing guide is because there are so many different options. I have separate pricing for photography vs photo/video packages. It's not as simple as booking 8 hours of coverage and then selecting a la carte options. The price fluctuates based on your options. For example, photography starts at 2995 and video starts at 2500, but that doesn't mean photo and video starts at 5495. I offer package deals based on what you add, so it's not as simple as adding up all the options to create your package. If you add an album a la carte, that is a totally different price than adding an album to your package.
It's impossible to know exactly what you want before we talk and take all your preferences into consideration. This is why I schedule a call to go over all the possible options and put together something specific for you.
2. You might not know exactly what you need
It's pretty common I'll get an inquiry that says, for example, they need 6 hours of coverage, from 3-9 with the ceremony starting at 4. That's awesome you have a good idea of what you need, but that isn't how I structure my timelines. Are you having a first look? That adds at least two hours to the time before the ceremony plus I always schedule additional time to give you time to relax and not worry about time. I also like arriving at least two hours before the festivities begin to give time for details/getting ready pictures.
This is why it's important to talk through an initial timeline with you. Every photographer structures their days so differently, so my ideal timeline might not be the same as any other photographer.
Sunset time also plays a huge factor. What time of year is it? Ending by 9 might be great in the winter months, but it'll barely be dark in the summer. My style works really well after dark, so my average wedding day ends around 10. I also schedule my sunset sessions later than most photographers because I prefer to be out as the sun is setting instead of during golden hour.
Additionally, I don't offer packages for less than 8 hours because I feel it's hard to capture all the important moments with anything less.
Based on all these factors (and so many more I discuss during your consult), your timeline could drastically change because of the photographer you hire and how they go about capturing your day.
3. I might not be the right photographer for you
One of the main reasons why I don't give out full pricing before we talk is that I might not be the right photographer for you and that is totally okay! I don't want you to hire me if you don't believe I'll be the best fit for your day. It's important to establish a repertoire before working together. I want you to like who I am as a person and if hiring me is based solely on pricing, we might both be disappointed in the end.
The best way to have a great experience with your photographer is to make sure you get along with them as a person first and who they are as a photographer second. You can't figure out if I am right for your day based only on a pricing guide.
4. Everyone has a budget
When we have our consult, I'll always ask if there's a specific budget you are trying to stick to for your photo and/or video coverage. Everyone has a budget and some budgets are more flexible than others. It's not always possible to work with all budgets, but I will do my hardest to at least give you an option close to what you were thinking.
For example, if you are wanting photo and video for under 3k, that won't be possible. However, I will give you options to make the investment sound a bit more reasonable to you. Maybe you need a more flexible payment plan or maybe you can lock in the date for photography now and consider adding video later on. These options can't be communicated with a pricing guide.
It's always important to go into consults with a budget in mind, but be prepared to have it fluctuate a bit based on what the photographer is offering. You might have planned to spend no more than 3k, but have to have a certain add-on option. Communicating your budget will ensure I know how to best work with you based on your priorities.
My starting price doesn't change (and that's why I make that publicly available), but the options I offer to make that doable for you will differ based on all these factors listed!
5. There are other factors to consider
Like every other vendor in the industry, I do have set rates, but this doesn't mean there are no exceptions. I do occasionally give different rates to my favorite venues, last-minute elopements, or weekday weddings. Or, for example, if you have a strict budget but can't imagine working with any other photographer, I am likely to help you out as much as I possibly can. As I said before, relationships with my couples are my priority, so I'll do everything in my power to make it work.
This is another reason why communicating your budget is key! If we talk and you decide my packages are out of your budget, please let me know before going in a different direction. I can occasionally work out a smaller package just for you!
So what can you do instead of asking for a pricing guide?
- Set up a consult!
- Come with a budget in mind!
- Be prepared to chat, let me meet your fur babies, and hang out (over Zoom) while I walk you through what a wedding day looks like with me!
There you have it! These are the five reasons I don't simply give you a pricing guide when you inquire. Every photographer is so different and many do give out a pricing guide, but that isn't how I operate. I strive to build relationships with my couples and that starts with a custom pricing guide for everyone.
If you want to see if I'm the right photographer for you, fill out my contact form and we'll get the process started!
Share this story