Last week, I had an interesting conversation with my dear friend, who lives in Florida and are so excited to be a beautiful bride next summer. A month earlier, she asked me if I could take my team there to photograph her wedding. Long story short: we couldn’t because we were booked. So she asked me for advice about wedding photography. She asked one question that caught me off guard: “How can I negotiate with wedding photographer.” I didn’t see it coming at all, but I managed to give her some pieces of advice that I think pretty useful.
What am I going to talk about today?
At first, I thought sharing this with you is funny. It is like telling you exactly how to negotiate with me. But after thinking for several times, I remember the purpose of this blog is to give you all information, tips, suggestions you need that can help your wedding planning. And I will do it in that spirit, under the perspective of a wedding photographer.
Here are what I told my friend how to negotiate with wedding photographer:
- Book multiple sessions/prints: if you want to have a better price, first of all, you should book more than one session/prints with the same photographer. It’s like buying things. You cannot ask for a better price if you buy only one item.
- Book early in advance (1 year to 6 months in advance). Many photographers, including us, usually have special offers for early booking. Book as soon as you can after you do proper research. This also helps you lock the photographer’s current pricing.
These are things that I could have told her, but I didn’t since she already set the date. But if you haven’t, these things are worth considering:
- Have your wedding in the slow season. It depends on where you live. In Northern California, it is from November to April. Having your wedding in those months gives you a reason to negotiate with the photographers.
- Have your wedding on a weekday. If you don’t want an off-season wedding because of the weather, the available flower, etc., having your wedding on a weekday can save you a lot too.
Those two things above can save you not only on photography but also on the venue, catering, makeup, etc. So, do a research and see how much it can save in your particular area.
What you shouldn’t do:
Don’t tell a photographer “The other photographer gives such and such for the same price.” or “They give me the same coverage for such amount.” In retail, you can easily ask for a price match with the same item because it is comparable. But in fields like this, there is no straight comparison, and it can be a huge turn off to negotiate with wedding photographer.
- Even if budget is not an issue for you, you should ask too. A saving here and there can be a spending for something else, maybe an extra album for your parents, a live band for the reception, or bigger gifts for your wedding party.
- Even if budget is an important factor, your decision shouldn’t be merely based on discount. You decide to contact a photographer because of his/her style, not because of his/her willingness to discount. Try to allocate budget for other things and see if you can work it out. In the end, this is your one-time investment, and the photos are the only visual things that can tell you exactly how your wedding was 30 years ago.
One final tip that is easy to implement: be sincere and be honest! Check out Part 2 of our series: “How to choose a perfect photographer for your wedding”. We explain why and show you how to do so.