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Old 10-02-2011, 21:21   #1 (permalink)
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Wedding Photographer

My daughter is getting married in Manchester in September. She has asked me if it is right to pay the wedding photographer the whole fee up front, or is it usual to pay some before and some after to mitigate against the possibility of a photographic disaster of some kind. Any thoughts? What is usual?
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Old 10-02-2011, 22:38   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

This ought to be contained somewhere in the terms and conditions, and may be different with different photographers.
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Old 10-02-2011, 23:24   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

It does seem a little abnormal to ask for it all upfront.

If you don't pay him after the wedding you don't get the pictures. It's not like he is going to spend thousands just to turn up with the equipment he probably already owns.

I would check around but surley this is not normal.
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Old 10-02-2011, 23:38   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

My daughter is also getting married soon. She has to pay a deposit which is reasonable. But what the final bill will be will depend on what she orders and that in turn depends on the pictures themselves. How can you possibly be expected to pay for something you have not seen. I would look for another photographer.
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Old 10-02-2011, 23:48   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

As Dabhand16 has said it will depend on the terms and conditions you sign and what you are getting for your money.

Usually a deposit is required and the balance is calculated on the pictures/sets you order after the event as per AQ's post.

If anyone asked for the full payment before hand I would look elsewhere unless payment by credit card was accepted.


"If you paid for your shopping using a credit card, section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act states that the credit card company is ‘jointly and severally liable’ for any breach of contract or misrepresentation by the retailer. This means it is equally responsible along with the trader for the goods or service, and you can put your claim to the credit card company."
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:23   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

i think its fair to pay the tog up front, imagine the scenario ( and it has happened often)
tog gets booked,
appears with perhaps an assistant, spends the whole day working damn hard at wedding,
then spends a good few hours after the fact on processing,
then goes to get his money and they refuse to pay him/her.

you after all have to pay for the hotel, church. license, minister/priest/ registrar.etc flowers etc etc before the day so why on earth shuldnt u pay for the tog?
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Old 11-02-2011, 07:33   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

I could never recommend paying the full fee up front - just as I don't pay in advance for a builder, mechanic, dentist, solicitor, accountant, consultant or computer engineer (all of whom may have much higher associated costs). I would expect a booking deposit
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Old 11-02-2011, 08:00   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

I would check the contract carefully and ensure it is all above board. In my experience the contract should state exactly what services the photographer will provide from meetings before the wedding to discuss the style and needs of the bride and groom, how many photographers will be provided on the day, for how long and at what locations (home, church, reception etc), and then the scale of the work involved with processing and presenting the 'proofs' for the bride and groom to select their final images. Additionally the contract should also cover how many of the final proofs are included in any album along with detail of said album plus other options and costs should they wish to purchase other photos, either duplicates or additionals later.

All of the above should be agreed in writing in advance of any money exchanging hands and it is usual to pay a percentage of the final fee (excluding any additional extras) when you sign the contract. The balance is usually due when you receive the final album and other prints/cds and you are satisfied. I would never pay up front fully for any wedding photographer and professional wedding photographers don't expect it either.

One other thing to note...even if you pay by credit card and something terrible goes wrong with the photos. Your ability to claim will only be for actual loss, not for the time and effort that the photographer(s) spent with you on the day/afterwards processing. And since your actual loss (in financial terms) due to not being happy with poor quality photographs is negligible your credit card provider is likely to only offer you a very small percentage of that cost back. It is far better to be recommended a photographer, look at their previous work, discuss what you like/dislike and what you expect and only if everything feels right hire them on a solid contract and never pay in full before you have the album etc at the end.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:28   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

The attendance fee is all you should need to pay. This is for the photographer's time at the wedding which may include travel, preparation shots, the wedding ceremony itself and the reception.

I can understand that the photographer may also want to be prepaid for "set pieces". e.g. the albums - one each for the couple and the parents on both sides, with a predeclared number of photos in each, but the photographer has to come up with the goods. Guests may also want copies but these should not be paid for before hand as they are an unknown quantity. You may even get a CD ... for a price, as this ruins the future income of the photographer. Negatives used to be kept for a while (I reckoned on 5 years) and then sold to the couple or scrapped.

This is if everything goes well.

I stopped covering weddings 25 years ago because I was running out of time. I never had anyone who didn't pay. I never asked for a booking fee on the basis that if my photos were not good enough then I deserved not to be paid. I asked an attendance fee for travel costs as I ended up covering an area from Canterbury, to Norwich, to Birmingham to Aylesbury but mostly in London over a period of 14 years. Film photography demanded a lot because you had to trust so much (assistant, labs, reliable equipment etc.), as well as get good results yourself.

Today everybody has a digital and all the guests take their own cameras. (I have heard of contracts in the past where photography by guests was strictly forbidden, and the photographer walking out if he saw another camera - not the way to do things in my mind). Guests will regularly take better incidental candid shots and can make it difficult for the photographer to compete against this in order to sell to guests, leaving the photographer doing just the set poses from which they will make little money.

Wedding photography is not just taking good photos but also managing people, which can make it very stressful. I only ask one thing - please cooperate with the photographer. He / she is your guide for the day, more than the master of ceremonies, the priest, rabbi, registrar, whoever. The photographer will have asked what you want and taken you through the options. They will know what they want and can do. They will know how things proceed. They will have talked to the master of ceremonies, priest, rabbi, registrar, whoever to agree on photo opportunities. On the day they should be able to take you calmly through the whole ceremony and beyond. This important short moment in a couple's life will be all the better for this cooperation. If you are not made to feel at ease at booking time then I would definitely look elsewhere. You will be stressed enough on the day!!

I hope this helps you find what you are looking for and how to gauge a photographer. Wishing you success with your choice and an enjoyable day offering happy memories.
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Old 13-02-2011, 10:09   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

Avoid the whole problem. Give each guest a disposable camera, collect them at the end of the day (got to give the best man something to do to keep him sober ) and get them processed and scanned. Get Uncle Jack to agree with the vicar to let him do some shots of the ceremony with his super SoFuji Nikeos 34D (everyone has an Uncle Jack, somewhere) and then the bride and groom can have a whale of a time putting together their own album on the laptop.
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Old 14-02-2011, 10:07   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

Thanks for all your responses. I think I will get my daughter to check the contract carefully. On balance I feel that it is fair to pay the attendance fee and expenses upfront, but to hold back on the portfolio payment until the final result is seen.
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Old 17-02-2011, 04:11   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

so its ok to expect a tog to be there maybe the whole day, and not get paid until maybe a year later? if at all i have heard more than one story of the "happy couple" taking that long to choose photographs, and sometimes they dont take any at all.
for those of you who have web sites and sell your work do you take an order and send it out and " hope" that the person is happy enogh withit to pay you? if you are buying something from ebay amazon and the like to you expect to get the item first and only then pay it? i see no difference. If i am shooting a wedding i tell them all the money paid 4 weeks in advance.
the happy couple get a hard backed wedding book included in the price but prints are usually extra, and I know how long they take to just choose the images for the book.
if they are not happy with that thats fine. they can go elsewhere thats the beauty of not doing it full time. but on saying that im getting to the point of thinking about having to drop my hours of paid employment to keep up with the photography. and no one who has come to me for a wedding has seen a problem with what i expect.
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Old 17-02-2011, 12:48   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

i have done weddings in the past i only ask for a deposit (small) but mostly the couple ask me before i do but mostly i ask them pay me when you see the album , had no cumbacks every one is satisfied in 25 yrs and still do a few know and then
i enjoy doing it
all the best
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Old 18-02-2011, 09:14   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

Well Fiona, I disagree with you there. I've seen Watchdog too many times. Companies who ask for the full amount upfront and then don't deliver as promised. I'm not only talking about wedding photographers now. But you as a photographer or company owner will have to do the work first and then you can get payed the rest of the money. You as a company should take the risk and if you do it right then you shouldn't need to worry.

Too be honest, I don't know any better then to pay a partly fee and the rest you pay later when the work has been done and both parties are happy. It's the way it goes in NL. I wouldn't trust it in any way anymore if a company would ask for the full payment upfront. And believe me I made that mistake when we bought a kitchen from this so called big company who deliver as adviced
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Old 18-02-2011, 11:10   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

Quote:
Originally Posted by fionaB View Post
so its ok to expect a tog to be there maybe the whole day, and not get paid until maybe a year later? if at all
No not at all. The photographer is covered for his time by the 50% upfront payment so he is actually not working for nothing.

Quote:
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i have heard more than one story of the "happy couple" taking that long to choose photographs, and sometimes they dont take any at all.
I have never heard of a couple who have not wanted good quality photographs of their special day. I have heard of a few who refused to pay the balance due to the photographers work being sub par though. In each case it was not about the money and the couples where far more upset that they had missed out on pictures from their special day. In the unlikely event that the couple doesn't want the photographs and they are of a good standard, then the photographer would fall back on his contract and seek legal redress for the outstanding amount. There is virtually no risk for the photographer providing their work is up to standard and they fulfil their part of the contract in a timely manor.


Quote:
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for those of you who have web sites and sell your work do you take an order and send it out and " hope" that the person is happy enogh withit to pay you? if you are buying something from ebay amazon and the like to you expect to get the item first and only then pay it? i see no difference.
The difference is that the customer can view the work online before paying and also are covered by the distance selling regulations should the delivered work not be accurate to the representation on the website.

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If i am shooting a wedding i tell them all the money paid 4 weeks in advance.
the happy couple get a hard backed wedding book included in the price but prints are usually extra, and I know how long they take to just choose the images for the book.
if they are not happy with that thats fine. they can go elsewhere thats the beauty of not doing it full time. but on saying that im getting to the point of thinking about having to drop my hours of paid employment to keep up with the photography. and no one who has come to me for a wedding has seen a problem with what i expect.
And that's fine and seems to work for you. However it can be assumed that you are potentially losing business from the people who wouldn't be willing to pay 100% up front. You many never know that as they simply will see your terms and decide it isn't for them and additionally, as you said, it may not even effect your business as you may have enough work to pay the bills. Never the less the facts are still the same and some other photographer will ultimately get the job, thus reducing your potential income, while at the same time building a good reputation for themselves.
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Old 18-02-2011, 17:17   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

they get a disk and a printed hardback book so they do have photos, a lot of folks just do not want any more than that or sometimes just one or two large ones for framing.
I dont see it as losing business, it wasnt mine in the first place to lose.
End of the day as i dont usually supply prints in with the price I charge they are in effect paying me for my attendance. they get the book supplied and prints are extra and if they DO want prints they choose them online from the portfolio.

its ok saying no risk but there is the huge inconvenience to the photographer to wait until the bride and groom are " ready " to choose the images for the album before being paid.

I am up front in what they get, i tell them i dont supply an album, if they have their own i will happily size the prints to fit it but i will not supply it. if they are happy with having a book and a CD/DVD thats fine if they want more prints after the event that also fine.

Obviously if it was my sole income and i was doing it for a living i would have to probably change the way i do it, but i dont do it for a living or to pay the bills, thats why i work full time, i do it so i can afford the next lens or bit if equipment i want.
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Old 18-02-2011, 17:23   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

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Well Fiona, I disagree with you there. I've seen Watchdog too many times. Companies who ask for the full amount upfront and then don't deliver as promised. I'm not only talking about wedding photographers now. But you as a photographer or company owner will have to do the work first and then you can get payed the rest of the money. You as a company should take the risk and if you do it right then you shouldn't need to worry.

Too be honest, I don't know any better then to pay a partly fee and the rest you pay later when the work has been done and both parties are happy. It's the way it goes in NL. I wouldn't trust it in any way anymore if a company would ask for the full payment upfront. And believe me I made that mistake when we bought a kitchen from this so called big company who deliver as adviced
The difference is when a kitchen is fitted its fitted.............the contractor gets paid..... they are not waiting around for the customers to have a look at it, decide they want it in a different colour ( photography terms mono) have a think about it.. go back and have another look............ which is what happens when couples are choosing their pictures for an album...... i supply the book and i know how long it takes them to decide on 40 odd images,...... then proof... it to change their mind. 5 months was the longest i have had to wait, one of the speakers at the camera club explained how he waited over a year for the couple to give him their choice of photos. Now im sorry but i think that is totally unrealistic to have to wait on the whim of a person to decide when they have time to choose which images they want. It wasnt cos they werent happy with any of the images, they just " didint have time" to choose the ones they wanted to use!

I would like to bet that after a customer has said he is happy with the kitchen, roof, extension whatever being done that a contractor would be happy to wait a year to get paid. I dont think so.

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Old 20-02-2011, 09:59   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

I think there's right on both sides, here. When I did weddings, I always split the pricing into 2 parts: attendance and prints. The attendance fee was payable 2 weeks before the day, no fee :- no show. Included in the attendance fee were the proofs (6x4 in those days). The print fees were payable only when the album(s) and/or display prints were delivered. I found that this model worked well, because everyone was comfortable with their level of commitment.

I appreciate that these days it's going to be a bit different but you can still do something similar. Charge your attendance to include low-res proof images, then let the customer choose to receive high-res images, albums, prints, etc. at additional cost.

In my day, the attendance fee included two rolls of 120 film (24 shots) + developing and proofing. More shots were charged at a fixed price per roll (of course, when setting your day rate, you have remembered to include your equipment and other business costs). These days, it should be even easier, if you've actually sat down and worked out a realistic day rate. After all, it's pretty hard to fill up a CD-R/W with low-res images from just one day's shooting, though I suppose it can be done!
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Old 20-02-2011, 11:44   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

Well it's fair enough that you think that way Fiona, but you actually haven't given the full product yet, so you cannot expect the happy couple to pay in full before the wedding.

50% beforehand and then 50% after sounds fairer to me and is what I would do.

The kitchen in this case was a drama. We payed in full beforehand and it took them months to actually finish it all off. Never again. First I want to see the full product I've bought and then I will pay rest of the bill.
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Old 20-02-2011, 22:36   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Wedding Photographer

which is pretty much the way i do it Sejanus as the prints are bought afterwards from the website.
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