How to negotiate with wedding photographer?
Last weekend, 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 the conversation was about her asking me for advice, suggestions about wedding photography. She asked one question that caught me off guard: “How can I negotiate with wedding photographers.” I didn’t see it coming at all, but I manged to give her some pieces of advice that I think pretty useful.
What I am going to talk about today?
At first, I thought sharing this with you is kinda odd. 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:
- Book multiple sessions/products: if you want to have better price, first of all, you should book more than one session/products with the same photographer. It’s like buying stuffs. You cannot ask for discount if you buy only one item. A bundle will give you a great deal.
- Book early in advance (1 year to 6 months in advance). Many photographers, including us, usually have special promotions for early booking. Book as soon as you can after you do proper research.
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 slow season. It depends on where you live. In Northern California, it is around November to April (of next year). Have your wedding in that time frame gives you a reason to negotiate with the photographers.
- Have your wedding on a weekday. If you don’t want off season wedding because of the weather, the view, the available flower, etc. having your wedding on a weekday can save you a lot too. The demand for wedding photography on weekdays is usually lower than the weekends, another reason for your photographer to be flexible.
Those two things above can save you not only on photography, but also on venue, catering, makeup, etc. So, do a research and see how much it can save in your particular area.
- Also, if you have a friend who is getting married soon, tell her/him about the photographer you want to book and if she/he is interested, consider booking together and work something out with your photographer. It’s like booking multiple sessions.
What you shouldn’t do:
Don’t negotiate with photographers using the others’ service/offer. Don’t tell a photographer that “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 for your photographer to negotiate further.
- 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 based on discount alone. You decide to contact a photographer at first 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. At 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.
Let’s me know what you think in the comment below and if you have any advice for my friend, the beautiful bride-to-be, I would take it to her.