Man I hear that all the time. It's funny but so many people, even when I'm on assignment, tend to think that if I make photographs professionally I must therefor shoot weddings. Well the answer is: "Uh yeah but only if I like you and think that it's going to be fun". That totally takes people by surprise. I love to document events like weddings. They are wonderful times that are very emotional and are designed to be pretty. They are also a lot of effort packed into one day but that's ok. The main reason why I don't try to shoot weddings is that they are too much like work. Yep. Meeting with a stream of clients who are only "kicking tires" isn't fun. Trying to sell yourself to that same stream of people is tiring. Dealing with a load of people who are expecting to haggle to get a bargain gives me a headache. Having to expect to hold their hands through the process is not good. Knowing that I'll have to do lots of work on the back end of the shoot doesn't thrill me. But when some nice couple tracks me down and wants to hire me to go nuts at their fun filled wedding – that's cool.
So I shoot a few a year and that suits me. I look at it as a commercial shoot with a certain amount of post production built in to the pricing. I spent 3 years a long time ago as the chief assistant to a, then, very big name in the wedding photography industry and got the inside look at the wedding photography racket. It made me pretty sick to my stomach frankly. So when I'm approached about weddings I tell my potential clients what the real costs are and where the profit margin is and how huge it is for most wedding shooters. Since I'm not one I price myself as a commercial photographer. I don't set a fixed price. Rather I ask them what they want from me and what their total wedding budget is. I then price myself as a percentage of that just as I would if I were on an advertising campaign. That tends to shock the clients too but in most cases the numbers are on line with what they can afford and everyone is happy. I like happy.
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