Finding the right wedding photographer can be a lengthy process, especially if you are planning all of the elements of the wedding without a wedding coordinator. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to three to four photographers, you will need to be ready to negotiate for the best price for your wedding photography package.
Negotiating with a wedding photographer requires patience, a little bit of research, and confidence! Most wedding photographers are willing to negotiate and may even offer payment plans or discounts if you pre-pay for certain services. Here are some tips for negotiating with a wedding photographer effectively:
1. Ask about any discounts on non-weekend days. Some wedding photographers will be more open to negotiating on the price of your wedding photography sessions when you are requesting services during week days, or during a slow season. Find out what the difference in price is for weddings scheduled on a weekend versus week days. Whitney Lee, a wedding photographer from Austin, states “I am much more willing to negotiate my fees if the wedding is on a weekday because it is unlikely that I would book that day at my full rate.” (Source: OffBeatBride.com)
2. Consider a la carte pricing options. If the wedding photographer is only offering a package for services, ask them if they are willing to offer a la carte pricing so that you can pick and choose exactly what you want. Some wedding photographers will be willing to scale back a package and offer basic services to secure your business.
3. Ask if they’re willing to trade for services. Do you work in a field where you can offer services in exchange for photography packages? Some photographers may be interested in products you sell or services you offer, and can price out a package based on a barter or trade. Brainstorm some ideas on what you could offer in exchange for photography services so that you can lower or eliminate the fees for your wedding photography package.
4. Provide a budget range. It can be frustrating to negotiate with wedding photographers when you’re on a tight budget. Be upfront about the maximum amount you are willing to pay for services so that the photographer can be upfront about whether they can meet your needs. Let them know what you expected the cost to be, and what type of budget range you’re willing to work with. The wedding photographer may be able to offer you several package options based on the range, rather than a single dollar amount.
5. Avoid asking for a lower hourly fee. Most wedding photographers that work on an hourly basis have factored in the cost of their equipment, depreciation and in some cases, transportation. These costs aren’t variable, so they may be losing money just by committing to a lower hourly rate. Look for alternative ways to reduce your fees so that you can negotiate fairly.