I received a request the other day for information on how much it would cost for me to photograph a wedding, and as I always do, I answered, “it depends…” and went on to explain that there were a lot of things to consider and perhaps the bride and her fiancé could stop by and we could talk about it.
The caller told me she had just called XYZ Photography and they gave her a price right away, and that was what she wanted me to do as well. I politely told her that I would need some more information, but she declined and the conversation ended.
I pondered for a moment about whether my method of dealing with prospective clients was the right one, since she was not the first one to ask for a one size fits all package price and be irritated when I wouldn’t provide one. I hate missed opportunities, but I don’t think I’m wrong and here’s why.
Most people who are looking at getting married plan on doing it once (or at least just once more.) It is one of the most important days in your life, so why would you want to allow someone, usually a stranger, to choose what you’re going to get in terms of photography? That is what you get when you choose a “package” with your only concern being price. I’m going to give you this and you will pay me this much.
Now I know money matters, but there are probably things that you care strongly about, and other things you could care less about. Maybe the thought of formal photos makes you ill, but you would like a series of behind the scenes photos that truly capture the mood of the day. Maybe you want that one, perfect formal photo, nicely framed for each of the parents and grandparents, but a photobook with a collection of images from the day for yourself (and lower res photos for Facebook, of course.)
The point is, a photographer who takes the time to talk with you and get to know what matters to you is better prepared to offer you what you want, and while you may not be able to get everything you want for the price you want to pay, you will at least have the chance to focus on the things that matter to you, With that in mind, it only makes sense to take the small amount of time it takes to sit down with a professional photographer so that you get your pictures on your day, your way.