Here’s why you should tell your potential wedding photographer what your budget is…

Money is one of the hardest things to talk about, whether it’s with your partner, your boss, or your bank manager. And that’s why most couples are a little cautious about sharing their wedding photography budget up front. It’s also why I try to take the sting out of the budget conversation with enquiring couples as soon as possible.

Let me reassure you by saying right now, I’m not ‘rich’ by any stretch of the imagination, so I completely understand that how much you’ve got to spend on your wedding photography may be a sensitive issue. Almost all of my couples are in a similar financial position but they put great value in high quality photographic artistry and are willing to spend a bit more outside their comfort zone to get great wedding images they’ll always cherish.

That said, about 50% of the couples who enquire with me never get back in touch after I send them my prices, so I don’t know if it’s because they didn’t like my style after all, or because I was out of their budget. And that’s frustrating because if it was a budget thing there might have been something I could do for them.

So why share your budget with me?

Short answer: because sometimes I can help.

Sometimes I can compromise on my fees for special circumstances, a mid-week date, a very local wedding, or a shorter booking. Other times I can put you in touch with photographers who are in your wedding photography budget range.

But I can’t do that if I don’t know what your budget is!

 

I come to every new enquiry with genuine excited curiosity in who you are and what you’ve got planned. If it sounds like we’re a good fit on that basis I really want to make it work, because I LOVE what I do and LOVE giving couples photographs they’ll cherish for the rest of their lives.

But I also know that every couple is different, with different tastes, needs, desires, and budgets.

So I think for many wedding photographers one of the most difficult aspects of our job is not the actual wedding day, but the bit before we even book the wedding: getting excited about a potential new wedding, sending a personal reply and our pricing, and then never getting a reply.

Or in modern parlance, getting ghosted.

This happens to ALL of us, by the way. Even the rock-star wedding photographers. It’s just a part of the business so we have to not take it personally.

But, I’m left guessing why it is, and if I could have helped in some way, so sometimes I’ll reach out and ask why. Not everyone replies, and that’s fine, it can be awkward to explain to someone why you ‘rejected’ them.

Of those that do reply it’s 50/50 split between “we found another photographer whose work was more our style” and “we can’t afford you”.

There’s nothing I can do about the first one, and I wouldn’t want to – one of my Golden Rules of Choosing A Wedding Photographer is that you should go with someone whose style and personality you love. And that goes both ways to a certain extent – what I do is so personal and subjective that on rare occasions I’ve been known to regretfully turn down a wedding if I get the sense that our values and tastes are completely different.

But, if it was a budget thing and you didn’t feel able to tell me, that’s a shame. Every wedding is different and one price doesn’t fit all; if money is the only thing standing in your way then I’m open to seeing if there’s a compromise that could work for both of us.

So I’ve started to ask couples upfront what their budget range is. But, unsurprisingly, I’ve found most couples don’t want to share that detail with me just yet.

And I completely understand why!

 

Why don’t couples want to share their budget?

I think most couples looking at wedding photographers, especially those that don’t share full prices on their website, see that question about budget, and think “if we tell him how much we have to spend, he’ll charge us the top end of that, even if it’s over what he’d normally charge”.

Or they might think “what’s the point in sharing that info, why would he reduce his rates if he’s over our budget?”

Or “we might be willing to go higher, but we don’t want to tip him off to that yet”.

Or even “we’re still working it out, we don’t actually know yet”.

All reasonable answers!

So, I ask about your range upfront on my contact form to kind of ‘open the door’ to that conversation. Even if you choose not to answer just yet you’ll hopefully understand I’m open to talking about it.

And then when I send my pricing, I’ll mention that if my packages aren’t quite right for you I may be able to offer a tailored package that suits you better. Again, opening that door and saying “I totally get it, I’m happy to talk about it.”

What compromises can I make if I’m over your wedding photography budget?

I can’t make it work for every wedding, but when I can it depends on: where, when, how long, how much do you love my work, and how much am I over your budget by?

Sometimes I can offer a discount, especially for local midweek weddings); sometimes I can add extra goodies that you’ll appreciate, such as free prints or some extra pages in your album.

And sometimes I just can’t make it work but rather than walk away I’ll offer to help you find an alternative. I’ll reach out to my vast network of excellent fellow wedding photographers, based all over the country, to see who else is available and if they’re inside your budget. Then I’ll send you their links to browse in your own time.

If you find someone you love and book them, great! I don’t make a single penny in referral fees or anything like that. I do it because I care about everyone, even the couples I’m not quite right for. It’s just two minutes out of my day to share your details, and if that helps you get a brilliant photographer in your budget, I’m happy to have helped.

So that’s why it’s helpful to be open about your wedding photography budget

All that said, I still get ‘ghosted’ several times a week. It’s just a fact of being a wedding photographer, and I try not to take it personally.

But now you know why there’s absolutely no shame and no harm in being open with me about how much you’ve got to spend on your wedding photography.

I hope this helped! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer, and you like my work, drop me a line – and feel free to share your budget with me! Or not…