Redwall Photo

About Redwall Photo

Wedding photography is expensive, I know.  In the photographer’s defense, there is a lot of time, equipment, and backend costs that goes into providing a breathtaking set of images… but it still doesn’t lessen the fact that a good photographer often costs a large chunk of money.

It always breaks my heart when someone says that they just can’t afford a mid- to high-end photographer, so they’ll just make due with someone that costs less, even if they don’t love this person’s work.  Weddings are one of the most important days of a person’s life…months, sometimes even years, go into planning just one day…. all of that should be remembered in amazing photographs that reflect all the amazing moments and details of the day (because, face it, you’re not going to remember what your bridesmaids’ dresses looked like in 20 years).

So, how can you afford that awesome photographer that is just out of your price range?

1. It’s only half down. My first tip is something to lessen the heart attack when you see the price tag.  I personally ask for a signed contract and 50% of the cost to hold a date, and this is a pretty standard practice.  I don’t know any photographer that requires the full package amount to be paid months in advance.  Half of $2,500 is quite a bit of money that you don’t need to worry about right away.

Most couples book their photographer anywhere from a year to six months in advance, so that’s 12-6 months to save.   Alright, so that’s still $100-$200 a month that you have to set aside, which is still sounds like a lot.  But you’re most likely going to have wedding showers, bridal showers, etc. where you’ll be getting gifts, often monetary gifts.  You’re going to get lots of unexpected money, why not invest it in your photographer?  Don’t forget, those pictures are going to be around when all the food and flowers and gone.

2.  Register for photography services. Which brings me to my next point, you can always register for photography services.  I mean, do you really need another toaster or a set of china that you’ll use once a year?  For my couples, I can set up online registration where friends and family can purchase photography credit for you.  It’s extremely simple, no cost to you, and all you have to do is provide people with the link to the registration site.  In fact, it’s even easier than registering for that set of china with the flower pattern.

3.  Additional add-ons aren’t due up front. I also get people worried about the additional costs after the wedding – buying an album, canvases, or prints.  I tell them to totally forget about that cost until after the wedding. First of all, you’re going to get gift money that you’re not expecting. Secondly, you have up to a year to order prints and albums (with me at least), there is plenty of time to save.  Wedding costs add up fast, don’t worry about everything all at once or you’re going to get overwhelmed.

4.  Substitution. Sometimes I meet with a couple that really loves my work but just can’t make finances work.   Even after they’ve pooled money and borrowed from parents, they’re just a few hundred away from my price range.  I will often substitute or remove small items out of  the package so my base costs are brought a little lower and I can afford to transfer that savings on to them.  This generally only works for a few hundred dollars (really, I wasn’t kidding about those backend costs, they’re killer), but sometimes that’s all you need.  And hey, that few hundred dollars could cover the cost of favors.

This isn’t meant to say that you have to go thousands out of your price range for a certain photographer, definitely not, I don’t want anyone to completely overstretch their budget…. but if you’re within several hundred dollars of your budget for a photographer, these tips are golden.

*Other photographers and brides, feel free to reblog, just link back to this post.

For my brides that follow my blog, and for those who just like pretty pictures, this post is a bit technical, so I’m sorry!

A few weeks ago, I asked my readers if they had any questions for me. I said no topic was off-limits, and surprisingly, I got questions on the running a business/workflow end of things, rather than questions on shoots. Works for me! If you have questions that you would like answered, either ask them here, or head on over to this post.

I’ve already given my take on how to build a client base but this time, I’m going to answer Chris’ question:

How about processing, start to finish? So you’ve taken some sick photos – how about you walk through post-production, export, proofing, and shipping to the clients… all the way to their smiling faces?

My workflow is such second-nature now, I actually had to step back and think about this.
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The other day, I asked my readers if they had any questions that they would like me to address on my blog – since winter is “the slow season” in Chicago, I have a bit of extra time to blog things I otherwise wouldn’t. I was actually a bit surprised by the questions; they had more to do with photography details and business start-up than actual services, but hey, I said I’d answer anything! If you have a question for me, head on over to the blog post and ask away!

The first question I’m going to address is from my friend and client Thao:

“Hi, Tasha! Great post; thanks for asking us for suggestions! I would personally love to know how you began building up a steady client base, especially before you had a big portfolio. Did you rely on personal recommendations? What marketing tools did you use? What do you think made you stand out from other photographers?

I know how WE (Dan and I) found (and loved!) your work, but I’m curious to know if that was an anomaly or a part of your regular business strategy.”

A bit of background – when I first started portrait and wedding photography, I ran a special where I gave away a very limited number of free sessions as a portfolio builder. Thao was one of my first clients, and found me through some retweets about that special on Twitter. We had a fantastic engagement session together (still one of my favorite sessions to this date), and I’ll be shooting her wedding this June, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Thao herself is working on starting a paper design company, so I can see how apt this question is for her. Oh, and by the way, if you’re looking for some fabulous, classy, and creative work for invitations, save the dates, etc., check her out. Here’s one of her latest projects.

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