As couples plan their 2021 weddings and beyond, COVID is still very much a player in the planning process. The pandemic has forced them to not only consider how to safely have their wedding, but also to downsize both plans and budget. But they still want their big day photographed. As such, you may be receiving inquiries from potential clients that are peppered with wedding photography discount requests. If you do, or if you’re considering offering a discount in general because of the pandemic, this blog post may help you think through the process and have solutions at the ready.
Navigating Wedding Photography Discount Requests
After months of no activity when the pandemic began, some of you began photographing safely once reopening strategies were put into place. Some of you chose to wait it out. Overall, there was hope that things would get better and return to normal with the new year. But now you have crossed the threshold into 2021 and it is very likely that couples looking for a wedding photographer today may still be struggling with COVID affecting their plans. They may also be working with a smaller budget because of the year they had in 2020. If you receive a request for a 2021 wedding from a couple looking for discounted wedding photography services, here are some ways you can help.
1. Understand the Request
While navigating discount requests can get challenging, if you are thinking about offering wedding photography discounts to couples that request them, the first step is to understand the request. Get to know why your couple is approaching you. Be open and empathetic to understanding their needs – and expectations – in this initial conversation. Even if you are not offering current discounts, their story may sway you.
2. Offer Discounts for a Limited Time or Audience
If you decide to offer a discount, it might be wise to do so for a limited time (and let couples know these don’t reflect your regular pricing), on a case by case basis for couples as they inquire (so you aren’t locked into one published pricing structure), or for specific groups like first responders or health care workers. Offering discounts during COVID may help give your income and your brand a boost if you have been struggling to book weddings during the pandemic. However, an overall slashing of your prices may not be suitable for your business in the long run, so try negotiating these wedding photography discount requests in the short term only.
Related Read: Top 18 Ways to Book Weddings in the COVID-19 Pandemic
3. Assess Competitor’s Prices
Try to analyze the situation in your local area. If photographers around you are offering discounts or you are receiving multiple wedding photography discount requests from your couples, then you may want to strategize on how you can reduce your prices, at least in the short term, to keep competitive.
4. Know Your Bottom Line
Knowing what you’re worth, and what you need to bring in at the end of the day, will go a long way in knowing if, and how much, you can afford to lower or discount your wedding photography packages. If you aren’t sure where you stand on prices, now might be a great time to look at revising your wedding photography packages.
Alternatives to COVID Discounts
Only you know what your market will bear, what you need to bring in at the end of the day, and what your time and talent are worth. If you choose not to offer discounts, here are some other ideas to make your couples feel like they are getting their money’s worth at your full prices.
1. Try Explaining Your Packages
Your couples may not know the details of your packages or how you create them based on your cost to value. This step isn’t about getting into the nitty-gritty of the numbers but more about why you’ve priced your services the way you have. You could start by telling them about your years of experience. Your experience is often an indication of how you price your services. You could also review your time involved in a wedding, not just photographing, but all the planning and post-production. This could help your clients realize that you don’t charge by the number of people attending the wedding, but by the hours involved in doing what you do.
You could also talk to your clients about how you invest in them. For example, you bring your best team to the wedding and, as they are an integral part of your business, you are responsible for paying them. Your clients might not understand that you are an employer as well as a business owner. You could also discuss the cost of doing business – everything from insurance to the cost of the tools you use. Help your clients understand that your package prices cover all of your expenses and aren’t just used for profit.
2. Offer Additional Services & Products
If offering a wedding photography discount isn’t possible for your business, consider keeping the same pricing, but sweeten your packages with additional products or services to make the package more attractive. Ideas include:
- Adding prints or print credit, an album or an album upgrade, or even additional artistic edits to any package to add value for the same price.
- Offering your personal help by connecting couples to vendors (as it may be tough to find the right vendors and venues right now).
- Assisting couples in wedding planning (more than you might otherwise). If your couple is planning a destination wedding during COVID, you could help them organize the wedding.
- Adding additional “free” sessions – like an engagement session (if not already included), a one-year anniversary session, a boudoir session, or even a newborn session when their first baby comes along. These could include free products or just the session on its own. Read How to Plan for COVID Engagement Sessions to get some ideas.
3. Remember, Relationships Matter
In these uncertain times, couples may just be looking for someone they can count on in an ever-changing wedding world. You may be wondering how this has anything to do with wedding photography. Well, it doesn’t directly have anything to do with your business, but remembering that there are human beings on the other side of discount requests will help you be empathetic. Empathy is your greatest gift right now, so use it. These are challenging times for business owners, but your clients may be facing challenges, too. A little kindness right now can go a long way.
Do What it Takes
While you may want to focus on making profits right away, try to meet your clients where they are at. You will have time for profit later as well. If you can’t accept any wedding photography discount requests at the moment, do what you can to offer attractive alternatives by adding products or services to add value to your packages. Consider limited-time discounts, or case by case discounts, if you are moved to do so. If you decide negotiating lower prices just isn’t possible for you right now, remember to be kind and when you turn down a wedding photography discount request.
At ShootDotEdit, we empower pro photographers to focus on their business and creativity by handling all their editing work for them. Check out our price plans to see how we could benefit your wedding photography business.