Should wedding photographers negotiate their prices? There is no right or wrong answer as long as it works for you! But there are several factors to consider when you are faced with this question. First, consider that the client may have legitimate reasons for asking you to negotiate your wedding photography prices. Start by coming to the table willing to have a conversation and hear them out. Be prepared to explain how your prices reflect a variety of things about your business, such as your experience, expertise, brand position in the market, the quality of your equipment and product, and other associated costs that go along with running a business. Communicating this to a client asking to negotiate your pricing could result in better understanding, and they may walk away satisfied with what you charge, or they may not. The key is to have the conversation, listen, and decide if, after that, they’re still not willing to pay your prices if you’re in a place to meet them where they’re at. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you know when you should, or shouldn’t, be willing to negotiate.
When You Might Consider Negotiating Your Prices
1. If The Wedding Venue is on Your ‘Wish List’
As a wedding photographer, you could be dreaming about shooting at certain wedding venues. You might have seen a fellow wedding photographer shoot there before, or you could have seen the venue’s photographs online or in a magazine. If you’ve added a wedding venue to your wish list for “have to shoot there,” having the opportunity could qualify as a good reason for any wedding photographer to negotiate their prices if a client who is booked there wants them to lower their price.
Ask yourself if there is a benefit to making fewer dollars, but in exchange, adding a notable and photo-worthy location to your portfolio. Also, consider how beneficial it may be to your business to establish relationships with the venue staff for future referrals. Similarly, if the couple is having a destination wedding at a location you have only ever read about (but longed to visit), you could also consider a request to negotiate prices in exchange for a paid working vacation to that destination.
2. If You Won’t be Booked on That Day Otherwise
This is a simple tip to keep in mind. If you know that you could be booked for another wedding on the same day and photograph a wedding at your stated price, then it’s okay if you don’t want to negotiate. But when you know that it is off-season or a day when you don’t have anything else booked at the moment and are not likely to get booked either, you could consider negotiating. After all, a discounted package would still add something to your finances as compared to not shooting a wedding at all. Who knows, you might even end up meeting another potential client at this wedding!
3. Networking Opportunities
Maybe you have had your eye on working with a particular wedding planner, dress designer, florist, or another notable vendor in the wedding space, and, like your dream venue, you now have the opportunity to work with that vendor via working with a client who wants to negotiate. This could turn out to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you may not want to miss out on because of a monetary reason. As with the venue situation mentioned earlier, ask yourself how you and your wedding photography business may benefit from making perhaps less money but gaining in other areas.
When You May Not Want to Negotiate Your Prices
1. Your Packages Have No Room for Negotiation
This might sound obvious, but sometimes you just need to explain to your couples that your wedding photography packages are already reasonably priced based on multiple factors. We know this isn’t always easy! To help them understand why you are not in a position to negotiate, you could try to break down your pricing structure and answer any further questions they have politely and patiently. Sometimes just answering their questions may be enough to help them understand the value of what they are receiving!
If your couple compares your prices to other photographers or even other wedding vendors offering discounts to them, try to explain how your brand works differently. They might not be aware of how different vendors work and how they manage to give discounts when you can’t.
2. You Don’t Want To Be Known For Negotiations
Letting your clients negotiate with you every other time might prove to be detrimental to your image as a photographer and also for your brand. Clients could spread the word in the market about you offering discounts and price cuts easily, which might lead to more couples coming up to you and demanding the same. This will obviously impact your business, and it might just change the type of couples your brand attracts as well. So even if it’s in your and the client’s best interest to meet each other halfway, sometimes, you might have to stick with your plan and know your worth.
Related Read: How To Find Your Ideal Client
3. Too Many Red Flags
Sometimes you just get a red flag or a bad feeling from your initial conversations with a couple. Maybe you are already starting to sense that it’s not a good fit, and then they ask you to negotiate your prices and that just solidifies your feeling. Don’t be afraid to tell a couple that you just don’t think you’re the photographer for them and then refer them elsewhere. In most cases, you’ll be better off as you’ll likely spend more time and energy trying to work with difficult clients than it’s worth.
Know Your Worth, But Remember to be Kind
Your client might genuinely want you to photograph their wedding, and if not your full price, they might be able to offer you something else that lies in your best interests. If you’re still not sure, make a pros and cons list to help you decide. And if you find yourself questioning should wedding photographers negotiate their prices? Remember – there’s no right or wrong answer! We encourage you to always do what’s best for your business and yourself, but if you decide to consider your client’s request, know your worth and be kind. Empathy and understanding go a long way!
At ShootDotEdit, we love sharing tips and ideas to help you hone your skills and aid your wedding photography business growth. To lessen your post-production workload, we also offer professional photo editing services. To learn more about how we can help, you can check out our pricing plans.