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Time is money

cakencameracakencamera Member
edited September 2013 in home
Ok, so I get a last minute booking, the Bride initially wants me for 4 hours, great I think I can finish early. Then she figures out 4 isn't enough so I say I will throw in an extra hour no charge, keep her happy. I arrive an hour early ( I always do to check out the venue if I haven't been there before) Then during the course of the day things over run, a lot. The meal is delayed, as is the speeches, so I end up doing 9 1/2 hrs. in total. When your in a situation like that, I was in the middle of speeches thinking this is 2 hours longer than I'm getting paid for, I couldn't just walk up to the couple right in the middle and ask if they want to pay for longer, should I email them and ask for more money? Should I just take it on the chin and forget about it? This isn't the first time its happened, it wasn't as bad but if it keeps happening its going to annoy me knowing I should be paid more. Answers on a postcard to: Man who work for too little, UK


  • One tactful approach might have been to take the bride or groom (or whoever was paying) aside, yes right in the middle of it all, tell her the five hours you'd agreed to was up and ask if she'd like you to stay longer. Or you might say 'Our five hours are up, is there anything else you'd like....' And then, if so, remind her of your hourly rate after the agreed upon block of time. I once worked as an assistant to a very good and very appropriate and tactful wedding photographer who did just that. When the time was up and it was pretty clear she might be wanted longer she very nicely and discreetly got a verbal agreement to pay for the additional time. Of course, this is something you need to cover with the couple (or whoever is paying) ahead of time.... the possibility that you may be wanted longer than the agreed-to time and how much more the cost will be.

    Whether you now ask for more money depends on what was said when you negotiated the contract and discussed your fee. Was there any discussion of what happens if the time runs over? If not, well I think you voluntarily stayed longer and, having given them no opportunity during the wedding to agree to additional time I think it's a little tough to email and say 'I decided to stay longer than five hours so you now owe me additional X amount.' You may have decided to stay longer because there were specific must-have shots you knew they wanted that hadn't occurred yet. I don't know. If so, it's understandable why you stayed. But you should have discussed this with them during the wedding, not now.
  • look at the meta data and offer the photos you got paid for and charge extra for the ones taken outside the 4 hour time window. Just be sure to explain it to the bride. If they like them, great and you made some extra money. Since you stayed out of your own accord, you can't really make them pay but you sure do not owe them the photos either. In the end, they owe you no more than the contract called for.
  • Hmm, I tend to agree with skipperlange, what I should do in future is ask the question if things over run would they like me to stay and pay the extra. I don't think I could make them pay for the extra photos as they specifically wanted speeches done, which is why I had to hang around the extra time. Another lesson learnt, in future I will have to ask the question...what if?
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I think we have the same problem - the desire to please people, coupled with an awkwardness of requesting money that is owed to us. This is something I have to continually fight with myself.

    Simply explain it to her and ask for the extra money. And most definitely, you're not quibbling here, since you stayed for 9.5 hours instead of the 4 or 5 you agreed upon initially.
  • I do think it changes the situation a bit that they specifically asked for photos of the speeches and, therefore, you more or less had to stay. Obviously it wasn't your fault the schedule was delayed and you needed to be there longer. It isn't as though you simply decided to stay longer and get some more photos. While it would've been better to discuss this with them at the time I do agree that now it might be appropriate to explain that to get the shots they requested you had to stay longer than five hours. Figure out how much you are requesting, an hourly rate or whatever.
  • I guess there is no harm in explaining to them, and asking.
    UPDATE: I have sent them a nice email requesting more money, hate doing it but if I don't I'll hate myself more. They are nice people and not short of money so I'm feeling optimistic.
  • There is a section at POTN dedicated to wedding photography as well. I have read about similar issues and other problems. Putting together a clear and concise contract is a hot topic. Mine states an hour grace time for overruns then extra charges apply. This is only if there is a specific time frame someone wants me. If it is an all day event and we stay until the cake cutting then only start time is included which includes bride getting ready shots.

    LIke everyone said ask for more money but I would not pursue it. All people are different and some may feel bad themselves and be glad to pay more (depending on the size of the dowry :) ) while others feel photographers just push a button thus are overpaid in the first place. It would not be worth it to me to draw it out if the couple is uncooperative. It was only one hit for you so far.
  • Agreed Zenon, I wouldn't get upset over it if they refuse, I'll just take it on the chin. Another little bit I need to add to my contract!
  • You could try to simplify your pricing, and just offer either a half day or full day rate.
    All payable in advance.
    If your clients decide to extend your coverage on the day of the wedding then your rate jumps to the full day rate.
    It's a good motivator to keep people on time, and saves you feeling petty for charging an extra hour for the overrun.
  • Thanks Randell-John. I will be adjusting my pricing in the new year so I may go down the half day full day route. I have adjusted my T's&C's in case in happens again. I've just had a phone call from a guy who has had to bring his wedding forward due to his fathers illness and only wants me for an hour, I didn't have the heart to charge half a day, I know the saying there's no sentiment in business but.........guess I'm too soft.
  • Hi Cake Camera
    Ive decided just to simplify for 2014 and beyond I was finding that small wedding were actually sucking up time from my larger weddings . 6 hr wedding quickly turned into a 10 -12 hour wedding after factoring in extra meetings delayed starts Engagement shoots etc , Plus I had to turn away bigger weddings. or have some one else shoot the smaller wedding , Did it once and will never do it !!!! Basically handing over my Business and reputation and the guy didn't even thank me for the business.

    Best is to figure out what the least amount you need to Shoot and Properly Process a wedding add some margin = Your base Price.

    Lou Recine
    Owner Matrix Photography and design
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