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The Friends and Family plan

ALM_327ALM_327 Member
edited September 2013 in home
I'm just wondering how many people give friends and family a discounted rate on their photography. My cousin's daughter is inquiring about prices for shooting her wedding. I only see her occasionally, (weddings and funerals, rare holidays) but I was pretty close with my cousin growing up, (she used to babysit me and is very good friends with my mother) and her husband gave me a very good deal on some auto body work a couple years ago. I would definitely be invited to the wedding if I was not potentially photographing it.



  • TrevTrev Moderator
    The answer for me is yes, I would, but not so much as a large monetary discount, say around $100-$200 off [depends on the package she wants] but also tell her you will 'give' her, say, a canvas of her choice, not a large one, valued at eg: $475+ [it won't cost you that much to get done obviously] for free and a couple of print enlargements free.

    Then 'add up' in monetary terms what it would have cost her to begin with to get the services and products and pretty soon it would add up to around $700+ which would look to be a good deal, but in reality you would only be 'out of pocket' around the $250 mark.

    I mean it sounds you are getting out of it cheap, but if she was a stranger the actual savings would be real to them.

    You need to make money, but at the same time give a deal only to close family/friends.

    I shot my niece's wedding, took off $150 in real dollars, gave her a canvas valued at $595 [cost me $125] and did up a small photobooklet free of charge [cost $25 - Valued at $275] and she was very happy.

    So she 'saved' over $1000.
  • Thanks Trev..that sounds like a good plan but won't work as well for me because I am a part time photog and essentially offer a disc or dropbox files with all the images as part of my pricing but don't really do any prints, canvases beyond that...which actually leads me to another topic since you mentioned it. Most people nowadays do seem to want the wedding image files as part of a package but I'm not sure why they would order prints or canvases from the photog if they actually have the files and can do it themselves for much cheaper. it seems to defeat the purpose of having the files.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    Well, you have to be able to offer your canvas prints of an exceptionally high quality compared to a department store job.

    Push the archival quality factor, show them a superb sample and how you edited for canvas printing [yes, I re-edit my files for canvas, since I have sharpening, res slightly different to print paper].

    Get a reasonably sized image done at el cheapo place then the same image from a quality lab.

    Even though in some instances I give the files [paid for] they come back 90% of the time to get the canvas from me.

    Another thing I do to get them to come back to me, I offer a 'Product Credit' in my packages, say I have a $300 product credit on a certain package, they won't go and pay extra to get prints/canvas done until they have exhausted the product credit. I always have the Product Credit in each package below the cost of the canvas so they virtually pay for the printing and I have still made money.

    eg: I have $300 P/Credit, which has already been factored in my pricing anyway, so they come back to me for a canvas, which on my products sells for $395 for smallest one. They pay me $95 extra, I get it printed at around $105, I am only out of pocket the $10 on that day to get the canvas done, but I had already been paid my profit margin in the package first up anyway.
  • ZenonZenon Member
    edited September 2013
    I read a lot of wedding forums and the majority of pros will not shoot for family and friends no matter what the cost is. Others will but not reduce their pricing. They consider it their livelihood thus don't see they they should do so. And I have seen from doing for free as a gift to a slight break in the price. Obviously the couple pays for printing.

    So I guess it all depends on what is comfortable for you. Is one of the family members a carpenter and you need a new deck? Often that type of informal bartering goes on in my part of the world. Sometimes you don't even have to ask, they just show up on deck building day.

    We became good friends with neighbours at the lake. Met them when her daughter was two and when we went over for cocktails my wife would read her bedtime stories. Shared a few bottles of Crown with her dad over 20 years or so. A few years ago his daughter called me and told me she could not find a wedding photographer. If she was anything like her dad that meant she could not find an inexpensive photographer :). I offered to do it for free because I would have been there anyway but they paid me a few hundred. I had a helper for the reception who owed me a favour. I had a few beer at the reception which is a no no but I knew half the people there and they were bringing it to me.

    If I were a pro I'm not sure how I would have handled that. If I were a pro I would not been living the cottage life and never met them in the first place.
  • Thanks for the input Trev and Zenon..

    I am not a pro either (and as a brief side note I'm not sure how to respond when people refer to me as a "professional photographer"...I mean I have a website and some pro gear and produce decent work but I'ts not what pays the bills (yet), and I'm certainly not of someone like Neil's caliber regarding knowledge and skill level) but I am pretty heavily invested in it. I think I am going to end up going the middle of the road somewhere between free and no discount..
  • I have had friends and family contact me and I do not offer a discount that I would not offer anyone else. The work is the same and I feel that if I can do it for them for my price minus discount, than that is what I should be charging everyone anyway. I understand what Trev is saying but would not go that route myself. I honestly would prefer to not shoot the session. Last friend that asked me ended up going with a cheaper service...lots of on camera flash, badly exposed photos, out of focus too...but they love the photos anyway It worked out for both of us because I had a full paying client that day...
  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Guess I am too easy going, I shall have to drink a cup of concrete and harden the %^$# up!


    Well, I look at it this way, the ones I have done it for [only 2] have repaid me in other ways with helping me out in their fields of expertise, especially my nephew who is a boilermaker/welder and he did some work for me which would have been around $300-400 for free. So I ended up doing great out of it.
  • Trev,

    I like your policy and wish I could still bring myself to do it. I have been kind to people for so many years and it has always cost me. Even now it is costing us...we just moved to Ohio (2 weeks ago) and still own a house in New York. Friends fell on tough times and we allowed them to move in. I was just there this weekend to finish up some work on the house and was disappointing on how they were "taking care" of the house. Now I have to write an email explaining to them that they are irresponsible slobs and that they are not taking care of our house...of course I will say it nicer than that but being helpful has again landed me in a crappy situation.
  • ALM327

    My experience with relatives and friends etc is to stay away from them when approached for work.
    Coming from a European family, my relatives are nothing more than a bunch of whingers.
    They whinge about everything, and then want to pay you less even after agreeing a set price.
    They pay you late, however they want the images ASAP.
    Stay away my friend as it will come back and bite you on the @r$e !!!!!!
  • Family and friends tend to expect more because of who you are. I have done events for friends and give them a little more product for my normal price. Prints, files, or canvas something like that. I work just as hard at their event as I would at any other. Plus, I have to see them if they are not happy...lol... that being said, I have begun to decline taking the work for relatives and close friends. I want to relax and enjoy those special events. Not possible when behind the camera. I can't chill and work at the same time ...lol...
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