Wedding Photographer Retainers

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by SSJX, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. SSJX

    SSJX Member

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    I'm admidst booking a wedding photographer however his/her terms & conditions state that a $2000 non-refundable, non-transferable retainer/deposit is required to secure the date. Additionally, the retainer will not be credited to a new date if a date change occurs.

    Is this common?
     
  2. berek

    berek Member

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    Fark and that's just the deposit!!
     
  3. Big Trev

    Big Trev Member

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    Sounds like a rip-off to me, but I'm not an expert from either side of the lens (that deposit is about double what we paid for our wedding pics IIRC). Although wedding dates tend to be fixed; not getting cold feet already are we? :weirdo:
     
  4. 3stars

    3stars Member

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    i'd say keep on shopping
     
  5. OP
    OP
    SSJX

    SSJX Member

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    it's almost 50% deposit...

    no cold feet; just thinking if it buckets down on the day, then wouldn't it be nice if the photographer could shoot 'proper' ones on a sunny day?



    any recommendations?
     
  6. 3stars

    3stars Member

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    sorry can't help with that one, 2k deposit is a lot of wedge though and a few too many restrictions
     
  7. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Most wedding togs are 50% retainer to save the date. Some are 30% but yeah.. the majority I know through the business are 50%.

    There are lots of flakers out there.. if someone wants to book you on one of the most popular wedding days of the year (and some are super busy.. but any day is potential for more than one client).. then if for whatever reason the date doesnt go ahead then what you just going to sit around for a couple of hundred? The T&C is up to the tog.. on what constitutes a reason for having the date cancelled as acceptable for a refund (or partial) if they offer it.

    It's a livelihood.

    You are making a commitment to them.. to honour the booked date (same as the commitment you are making to the venue, celebrant and many of the other services where a deposit is required) and they are making a commitment to save that date for you (for whatever rate/deal/package you have negotiated). A friend of mine is booked for October 21 this year (she booked it last October) and has since had 6 inquiries about the same date.. all of which she sends off since she has been paid her retainer to save the date.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  8. kingbob86

    kingbob86 Member

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    I'd keep looking personally.
     
  9. ^catalyst

    ^catalyst Member

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    Seems pretty reasonable, I mean, it's a wedding. The date is pretty much set right? A lot of wedding photographers I speak to are booked well in advance, a cancellation could be a pretty hefty loss.
     
  10. OP
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    SSJX

    SSJX Member

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    I can fully understand their situation, but wouldn't a deposit say around $1000 be suffice for a day's work/sitting around? (in case of cancellation/postponement)
     
  11. HumbleBum

    HumbleBum Member

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    Not when you are making $3k working.. (after costs)
     
  12. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Well you could always see if they offer an extra bridal shoot.. but the fact is you cant control the weather. They will shoot it rain, hail or shine. It is something you have to discuss further with your chosen photographer though..

    You arent just going to cancel everything on the day if it rains though... well you can try.. dont think you will get any deposits back :)
     
  13. 3stars

    3stars Member

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    not when you mention the word Wedding .......... carrrrching..........
     
  14. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Yeah it is sufficient for a wedding tog that has a $2000 package. Seemingly you have gone with someone who is $4500 - $5000.

    If you cancel the day and they cant rebook (and honestly it is very rare that something pops up paying your full rate in a short term for a popular wedding date.. mainly because there are heaps of other reasons (many services are already booked for one)... but you lose out on $3500 - $4000 in your pocket. Especially if you knocked back other jobs to honour the one you had a couple sign a contract, agree to pay the retainer and lock the date down.

    Only happens once before you start asking yourself why..
     
  15. HumbleBum

    HumbleBum Member

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    Its true.. I had to pay $2k for the venue to lock in, and then spent another $13k, that $13k was due 5 weeks prior. Once the $15k was done, we could cancel but the cost was $5k.

    A tog, like a venue, can only have one customer a day, protecting that day for the client is critical, if the client cancels, what does the tog/venue do? Fit a wedding in with what might be a days notice. Impossible.
     
  16. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Well no.. business is business.

    We are talking about a business where there are 'limited' number of days that you will generally get booked throughout the year. Not many people get married in winter (unless you do international).

    You then have other periods where things may be ruled out, or where the business has some time out (like xmas).

    So lets just loosely have a look at that.

    52 weekends a year (most people get married on a Saturday or Sunday.. although week days are becoming more popular).

    - 12 (Winter/Cold)
    - 2 (Holidays/Periods that dont 'generally' attract bookings

    = 38

    38 weekends a year where you can book out.. now.. it would be awesome if each client that inquired with you have magically aligned and chosen individual dates... unfortunately in the real world this doesn't happen.

    So you can potentially book 76 weddings when the moons align and the unicorns come out to play. Infact if you did 76 where there were so many back to back you would probably be delirious and see unicorns.

    Having said that.. 76 is a massive number (You see people like Jonas Peterson do 65 and then laugh and say.. yeah Ill never make that mistake again).

    I would be pretty stoked with 20 or 30.. or 40.. but even then 40 is a lot of work (when you have to back it up with client meetings.. and that is numerous meetings per client).. pre-wedding sessions.. engagement parties.. editing.. wedding albums.. and god forbid some R&R.

    But to get to those numbers you need experience, a good business model.. great references and you have worked hard on your business. Which means starting off cheap and working your way up.. earning your stripes so to speak.

    But at any rate.. (forgot to put it in before) If you have a lowly deposit policy and are down on numbers and have a cancellation or 2.. it has ongoing effects on your overall income... as it would with any business.. it is just different in terms that things are being booked months/years ahead of time. Also some people use the deposit/contract to lock a photographer into a price they are charging now, for say 18 months time (where it may have increased some/lots).
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  17. methd

    methd Member

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    ^^^ well said.

    My deposit is 50% which at times can go to $4k. Take it or leave it i guess. The deposit is to ensure we have income should the client do a runner. It's to ensure we dont get too pissed off that we turned away all the other clients when we thought we were booked on the day, only to have the booking ckient cancel on us.

    I however do have a clause that they can change their wedding date within 12 months of their day as long as im free. This is for the client's sake should an emergency pop up.
     
  18. Alsoar

    Alsoar Member

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    I wonder what happens if it's the other way around where the photographer can't make it due to some unforeseen reason? The cost of rescheduling a wedding would be a lot more than a photographer being rescheduled.
     
  19. methd

    methd Member

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    it's in the contract... each photographer will have their own terms.
     
  20. 3stars

    3stars Member

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    i know that i charge a 1000 a day just to do the hair. :)
    just saying everything with a wedding is carrrching.
     

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