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07/09/2007 03:16:48 AM · #1
Hi-
I'm slightly new to the Wedding Photography scence, and I require half up front and the other half 2wks proir to the wedding.

Here's my problem, I've had a few clients that just don't want to pay until after I have all their prints and images complete... I think I might just be too nice... but what do YOU SUGGEST on a polite way of saying no money - no photographer on site?

What are your methods of collecting payment / asking to be paid ?
Thanks***
07/09/2007 03:19:26 AM · #2
Get the money upfront when the contract is signed. You do have the client sign a contract don't you?
07/09/2007 03:26:41 AM · #3
Yes, Of course, I use a slightly modifyed version from the PPA site, and I do get half up front, it's just the other half I'm having trouble with.
07/09/2007 03:30:02 AM · #4
Originally posted by DCPhoto:

it's just the other half I'm having trouble with.


Oh yeah... that... :-) Yeah, that part gets tricky. I usually expect it the day of the wedding, before I start shooting. It's easier if you've stayed in contact with the B&G and know who will have the money.
07/09/2007 05:36:09 AM · #5
I generally have them pay a deposit when they sign the contract and have them pay the balance before or on their wedding day!
07/09/2007 06:30:06 AM · #6
Originally posted by DCPhoto:

Here's my problem, I've had a few clients that just don't want to pay until after I have all their prints and images complete...

if your contract's payment clause is clear, and if you've spelled it out clearly when you went over the contract with them, it should be no problem. if they object at the time of contract, then you tell them that yours is a standard contract and that is the way the payment is handled. if they still object, then you have to make a business decision as to whether or not it's worth it to modify your contract for them (i would suggest that it is not, because that would make it easy to become a fairly bad business habit that could put your business at risk).

if they object the day of the wedding, you simply pull out your copy of the contract and inform them that they must pay you as agreed, or you will do whatever your contract allows for that contingency.

if they pay you and you do a crappy job, then you'll have to deal with that in a separate thread. if they begrudgingly pay you and you do a smashing job, then it doesn't really matter...
07/09/2007 09:54:12 AM · #7
A gentle reminder and a review of the contract's terms usually does it.

If not, the suggestion that you can refer them to another photographer that might be more open to their terms if they are serious about wanting new terms. Don't fail to mention that, unfortunately, they will be forfeiting the deposit/retainer.

In all likelihood, they aren't out to screw you over, but are having some serious sticker shock at the number and amounts of the checks they are writing at the time and are looking to put some of those payments off for a bit. Be gentle and understanding but firm on payement.
07/09/2007 10:38:39 AM · #8
Half down- half day of- is the industry standard. If they argue with you too much, give them a week of trying to find someone that does it differently, they will be back :)
07/09/2007 11:47:29 AM · #9
I wonder if anyone has ever tried a system like this...

When I got married, my wedding photographer had a plan that we really liked. He didn't offer 'packages'. When we met with him initially, he spelled out how he works...

We paid him a $500 deposit (retainer) that day. We received $500 credit towards prints from our wedding. He made a 5x7 engagement announcement photo for us, did a studio bridal shoot, and covered our wedding and reception.

The $500 we paid him up front was non-refundable. We didn't owe him any more money until we ordered prints at his individual print prices. After he provided proofs for us, we bough the proof album (it contained about 175 4x5 prints) for approximately $1200, and spent another $600 or so on additional prints. Both of our families purchased $400-600 more in prints, so he took in about $2500 total on the wedding.

This plan seems really worthwhile and I can't say that I've ever seen another photographer who offers that pricing structure.
07/09/2007 12:08:25 PM · #10
I'm not a wedding photographer, but have lurked around wedding photographer sights. They're a great source of real world learning.

Originally posted by DCPhoto:

YOU SUGGEST on a polite way of saying no money - no photographer on site?


Do the catarer (food people) don't get paid until after they serve their meals? Does the DJ not get paid until the last dance? Do the flower people not get paid until the flowers are picked up?

Your work should speak for itself. Maybe they're not secure in your ability.

BTW, for my wedding (where I was the groom), we didn't want to bother with paying multiple times. We had a check list of things to do since we planned the whole thing. I don't understand how brides/grooms can worry about multiple payments. I just wanted things to be paid for and signed off my list.

Of course, if you're dealing with budget couples, what do you expect? Raise your prices and you won't have to deal with this (most of the time). Of course, you'll have to be at that level to charget those prices.

--arm chair wedding photographer
07/09/2007 12:11:21 PM · #11
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

I wonder if anyone has ever tried a system like this...

When I got married, my wedding photographer had a plan that we really liked. He didn't offer 'packages'. When we met with him initially, he spelled out how he works...



Sounds quite interesting actually.
07/09/2007 12:18:37 PM · #12
As Skip said, if you have a clear payment clause in your contract, it should be easy. If they still refuse to pay, my advice is go and shoot the wedding and tell them you will not process (and they will not see) a single image until you receive payment in full and truly do as you say. This is of course up to you but you have more chances of getting paid if you show up and shoot than if you decide not to because you haven't received the final payment. If you don't show up, not only will you definitely not be paid the balance but your reputation will be shot too. It doesn't matter it was their fault they didn't pay, they will just bad mouth you and you'll be bad guy.

Just my 2 cents.

June
07/09/2007 12:20:06 PM · #13
for some of the people who have problems I offer to let them do a payment plan leading up to the wedding... that way they have get it paid off before hand without paying large chunks of money at one time... I find the willingness to be a little bit flexible beofrehand (without bending on being paid off by the wedding day) goes a long way to alaying their fears...

If they don't pay I'l still shoot the wedding (there is a model release in my contract so I can still use the photos) however, I will not release any photo's to them until payment is made in full.
07/10/2007 02:52:34 AM · #14
Well that has surely helped, thank you all!
:-)
07/11/2007 07:04:04 PM · #15
I have 2 payment plans setup for my clients.

Payment Option 1: 33% Downpayment of package chosen, remainder of package cost due ONE WEEK PRIOR to the wedding date. Downpayment locks in their wedding date, and the final payment assures them I will be there. The Deposit is non-refundable (less something extremely drastic happens [read death]) and if there is no final payment, there is no photography.

Payment Option 2: 33% Downpayment (non-refundable), 33% 2 months prior to wedding date, final payment one week prior to date. Same as above.

I have yet to have a complaint, or any problems. Hell, some people have even paid it all upfront. Prints are extra (cept for the 4x6's I include in the packages). I include an album in my packages amongst other things.

I would never shoot a wedding without full payment.
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