Hello Photographer Friends,
A follower of mine sent a message on my Instagram asking “if you have a soon to be client and she said that her budget cannot afford your price, will you go with her on her wedding or you will decline her?”
I literally cringed after reading her question! In the past 6 years of my photography business, this has happened way more than I want to admit that a bride really likes my work but can’t afford me. And although it has always been a difficult conversation to navigate, I have managed both – adjusted package and worked cost-to-cost as well as politely & gracefully turned down jobs that didn’t fulfill my brand or covered costs.
To answer the question in detail, if a wedding photographer should turn away business or not”, here is my advice:
- First and foremost, the decision should be based on supply and demand. If the wedding season and/or demand is low, absolutely go for it by adjusting to her budget.
- Secondly, if the client hasn’t signed the contract, payment not received, and the date isn’t locked – you are in the negotiation portion of your agreement. My advice is to be honest with her. Explain to her why you are charging what you are charging or make her a new package based on her budget/requirements.
- Cover your costs. At all cost! If the bride’s budget will not cover the cost of your travel, videographer, album-designing time, and printing; then its best that you don’t offer those services because you’ll have to pay for them yourself.
- Ask questions about other wedding vendors she’s hiring. May be she’s working with a wedding vendor that you have been wanting to work with & that can be an opportunity to grow your business in future (please cover your costs though).
- If you decide to turn away the business, go the extra mile and refer her other photographer(s) in your area who may be a better fit for her.
If your heart continues to feel dissatisfied even before signing the contract, the chances are both parties will be left unhappy at the end. It’s a tough conversation to have but I’m sure you’ll find a way to make sure that she’s well taken care of – by you or another wedding photographer.
Best of Luck,