Should You Turn Away Business?

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.

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To answer the question in detail, if a wedding photographer should turn away business or not”, here is my advice:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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,
~ Rima

I Promise You!

I’ve always been a fan of wedding vows & promises that brides and grooms make to each other. They promise to love and cherish each other in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.

Here are my set of promises to my future couples who hire me to document their document day.

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I promise you to be at your wedding day as more than just a photographer.
I promise that I understand how important of a day it is for you.
I promise to hand you tissues if you cry. I promise to hold your dress if you need to use the bathroom & to carry your bouquet on our way to the ballroom.
I promise to make you feel like the most beautiful couple & get rid of any insecurities or stress you might have.
I promise to put my heart & soul in documenting your wedding day to the best of my ability. I promise to capture your legacy that will be worth showing to your children & grandchildren.
I promise that hiring me will be the best decision you will make for your wedding day.
I promise you good times & countless smiles in front of my camera.
I promise you that I will take care of you. Not only on the day wedding but throughout the entire process.

I Promise You! ❤

P.S. Here are all the #lo0oveletters that my past couples have sent me. Alhamdulillah for best of the best clients who become amazing friends ❤

Grand Hyatt, Dubai Wedding – Aisha & Ahmad

If I were to describe how beautiful she looked in her white bridal gown, stunning would be an understatement. She was taking breaths away as she made her grand entrance into the ballroom yet her delightful smile was working like oxygen – for people who’s breath she took with her beauty. And also for her soulmate, whose life she was entering.

Venue: Grand Hyatt, Dubai 🏰
Decorator: Dream Wedding Services ✨
Makeup: Ayesha AlSuwaidi💄
Dress: Hazar Haute Couture 👗
Shoes: Jimmy Choo 👠
Bouquet: Dream Wedding Services 💐
Photography: Rima Hassan Photography 🎥

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Dearest Aisha & Ahmad,

Thank you for everything! My team & I thoroughly enjoyed your wedding day from the moment we entered your wedding venue till the left because it was full of joy, happiness, dance, and absolute love. May Allah continues to bestow His blessings & bounties upon both of you forever and ever, ameen.

Love,
~ Rima

Park Hyatt, Dubai Engagement – Elham & Adel

They are soooooooo adorably cute (mashaAllah).
She’s beautiful, bubbly & giggled through. He’s handsome, calm yet made her laugh & laughed with her. And me, I smiled behind my camera and my heart danced through the night ❤

Elham & Adel’s beautiful engagement was celebrated at Park Hyatt, Dubai 🏰. The stage/kosha was decorated by 198 Events ✨. Makeup was done by the darling Dona💄. Elham wore a stunning dress by Ayesha Depala 👗 and carried a bouquet from Florist Boutique 💐. And of course the photography was done by yours truly Rima Hassan Photography 🎥

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Dearest Elham & Adel,

Thank you super much for your trust, a warm welcome, and friendship ❤ I had immense fun at your engagement party and can’t wait to see what you both are planning for the wedding day *happy dance*. May you both cherish each other’s presence in your lives – always & forever, ameen.

Love,
~ Rima

Barsha Hall, Dubai Wedding – Noora & Abdulla

Her polite gestures, sparkling eyes, and beautiful smile was lighting up the entire room. He was sneaking peeks at her. As if scared to stare at her continuously and being caught. The best part was, each time he looked at her, it ended up bringing a sincere smile on his face. And I secretly prayed in my heart that they both continue to always smile like this because of each other.

Venue: Al Barsha Hall, Dubai 🏰
Decorator: Wish Events ✨
Makeup: Nada💄
Desserts: Pistacio Box 💚
Bouquet: Magna Flowers 💐
Photography: Rima Hassan Photography 🎥

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Dearest Noora & Abdulla,

Thank you oh-so-much for being awesome & for trusting me to photograph your engagement & wedding celebrations. I feel so much joy in being a part of your first day as husband & wife. May Allah protects you both and showers you with happiness, success, eternal love, & all smiles. Always & forever, ameen.

Much appreciation,
~ Rima

How to Price Your Wedding Photography Services

Often I get questions from photographers asking about how to price their photography services. Although there isn’t one specific answer to this question because several things need to be considered while pricing your services (such as: different markets, clients’ spending on weddings, your experience, demand, etc). But following principles may help you with pricing your wedding photography services.

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  1. Costs must be covered.
    Make sure your fixed costs are well taken care of (studio rental, assistant/second shooter, online gallery, album printing, etc). Know your fixed costs, variable costs, and then add your salary so you don’t end up working for free.
  2. Demand of your services.
    As tempting as it is to compare yourself to other photographers, don’t establish your worth based on their work/pricing. If you think you are worth $5000 and your clients are willing to pay, kudos to you.  If you are in high demand & seem overbooked, it is about time you raise your prices a little but If your bookings are decreasing, there is a good chance you’ve raised your prices too high.
  3. Adjust pricing over time. 
    If you are starting out my friend, it is okay to test the waters. Don’t hesitate to adjust your pricing gradually overtime as wedding season & demand fluctuates. Adjustments is also required if your fixed costs increases. Try at your own pace and improvise your pricing based on what needs to be done.

I hope this blog helps & wish you much success with your business.

Your friend,
~ Rima

5 Tips to Rock The Wedding Dress

Dear Brides,

It may sound simple if I say to “Practice your Dress” but if it was this simple, I wouldn’t be writing an entire blog post about it. Trust me on this one! 🙂

It is very usual that I come across brides who have trouble wearing the dress. They don’t know how the crinoline/jiboon is supposed to be worn. I’ve seen broken zippers and buttons, and what not. To make your wedding day stress-free, here are 5 tips to prepare and practice your dress beforehand.

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  1. Practice wearing your dress at least 3-5 times before the wedding day to be comfortable with the fitting, buttons, zipper, lace, ribbons, etc.
  2. Know how to wear the dress with the crinoline (aka jiboon – the underskirt to make the ballgown fluffy).
  3. Try the dress with undergarments to make sure nothing shows & everything fits perfectly. Choose undergarments wisely (ex: strapless garments for strapless dress, etc).
  4. Wear the shoes/heels to practice walking in the dress. It will also help you be sure that the dress’s length is what you like.
  5. Last but not least, PLEASEEEEE try sitting in the dress to be 110% sure that it is possible!

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Lovely Brides, I hope this blog post is helpful to you. May you shine in your dress like a rockstar princess!

Your UnOfficial Bridesmaid,
~ Rima

Rotana Beach Hotel, AD Wedding – Afaf & Mohammed

They are the cutest. With lots of giggles, wide smiles, and promises of “fdaaaaaitch” (I can die for you). With love in the air, they were spreading joys to whoever came near both of them ❤

Venue: Rotana Beach Hotel, Abu Dhabi 🏰
Decorator: Dream Wedding Services ✨
Makeup: Salama💄
Dress: Hazar Haute Couture 👗
Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana 👠
Bouquet: Amaryllis Flowers 💐
Photography: Rima Hassan Photography 🎥

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Dearest Afaf & Mohammed,

From the bottom of my ❤ , Thank You!!!! My team & I had utter pleasure of photographing you both and your wedding day. I pray that Allah protects you both from all evil eyes and showers you both with His highest blessings and bounties, ameen.

Love,
~ Rima

Aloft, Abu Dhabi Wedding – Mariam & Naser

Her bubbly personality & warm friendly smile was lighting up the room.
Surrounded by her friends, she was the life of the party. I had no doubt this gorgeous girl, with her beautiful heart, will bring party to his life – as his bride.

Venue: Aloft Hotel, Abu Dhabi 🏰
Decorator: Mona Sabaat ✨
Makeup: Layaly 💄
Dress: Aisha Almuhairi 👗
Shoes: Charles & Keith 👠
Bouquet: Amaryllis Flowers 💐
Photo & Video: Rima Hassan Photography 🎥

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Dearest Maryam & Naser,

Thank you for being so welcoming, warm, and adorable. It had been super fun to document your big day with lots of joy, laughter, and love. May Allah showers you both with best of the best because you two don’t deserve anything less.

Love,
~ Rima