Wedding tips, ideas & stories, from The Photographer

Posts tagged “money

15 Questions for a Wedding Photographer #7; Deposits

15 Questions Brides Want to Know About Wedding Photography #7

One of the interesting parts of being a professional in a field for a while is you get requests from the media for comment on events, or topics relevant to that field. Recently I was asked to answer some questions for an upcoming book geared towards future brides.

I was one of several professionals who were asked questions specifically for wedding photography, so I don’t think I’ll be spoiling anything by revealing my answers, since I’m sure they’ll use others for some of the 15 answers, plus I wasn’t asked anything about catering, or how to preform a traditional religious ceremony.

I’ll be sure to post up link when the book is published, but for now I’ll be spreading the questions and my answers (plus maybe a little extra) out over the next 15 days.


Question #7

What is the customary deposit to put down, to reserve a photographer for a date?  When is the balance typically due?

Customary deposits can range from 25% to 50% of the total balance. Since a lot of what can be included in my larger packages is album pre-pays I like to limit my deposit totals around 50%, or the amount I’d be losing if the wedding was canceled at my lowest package rate. It is a deposit and I have certain criteria where it may be returned, so the smaller the number is the less I have to worry about covering if I need to do a refund.

Balances are typically due at, or around the signing of a contract. If the wedding is over 6 months away, I typically ask for a deposit within 2 months from the date the couple signed the contract. The final payment in almost all cases is due the on or before the wedding day, with some exceptions to albums & print options.

I’m pretty laid back and I don’t want to stress out a couple with deposit dates. As long as we stay in contact and I know what’s going on, I’m not going to book another wedding on that day, but I’m not every photographer. Not paying your deposit by the due date could open you up to losing that photographer and on a popular date like 6/7/08, you might have a hard time  finding a talented replacement.

A deposit should be enough to cover any material charges a vendor has ahead of the wedding, as well as enough to ensure if you back out they aren't out completely for that day.


Coming up tomorrow

Question #8

Why is there such a large price range among different wedding photographers?


Previous Questions

#6  What types of wedding packages do photographers typically offer?

Save $$$ on Your Wedding, the Easy Way: Part 1

As someone who was married with in the last decade, I can tell you without a doubt the best way my wife & I could have saved a few hundred dollars, would have been by not spending $15 each on a handful of magazines and putting those $30 or $50 fancy wedding planner style trapper keepers/scrap books back on the shelf at Borders.

A lot if not most of the info in there can easily be found on internet wedding sites, by bloggers and know-it-alls like me. Also, we forget sometimes the best resources are right in front of us. Chances are you know at least a couple of people who have been married in the last few years. Especially if you are younger. If you don’t know any, chance are some one you know does.

While the popping up of sites like, & the old tried and true Better Business Bureau, are all great tools, nothing beats hearing it from people you know and can trust as opposed to possible fake reviews, or overly picky brides.

Be sure to ask “Would you use them again?” instead of  just “Did you like them?”, as some couples might have a different budget, different taste and hidden factors like their parents might have been paying some of the bills.

Also, if you are at a wedding take mental notes on how the vendors & their services were. Don’t be afraid to ask to see a couple wedding video or album, most will gladly show them off, but don’t assume if they don’t have it yet it’s the vendors fault. I routinely have couples who take between 4-10 months to get back to me on their albums.

In defense of magazines & planning books, they are way better organized than the vast wedding based internet. Lets face it, there’s a reason we say “It reads like a book”. If you really want your books & magazines, look for freebees. Vendors, Bridal Shows and other places have been know to give them away for free to potential clients (aka the Bride & Groom).

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