In this article, we’ll look at the most common payment structures used by photographers, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each. We’ll also explain the system we use and why we think it’s the best system for photographers to use.
It is a lot of information available online and in photography forums about how much to charge for your services as a wedding portrait prices. However, how the actual transactions space out in the lead-up to the wedding and what percentage you charge as a retainer or deposit to secure the booking are just as crucial. What you choose to do can significantly affect your cash flow and the likelihood that couples will book you.
There is no booking fee or lump sum payment near or after the wedding
Although it is the worst scenario for all sides, negotiations of this nature between “friends” or “family” can happen frequently. Because neither the couple nor the photographer has any reason to uphold their end of the bargain, it is especially awful.
A 25% retainer is required, with the remaining 75% due before the wedding
This is the one we had prior to switching to the three-payment system, and it is fairly prevalent in the wedding market. The deposit can occasionally be a fixed amount rather than a percentage, although it normally comes out to be around the same. The couple pays a low upfront fee, and the photographer receives some security and also checks this topposttoday.
Cons: There is a large bill due at the end of the contract that can occasionally make it difficult to get paid on time; if the wedding canceled, the photographer may lose out on a significant amount of potential income; this arrangement creates a boom-bust cycle because deposits for the following season frequently arrive at or around the same time that the balances for the current season are due.
A 50% retainer is required, with the remaining 50% due before the wedding
Couples must pay more in advance; deposits for the following season and current season balances arrive at roughly the same time, resulting in very strong wedding season income but poor off-season income.
This structure is similar to the previous one and has almost all of the same flaws, but it has one major advantage: if the wedding does not go ahead, the photographer does not lose as much money.
Why do we employ and recommend a three-payment structure?
I strongly advise converting to a three-payment structure for wedding photography invoices if you haven’t already. This would entail issuing three invoices for each wedding photography package:
Each bill represents 33% of the whole price (although if they want to make any changes. We just add it to the final invoice). Additionally, if a couple arranges their wedding with less than six months to go. They just need to pay the first and second invoices in full. This structure has a few significant advantages for your company and your couples:
- Your revenue distributed more evenly throughout the course of the year. No more struggle to make ends meet during the hard winter months.
- Your pricing becomes more reasonable as a result. Budgeting for 3 x $1000 is simpler than 1 x $3000.
- It helps your couple spread out their expenses a little because many of their bills will be due right. Before the wedding. If they can pay their photographers early on two-thirds of their invoices. It will make the final month a little easier to handle.
The one disadvantage is that if you create invoices manually. It may take more time to send and follow up on them. However, if you’re using a management tool like Studio Ninja, this isn’t an issue. Because all of that work done for you automatically. You create the payment plan once and leave the rest to the software.