Full Time Photographer Episode 249 Know Your Craft Before You Charge With Robert Evans
How Does Someone Get Into Photographing Celebrity Weddings?
Robert booked one of his biggest celebrity weddings - Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston - you could say by accident. He sent a florist photos with a note from a prior wedding they had worked at together and it caught the florist by surprise. The florist hadn’t had to asked for them and it wasn’t a common practice to get images without having to pester the photographer especially back in the days of film. Later, the florist who was booked for Brad and Jen’s wedding thought of Robert and recommended him to the wedding planner.
Sending images to vendors is an integral part of Robert’s workflow, and much easier now in the digital age. As he is culling and editing, Robert makes sure to pull all the detail and decor shots right away and puts them in its own gallery. He then sends this specific gallery to all the vendors soon after the wedding.
Should You Charge More For Celebrity Weddings?
It’s important to have your pricing structure set and have it where you want it to be because celebrity weddings aren’t constant; they trickle in here and there. Robert does not charge A-lister weddings more than his typical rate. The difference with a celebrity wedding is that they usually want all usage rights and therefore, you would negotiate a buy out fee — which typically Robert just doubles his day rate. But there are many variables; he sometimes will charge his day rate for a multi day event. He does warn that being known as a celebrity wedding photographer has its deterrents. Being known as a celebrity wedding photographer can scare away the “normal” clients who assume they won’t be able to afford you. But if your price is too low, people won’t want to hire you, thinking something’s wrong with you. It’s a catch-22.
Should You Work For Exposure?
As a celebrity wedding photographer, Robert will get asked from time to time (typically from “C or D-listers), if he will shoot a wedding for free with the promise of exposure. Though, Robert hasn’t and won’t shoot a wedding for free/exposure, he has worked for free quite a bit in his career. When considering if you should shoot for free/exposure in general, every studio will be different. You need to use judgement and common sense asking yourself, “Is it worth your time?” and “What’s your payoff?” Robert sees value in offering to work for free if it’s a planner or vendor you want to develop a relationship with.
Where Should We Spend Our Marketing Dollars?
In that same vein, Robert thinks that when marketing, it’s more important to meet people you want to work with face-to-face. Networking with other people in the industry, building a relationship, offering to help them or shoot something for them for free goes a long way. In this digital age, it’s easy to “meet” people online, but Robert encourages taking the extra effort and follow up by initiating a face-to-face meeting; offer to take them to coffee or lunch, then send them a handwritten note, as that isn’t very common these days. Robert also maximizes his time when he is in other cities. If he’s shooting a wedding in another state, he stays a few extra days to connect with planners in that area.
Making Mistakes and Advice
Everyone will make mistakes in their career. When Robert first started, he worked for a studio. At a back-to-back wedding, Robert, using a medium format Hasselblad, had a switch set incorrectly so the shutter was not syncing with the flash, thereby making all the images that required flash completely dark. Robert was fired from that company, even though they never train him properly on it. Robert didn’t allow that to deter him though; he learned from that mistake and moved on, getting a job at a different (and much better) studio, where he learned a lot about photography and marketing.
Robert says when he got comfortable with the technical aspect of photography, that’s when he became a better photographer, because then he was able to look at what was unfolding in front of him and focus on the art. Because anyone can pick up a camera today and become a photographer, Robert advises,
“If you are going to shoot and clients are going to pay you, you owe it to yourself and your clients to learn your gear and know exactly what you’re doing; become knowledgeable with your equipment before you go out and charge someone.”
What You Will Learn In This Podcast:
How to become a celebrity wedding photographer
How to charge for celebrity weddings
Should you work for exposure?
What is the best way to market
What you should do if you make mistakes
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Check out Robert’s work on his website: www.robertevans.com and follow his work on Facebook, and Twitter. Robert also has his own podcast with two other photographers focused on wedding photography, you can find that on iTunes here.
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