Well hello there, gentle viewers.
I know when photographers first start out (and I was definitely in this boat), we have NO IDEA how to price ourselves or structure packages or basically..anything. I wanted to share with you why I use a-la-carte-style wedding pricing and how they’ve served my business.
WHAT IS A-LA-CARTE?
A-la-carte is a style of pricing where everything is sold separately. Think of it as the dollar menu at McDonald’s…it’s just not a dollar. You can get some nuggets, french fry, and a McFlurry all separate but exactly like you like it. The same goes for wedding-style menus. Nothing is marked up on this menu and nothing is discounted in a package. It is an as-seen price tag.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES TO A-LA-CARTE?
There are advantages to having an a-la-carte-style wedding package not only for my clients but also for my business. We’ll start with our clients.
Clients often inquire with me during the honeymoon period of being engaged. They have started to talk about budget but might not fully be committed to a price tag yet. The a-la-carte style menu allows them to customize their package to fit any ‘ballpark’ number they might have. Not every wedding needs 8-10 hours, so this gives them the option to have that 6 or 7-hour package, save a little moolah, and maybe invest in a bigger engagement package. Basically, by keeping the ball in their court, they get to build a package they are comfortable with.
As a business, this unique model is super incentivizing for my potential couples because I’m not locking them into any cookie-cutter packages. I don’t have to haggle over inclusions or explain what the words ‘complimentary engagement session’ mean, and how you can’t “subtract it from your package cost”. Also, never do anything complimentary. Your talent and time are worth being compensated for. But that’s another conversation.
For my couples who book me SUPER far out (18+ months), I even have a “Custom Base Package” that just adds 2 hours to their package with the option to build on more as we get closer. The 2 hours activate the system so they can sign their contract and pay their retainer fee. Oftentimes, when couples are booking so far out, they don’t have a timeline yet. This gives them the flexibility to figure that out later while still securing their dream photographer (me!).
HOW DO I BUILD AN A-LA-CARTE MENU?
In order to figure out how to build an a-la-carte menu, you need to figure out what services you want to provide. I typically shoot every wedding solo unless requested by the couple. This means that my hourly rate only includes me, a second photographer is a separate fee. This allows me to properly allocate funds to pay my second shooter and cover my extra time for processing their images and managing the extra communication. Here are some things on my a-la-carte menu:
Hourly Wedding Rate
Second Photographer Day Rate (I do not have hourly for second shooters, they are with me all day)
Bridal Portrait Sessions
I hope this gives you a small insight into why I do a-la-carte-style wedding pricing. I’m SURE some photographers out there could read me the riot act about how real packages are the way to go, but so far, this style has been beneficial to both me and my couples. Couples often end up booking larger packages because they feel in full control and not that I’M THE ONE doing the controlling. People have budgets, and it’s good to honor that. I’m not looking to make a million dollars on each wedding, but I am looking to give a brilliant experience for an equal investment.
I’d love to hear your thoughts so feel free to comment below and let me know! If you liked hearing these tips, I’m sure you’ll love learning What to Know About Using CRM Systems in Your Business. Cheers!