Then tell me your prices!
In case my other posts have not already adamantly expressed this, I am a big fan of excessive online research, particularly when it comes to things for our wedding. As I did my searching for a photographer, I found one thing to be quite frustrating: secret prices.
Some photographers’ websites listed their prices right there under an “investment” tab (such a pleasant title for something so nitty-gritty). I loved when this was the case. Other websites had an email or contact form to inquire about the cost. Most of these led to a quick email response that included the necessary information. I ended up with a very crowded inbox during my photography search, but I was OK with this as well.
Then there were some who responded to my inquiry by inviting me to set up an appointment to discuss packages and see their work. Not that I don’t love meeting new people, but making an appointment with a photographer whose prices may not be even close to within our budget was not super appealing to me. I understand that not all photographers have clear-cut packages, so I was not expecting a price quote down to the cent, but I was looking for a general price range so I could know if we were on the same page, or even reading the same book, for that matter.
There was one company that I decided to meet with despite not knowing the price tag, mostly because they had shot a lot of weddings at our venue and I liked what I had seen of their work. So I drove about a half an hour to meet them. I asked about pricing right away, and they showed me the brochure that broke down their different package options. I tried to control my face as I scanned the numbers. The most basic, absolute minimum, bare-bones package that they offered was well over our budget. And this is a budget that we had already significantly increased to ensure that we had quality photos!
The appointment continued, and I told them about my wedding plans and looked through the beautiful photobooks they had to show me. I’m not sure what the polite police would have wanted me to do in the situation (props to whoever caught that Full House reference), but the non-confrontational part of me (which accounts for about 99.7%) couldn’t just end the appointment right then and there when I saw the prices. I did, however, try to keep things as brief as possible since I was well aware that pigs would be flying before we could afford their services.
I called Mr. Dalmatian on the way back to tell him it was a no-go, and when I arrived back at our apartment I crossed them off of my potential-photographer spreadsheet. (Yes, thanks to MOH A’s excellent example, my wedding planning has involved an abundance of Excel files.)
I was frustrated. Not so much because we hadn’t found a photographer—I knew we would soon enough. But because that morning was nothing more than a waste of time, both mine and theirs. I’m not sure if something could have been done on my end to avoid this. Perhaps I should have been more demanding before arranging a meeting, but it seems to me that if a client explicitly asks for pricing information even once, you should inform them of your general price range or at least a number at which your packages start.
I realize my knowledge of business is limited, so it is entirely possible that I am missing something here. If so, please explain! An understanding of their reasoning may ease my frustration.
Have you been annoyed by anything while booking your vendors?