Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Started Apr 28, 2003 | Discussions
Drew Loker
Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Hello. Previously, when shooting film at a wedding, I would base my rates on a set number of rolls of film, and charge extra for extra rolls. I would let the client know if I was approaching the end of a roll and if they wanted me to go into another roll.

Granted, I wouldn't even do it like that even more. This was a number of years ago, and I have learned alot since then. However, now that I am shooting digital, I offer to shoot unlimited during the alotment of time, usually 4 hours as a starting point. Yesterday, at a wedding, through no fault of my own, I went over by an hour, which according to my guidelines is $100/hour of overtime, past 4 hours. But I feel bad about expecting to get paid for the extra time. Mainly because I did NOT go up to her prior to the 4 hour mark and clear the extra time...partly because we were in the middle of the formal reception acitivies. I am not sure the possibility of overtime was ever discussed, but it was written in the details that she was given, etc. I know she was trying to get me out of there as soon as possible to avoid going past my end time.

When I finally did go up to her, after the last of the formals were over, I said, "Hey, did you want me to stay any longer? I am already over, and just wanted to see what you wanted me to do...". She said, no, your finished.

I probably will ask for at least a half hour over, stating that I was an hour over but will only charge her for a half hour. But I was mainly curious how you all handle that tricky situation. I have a base package that allows for 4 hours of photography, which is pretty hard to finish everything...especially when the reception site in this case was 25mins from the ceremony site. I know in the future to let people know that the base amount of time is pretty short for most weddings, and it is designed to save money for those who need to...but that 5 hours is more realistic, as that is about how long it usually takes. My next package up does allow for more time, but also includes other things as well.

Thanks for any feedback on this subject!

Drew
http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

 Drew Loker's gear list:Drew Loker's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D3 Nikon D7000 Nikon D70 Nikon D5300 +12 more
Jeff Chandler1 Regular Member • Posts: 160
Life is not about money, it is about doing the right thing.

The choice...

Charge the extra for "overtime" and risk a bad rap by your client to all the family and friends (potential clients etc). Highlight to the client that you did overtime but will not charge for it as you had not asked proper approval.

You need to decide if the extra few bucks is worth the bad publicity and was it really that much more work for you. Will you go hungry if you do not charge the extra?

Personally I charge x amount to do a wedding. I get the job done regardless of how long it takes.

Had a wedding where the bride felt too ill after the ceremony to pose for photos. Turned out she just needed food in her belly. So I was still there 11pm at night (after reception meal) doing the shots that could not have been done earlier due to her illness.
Result - nothing but praise for putting in the extra effort to get the shots.

Life is not all about money, it is about doing the right thing.

Jeff Greene Forum Member • Posts: 67
Re: Life is not about money, it is about doing the right thing.

Doing the right thing cuts both ways though. I think you need to be professional, which means covering the possibility before hand. I too have some time limited packages and I charge $85 per hour afterwards. I always explain that I'm not bothered about an extra 1/2 hour and I wont leave anything undone but I do charge the extra time over 1/2 an hour. I check in at an appropriate time during the shoot. The people are always fine with it. I always turn up early and never count that, so they know I'm doing the right thing by them. If you didn't bring it up before the day and she did her best to get you out on time then you have to wear it. If you had covered it then you are right to ask for it.

Regards
Jeff

David Grabowski Veteran Member • Posts: 7,291
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Drew Loker wrote:

I probably will ask for at least a half hour over, stating that I
was an hour over but will only charge her for a half hour. But I
was mainly curious how you all handle that tricky situation. I have
a base package that allows for 4 hours of photography, which is
pretty hard to finish everything...especially when the reception
site in this case was 25mins from the ceremony site. I know in the
future to let people know that the base amount of time is pretty
short for most weddings, and it is designed to save money for those
who need to...but that 5 hours is more realistic, as that is about
how long it usually takes. My next package up does allow for more
time, but also includes other things as well.

Thanks for any feedback on this subject!

Drew

I'm flexible on extra time. If it's for doing extra shots I would expect to get paid the extra dough depending on the circumstances. But if I'm finishing up shots, then that's just part of the original deal, I mean you couldn't just walk out on the formals could you ?

I recently shot a wedding for formals only, but to include processionals and a portrait of the maid of honer and her husband to be shot separately from the wedding party . I figured 3 hours for all this, we ate with them while, I downloaded to the lap top and I shot extras of the grooms daughter and the ring bearer, so ran over about an hour. The bride was nervous, but a couple came up to us to have shots of them and family done, also worrying I would charge overtime. We popped them off in that extra hour as well and I'm not charging for the hour, just the extra print order because we originally agreed that they would need us for 3 hours and the meal, no mention of overtime when we met a few months ago ( this wedding went off right at 5PM).

David

http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

ajs2 Contributing Member • Posts: 692
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Hi,

I suspect it down to what you agreed. If your contract says until the couples first dance, then you can't charge extra if thats an hour later than you planned.

On the other hand if you about to go out the door after the couples first dance and they want more pictures, then that is extra money which you should agree on at the time.
Alex

David Grabowski wrote:

Drew Loker wrote:

I probably will ask for at least a half hour over, stating that I
was an hour over but will only charge her for a half hour. But I
was mainly curious how you all handle that tricky situation. I have
a base package that allows for 4 hours of photography, which is
pretty hard to finish everything...especially when the reception
site in this case was 25mins from the ceremony site. I know in the
future to let people know that the base amount of time is pretty
short for most weddings, and it is designed to save money for those
who need to...but that 5 hours is more realistic, as that is about
how long it usually takes. My next package up does allow for more
time, but also includes other things as well.

Thanks for any feedback on this subject!

Drew

I'm flexible on extra time. If it's for doing extra shots I would
expect to get paid the extra dough depending on the circumstances.
But if I'm finishing up shots, then that's just part of the
original deal, I mean you couldn't just walk out on the formals
could you ?

I recently shot a wedding for formals only, but to include
processionals and a portrait of the maid of honer and her husband
to be shot separately from the wedding party . I figured 3 hours
for all this, we ate with them while, I downloaded to the lap top
and I shot extras of the grooms daughter and the ring bearer, so
ran over about an hour. The bride was nervous, but a couple came up
to us to have shots of them and family done, also worrying I would
charge overtime. We popped them off in that extra hour as well and
I'm not charging for the hour, just the extra print order because
we originally agreed that they would need us for 3 hours and the
meal, no mention of overtime when we met a few months ago ( this
wedding went off right at 5PM).

David

http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

-- hide signature --

Alex
LWS Photographic

Steven Lott Contributing Member • Posts: 638
I agree with Jeff G......

Fact is when have package plans that are based on more prints and hours as the price climbs.

Our smallest plan includes 4 hours.

However we rarely charge for shooting longer unless it goes over another hour, when it has been 30 minutes over we address it as a reminder
in a way that is non pushey.........

Like....... "Sally we have been here about 30 minutes past the time you had planned us to be, if we can tiddy the remaining image needs up in the next 30 minutes then there will be no charge for the extra time or we can just relax and go with the flow"

This says hey we are the good guys still,

we gave 30 minutes extra already and will stay another 30 minutes to get this done at no extra charge.

Most of the time the B&G are just sitting back on their heels and need prompted to get the final things done before the majority of the guest leave.

We just do not want to hang out all night,

we are not guest.....so sitting around really sucks and we would rather get the job done and move on.

If saving another $100 is important to them then in another 30 minutes we are outta there, but all with a pleasant feeling for both us and the customer.

-- hide signature --
BOB Contributing Member • Posts: 929
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Drew Loker wrote:

Hello. Previously, when shooting film at a wedding, I would base my
rates on a set number of rolls of film, and charge extra for extra
rolls. I would let the client know if I was approaching the end of
a roll and if they wanted me to go into another roll.

Granted, I wouldn't even do it like that even more. This was a
number of years ago, and I have learned alot since then. However,
now that I am shooting digital, I offer to shoot unlimited during
the alotment of time, usually 4 hours as a starting point.
Yesterday, at a wedding, through no fault of my own, I went over by
an hour, which according to my guidelines is $100/hour of overtime,
past 4 hours. But I feel bad about expecting to get paid for the
extra time. Mainly because I did NOT go up to her prior to the 4
hour mark and clear the extra time...partly because we were in the
middle of the formal reception acitivies. I am not sure the
possibility of overtime was ever discussed, but it was written in
the details that she was given, etc. I know she was trying to get
me out of there as soon as possible to avoid going past my end time.

When I finally did go up to her, after the last of the formals were
over, I said, "Hey, did you want me to stay any longer? I am
already over, and just wanted to see what you wanted me to do...".
She said, no, your finished.

I probably will ask for at least a half hour over, stating that I
was an hour over but will only charge her for a half hour. But I
was mainly curious how you all handle that tricky situation. I have
a base package that allows for 4 hours of photography, which is
pretty hard to finish everything...especially when the reception
site in this case was 25mins from the ceremony site. I know in the
future to let people know that the base amount of time is pretty
short for most weddings, and it is designed to save money for those
who need to...but that 5 hours is more realistic, as that is about
how long it usually takes. My next package up does allow for more
time, but also includes other things as well.

Thanks for any feedback on this subject!

Drew
http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

I only shoot one wedding per day and let my clients know that I am with them for the entire day. They love it!!!! They have enough to worry about with limosine time restrictions and the time restraints at the reception hall. I don't want them to worry about what time I'm leaving. Its their day and I want them to enjoy it. I find that the longer I stay, the more opportunities I have to capture images to add to thier wedding day story, and my profits go through the roof with extra photograph purchases. Price your packages to include the whole day and you have nothing to worry about as well.
--
BobT

 BOB's gear list:BOB's gear list
Nikon D300S Olympus E-1 Olympus E-510 Nikon D7100 Nikon D750 +14 more
Drew Loker
OP Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
Thanks for all the replies...

Thanks everybody for taking the the time to reply. I guess I will just eat it (again) on this one. This is not the first time to run over...it seems to happen every time (we ran over when we did their engagement shoot). But at least this time, I am learning some strategies to avoid it or diminish the impact of lost time.

I only shoot one wedding per day and let my clients know that I am
with them for the entire day. They love it!!!!

That is cool. In setting my packages, "The Complete Deluxe" has 8 hours of time, which is advocated as pretty much the whole day. I just introduced these packages and have not had anybody accept it yet. I tried to build the packages with an a lacarte approach, that the basic may need for time...but if they need more time and more prints, etc. they might as well move up to the next package.

I find that
the longer I stay, the more opportunities I have to capture images
to add to thier wedding day story, and my profits go through the
roof with extra photograph purchases. Price your packages to
include the whole day and you have nothing to worry about as well.

Thanks! Good suggestion. I actually have been moving toward this end, charging more for prints, etc. I have just been getting started back up, having re-entered the wedding photography business. In the mid-90's, all I shot was really cheap weddings, and I didn't really know what I was doing. I have spent more money on equipment, lenses, lighting, etc. and read a lot more to try to do it right. Until recently, I had only one package and I gave away all of the images. BUt because of digital, it was taking too long to prep ALL of their photos for the base price. So, created 4 packages that does a MUCH better job of giving good value to those who seak value...but add a great deal more compensation to me for those who want the full deal!

I do have one other problem, that I need to post in a different thread. Take a look for it (later...after I have posted it) under the topic of: Two Strategies: posting on-line...high vs. low res.

Thanks for reading!

Drew
http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

 Drew Loker's gear list:Drew Loker's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D3 Nikon D7000 Nikon D70 Nikon D5300 +12 more
BobTrips Veteran Member • Posts: 7,848
Just a suggestion...

Since future business will often depend on word of mouth it certainly seems to be prudent to leave your present customers smiling.

Why not leave yourself the ability to give your customers a little "wedding gift" as you depart the ceremony. For example, quote for four hours, spend a bit longer, smile and say 'gratis'.

-- hide signature --

bob
Latest offering - 'Two Hours in Delhi'
http://www.pbase.com/bobtrips
Shots from a bunch of places (esp. SEA and Nepal).
Pictures for friends, not necessarily my best.

http://www.trekearth.com/members/BobTrips/photos/
My better 'attempts'.

Idclick1 Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Drew Loker wrote:

Hello. Previously, when shooting film at a wedding, I would base my
rates on a set number of rolls of film, and charge extra for extra
rolls. I would let the client know if I was approaching the end of
a roll and if they wanted me to go into another roll.

Granted, I wouldn't even do it like that even more. This was a
number of years ago, and I have learned alot since then. However,
now that I am shooting digital, I offer to shoot unlimited during
the alotment of time, usually 4 hours as a starting point.
Yesterday, at a wedding, through no fault of my own, I went over by
an hour, which according to my guidelines is $100/hour of overtime,
past 4 hours. But I feel bad about expecting to get paid for the
extra time. Mainly because I did NOT go up to her prior to the 4
hour mark and clear the extra time...partly because we were in the
middle of the formal reception acitivies. I am not sure the
possibility of overtime was ever discussed, but it was written in
the details that she was given, etc. I know she was trying to get
me out of there as soon as possible to avoid going past my end time.

When I finally did go up to her, after the last of the formals were
over, I said, "Hey, did you want me to stay any longer? I am
already over, and just wanted to see what you wanted me to do...".
She said, no, your finished.

I probably will ask for at least a half hour over, stating that I
was an hour over but will only charge her for a half hour. But I
was mainly curious how you all handle that tricky situation. I have
a base package that allows for 4 hours of photography, which is
pretty hard to finish everything...especially when the reception
site in this case was 25mins from the ceremony site. I know in the
future to let people know that the base amount of time is pretty
short for most weddings, and it is designed to save money for those
who need to...but that 5 hours is more realistic, as that is about
how long it usually takes. My next package up does allow for more
time, but also includes other things as well.

Thanks for any feedback on this subject!

Drew
http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

Drew, Just eat this time and in the future ask before you go on shooting more.

Bob

Kenny Caudill Regular Member • Posts: 171
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

My packages are based on hours & number of pages in the album. We let the bride know up front that we only do 1 per day and she can have overtime if shee needs it. We bring it up about 40 minutes before our end time. We ask if she wants us to finish up the reception events in the next 40 minutes, or add another hour.

If you are shooting digital, how are you backing up images during the wedding. I have an assistant that I have to pay for all the hours she is there. I won't just throw in the extra time as others have suggested. Your time does have value, and if you forget that, you won't succeed.

Kenny Caudill
http://www.kcphoto.com

Ben Jacobsen Regular Member • Posts: 198
Give them the whole day

and consider it a bonus if they let you go early. Your charge should reflect you staying for a long time, and then if they don't keep you and you hourly assistant there then that hourly time is a bonus to you. When I hired my wedding photog I made sure she was there the whole time with no questions. This only makes sense. I would never hire someone who would leave before we are done. I would set a price before hand and make sure that it was understood to be for the whole time. Also we made sure that we got all the "good" pictures from the photgrapher. She editied out the one she thought weren't good and gave us over 600 proof in our proof book. I hope when it was mentioned about the price being in hours and pages that these pages were in the final album, not the proof book. I wouldn't feel right as a photographer not giving them all the decent images and staying the whole time. You never know, you could miss that one shot that you would be able to sell to everyone that was there and then some. That risk is not worth "overtime" worries to me. Word of mouth will also get you more $$ in business than you would save by not paying the assistant for that time. One extra job because the B/G reccomend you will cover those costs in a second.
Hope this makes sense!?
Good Luck!
Ben

Drew Loker
OP Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
Re: But what about the budget minded person...

Ben Jacobsen wrote:

I wouldn't feel right as a photographer not giving them all the
decent images and staying the whole time. You never know, you
could miss that one shot that you would be able to sell to everyone
that was there and then some. That risk is not worth "overtime"
worries to me. Word of mouth will also get you more $$ in business
than you would save by not paying the assistant for that time. One
extra job because the B/G reccomend you will cover those costs in a
second.

Yeah, I give mine nearly everything I shoot (I only delete the ones that are technically bad, ie. overexpossed and unfixable, or clearly duplicates).

But what do you do about the budge minded person? I have changed my strategy recently. I used to only offer 1 base package...that could be built up with time or more initial prints, extra services, etc. But I just changed to offer 4 packages. Classic (Base), Classic Plus, Deluxe, and Complete, for 4, 5, 6 and 8 hours respectively. I started to make the Deluxe "All Day" but decided in the end to put a cap of 8 hours. There are lots of other differences, which I will be glad to post here if anybody wants me to. Anyway, how do you blend the needs to be able to offer something to budget minded shopper who wants the lowest rate and the one that has a much more fortunate budget for the wedding photographer?

Thanks!
--
Drew
http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

 Drew Loker's gear list:Drew Loker's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D3 Nikon D7000 Nikon D70 Nikon D5300 +12 more
Idclick1 Contributing Member • Posts: 867
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Kenny Caudill wrote:

My packages are based on hours & number of pages in the album. We
let the bride know up front that we only do 1 per day and she can
have overtime if shee needs it. We bring it up about 40 minutes
before our end time. We ask if she wants us to finish up the
reception events in the next 40 minutes, or add another hour.

If you are shooting digital, how are you backing up images during
the wedding. I have an assistant that I have to pay for all the
hours she is there. I won't just throw in the extra time as others
have suggested. Your time does have value, and if you forget that,
you won't succeed.

Kenny Caudill
http://www.kcphoto.com

I think he should let it slide this last time. But he needs it inform the bride he will be going soon if not all the photos are covered yet and then give her the option of paying for more time if she chooses to do so. All it takes is a little reminder to the bride that time is getting short. That is part of being a pro.

Bob

Drew Loker
OP Drew Loker Veteran Member • Posts: 3,400
Re: Letting this one slide for sure

All it takes is a little reminder to the
bride that time is getting short. That is part of being a pro.

Yeah...it had occured to me to do so...it was just not a good wedding.

The whole time I had difficulty getting her to smile. And if I wasn't tallking to her, she wasn't smiling at all. THings had gone wrong (not with me), groomsman late, no knife, no champaign. The reception was too far from the ceremony...etc. After discussing it here, and thinking about how bad their wedding went anyway (the priest even messed up), I will definately let it slide. I think I may put it on the invoice wtih the pictures, but put down zero charge or something...Or maybe not.

And I will address it more in my prep meetings. I don't mean to be tight with my time...I am just too busy to be shooting too long. Obviously, need to charge ore...but then that cuts out so many people. Such a delicate balance of things.

 Drew Loker's gear list:Drew Loker's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon D3 Nikon D7000 Nikon D70 Nikon D5300 +12 more
Bob Kerkenberg Regular Member • Posts: 140
Agree

Unless the terms were unequivocally discussed before hand and understood by both parties - eat the overtime and chalk it up to experience. A cheap one at that.

Jeff Chandler1 wrote:

The choice...
Charge the extra for "overtime" and risk a bad rap by your client
to all the family and friends (potential clients etc). Highlight to
the client that you did overtime but will not charge for it as you
had not asked proper approval.

You need to decide if the extra few bucks is worth the bad
publicity and was it really that much more work for you. Will you
go hungry if you do not charge the extra?

Personally I charge x amount to do a wedding. I get the job done
regardless of how long it takes.

Had a wedding where the bride felt too ill after the ceremony to
pose for photos. Turned out she just needed food in her belly. So I
was still there 11pm at night (after reception meal) doing the
shots that could not have been done earlier due to her illness.
Result - nothing but praise for putting in the extra effort to get
the shots.

Life is not all about money, it is about doing the right thing.

kuboåpics™ Forum Member • Posts: 52
Let it go. But next time state your policy and implement correctly.

Drew,

I agree. You should have informed her that you are now working on overtime. You didn't. That is

is pretty standard. I would chalk it up and like you said next time make it clear that a 4 hour package

is a blue plate special but not adequate to ensure full coverage. Let those who choose the 4 hour package

know your policy of giving notice and that if they want you to stay what it WILL cost them.

Just let it go this time. Let these folks know you are as good a guy as a photog.

Word is mouth is key in that industry.

Best of luck shooting as you enter the heart of the season.

-peter
--
Please keep this forum useful as a learning tool not a chat room.

Use this forum as a 'forum'. Thank you to all the fellow users who teach me something new regularly!

Russ Jennings Regular Member • Posts: 340
Re: Let it go. But next time state your policy and implement correctly.

I do mostly commercial, tabletop type work, and portraits. I occasionally do weddings.

Whenever I do a job, I sit down and talk, at length, with the customer and find out everything they want. Once we're done, I go to the computer and figure up how long it should take, what my costs are, etc. I decide on a set price, and then write up a bid, explaining in full detail, exactly what they're getting. I never mention time. Why? If I bill them for 4 hours, and finish in 3, they want some of their money back. I think that you should get paid based on the work you do, not the time it takes you to do it. I am there until I'm done, wether it's a wedding or a menu. I do this, because I've learned the hard way.

Mechanics do this too, they have a book which tells them how long it should take to do a given job. Say changing a muffler should be two hours. If they charge $65 an hour, they get $130 when they're done. If they do it in 20 minutes, good for them! They still get paid the same amount. My theory is, if I'm faster then someone else, shouldn't I get paid more, not less?

Even my budget packages don't list a specific number of hours or minutes. If I'm there for just the ceremony, it doesn't matter if that's 40 minutes or 3 hours.

I know that you may want to charge by the hour, and if you do, I agree with the others that you should subtly mention it to the B&G before the clock runs out. I also agree that your time is less valuable then the good will you'll generate from letting it slide a little.

Russ

Ben Jacobsen Regular Member • Posts: 198
Sorry to take so long...

Personally as a photographer (not wedding) I wouldn't shoot for someone too budget minded as they will never be happy with what they get for the money. Like is now mentioned below, I would quote a price and I would shoot the whole wedding and the different packages would be based on what they get from the shots. My wedding photog was there more than 8 hours for sure as she was at my wifes parents house at 8am and stayed through the end of the reception which ended near midnight. We fed her and she had a few "breaks" between getting dressed, the wedding, the formals, and the reception, but she was amaizing now that I think back on it. She shot all day for no additional charge (she charged a flat rate) and was in the last 10 people to leave the party. This is how I would do it, and budget wedding are very hard because these people cut corners on everything and then complain when something happens. This is unfortunate, but also the reason I would avoid the situation to save myself the headaches.
Good Luck!
Ben Jacobsen

Keith D. Brooks Regular Member • Posts: 201
Re: Charging for overtime at a wedding?

Drew

You had a contract that was for a specified amount of time. She needed you to go over. Your contract stated there was a charge for going over. you should bill for the entire hour. Otherwise, do not give her teh photos from the extended time. You should be paid for the work you did. She got extra, why shouldn't you?
Keith

http://www.pbase.com/lokerd
http://primerica.itgo.com/

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