Do wedding photographers pay kickbacks?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Artie Badger, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Artie Badger

    Artie Badger Guest

    Here's something I've always wondered: When I got married, my wife and I
    chose the photographer and band recommended by the function manager at the
    place where we had our reception. Friends have told me they chose their
    wedding photographer the same way.

    Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer if he
    or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop owners and
    others in the trade.

    That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make a
    lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    answer this question?
     
    Artie Badger, Feb 4, 2004
    #1
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  2. Artie Badger

    Linda_N Guest

    "Artie Badger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Here's something I've always wondered: When I got married, my wife and I
    > chose the photographer and band recommended by the function manager at the
    > place where we had our reception. Friends have told me they chose their
    > wedding photographer the same way.
    >
    > Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer if

    he
    > or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop owners and
    > others in the trade.
    >
    > That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make

    a
    > lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    > answer this question?


    Good question. I would not have even entertained the thought that this might
    be happening. I guess a good wedding coordinator sees it as a part of their
    job to make sure their customer gets the best wedding (photos including as
    possible.) If the prices were still competitive and the wedding photographer
    excellent I would see nothing shady about their arrangement. I recommend
    (for free) businesses and people that provide me with excellent service for
    a good price all the time, and on occasion they give me a product at cost
    because of the extra business I generate for them. I gain, the people I
    refer gain by good service and good product, and the main seller gains by
    increased business. The only way I can see that the coordinator/photographer
    kickback arrangement could be shady is if the photographer was crappy, or
    way overpriced to cover the cost of the kickbacks.

    Linda.
     
    Linda_N, Feb 4, 2004
    #2
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  3. Artie Badger

    SeaShel Guest

    Artie Badger wrote:
    > Here's something I've always wondered: When I got married, my wife
    > and I chose the photographer and band recommended by the function
    > manager at the place where we had our reception. Friends have told
    > me they chose their wedding photographer the same way.
    >
    > Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer
    > if he or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop
    > owners and others in the trade.
    >
    > That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it
    > make a lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on
    > this newsgroup answer this question?


    A relative of my husband's is a wedding & event videographer. He has
    colleagues he will recommend for the photography, cake, etc. These types of
    vendors are mutually affiliated amonsgt themselves - not necessarily
    officially - and not for direct kickbacks, just for their professional
    recommendations in the business.

    --
    Michelle
    (SeaShel)

    free the fish to reply
     
    SeaShel, Feb 4, 2004
    #3
  4. Artie Badger

    Baldy Cotton Guest

    Far as I can tell, someone wrote:
    >That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make a
    >lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    >answer this question?


    You could call it a kickback, or you could call it a referral fee or an
    agents fee.

    If I own a club or dining hall, and I refer my customers to you to
    photograph, and you come to my club to shoot the wedding party, and you
    make a bunch of money, doesn't it seem resonable that you would pay me a
    finder fee of some sort?

    "Kickback" has a bad connotation, IMO. Referral fee seems more acurate.
     
    Baldy Cotton, Feb 4, 2004
    #4
  5. Baldy Cotton wrote:
    > Far as I can tell, someone wrote:
    >
    >>That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make a
    >>lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    >>answer this question?

    >
    >
    > You could call it a kickback, or you could call it a referral fee or an
    > agents fee.
    >
    > If I own a club or dining hall, and I refer my customers to you to
    > photograph, and you come to my club to shoot the wedding party, and you
    > make a bunch of money, doesn't it seem resonable that you would pay me a
    > finder fee of some sort?
    >
    > "Kickback" has a bad connotation, IMO. Referral fee seems more acurate.


    Call it whatever you want; it doesn't happen.

    Gary Eickmeier
     
    Gary Eickmeier, Feb 5, 2004
    #5
  6. Artie Badger

    Artie Badger Guest

    Hey, I'm following up on my own question. Since posting my question of
    whether wedding photographers give kickbacks for work referrals, I've found
    several websites that mention that subject.

    The answer is that, yes, kickbacks are common. And as one respondent
    mentioned, they are called referral fees instead of kickbacks.

    Kickbacks seem to be commonplace, but are not universal. Some facilities
    expect kickbacks in return for referrals, while others do not.

    The reason I posted my question in the first place is that I'm thinking of
    trying for wedding work. It seems like an ideal weekend job for a long-time
    photo-bug like me. I've photograph friends' weddings, and they've all said
    that I did a "professional" job. Of course they were exaggerating politely,
    but I could use some extra money these days, and if I have to do weekend
    work, why not pick work that I'll enjoy?

    But then I thought about kickbacks, and wondered if I'd need to make
    "arrangements" with people in order to find work. The answer seems to be
    that such arrangements are done on an individual basis.

    Now I'm asking you all a new question: have any of you tried your hand at
    paid wedding work, and, if so, how did it go?

    And most websites I found say that medium format cameras are necessary for
    wedding work. Curiously none mentioned using digital cameras for wedding
    work; their "digital services" consisted of scanning in their film results.

    But me, I'm all digital now. Has anyone had paid wedding photography
    experience using digital?
     
    Artie Badger, Feb 5, 2004
    #6
  7. Artie Badger

    Tom Guest

    "Artie Badger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hey, I'm following up on my own question.


    Troll.

    Tom
     
    Tom, Feb 5, 2004
    #7
  8. > That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make a
    > lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    > answer this question?


    Nobody ever greased my palm in 20+ years of doing weddings...dammit!
     
    Randall Ainsworth, Feb 5, 2004
    #8
  9. Artie Badger

    Patrick L. Guest

    "Artie Badger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Here's something I've always wondered: When I got married, my wife and I
    > chose the photographer and band recommended by the function manager at the
    > place where we had our reception. Friends have told me they chose their
    > wedding photographer the same way.
    >
    > Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer if

    he
    > or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop owners and
    > others in the trade.
    >
    > That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it make

    a
    > lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on this newsgroup
    > answer this question?
    >
    >



    I have a guy that I give referrals to. I'm booked on certain days, and
    can't take everything that crosses my path.

    Our only agreement is to reciprocate. We do not share in profits. I also
    get referrals from some wedding planners, with a similar arrangement.

    My gawd, if I had to keep track of residuals for all these people, well, to
    hell with it.

    No, I'm afraid that this is probably not an issue, for the most part.

    Patrick
     
    Patrick L., Feb 5, 2004
    #9
  10. I would guess it depens on where you are. Around here I have never
    heard of a kickback, however it is common for either to recommend the other.
    You recommend someone you have worked with or you know their product to be
    good. Being in the business you get to know who is who.

    If you get a lot of referrals from someone, and if you have good reason
    to belive they are good, you are likely to recommend them.


    --
    Joseph E. Meehan

    26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math


    Artie Badger wrote:
    > Here's something I've always wondered: When I got married, my wife
    > and I chose the photographer and band recommended by the function
    > manager at the place where we had our reception. Friends have told
    > me they chose their wedding photographer the same way.
    >
    > Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer
    > if he or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop
    > owners and others in the trade.
    >
    > That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it
    > make a lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on
    > this newsgroup answer this question?
     
    Joseph Meehan, Feb 5, 2004
    #10
  11. Artie Badger

    Azzz1588 Guest

    In article <>, "Artie Badger"
    <> writes:

    >Obviously then it can make a big difference to a wedding photographer if he
    >or she get recommended by wedding coordinators, bridal shop owners and
    >others in the trade.




    I think that you will find that it is the normal way in life
    for many types of business. In my field, I have several friends
    who also are contractors, so when one of went to work for
    someone, and that customer wanted other work done, he would
    just recommend another one of us, and it usually meant that
    that person was going to get the job. Hence my never using
    business cards, as all work is/was done by refferal.
    The customer almost always is more relaxed, and
    confident about what the final result will be.

    It also make perfect sense, in that the function manager knows
    what the people he reccomends will provide service wise, and
    having a known quantity, means less worry about the final result.
    Hence he knows with some certanty what the final result will be.
    And as such he can be more confident in telling the customer
    what will be provided.

    Now that function manager might also be getting a kickback from
    the people he uses, that works too................




















    "Only a Gentleman can insult me, and a true Gentleman never will..."
     
    Azzz1588, Feb 5, 2004
    #11
  12. Artie Badger

    Ed E. Guest

    Some (like myself) do. I pay a 10% referral of the package price after the
    wedding. It's just my way of saying "Thanks" and keeps my name favorably in
    the minds of others who are dealing with the same clientelle and very likely
    future business.
     
    Ed E., Feb 5, 2004
    #12
  13. Artie Badger

    Artie Badger Guest

    > Ed E. wrote: I pay a 10% referral of the package price after the
    wedding.

    Ouch! 10% is a hefty "tax!"

    As a photographer (well, wannabe photographer) I understand how business
    works, but it seems to me that the client is paying that 10% for the
    referral, built into the price.
     
    Artie Badger, Feb 5, 2004
    #13
  14. Artie Badger

    Moonraker Guest

    "Artie Badger" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > > Ed E. wrote: I pay a 10% referral of the package price after the

    > wedding.
    >
    > Ouch! 10% is a hefty "tax!"
    >
    > As a photographer (well, wannabe photographer) I understand how business
    > works, but it seems to me that the client is paying that 10% for the
    > referral, built into the price.
    >


    Ummmhuh. As a former prolab owner that specialized in package printing,
    schools, churches, and the like, I've seen photographers pay some
    "commissions" to the schools or churches that were one helluva lot bigger
    than 10%. In the school picture market, the bidding started on
    comissions/rebates/kickbacks at 35%, mostly back to the local principal,
    and I've seen it as high as 45%. May be higher than that, now, I've been
    out of the lab business for several years now.

    Virtually any time there are photos (portrait or youth sports) taken under
    the auspices of some organization (church, leagues, schools, day cares,
    volunteer fire departments, etc.) you can bet yer booty that "somebody's"
    palm is getting greased. Hell, I've paid them myself to sports leagues
    when I shot the individual/team memory mates.

    One school district solicited me to photograph the entire district's
    students about 15 years ago. I think there were 14-15,000 students at the
    time. The nameless/faceless bureaucrat at the Board of Education wanted me
    to collect "cash only" and my "share" of the take was to be 30%, out of
    which I was to pay my photographer(s), film, processing, packaging, and
    delivery to each school, and try to eke out a profit..... I politely
    declined... .;>)
     
    Moonraker, Feb 5, 2004
    #14
  15. Artie Badger

    Ed E. Guest


    > As a photographer (well, wannabe photographer) I understand how business
    > works, but it seems to me that the client is paying that 10% for the
    > referral, built into the price.


    That's absolutely true. By the way, I voluntarily pay that amount. Nobody
    is saying "I'll give you some business if you throw some greenback my way."
    But I consider it more of a referral fee. It's just my way of doing
    business and it makes for some really nice working relationships with
    people. Granted, the client is invariably paying for this but I wouldn't
    have had the chance to meet some of these clients otherwise due to a fairly
    competitive market.
     
    Ed E., Feb 5, 2004
    #15
  16. Artie Badger

    Chris Guest

    It makes sense that the referrals are cross-related in some way, but not so
    much sure about "kickbacks" as much as just mutual referrals.

    If you go to a wedding planner, and need a photographer, they say use Dave.

    You go to Dave, for a photography session. Last minute, your wedding
    planner cancels, or gets the flu, and Dave refers you to his friend Steve,
    who plans weddings.

    Etc..

    It might be as simple as that, or there may be actual fees or services
    traded between them for the referrals.
     
    Chris, Feb 5, 2004
    #16
  17. Artie Badger

    Artie Badger Guest

    "Moonraker" wrote: "In the school picture market, the bidding started on
    comissions/rebates/kickbacks at 35%, mostly back to the local principal, and
    I've seen it as high as 45%."

    I knew that there are sometimes kickbacks paid for school photography.
    During a college journalism course, my class attended a town meeting where a
    photographer was petitioning the town about senior class photos. He'd been
    taking the town's senior class photos for about 24 years, until that year,
    when the high school students elected to use someone else. The photographer
    brought a motion before the town council to prohibit the students from
    having their own choice in the matter.

    During the public meeting the photographer made a vague mention to having
    "already paid" for the commission to do the work. Several of us junior
    journalists sat up in our seats, eyes suddenly open and pens poised over our
    notebooks. But the town manager immediately stopped the discussion, calling
    for it to be "referred to committee for recommendations," which the other
    town council members agreed to swiftly.
     
    Artie Badger, Feb 5, 2004
    #17
  18. Artie Badger

    Westie Guest

    Baldy Cotton wrote:
    > Far as I can tell, someone wrote:
    >> That makes me wonder if kickbacks are involved. I mean, wouldn't it
    >> make a lot of sense to repay lucrative referrals? Can anybody on
    >> this newsgroup answer this question?

    >
    > You could call it a kickback, or you could call it a referral fee or
    > an agents fee.
    >
    > If I own a club or dining hall, and I refer my customers to you to
    > photograph, and you come to my club to shoot the wedding party, and
    > you make a bunch of money, doesn't it seem resonable that you would
    > pay me a finder fee of some sort?
    >
    > "Kickback" has a bad connotation, IMO. Referral fee seems more
    > acurate.


    'Referral' seems reasonable until the referral is to an inferior
    photographer and the financial connection is not disclosed.
    Then it becomes a 'Kickback'.

    There is a difference between referring someone to 'our' photographer, with
    whom we have an arrangement, and referring someone to 'a' photographer who
    does a good job.
    --
    Westie
    (Replace 'invalid' with 'yahoo' when replying.)
     
    Westie, Feb 6, 2004
    #18
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