How much should you charge for your first wedding? Paul & Cinnamon

should you second shoot or shoot for free?

This topic is another heavily discussed topic and can even get heated in some circles. No photographer wants to bring down the industry by charging too little, but when you're just starting out, no one knows how much to charge. 

We want to help ease your mind by talking through some responses we received to this question in our Facebook group. 

and Should You Second Shoot or Shoot for Free First?  |  Focus(ed) Podcast

Show Notes

Before we dive in, we want to let you know that we're going to be dropping our TOP 20 Episodes in just a few weeks!! 

Paul takes a stab

He thinks the first thing you should do is second shoot a few weddings. This would allow you to get comfortable being at weddings and learning how other photographers manage the day. He knows that there are some people who only second shoot, some who never do, but it won’t hurt if you do. His next suggestion is to shoot your first solo wedding for free. And although Cinnamon doesn’t fully agree, she understands why some people do.

Cinnamon’s experience

Cinnamon didn’t not second shoot any weddings before taking on her first solo wedding. She had been shooting family sessions and events. Cinnamon felt comfortable charging $1500 because she knew what she was doing with her camera and had been to and in multiple weddings in her life. She knew her price for the area, and her experience with culling and editing which allowed her to charge that rate. Being up front with her client, she was aware that Cinnamon had not shot any weddings but loved her portfolio. If the bride had inquired earlier on in Cinnamon’s career, she might have done it for free or a lot less, but this just wasn’t the case for her.

Does free turn someone off?

Paul brings up the very good point that choosing something for free might be a turn off for someone. It may come across that you won’t put in the same effort or deliver results they’re looking for, which is sort of the point, but we recommend getting a little skin in the game, even its $500. So just be aware that this could actually hurt you as much as help you.

We asked the audience

The general consensus from the audience is that there is no right. You don’t have to second shoot any weddings to shoot your solo wedding. Here are some things our Facebook group said:

“$300 while still in college for my niece.”

“$400 for my first wedding while in high school.”

“$900 because that was the couple’s budget.”

“$500 in order to pay for Photoshop”

“With complete transparency, my mom’s friend paid me $1500 and said she hoped in launch my career.”


Again, there is no right answer and there are a lot of factors that go into it. Talk with those around you or in our group to figure out what your first price should be.

Don't forget to join the Focus(ed) Business Owners on Facebook to discuss your thoughts on this episode!

Cinnamon Wolfe