Everything You Need To Know About Retainer Fees - Blog

Everything You Need To Know About Retainer Fees

Retainer Fee 101Retainer fees!

One of those topics that people know about but are not exactly sure why people require it, especially photographers! So in this week’s blog post, I thought I would go ahead and break down exactly what you want and need to know about retainer fees!

What is a retainer fee?

A retainer fee is a non-refundable deposit to hold your spot for a session or wedding. These retainer fees can vary in price depending on if it is a portrait session or a wedding. Some portrait sessions require anywhere from $25-$100+ deposit down depending on which photographer you use. The same can be said with weddings. Weddings usually require a $500 deposit or half of the total cost of the photography services for the wedding.

When should I pay the retainer fee?

Great question! As soon as possible! The last thing that you want is for your photographer to book someone else the day of your desired event or session.

How can I pay for the retainer fee?

Different photographers accept different methods of payments when it comes to retainer fees. Some go through PayPal, Square, Stripe, or Venmo, while others prefer cash or check. However, if you do pay by card, there is a possibility you might have to pay an additional 3% convenience fee depending on the photographer you decide to hire.

When photographers use services like PayPal or Square, 3% of any payment that is given to them is taken out so that businesses like PayPal or Square can get paid also.

Let me give you an example! Let’s say you have a retainer fee of $100. Of that $100,  3% (or $3 in this case) would be taken automatically to cover the cost for online services, like Square, leaving the photographer with $97 instead of $100. That is why there is always a possibility of a photographer charging a convenience fee (like an additional 3%) to cover those costs.

So, why do you have a retainer fee?

Awesome question! As mentioned above, when you pay your retainer fee, you are securing your spot on the photographer’s calendar so that they will be at your session or event to photograph it. In my early days of being a photographer, I had many no-shows. I would drive to a location 1-2 hours away, and my clients wouldn’t show up. Not only was I wasting time that I could have spent doing something productive like editing, but I also went through a ton of gas that was never compensated.

If I book with you, how much are your retainer fees?

It depends. So if I have a mini session special, the retainer fee is $50 upfront, while the remainder of the session is due the day prior. For just portrait photography, the retainer is $100 upfront, while the remainder is due the day prior to the session.

For weddings, the retainer is $500 upfront to hold your date for the wedding, and the remainder of the collection chosen must be paid in full 30 days prior to the wedding.

Do you use Paypal or Square?

I used to, but not so much anymore. When I send over invoices, proposals, and contracts, I use a client resource management system called Honeybook! I absolutely adore Honeybook because it is a very organized system that keeps all of my clients in one place.

All in all…

I hope this article was short, sweet, and to the point when it comes to understanding why photographers use retainer fees! It’s not exactly a “sexy” subject to talk about, but there are many people who don’t know exactly what it is!

Want to read some more? Check out my latest blog post right here! Or see the latest pretty pictures on Instagram and Facebook!

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