Showing you the data.

i'm not gonna go what everyone thinks i'm gonna do.

Hello Charlies,

This is Nate. It’s been 82 weeks since our previous post about the Gimme This For project. Nicole has been getting several inquiries lately into how the project went. Well, today is the day, here’s the data!

Total, Average, and Average minus two outliers.

Gimme weddings brought in forty thousand five hundred fifty dollars over eighteen clients/events. This was an average of two thousand two hundred fifty three dollars. We had two outliers on the low end, which – when removed – changes the average payment per wedding to two thousand three hundred ninety four dollars.

While this is lower than what we would charge for a wedding, the fact that people who are required to pay you $0 pay you $2,400 – marks this experiment a success.

The Monthlies.

August and September were our two largest months, bringing 55% of total revenue. This was expected. The average wedding payment for August was four hundred fifty dollars higher than September.

August really is beautiful here in Seattle, and it seems like there is a premium for that.

Let’s check the diary.

We also tracked milestone dates with each client throughout the project. From first contact to wedding date lasted an average of one hundred forty two days. With our one outlier coming in at two hundred and ninety eight days (that bride was on it!).

If we split the eighteen weddings into three even groups each representing 33% what do we see when sorting by length from first contact to wedding?

We see that the shortest 33% represent 30% of total revenue. The middle 33% represents 33% of total revenue. And we see the longest 33% represent 37% of total revenue.

This is interesting! There seems to be a correlation between how far in advance a bride is planning her wedding and how much she pays for her photography. The shortest six paid 9% less, the middle six paid exactly average, and the longest six paid 9% more. Our long range started at one hundred sixty six days.

Business in the front; Party in the back.

With our third groupings handy, we can re-sort and see what we see along any other data we collected. Let’s look at guest list.

We have to tweak the groups from even thirds (since we have more than six weddings with the same one hundred twenty sized guess list). But if we break into four (22%), seven (39%), and seven (39%), we see that the smallest four represented 19% of total revenue, the middle seven represented 37% of total revenue, and the largest seven represented 43% of total revenue.

Another interesting correlation: The larger the wedding, the more they’ll pay for photography; Apparently 10% more. Our line for the top seven in this case was at one hundred fifty and up.

Like fine wine and cheese.

If we split brides age into seven (39%), six (33%), and five (28%) groups, we see that youngest seven represent 41% of total revenue, the middle six represent 30% of total revenue, and the oldest 5 represent 29% of total revenue. These variations aren’t as large, but it is interesting to note that our younger brides paid 5% more, and our older brides 3% more, while our middle brides 9% less. For us this middle range was thirty to thirty two.

Based on our grooms ages, we split them into five (28%), six (33%), and seven (39%). Our youngest represent 29% of total revenue, the middle six represent 31% of total revenue, and our oldest grooms represent 40% of total revenue. This is very similar to our brides. The younger grooms paid 3% more, the older grooms 2.5% more, and the middle grooms 6% less. For us this middle range was twenty eight to thirty three.

Did you know is coming back?

The last area we looked at was the time from wedding event to photo delivery. We split these data into quickest three (17%), a middle eight (44%), and slowest eight (44%).

We see that the quickest represent 14% of total revenue, the middle eight 45% of total revenue, with the longest eight at 41% of total revenue. This was also interesting and apparently – the goldilocks principle at work.

The first three paid 18% less! The longest eight paid 7% less, and the just right middle eight paid 2% more. Our middle eight were from eighteen to twenty four day delivery times.


Your mileage may very. These data were collected from folks participating in a pay what you want social photography experiment. Also, I have no idea what I’m doing. If you love small weddings, do that. If you prefer older couples, go nuts.

We can all benefit from early planners, charging a premium for the months in your climate, and during that busy season: don’t sweat trying to deliver in a week. Three to three and a half seems to be fine.

  • Charge a premium for premium wedding months.
  • Cherish your early planners.
  • Favor larger affairs.
  • Welcome young couples.
  • No need to rush delivery.

The long and winding road.

I’m sure Nicole would love to hear your thoughts on email or twitter.
Please email or tweet at me with any statistics questions.

We are happy to share our findings with the industry at large (yay Internet!). We hope you find this informative,
– Nate

Recent Developments: Four Gimme Inquiries

photo by tom sparks

photo by tom sparks

Hello charlies, this is Nate. Nicole has been busy lately with Gimme This For, so I’m helping out by publishing some recent feedback we’ve received.

The inquiry form on Gimme doesn’t have any validation. This was intentional. We didn’t want anything to get in the way of someone wanting to make contact for any reason. As a result, we get some empty emails. Not too many, but it adds up over time.

If you’ve inadvertently sent an empty one, no worries! It’s just email.

We also get real emails written by real people which tend to fall into two camps: Interesting and I Hate you. We expected this. It is the internet after all and since everyone can be totally anonymous, people can get pretty carried away with themselves out there.

In the spirit of transparency (a core tenant of the Gimme exploration) we are going to publish all the communiques we get. You ready? Here we go.


 (cb@***********.com) on Friday, March 02, 2012 at 19:19:33
Comments: Hey "gurl" ... even though you saying it's just an experiment, I have to tell ya: you have 'balls'. C.O.N.G.R.A.T.U.L.A.T.I.O.N.S.
You are (like we saying in Brazil), touching a very agitated leopard with a very short stick.
The market still try to recompose of all "new photographer" the eletronic industry brought in, and you really applying the idea of that guy ... forget his name ... about FREE products.
I'll be here cheering for you 'Charlie'.
And why not, after think a little, do the same?
It was an fantastic idea.

Then there was…

 ( on Friday, March 02, 2012 at 18:51:19
Comments: why don't you just FUCK OFF, you cheap stake. Your images worth nothing! You are worth nothing ! You are just here to damage our trade. So piss off.

It was nice that they filled in something that would pass a typical email validation check, though it wasn’t required. We accept all inquiries.

( on Saturday, March 03, 2012 at 13:35:42
Comments: You are an idiot and detrimental to the professional photography industry.  In a time when photographers across the country are struggling to have clients see the value of professional photographs, along comes you, wanting to conduct a social experiment. I have a mortgage to pay, 2 kids to feed (one of which has special needs) and this is my husband's and my PROFESSION.  Please, if you would like to "give back", volunteer at a soup kitche....before all pro photographers are in line there!

The use here of the email address to make an additional comment to the contents of the message was very creative. And finally…

(rob@***********.com) on Saturday, March 03, 2012 at 08:26:41
Comments: Hi Nicole - good luck with your experiment, though I think the trend will be to take advantage of you or at best underpay the market value of your work. 

Personally, I believe you set a premise that you might not be "good enough" to charge a set price. The fact that one customer can have you for maybe $700.00 and another for $3,000.00 simply puts no monetary value on your service - that is unfortunate. 

I am curious though, when you refund the deposit and deliver the client images, are they full res or smallish proofs? 


Rob Oresteen

That’s all we’ve got at the moment. Please do check back for more updates, published inquiries, and Gimme sightings elsewhere on the web.

♥ – Nate

Pay what you think it’s worth!

What do you think about the price of photography?

Over the past few months I have been working hard at putting together a exciting project. It is called ‘Pay what you think it’s worth’. You can check out the website here

How does it work?

1. Book your wedding with a $1000 deposit to hold your date.
2. Upon delivery of your photos I return your deposit in full.
3. Then you pay what you think your photographs are worth.


Since the initial launch a couple of weeks ago I have received more feedback than I could have imagined. Emails have come in from all over the world inquiring about what it is that I am doing, I am booking weddings in places I have dreamed of going, and fellow photographers from all over the world have sent me inspiring and encouraging letters about this project.

Spread the idea.

This is an experiment to help me understand the value people place on photography. My hope is that this starts a conversation. If you are interested in this project please feel free to email me, follow my blog as I will be documenting the experiment all year long, tweet it, like the project page under sunshine charlie, re-post on your own blog with credit, and if you can send this link to all your friends and family who would be interested in this project to help reach many more people.

If you get a chance please visit Gimme This For and send me an email. I do reply to all inquiries I receive.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. It’s going to be one exciting year!