WHY DO PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS COST SO MUCH (OR SO LITTLE)?
Are you wondering “how much should I spend on my wedding photography?” If so, read on!
With so many photographers offering such a varied range of prices, it can be tricky to decide how much you should be paying for your wedding photography. Some blogs will tell you that you need to spend a certain amount, or a percentage of your budget on photography, but average photography costs are totally theoretical and many factors come into play.
Crucially, you need to ensure that you book the right photographer instead of just the average, so you need to know not just “how much does a wedding photographer cost”, but more specifically, “how much does a wedding photographer cost, that also focuses on what I value most”.
When you think that way, you’ll begin finding photographers that you LOVE instead of just figuring out what everyone else is spending. Then you can ensure a great experience while also keeping to a price range - or even adjusting your overall spending capacity to fit your photography.
A good strategy is to determine which photographer you simply must have, and then building your budget around that. Make a list of your top priorities for your wedding spending, work out what each of these will cost, and then add up the total. If this price is way over your budget, look at the bottom end of your priorities list and see if you can save some of the budget from there to spend on what is most important to you.
Hi, I'm Sarah!
I love being able to document the raw emotions and excitement of a wedding day and take pride in delivering stunning images that my couples will cherish for a lifetime.
I create a calm and relaxed atmosphere for my clients, ensuring that they feel at ease and enjoy every moment of their day.
Although I'm based in Hertford, I'm not just a Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer. I can travel all over the UK (and beyond) for your Wedding!
ARE PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHERS WORTH INVESTING IN?
Hiring a Wedding photographer is definitely worth it! Not having beautiful professional Wedding Photos is high on the list of biggest regrets for couples reflecting on their wedding day. It may be a cliché, but is nevertheless true, that once the cake has been eaten, the flowers have wilted and the dress packed away in storage, all you have to show for it is the photographs!
I understand that not every couple will be able to afford a professional photographer or value the importance of capturing their day. However, your wedding photographs will be the one lasting reminder of this wonderful occasion - all your hard work, so do consider hiring a photographer to capture those precious moments so you can keep them long after the memories fade.
BUT DO I REALLY NEED TO PAY FOR A PROFESSIONAL?
Try not to cut corners by asking a favour from someone you know, rather than hiring a professional photographer. Find a photographer who has a passion for their craft and has the knowledge to ensure both the pre-wedding planning and the wedding day itself goes smoothly.
Not only that but a wedding photographer will also deliver images filled with emotion. Images that capture the true spirit and all the special memories you will never want to forget. As time goes by, those memories fade, but beautiful wedding photographs will not.
If you skimp on your photographer or ask someone not specialised in weddings to shoot your day, you may well risk the image quality or may miss some of those precious moments entirely, and you simply can’t redo it at a later date.
My friend has offered to take photos for free...
Some of your guests might bring along a ‘good camera’ and while this is great for getting some nice photos from a different perspective, don’t rely solely on your guests to provide a well balanced gallery of incredible images of your day. A good eye is more important than a fancy camera. Even modern phones take a pretty decent photo these days, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who carries one is a photographer! A professional will also edit your photos to make them the best that they can possibly be! During key moments like the ceremony, will your friend know where to stand for the best angle, or when to be ready for the first kiss?
Be wary too of photographers whose price point seems too good to be true. Very often they are new to Wedding Photography, or maybe still a student, and are trying to build a portfolio by shooting weddings for a very low rate. While we all have to start somewhere and you may strike gold and get great photos for a bargain price, asking an inexperienced photographer to capture such an important day is a huge risk, so you need to trust them wholeheartedly.
WHY DO PHOTOGRAPHERS CHARGE SO MUCH?
It is a common misconception that wedding photographers are expensive! Many people believe that they work for one day - your Wedding Day, but this is far from the case.
A wedding photographer’s work begins long before you even get engaged. They need to invest in equipment, insurance, training as well as all other aspects of running their businesses, including building a website and marketing themselves to you.
Your road to hiring your photographer usually begins by meeting with a few photographers before deciding who to trust with capturing your day. Each of these photographers is incurring travel expenses in order to attend these meetings. You will then have several meetings with your chosen photographer before your wedding date, meaning additional time and expenses.
On your big day your photographer will spend up to 12 hours taking hundreds, possibly thousands of photos. Then the work really begins! Those photos need to be whittled down to a reasonable amount, then colour corrected and edited to be as amazing as they can possibly be and sometimes designing and building a photo album too. As you can imagine, this equates to a lot of hours per wedding for your photographer - far more than just the one day!
WHAT IMPACTS THE COST OF WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
Professional wedding photography cost varies dramatically, from £0 all the way up to £10,000 and even beyond in some cases. But why?
Time of year
Peak Wedding season runs from May through to September, so prices for wedding photographers during these times will often be much higher than booking a low season wedding date. Similarly, Friday, Saturday and Sunday dates are the most popular days to get married, for obvious reasons, so it stands to reason that you'll get a cheaper deal if you opt for a midweek wedding date in January rather than a Saturday in August.
A standard full day wedding photography package is usually around 8 hours and covers the ceremony, group photos and couple portraits, speeches, through to the cake cutting and first dance.
If you wanted to add in getting ready shots in the morning this can add a good couple of hours on to your coverage. The photographer typically stays until shortly after the first dance, but depending how late that is, or whether you wanted them to stay on for lots of dancefloor photos or sunset/sparklers/night time shots you could be looking at 12 hours plus for comprehensive coverage.
Short or Micro Wedding Photography
Lots of wedding photographers now offer short or ‘micro’ wedding photography packages which could be due to fewer guests as well as fewer hours. The photographer will be with you for a shorter time and there will be fewer images to edit and deliver to you, meaning you could pay considerably less (perhaps between £300-£1000+) for short or micro wedding photography.
Experience and Education
Many photographers invest in training in all aspects of their photography business meaning that there is a cost involved for photographers to develop and evolve their services. This can be photography skills or editing training but also business coaching or programmes to improve their overall service offering.
Experienced photographers often charge more for their services. This is not to say that a cheaper, less experienced photographer isn’t as good, but a photographer who has photographed hundreds of weddings will likely have come up against every wedding day eventuality and can handle most situations, such as tricky lighting conditions, challenging weather or other unforeseen issues that may arise on the day.
There is also a difference in price between a full or part-time photographer. A full-time photographer will likely charge more as this is how they make their living, while a part-time photographer doesn’t rely on this income and can afford to charge less.
The cost of high specification cameras and lenses runs well into the thousands. And a professional photographer will own at least two camera bodies, several lenses, flash equipment as well as spare batteries, memory cards, camera bags and storage and servicing of equipment. Then there is the office equipment - a powerful computer is required to edit the photos as well as top of the range editing software.
Customer service and Editing
Great customer service will take your photographer more time and could equate to a cost impact on your package. For example, a photographer could take on fewer weddings per year to give them more time to dedicate to each couple in the run up to their day. This could mean more meetings before the day, including planning your wedding photo list, visiting the venue and being on hand to answer any questions you may have. Sometimes a photographer will include an engagement shoot in their price, which means time for the shoot as well as editing time afterwards.
After the wedding, editing the photos to a consistently high standard can be very time-consuming. Most photographers do this themselves in their own signature editing style, while others might outsource editing. They may also design your wedding album or order wedding prints or thank you cards after they deliver your images.
Reputation and demand
Some photographers have built an incredible reputation, with a substantial social media following and are in demand, enabling them to charge more for their services. This doesn’t actually always mean that their photography or service is superior to a cheaper photographer (though they could well be). However it’s a fact of life that demand always makes for higher prices, whatever the industry.
If a photographer has masses of 5 star reviews on Google, Facebook or wedding services sites they could charge more as they’re seen as trustworthy and experienced.
SO HOW MUCH SHOULD WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY COST?
In the end, you’ll need to spend what you can within the budget you can afford and you’ll want to find a photographer who fits most with YOU.
Mostly, a wedding photographer is worth whatever you’re willing to invest. If they have a solid reputation, you get on well, you love their photos (from throughout the day!) and they make you feel comfortable, then book them whatever their price is (as long as it’s in budget!). You simply won't get a second chance to capture those memories and have a lasting record of all the little details you poured your love, energy (and money) into when creating your perfect day.
Are you ready to invest in your Wedding photographer? You can read my FAQs here or drop me a message.