The real cost of wedding photography

I have written in the past about what to look for in choosing a wedding photographer and also about how to get the best from your relationship with and ultimately the images you get from your photographer. Today I am going to touch on what you should expect to pay,and also a little about what goes into making up the cost of wedding photography.

With the advent of digital cameras, there is an ever growing number of people offering photographic services and therefore a big variety on the quality, service and price being offered. With prices starting at below £500 and going up to well above £2500 where do you start? Ultimately your choices are governed by your budget. I have read a number of articles that say you should spend around 10% of your overall budget on photography. I don’t think you can be as black and white as that and if the photos are really important to you then push more of your budget to that and hang back elsewhere. I remember when I got married we were so shocked at the cost of everything. Being a photographer I wanted good images so we paid quite a bit, however we really we not fussed about paying £600 plus for a cake, so we ended up paying very little for that.

So what should you expect to be getting at the various prices points? It would be easy to make sweeping statements about the quality of the wedding photography you will receive and I won’t go down that route. There are some very good photographers that for whatever reason are not charging much. Where I will generalise is in what level of service you are likely to receive for your money.

  • Below £500 you are likely to get limited coverage of a few hours and very few if any additional extra’s and the images on CD/USB.
  • Up to £1000 and you can expect around 7 hour’s coverage, images of a good quality and at the higher end you may get a couple of prints or a small coffee table book and all of the images on CD/USB.
  • Up to £2000 is where there is very strong competition and around 50% of photographers booked tend to be somewhere in this price bracket. At this point I would expect coverage of the whole day from preparations on the morning right up to and past the first dance. In most cases images will still be on CD/USB but there may well be the addition of a coffee table book and certainly at the higher end of this bracket you could expect to see a full album included.
  • Above this price and well, you should be expecting the best of the best in terms of service and quality, or you have gone for a lower bracket and paid for all the optional extras’

Whatever price point you are choosing, look at the images on their website, are they what you are looking for? Does the coverage being offered get you the images you want from the day and if not, what is the additional cost of extra coverage? If you want an album, how much extra do you need to pay? I have spoken to couples who have really not been interested in shots of them getting ready in the morning. But then when I have met them and gone through previous weddings they have changed their minds.

So what goes into making up the price? There are the obvious costs such as:

  • Travelling costs to and from the venues and also the pre wedding consultations.
  • Costs of Materials such as CD’s, USB drives and things like coffee table books that are being offered
  • Insurance
  • Equipment costs
  • General business costs,
  • Postage costs

More importantly the time spend on the wedding and here I only use myself and in particular a recent wedding as an example.

  • Pre wedding consultation including travel 2.5 hours
  • Travel to the brides house 30 minutes
  • Time spent photographing the wedding 9am at brides house to 10:30 after some post first dance entertainment that needed capturing. Total 13.5 hours
  • Travel home from venue 40 minutes.
  • Back up images 30 minutes
  • Post production 12 – 18 hours (in this instance 15 hours)

So in this instance I’ve spent a total of around 34 hours on this wedding alone and this is not unusual.

With the number of photographers offering wedding services it is increasingly putting pressure of the prices that you can charge and it is easy to see why some people offer cheaper and cheaper packages. I find it hard to understand how people can charge so little sometimes and I question whether anyone offering cheap packages can really be committed to you and your wedding. So as I mentioned earlier, regardless of your budget look at the service you want from your photographer and then look who comes closest to that within your budget range. And if you the level of service and quality you want is not available and photography is important to you, look to find ways to increase the budget. Then talk to them, they should be totally passionate about what they do and as such will be completely committed to your wedding. Anything less and I would not want them photographing my wedding.

And remember that your wedding photos are something you will cherish forever and the most important thing to look for is a photographer that is committed to you and your wedding and not just a business transaction.

I hope that is of some help. Please feel free to comment or if you would like any more information then please do get in touch. For more information about my prices and the service I offer, please have a look here.

Matt

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