HOW MUCH SHOULD A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER COST? A GUIDE TO YOUR INVESTMENT
We’re here to help explain the true cost of wedding photography and why our rates are what they are in a simple way. This should help you decide on your wedding photography budget and what should a wedding photographer cost: whether you then invest in us or another photographer, we hope you find it useful. There are a lot of misconceptions around what’s involved in being a wedding photographer, so hopefully we can make it clearer so you know what you are paying for.
Note we’ve said investment and you may have noticed other photographers use this term. This is because we want you to realise that it really is an investment in your memories you are asking of us. It’s a bit of a cliche now, but it’s true to say you wear the dress once (usually!), the flowers die and the cake gets eaten – and what do you have left after it? Hopefully lots of gorgeous photos of this special day.
The thing is that thanks to Iphones and instagram, everyone has started to think being a wedding photographer must be easy, just point at all the pretty things and you probably get cake afterwards right? Wrong! Being a (great) wedding photographer is so much more than just pressing the button: it’s pressing it at exactly the right moment you look at each other with that look, the exact moment the tear falls down mum’s cheek, when your 93 year old gran gives you a squeeze that feels like it will last forever, the moment your friends hoist you in the air to celebrate your day…
You see, being a photographer is about being many things. Being able to read people, managing crowds, being in the right place whilst still being invisible. Being a creative for over 12 hours and still having the excitement of the day we first picked up the camera, and getting those amazing shots when you walk into the ceremony in sunshine and walk out in a thunderstorm. We’re also a source of advice, inspiration and comfort if you need it.
This takes years of experience to master, to learn about light, composition and how to read the moment. To become a business manager, HR advisor, a head of marketing, a photoshop wizz… this all takes time and money to achieve, and goes way further than being able to press a button and pop a filter on.
So what ARE you paying for?
Obviously every photographer will have different priorities and speed of working, but we would like to break down why we charge what we are charging. The simple truth is that many photographers hugely under charge for their service, which makes many who just want to make a decent living like everyone else look expensive. Of course pricing is subjective and a budget is a budget, but to help explain, here’s what we are looking at in the average of around 45 hours working on your wedding.
- Around 10 hours meeting you, working through the admin for the booking, preparing our kit for the big day and packaging your photos up afterwards
We will always try and meet in person before you book, either via a drink in a pub or via a video call. We do strive for the in-person meeting though if possible. At the other end, we also don’t believe in just leaving you with a download.
- 12-16 hours wedding coverage on the day (not including travel)
We have never in ten years left at the first dance, and unless you specifically requested short coverage, we are unlikely to start now. Why? Because the truest photos of you friends and family enjoying your wedding will come from the dancefloor and evening party. Many people think they don’t need them, but it’s often the client’s favourite section
- 4-5 hours of uploading and backing up of your images
12 hours of coverage with two people shooting will undoubtedly result in thousands of images. These don’t import in seconds, and backing up asap is important. It usually adds a few more hours on to the day behind the scenes.
- 8-12 hours of culling through the images we took
This is literally going through each image and deciding if it is good enough and whether it is relevant to your story. There is a lot of duplication and bracketing at times such as group shots, so it’s finding the best one amongst the duplicates. We will cull through three times to make sure it is all perfect – if it isn’t good enough it doesn’t make it. You don’t need 20 shots of your cake now do you?
- 16-20 hours of editing
It’s important the images are the absolute best they can be, and this isn’t always straight out of the camera. Whilst we do as much as possible to get it right in camera, sometimes other factors such as different light sources in a room, horrible health and safety signs, distracting items in the background mean we have to work on an image to make it perfect, and we will, because these are your memories, so it’s worth it.
Extras behind the scenes
Of course, there are also plenty of things that aren’t listed above. All our expenses for starters: petrol, food, clothing, office running costs, equipment, equipment cleaning and maintenance, insurance, training… and of course the dreaded 20% UK VAT and our business taxes before we even look at our general living costs. For a destination wedding, we’re usually shooting for a minimum of three days so the costs are greater.
We’re not writing this to question the way anyone else runs their business. If someone wants to charge under £2000 that’s fine, and if they charge £15000 that’s fine. We’re not here to shame anyone’s wedding budget. The key is that we want couples to understand exactly where their hard earned cash is going, and the misconceptions that surround what we do. For the record we’d recommend at least 15% of your wedding budget is on your photography.
Our rates reflect the fact that you exclusively get the two of us shooting your wedding day, that’s two award-winning photographers all day, who have the benefit of ten years shooting together. No random second shooters you won’t meet before the wedding, just two passionate photographers who’ll hopefully join you like friends.
We’d also love to encourage other photographers and wedding professionals to truly work out what a full wedding costs to them and charge appropriately to their skills and experience, to see them through a long career doing one of the best jobs in the world.
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