The Cost and Importance of wedding Photography
Wow a wedding photographer saying that wedding photography is important and you should pay a decent amount for it! Well yes, obviously I want you to think it’s important so you will spend money on your photography, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. Can you put a price on a wedding album? Something your great grandchildren will look through in years to come, even after Facebook is long gone? Well yes you can, I mean we all have a budget right?
It doesn’t need to cost the earth. This article is designed to help you understand why wedding photography is important and worth spending good money on and hopefully help you understand why it can seem to cost a lot.
Everybody wants their day to be perfect and the truth is the venue, food, entertainment and everything that makes up the day is what you and your guests see. The photos don’t come until later and it might be months until you really see the benefits of a good photographer. It can be easy to see why couples decide to spend more on other parts of the day.
I am not saying to not bother with anything and just spend all your money on a photographer because obviously you want your day to be amazing. Just don’t pay your photographer as much as your chocolate fountain and then wonder why your pictures are not what you imagined!
Ok I think you get the idea, so how much should you spend? Well let’s be honest there are loads of photographers around but rather than look at what they charge think about this:
The price of the self employed
If your photographer does 50 weddings a year at £500 then he will make £25000, not to bad I hear you say! But wait you need to deduct the following:
Website hosting, equipment maintenance and the cost of replacing kit over time, insurance, any USB or online gallery costs, advertising and marketing, hard drives and cloud storage, software, tax, sample albums and loads of other general costs of doing business. To give you an idea my costs of doing business are around £15000 per year currently.
So after all that they would be lucky to come away with minimum wage and when you consider that’s not paying into a pension, we don’t get sick pay or holiday pay or maternity pay etc etc you can quickly see why most full time photographers charge more money. And 50 weddings is quite a few when you consider the time spent on each wedding with editing and meeting the couples and so on.
The other consideration and the most serious problem I have seen recently is that you might be booking your photographer a year or two in advance. If they are not charging enough the business may fail. This could leave you without a wedding photographer and without your deposit or worse your full payment. This is obviously a rare occurrence but something to consider when searching for a wedding photographer.
To give you a guide I charge from £1250 per wedding and you can see what that includes on my PRICE page. Here is a rough breakdown of what you can expect in each price range: (This is only my opinion and a rough guide)
£0 – £500 – New photographer, maybe new to photography completely but definitely new to weddings. Better than having no photos at all and maybe a family friend or photography student. Definitely won’t be full time and will be looking to build a portfolio. This doesn’t mean they will be bad but take time to look through any work they have.
£500 – £800 – Will have photographed a few weddings and starting to get a feel for how a wedding day runs. Will have started to invest in equipment. Will be almost definitely part time. Again you can get some good photographers here but also some not great ones so take time to look at their work and meet them first.
£800 – £1000 – You may get a full time professional photographer at this price range. They should have all the relevant insurance, backup equipment and a good storage solution for images after the wedding. Should have a few weddings for you to look through and you should start to see a consistent style in their images.
£1000 – £1600 – This price range will mostly all be full time and should have a solid grasp of weddings. Will have everything as above but probably covered more weddings. As I mentioned above I charge from £1250 so fall within this category, shooting over 100 weddings since 2014.
£1600 – £10,000 plus – This is now a matter of taste. You can spend £10,000 plus on a photographer and it really depends on what you like in terms of style. This budget will allow you a good choice so have a good shop around.
Keep in mind I have based this on all day coverage with no album. Everyone has a different budget and this is not to say you can’t get a good photographer for cheap because of course you can. It’s important to look through some full weddings, meet them in person or via skype to get a feel for them and their personality. After all you will have them with you all day. It can also be worth talking with a photographer you like even if they are slightly out of your budget as they may be able to do a deal for you, especially if it’s a winter wedding or a weekday.
It’s not all about the money though!
Photography is art and every photographer has their own style. Just as every wedding is different, every photographer is also. It should be fun to search around for a photographer and imagine the feeling when you get your images back and can re live your wedding day again.
I have covered the actual costs but what about the priceless part? Well you can’t do the wedding day again and the images will be with you forever. Do you look at your parents wedding album or grandparents? I know I do but I might be weird! I wasn’t born when my grandparents got married but it’s nice to be able to look at the images even now. For most people it is a once in a lifetime event and one of the happiest days of your life. Certainly sounds important to have something to remember it by to me.
This leads me nicely on to albums. I try to keep my album prices fair and use one of the best wedding album suppliers in the world. Why? Well simply because I want my couples to have an album. Facebook, computers, USB sticks will all change over time but in 50 years or even 100 years a good wedding album will look almost like new. It can be hard to understand at the time what value it will have to your family but I am sure it will be important. When I first started I gave disks with wedding photographs on, now I don’t even own a computer with a disk drive or a DVD player!
The final point I have on albums is how they tell the story. Have you ever been to a friends who has got married and received a USB with 600 images on? It takes you hours to go through them all and frankly can be a little boring if it’s not your wedding. Don’t you think as a friend or family member it’s nice to have an album with 50 – 100 or so images that tells the story in a perfect way?
Remembering your day
I want to finally discuss a point that my couples all say to me when they get their images back, I don’t remember this or I didn’t even see that. The day goes so quickly that you forget parts straight away or just don’t notice them in the first place. You can’t be everywhere and you can’t see the expression from your mum, dad and partner all at the same time as you enter for the first time or the guests who are crying during the speeches. This is just one of the reasons that a wedding photographer is so important.
The day is so special and so unique and so hectic that I just urge you to spend some time and money on the right photographer. So many people get let down or are not happy with their images and it’s such a shame.
In summary, you don’t need to spend your whole budget on a photographer but please spend a decent amount! Struggling to know where to start? Read my blog on finding a photographer.
A great follow up article to read can be found on the Boho Weddings blog here.