How much does a wedding photographer cost? Short answer, anywhere between £0 and £20,000 - perhaps more. Okay, how much should a wedding photographer cost? There is no simple answer as one size definitely does not fit all.
Why do wedding photographers cost so much, or so little?
Much like buying a car, a Ferarri is going to cost you more than a Ford: yes, they are both going to get you from A to B, but the experience will be somewhat different. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for - this applies to photography as it does to most other aspects of life.
Only you can decide on how much to spend on your big day, everyone has a budget after all - and there is no right or wrong answer. There are many variables that can affect photography pricing, so here are a few things to consider before deciding on how much to spend on your wedding photographer.
What you are essentially paying for is time and skill - as well as all the expensive camera equipment, travel, editing software and insurance among others. A study found that wedding photographers spend roughly 4% of their time actually taking photos.
A photographer can spend up to 60 hours working on every wedding. This includes consultations, travel, setting up, actual photography time, uploading and backing up photos, editing and delivering photos.
Let's say a wedding photographer needs to make £50,000 per annum, for a £35,000 wage (just above the UK average income) - with £15,000 worth of business expenses every year. If they can shoot 35 weddings a year, they need to charge £1,428 per wedding.
Based on 50 hours of work per wedding, and after business expenses, this breaks down to £20 per hour. Does £20 per hour seem expensive to hire a specialist and an artist for one of the most important days of your life that you can’t recreate?
Here are a few things to consider that will affect the price - Location & Lifestyle - Prices in the South East of the UK are on average quite a bit higher than those in the North East for instance. House prices and the cost of living directly affect wedding photography prices as they do prices in any other profession. If you live in London, you're very likely to pay more than if you live in Middlesborough - much as you would for your rent/mortgage.
Expertise and Experience - A photographer that has 10 years of experience is going to charge more than somebody just starting out, just like workers in any other profession the more experienced you are the more you expect to earn for your skillset and experience. Likewise, somebody with a particular skill, like being able to shoot in low-light situations, will likely charge more for their expertise and specific equipment they need.
What is included in the package - There is no industry standard wedding photography package. Some wedding photographers will offer digital-only packages, some will include albums, prints and frames within the base price. Second wedding photographers may come as standard in some packages, and not in others. Some wedding photographers will have an all-in pricing structure, and some will adopt a more a-la-carte pricing structure.
So what do couples spend on average?
The average a couple spends on a wedding photographer in the UK is £1,590. On average, a wedding photographer charges about £150 an hour. It is recommended you need to be prepared to put aside 10-15% of your budget for your photography package, but you may want to set more of your budget aside for your dream wedding photographer.
You then have to decide whether you want one wedding photographer, or a second photographer to capture more candid moments and images from a different perspective. How important are albums and prints to you for instance? If you can, I'd always advise choosing to add a second photographer to your package, a topic I'll be covering in more detail in a later blog post.
You are investing in a lifetime of memories, don't regret not making photography a priority.
Wedding Photography is about capturing moments unique to you, your story, moments you didn’t even see yourself. It's not just something on the day, it is something you will have for the rest of your lives to be relived and shared with those nearest and dearest to you. Think of it as an investment.
I've spoken to so many people who regret not hiring a professional wedding photographer, or simply going for the cheapest option. Here are 3 articles that are worth reading to ensure you don’t regret asking your Uncle who has a camera to photograph your wedding, or not investing that extra couple of hundred pounds in your dream wedding photographer.
Hiring an experienced photographer gives you peace of mind, you can relax and enjoy your big day in the knowledge that they know what they are doing, and look forward to seeing your story told in beautiful images.
Remember this - the flowers will wilt, the wedding cake will be eaten, but your photographs will last a lifetime.
To speak to me about my wedding photography prices, and package options, get in touch and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.