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Does wedding photography seem expensive to you?

… said the wedding blogger as she tipped the worms out of her tin. But no, I’m not trying to rattle any cages or have a big discussion today. A little while ago I read a really thought-provoking comment on my wedding industry blog post and it really got me thinking. This is a question I was asking myself – and with the help of some great friends I like to think we’ve answered it for you.

Photo credit: Fiona Campbell London www.fionacampbelllondon.com

Understanding wedding photography prices

Let me start at the beginning. I was intrigued by a blog comment about wedding photography pricing from the lovely Fiona Campbell. Fiona Campbell is a respected London wedding photographer whose work has featured in Vogue and across top wedding blogs. Fiona shoots weddings in the UK and Europe, and her 2012 prices start from £1750 for wedding photography. Fiona commented that many brides and grooms expect to find a top wedding photographer for £1000 – but that often they’re surprised by prices closer to £2000.

Is £2000 expensive for wedding photography?

Fiona’s blog comment made some interesting points:

  • A wedding photographer’s work has to be 100% right every sin­gle time
  • “We can­not have an off day, because our off day is some­one else’s big day”
  • Wedding photographers work week­ends and have high over­heads

On Fiona’s website she also explains that “a large volume of backroom work goes on behind the scenes and this is reflected in the price” for her wedding photography. And this is the part I think couples often need help to really appreciate.

Fiona believes that wedding planners could play an important role in raising awareness of wedding photography pricing – and in educating couples “in how to get what is right for them, what to expect and how much they should expect to pay for it. I think it is only by strength­en­ing the role of the plan­ners that you will strengthen the indus­try…. a plan­ner knows who they like to work with and who will do a good job, and they know what is reason­able to pay them.

wedding photograph

Photo credit: Fiona Campbell London www.fionacampbelllondon.com

Raising awareness of wedding photography pricing

It makes sense: a wedding planner will have worked with different photographers and understand the prices and options available to brides and grooms. I also appreciate that many wedding photographers aren’t comfortable selling or having to justify their prices – and that’s fair enough. If you’re creative, you’re probably not a born salesman or woman!

I asked my friend Julie from The Wedding Genie her thoughts on wedding planners ‘educating’ couples about the price of wedding photography. Julie’s response was to focus on the bride and groom: in a nutshell, the wedding planner‘s role is to help source the best suppliers, at the best prices, for each couple’s budget.

wedding photo

Wedding photo credit: Jo Hastings (wedding planned by The Wedding Genie)

The role of the wedding planner

When I emailed Julie – my Wedding Genie! (seriously – I love her!) – she’d just met with a recently-engaged couple. She told me, “One of the first things I asked them was what were their priorities for their planning. What do they categorically have to have to make their wedding day as wonderful as they imagine it to be?

Photography was high on their list but they had been talking to recently married friends and could not believe the cost involved. In their heads they thought about £500 -600. They started to look and found nothing really in that category. They don’t like the very arty contemporary shots but wanted someone to capture their day and their personality and have lovely images. They loved the idea of reportage; they did not want to spend hours being posed or spend hours with formal shots.

A wedding planner’s responsibility to couples

My role I think here was to explain why a photographer costs this much and what they do for their money. In reply to Fiona’s comment, I agree it’s up to us to educate our clients. BUT even for me there is a certain ceiling that I think everyday couples can pay for their photographer. I am employed to make sure that this lovely couple spend their money on the right people, and get the right package that suits them. All couples are different: some are not that interested in photography so it’s my role to help them budget for their own priorities. We have singled photography out here but it could just be the case for education in other areas such as flowers etc.

The real value of wedding suppliers: a personal thing

I don’t meet couples on a daily basis who have £15-20k to spend on a wedding. When couples are surprised by wedding supplier prices it’s part of my role to explain the value of great suppliers and why they are this much. For example I was asked to look for a particular group the couple had seen at a function and they were brilliant, the price was £900: to me an excellent price for the calibre of entertainment. My clients’ first reaction was, “oh my god that’s £300 for a couple of hours work”. I then had to advise them that yes, 2 x 45 minute sessions was what they were delivering but they have to travel to the venue and perhaps set up two or three hours before the gig and then take an hour to pack at the end. I also showed a similar group for £550 and the couple came back straight away saying “ah yes I can see what I am paying for”.

Julie’s advice opened my eyes to lots of things. A wedding planner can certainly help couples to understand prices for suppliers – and an experienced planner can guide you to choose the best wedding vendors within your budget. If there are services such as photography which seem expensive, then a planner can help to show you why, and talk through priorities with you to aid you in making the right decision for you.

Julie added, “It is not a wedding planner’s role to sell individual photographers: it’s up to them to portray to my client why they are charging that price. As long as my clients go and see them with enough information I feel I’ve helped them to make an informed decision. Everyone I send my couples to is a superb professional with prices that I think are fair, good value and worth their service. Most expensive is in my opinion is not the best nor is the cheapest, it is what is right for them. I recommend people who will produce what they say they will and make the wedding journey a really good one. I teach my clients that it is all about this and working with caring, talented people who will make their day special. You do have to pay for that level of service.”

I love Julie’s perspective. A wedding planner can share their own insight into photographers’ pricing, but ultimately it’s up to the wedding photographer to portray why they’re charging a certain amount. 

And that’s what it all boils down to. Wedding photographers charge different prices across the country, for different styles and experience levels. I could try to break down the basic price of wedding photography and justify it (I may even do so with the help of a couple of photographers… you never know!) but it’s not about that.

In my mind I was mulling over the price of Tesco’s finest vs designer t-shirts. It’s a similar story with huge variations in price for a bit of material, print, stitching, packaging and marketing. The cost price to the manufacturers will be similar for the two t-shirts. But the value of each one is down to perception: your perception.

future of vintage bridal shoot

Photo credit: Jonny Draper

If wedding photography seems expensive to you, read this

I asked Manchester wedding photographer Jonny Draper for his thoughts on the price of wedding photography. When he emailed them to me, I replied, “You beauty. Thanks Jonny – a brilliantly written response that covers everything swishing around in my head… it’s common sense but beautifully argued.” See what you think!

Do couples need wedding photography prices explaining to them? Are photographers’ prices really complicated to understand?

Jonny Draper – “I don’t actually think I’ve got the definitive answer for you – because I don’t think it actually exists! I think the problem is that as with anything creative, everything around photography is so subjective.

What is the ‘perfect’ photograph?

And if it is the ‘perfect’ photograph is it worth 100 times more than any other photograph that’s ever been taken?

groom in crisp white shirt

Photo credit: Jonny Draper Photography www.jonnydraper.co.uk

The answers to those two questions are:

1) There’s no such thing. It’s only perfect to the people that it needs to be perfect to. Whether that’s the photographer realising a vision or a bride and groom ecstatic as this particular photograph captures everything about their amazing day.

2) Probably not. No matter how much the bride and groom love this particular photograph, they are unlikely to pay a premium for it. No matter how much the photographer thinks it’s the best photograph in the world, he’s unlikely to be able to demand 100 times the price that he would normally charge.

(Please understand that I’m making a couple of very sweeping and generalised statements that are in no way meant to spark arguments about technical aspects of perfect photography, etc.)

We’re all different so we value wedding photography differently

So where does this leave us? I think it leaves us with the same old problem. Different people attach different values to different things. In life, not just in weddings! Some people like to drive round in expensive cars. Others see cars as an ‘It gets me from A to B’ type thing, so why would they spend a fortune on the car itself, the tax, the insurance, the fuel, etc. when they can run something for a quarter of the price.

With weddings, some people find the venue the most important thing. That’s where the majority of the budget goes and whatever they’re left with gets divided up between the other things they need. Other people love flowers, some love live music and for some it’s photography. Some brides and grooms are lucky enough that they can afford all the things that they want, but I suspect for the purposes of this conversation we’re not looking at brides and grooms that have an endless budget…

The decision to spend on your wedding photography is all yours

So what if photography isn’t the most important thing to a bride and groom? How do you make them realise just how important it is? Sadly, in an unregulated industry, I don’t think you can. You can try to ‘educate’ brides and grooms when they come to see you about potentially shooting their wedding, but for me personally, when I meet people, I don’t want to scaremonger them into booking me. I want them to book me because they want to book me. And if I’m out of their budget, then I try to introduce them to someone who I know is a great photographer, but is within their budget.

The real value of a wedding photographer

I’m very lucky in that all my brides and grooms value what they’re paying me for. But I think that comes down to a whole different thing.

It’s about who you’re working with, other great suppliers whose work is amazing and is highly valued (I’m not talking necessarily about high-end, expensive suppliers, I’m talking about exciting, inspirational suppliers who get their brides and grooms excited about all aspects of their day and not just the part that they’re being paid for).

Listen to advice from your friends and family

Once you break into a circle of friends or family and do a few weddings for the same sets of people, it’s amazing the stories you hear. “Wow. My sister’s wedding last year was a nightmare because of the photographer, etc. I wish we’d found you for theirs as well – let me introduce you to my friends who are getting married…”

If you do a great job for discerning people (and again, by discerning I don’t mean discerning in a big spending kind of way, discerning in an ‘everything’s important to us’ kind of way) then they will do the educating of their friends and family for you.

A breakdown of wedding photography prices?

I could do the breakdown thing for you, why I charge £2k as a starting point, what that covers (expenses, editing time, what my images actually cost per photograph once you divide my fee between the number of images I take, etc.) but I have to be honest – it’s because I think what I do for my clients is worth it. Simple as.

I had a phone call recently from a bride enquiring as to my availability for a date. The next question from her was obviously about money and she was very surprised when I told her the basic figures. She asked me why I’m so expensive. I told her I didn’t think I was expensive for the time, level of service my brides and grooms receive, the quality and creativity of the work I shoot for them.

I had a meeting with a bride and groom last night who told me that they didn’t have a budget for wedding photography. It was very important to them, so they weren’t clouding their head with numbers, they just wanted to see great work, find somebody that they got on with and they were prepared to pay appropriately to get that. Two very different conversations with two people who had two very different outlooks on things.

Which is why I don’t think you can educate people across the board. Yep, you’ll always hear the ‘I wish we’d used more of our budget on the photography as we’re so disappointed with what we got’ stories, but at the time of those brides and grooms making their decision and paying out money before their wedding there’s no way you’ll be able to change their mind! What hopefully happens as a result of that, is that their friends and family learn from their mistakes and don’t go down that route themselves.”

My huge thanks to Jonny Draper – for sharing his (very eloquent!) thoughts for this blog post. Thanks also to Fiona Campbell for sparking a great little thought process for me! And to Julie Dawson aka The Wedding Genie for sharing her thoughts from a planner’s perspective.

www.JonnyDraper.co.uk

www.FionaCampbellLondon.com

www.TheWeddingGenie.co.uk

To everyone reading this blog post: I’d love to know your thoughts on the price and value of wedding photography. Do you agree with Fiona, Julie and Jonny?

And what about my comparison to designer clothes? Do you wear George, Warehouse or Gucci? And does your wedding photographer match your t-shirt?

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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34 COMMENTS
  • Chris Seddon
    8 years ago

    I’m loving all the blogs at the moment that are trying to shine a bit more light on wedding photographers. I hear so many people commenting on how we’re all rip-off merchants charging the earth because we can put wedding in front of it. The more information out there about why our prices are what they are, the better.

    I was looking through a UK bridal forum and the sheer volume of couples who were complaining about photographers who were asking £750+ for photography & a disc. And here’s me thinking that was cheap!

    It seems people have forgotten that there’s a value in photography that goes beyond just being there & taking the photo. After you’ve paid your photographer, you have the memories of your wedding day. You can look at them whenever you want. Surely this is worth paying for?

    I think there are enough photographers out there that have options to fit most budgets (payment plans, various disc options, smaller albums etc) that couples should be able to find a photographer that they really like.

    The old “You get what you pay for” does still have some relevance though! 🙂

  • Jonathon Watkins
    8 years ago

    Thanks for this thought provoking and wise post about pricing Claire. When we got married 13 years ago we were advised to spend 10-15% of the wedding budget on the photography, which we did and were delighted with the results. Photography is important to us and we were happy making the investment. Many people these days sadly realise too late that a ‘friend with a good camera’ is no substituent for a experienced professional photographer with all the top level equipment and backups. Yes, people put different values on things in life and it great to open people’s eyes to the risks they are taking by opting for cheap rather than good or great for the images which will form their main memories of their wedding day.

  • Lyndsey Goddard
    8 years ago

    Great post about a topic which comes up time and time again.

  • Michael Wilkinson
    8 years ago

    Perhaps those couple with smaller budgets should seek top quality rather than quantity.Photography at the church only for instance.
    My parents has just one photograph taken as they left the church, OK that was in 1944 but perhaps the expanding role of the photographer to capture more and more of the event has been fuelled by a perception that more is better rather than good is better.
    Ive been married twice,full albums both times and I hardly ever looked at them,my memories were real and live,seeing a print on the wall for years for me just diminishes the value of my memories.
    Perhaps I’m a tad sceptical,Good photographs really are worth paying for but rather like a good meal,how much of what you eat do you really want,need or appreciate 🙂
    Ive been a working photographer all my adult life.

  • Fiona
    8 years ago

    This is a really well put together piece, and I completely agree that you get what you pay for. However, when not every couple has £1000-£3000 to spend on photography, there is a dearth of information and inspiration for brides and grooms who quite simply have to seek a cheaper alternative.

    In such scenarios, finding a photographer who’s just starting out, but whose work you love is a viable option.

    • Fiona
      8 years ago

      wow… that formatting went wrong!

  • Martin Hambleton
    8 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this article Claire. Wedding photography forums are awash with debates on how to ‘educate’ the general public on why wedding photography can (or should) be expensive. But they all follow the same pattern, talking about the ‘hidden’ hours of work, the price of training and equipment, etc. I’ve participated in many, read too many and got bored with hearing fellow photographers go on and on about ‘newbies’ cheapening the quality of the work that we do. It’s been refreshing to read an article that didn’t rehash the same stale lines. Thank you.

    I think Fiona and Jonny have made excellent points from a photographer’s point of view. Putting a price on something that can be considered ‘art’ is so hard. Conveying why you think you’re worth what you charge is even harder.

    What really resonated with me were Julie’s comments. Not everyone wants ‘great’ wedding photography – some don’t care enough, and just want some snaps as keepsakes. Fine; they’ll be happy with an amateur’s work. Why should they pay more? They’d be wasting their money if they did.

    Others, for whom it is important, need guidance through the tangled web. It’s this section, who consider photography important, who need help. Not only in realising the sort of price they should realistically expect to pay to get what they want, but also to help them work through the huge range of styles out there. Not every expensive photographer is right for them; price isn’t the only criterion to consider. Many couples won’t like my style; others will love it. The same is true of my personality. All these factors are as important as the price tag.

  • Kirsty
    8 years ago

    Claire firstly great few blogs of late about photography!
    Me and my partner are currently on the hunt for our photographer. Photos are one of the most important things, and have spent a great deal of time looking and researching photographers. Our budget for the wedding is incredibly tight, just 7k. We can only afford just over 1k on photography, and to be honest although photos are very important, in our day to day life we cannot justify spending 2k on photographs for one day. We both understand this is someone’s full time job, and have a lot of over heads. But many couples just don’t have that amount of money to spend on this quality, we have spent so much time looking at photographers I always look at the images first to see if I like there style and quality, only to get disappointed there out of our budget. As you can imagine we have been unable to find a photographer we like yet! Other than opting not to have that dress, or to feed our guests we cannot alter our budget, and then there’s that thought can we justify in our lifestyles spending that amount of our money on photos. Maybe we have just put ourselves under too much pressure to have the lush images you see on wedding blogs.

    • Martin Hambleton
      8 years ago

      In response to Kirsty’s comments, I’d like to say that I think there are some great photographers producing stunning work, whose fees start lower than you might think. Many photographers, myself included, have introduced less expensive options in the past few years; we appreciate that budgets are tighter than in the past and, similarly, if we don’t work, we don’t eat! I’d love it if all my clients booked my top package, but I appreciate that few have unlimited budgets, especially in the current economic climate. (Sorry, this isn’t intended to be a tout for work, but a genuinely well meant suggestion).

      I don’t know if you’ve contacted some of the people whose work you admire – it might be worth getting on the phone and talking to them. You may be pleasantly surprised.

      • Julie Dawson
        8 years ago

        Thats great advice, many photographers try and accommodate budgets if they can. I am not saying by giving huge discounts. We all have to live, but by trying to offer bespoke packages that will suit you both.

  • Lina - LiquidPhoto
    8 years ago

    Really enjoying your informative blogs Claire, and the photography debate is probably one that will never go away but it’s really good to always hear opinion. I found myself agreeing with it all, and with most of the comments, and alot of it resonates as I would say it was only recently that we decided to stick to what we know we are worth, and if it is too expensive for some couples, then we have to let them go. We always recommend that photography should be around 15% of the overall budget, and that way people can factor it in right from the start.

    What I’d be interested to discuss is the term ‘expensive.’ To me, this can have negative connotations, if something is expensive we are usually saying it’s a lot of money for what you get. If that is the case, then I would hate to be referred to as expensive. We say we’re not expensive (and we don’t think we are!), we’re high quality and there is a difference…

  • Lina - Liquid Photo
    8 years ago

    Another really interested and informative post about photography Claire, thank you. For the record, we always recommend that around 15% of the total budget should be set aside for photography.

    I of course agree with it all, but what I do think should be discussed is the use of the term ‘expensive.’ Does expensive not have negative connotations? When we say something is expensive, are we not saying it’s too much money for what it is alot of the time? I don’t think we are expensive, we are probably somewhere mid-range, but I would hate to be called expensive, as I would say instead that we were ‘high quality.’ I think there is a difference, as we all know that expensive doesn’t always mean high quality… Thoughts?

  • Great post Claire! I agree with that Jonny fella – he seems to know what he’s talking about 😉

    Some great thoughts on the comments, an excellent discussion all round!

    x

  • Nikki Ward
    8 years ago

    I totally agree with Johnny and Julie’s points on this! I think in all aspects of the wedding world ( I’m talking from a stationers point of view ) the value of a product is essentially very subjective and every so often you are going to come across clients who will question the value of your products and use that dreaded expression … ‘ oh that seems expensive’. Its my worst nightmare as I’ve often developed a nice relationship with the couple by then and we are suddenly discussing the pros and cons of what my time and design experience is worth! In my expereience the majority of people in this industry are NOT out to rip people off and charge a very fair price for their time, costs and experience.

    Unfotunately there will always be the odd supplier who is willing to use the word wedding as an excuse to add on a huge percentage in profits … but I think these people are easy to spot when you are searching for a wedding supplier / photographer as they’re probably not going to be particularly passionate about your wedding either!

    • Julie Dawson
      8 years ago

      I agree with you Nikki. I have rarely met anyone in this industry who has not been fair and just trying to do the best they can for the client and make a living at the same time. Yes there are some wiling to rip you off but as you say they are easy to spot. This article is so well written Claire, I have just had chance to read it. I have to say I do advise my couples that photographs are very important. I guess I use my own experience, we did pay a great deal for our photographs but I have to say that the couple of photographers we spent the day with were nothing short of brilliant. In fact even if the photographs were never given to me I had so much fun with them I would have paid the cash just for that. I hate having my picture taken but it was a joy to be with them,they even gave me a lesson on how to be in front of the camera which made all the difference. This is what you pay for the experience and expertise they showed to me and my husband. I have to say my guests adored them too. I have not even mentioned the pictures, they are divine and I love every one of them. Just in case anyone wonders it was Lesley Meredith based in cheshire. Yes I can see the comment from Michael about how often you look at them, neither does my husband often, but for me they are a piece of heaven from a fabulous day I will never ever repeat. I know its cheesy but it was a bloody brilliant day. There is no answer to this debate but its great that Claire has the courage to tackle these issues head on. It means for couples who read this they can see why the cost is what some perceive as high and why that is the case and most importantly show that the costs for photography are not just for their time on the day. It would be great perhaps if one of you lovely people wrote a diary of what happens when you shoot a wedding and what is done in terms of time, preparation and design,before during and after. I am sure most couples would be amazed a the time and effort you put into the whole process and service. A bit like wedding planning hard to justify sometimes but incredibly time consuming. You don’t just point and shoot! I would for one run it too on my blog.

  • Lovely Claire, you are so right about the importance of wedding planners in helping clients to find what’s right for them, not to mention keeping this industry on the straight and narrow. Wedding photography costs a lot not only because of the time factor (6 days of backroom work or so) but also because all those cameras have to be replaced every five years and cost more than cars… A reputable photographer will have full wedding insurance in case something goes wrong. Back up cameras. Albums. Online viewing galleries capable of holding gigabytes of photographs. Expensive software. Accreditation. Advertising. A zillion other things that mount up. The costs are high and that’s before you get to the question of how to feed your family. The difficulty is that because these are mostly indirect costs wedding photographers are often thought to be unfairly hiking up the prices for their clients. Then someone steps in and offers a budget package, but doesn’t deliver. (Sometimes I even find they have stolen images from my work to advertise their services on the internet!) The client feels disappointed but its too late. And had they understood the nature of wedding photography they might well have been willing to pay more and got something really wonderful that they would have cherished forever.

  • John LeFebvre
    8 years ago

    Agree completely with everything written here. I too see many people who are put off by high prices – after all, they know someone with a decent camera, so they can take the pictures, right? (I did have one couple approach me last year the week before their wedding as their friend who was going to do it as a favour backed out due to nerves.)

    People only see the bottom line. They don’t see the hours of post-processing – editing, album building, proofing, re-proofing, etc., nor do they have any real inclination of just how much a professional’s camera kit costs – and normally we would have at least two cameras and a good range of lenses to cover all eventualities! Then there is travel, insurance, websites and all the other things that need to be paid for by weddings which tend to be concentrated around August time! I once calculated that with the time put in to do a full album including the taking of the photos, I was earning slightly less than the minimum wage.

    I am dismayed by professional wedding photographers advertising their services starting at £249 – including a CD of hi-res images – yes, they are out there! I feel this just cheapens the industry for the rest of us.

  • Sabina
    8 years ago

    Wedding photography is most of the time a little expensive, but we have to think that we will have those photographs for the rest of our lives, and they have to have high quality.

  • Becca
    8 years ago

    Photography is our biggest expense after the venue and food for 175 people. Its eye wateringly so (considerably more than listed above as “top end” but for us its worth every penny. We aren’t having a videographer because we don’t want our guests to feel constantly aware of filming and photography so we have been able to increase our photography budget accordingly. After the dress has been packed away and the expensive wine drunk, photography is what is left. My friend is spending £3,000 on a Jenny Packham dress for her winter wedding but was thinking of “getting a friend to do the photography”. I showed her a really scary article on Rocknrollbride and she’s adjusted that accordingly. No one will notice the difference between spending £5 and £30 per bottle of prosecco/champagne but we will have photographs that we will love forever.

  • Kirsten
    8 years ago

    Well done, Becca. I think your friend will look back and thank you for that suggestion! Great blog post!

  • Steven Carter Hewson
    8 years ago

    A great article. This issue seems to pop up quite frequently and I feel whether it’s traditional, fine art, reportage or documentary wedding photography that the couple wants, they do need to realise that you get what you pay for. I’ve no problem with photographers charging £500 for a wedding. They’re serving a market and clientele that needs £500 wedding photographers. There are hopefully still plenty of couples out there who value photography enough to willingly spend the extra to book me.

  • Andrew Billington
    8 years ago

    Great article.

    I do agree that the ‘value’ that you put on photograph is a very personal one and couples have to decide what they are willing to pay and how important a good photographic record of the day is going to be for them. I work as a documentary wedding photographer and the couples who commission me to photograph their days do so because they like my style and want me to record their day in my fashion. My pricing reflects the number of weddings I am willing to shoot in a year and be fair to every couple (I’m not going to book 3 weddings in a row and therefore not give everyone the best service I can), the cost of running a business and the time that I take after the day editing and post-processing images. I’m not the cheapest, not the most expensive but I think I am able to pitch my pricing to be fair and affordable for couples who want the type of photography I have trained, practised and perfected over the years. Part art, part craft and part love.

  • steven carter hewson
    8 years ago

    A great article. I believe whatever style of photography, from traditional to documentary wedding photography, couples should understand that they will get what they pay for. If wedding planners can help educate couples, great! I have no problem with photographers charging £249 a wedding, per se. With anything in life, there is always a budget option. These photographers are serving a different market to me, a market that wants and needs £249 wedding photographers. Photography isn’t important enough to those couples for them to spend more. And that is fine. There are still plenty of couples out there who do value their wedding photography enough to pay the premium to book me. Or Jonny. Or any other photographer charging more than a few hundred pounds.

  • Steven
    7 years ago

    Really insightfull look into wedding photography prices. It’s all been said before but I do believe you get what you pay for. Some couples don’t care about photography and just want to tick the box aginst ‘book wedding photographer’ They don’t realise how important it is until it’s too late. It’s important to invest properly in one of the most important days of your life. – It’s equally important to know the style of the photographer before you book. We’re not all the same you know!

  • Great post Claire, full of really valid points! 🙂

  • Cat Hepple
    7 years ago

    A great article, and so nice to see it approached from a different perspective than the typical arguments too.

    Kirsty- my advice is to pick up the phone or email some of the photographers work you love and see if any will do a deal with you. Most of us will discuss options and will be prepared to try to help work to your budget. You may not get the album and the disc and all the hours coverage and the endless wish list, but you might just find there are some compromises to be made on both sides.

    x

  • Claire
    7 years ago

    Thanks everyone for the comments – there’s a similar blog post with a different angle on Brides Up North wedding blog today which I thought I’d share with anyone looking into the subject of wedding photography pricing – http://bridesupnorth.com/2012/03/08/why-does-good-wedding-photography-cost-so-much/
    I hope that helps someone too. 🙂

  • Jackie
    7 years ago

    There has to be room in the market for lower priced wedding togs, as every bride should be able to afford some beautiful photos of her big day. However, the trend towards more and more being included in a wedding photography package just isn’t viable from a business perspective at the lower budgets. Prewedding shoots; all day coverage from preparations to end of the evening; two photographers; an album and a disc of all the images; a slideshow … It all adds up in time as well as cost. Yes, there are people out there offering the full package for next to no money, but either these are hobbyists with a fulltime job to pay the bills, or pros that will be out of business in a year or two unless they change their business model.
    So what do you do if you have just a few hundred pounds to spend on your wedding photography? First reel in your expectations a little and think about what you really want from your photography: do you need a few hundred untouched and uneditted photos taken by Joe Bloggs or would you rather have a few beautiful professionally posed, editted and processed photos just after the ceremony of you and your guests looking fabulous? Less is often more!

  • Claire
    7 years ago
    AUTHOR

    Thanks everyone for the comments on this blog post – it’s nice to revisit, and Jackie you have made a fantastic point.
    As a wedding photographer do you offer a package with the focus on quality, not quantity… or would you do this on request?
    I’m just wondering – and here’s a question for everyone: if a bride and groom had a budget of £500 and asked for two hours of your time and twenty images, would you do it?

  • Niel Stewart
    7 years ago

    We hav to be realistic about the current situation. Less people getting married year on year, smaller budgets when they do get married. More ‘photographers’ than ever and more people coming into photography over the next few years. The ‘old guard’ who used to make money shooting weddings are now mostly trainers selling the dream of be your own boss and make money with your camera.

    If you divide the number of UK weddings Byrne number of UK registered photographers it works out at roughly 6 weddings each per year! (yes I know it’s rough and inaccurate !!)

    We can regulate our own industry – we can make sure we present our insurance to brides and grooms and venues so it becomes the norm. We can become qualified through any of the photo organisations such as the MPA, BIPP, Guild etc – so it becomes the norm.

    When we show our work we can educate by talking about why a shot is good – positioning, lighting, technique

    But we all have to face the fact that supply is up, demand is down and so what we can charge has to reflect the market.

    And with a current crop of decent consumer cameras and simple actions / presets and a world awash with iPhone snaps -the wedding photography industry is changing.

  • Your point near the end hits the nail on the head. I think as a photographer you should concentrate on being a great person to have at a wedding, producing amazing work and providing a quality service. After that your couples will explain to their friends why you are worth it!

  • 6 years on and the market seems even more crowded – but I think there’ll always be a market for good work and a good attitude. Great article.

  • EE
    12 months ago

    Some great read here, even if that was 7 year ago! We made a mistake for our wedding to let my father in law choose the photographer because he wanted the same guy that took his other daughters wedding. The guy wasn’t really bothered in producing nice shots or portraits. Biggest regret!

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