how much does a wedding photographer cost?
Documentary Wedding photographer reveals the behind the scenes of her business and why it is so expensive.
For newly engaged couples it’s crucial to plan ahead and start planning your wedding with a budget.
When you start looking at your available finances I would suggest to initially split 90% of your budget between the venue, food and drinks, the dress, DJ/entertainments and the photographer.
Generally, the photographer’s slice fills 10% of the total. Of course, this applies if photography is something important to you and you want to invest in it.
But why a wedding photographer is so expensive?
how much should you pay your wedding photographer?
Typically an average wedding photographer costs between £1500 and £2500 and this is normally a package including 10 hours of photography and a minimum of 300 images with full printing licence
This might seem unreasonably high at first glance, but there are reasons behind it which I’m going to explain:
COST OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
Wedding photographers spend a lot of time and money in developing their skills. A 1-2 days training session could cost between £300 and £600.
Generally, photographers spend around 5% of their yearly revenue on training. Also, consider the time used to practice new techniques and get familiar with them.
COST OF EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE
The gear and the cost of maintaining it are very expensive. We are talking about thousands of pounds. An average professional camera body costs between £1500 to £3000. In addition to this, there are various professional lenses whose price varies between £500 to £2000 each. An average wedding photographer owes a minimum of 4 lenses plus 2 camera bodies (one is a backup). Not to mention all the lighting accessories and modifiers which could add another £1000/£1500.
Repairs costs can also be substantial.
COST OF BUSINESS
In order to run a photography business, there are a few fixed expenses to consider:
- Insurance cost and public liability (around £300 per year)
- Editing Softwares (Photoshop and Lightroom)
- Galleries Softwares (examples Pixieset)
- Slideshow Softwares (examples Animoto)
- Cloud Back up Costs(to make sure your photos would be safe even in the event of a fire)
- Website and website maintenance
- Photographer association memberships SWPP or The Guild of photographers are a couple of examples
- Management and Accounting Softwares
- Holiday/Sick pay
In the digital era, wedding photographers take thousands of photos in one single day. During a full wedding(10 hours), a photographer takes between 2500 and 5000 shots and delivers around 300-500 photos. This is to make sure he gets the perfect moment and optimises the chances of capturing it at its peak. If you consider 10 hours of coverage, travelling time and editing time, we are talking about at least 40 hours of work.
Once the wedding is finished, the first thing to do is to select the photos. This is called “culling” process. This is followed by two phases of editing between the two main editing Softwares (Lightroom and Photoshop). The first editing phase is more generic and the second is more focused on details and ad-hoc adjustments. The photographer might also deliver a complimentary slideshow story- video with a selection of the best images which also requires a lot of time and dedication.
Of course, the price of photography increases if you decide to add specific products like professional albums or a second photographer for wider coverage (think about the groom preparation which could only be captured hiring a second photographer as the main one would be busy with the bride getting ready). Professional Albums prices can vary from £300 to £600 and a second photographer cost could be roughly £250-£300.
I hope this post gives you an idea of how much you should pay for your wedding photographer if you want to invest in it.
I would strongly advise not to hire a friend or a cheap photographer to avoid disappointments (also read my past blog post “why you should hire a professional wedding photographer“). A friend will not always be there as he/she is also a guest. He/she also won’t have the experience or the appropriate gear to achieve professional results.
Think about the insurance, the backup and the gear, the experience, the quality and the capacity of adapting to any situation and still being able to produce great photos.
Among all the suppliers involved in your wedding and the service they offer, photography is all you’ll have left in years to come. What I mean, is that these images will save the memory and the emotions of such an important day with all your loved ones. You will probably experience such a special gathering only once in your life when friends and family travel from all over the world to be with you.
Also, I believe we play a very important role which is why you should always meet your potential photographer. Listen to your heart, understand if you feel comfortable with and make sure you finally trust your photographer (read this post if you want to know more).
So, good luck with planning your wedding! I hope I’ve helped you understand why investing in a good photographer is so worth it!
Below some of my favourite photos from recent weddings, I hope you enjoy!