How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost
How much does a wedding photographer cost? This is my breakdown of what to expect when looking at the cost of wedding photography.
You will find out after your wedding that photography is one aspect of your special day that is worth investing in. You will hopefully be looking back on these photos for many years to come. It’s important that you set aside enough of your wedding budget for a top professional wedding photographer.
If wedding photography is important to you then choosing a person to spend the day with you is such an important decision. With so many different options, it can be tricky to judge how much a wedding photographer should cost. Here is a guide to wedding photography prices from my experience with many other frequently asked questions answered in my FAQ section here.
Low Cost Wedding Photography?
Anything less than £600 and I would say that maybe the photographer is what we call a weekend warrior. The photographer may already have a full-time job Monday to Friday and offering photography services on the side. They will probably not be insured or have much experience or back-up equipment. They probably don’t have a professional back up photographer in case of illness either. (although I have never needed one I have one on my contract with you, for your piece of mind)
To build a good overall story coverage should start when then the hair and make-up has begun. These morning moments are special. Think about what emotion is going through the bridal party. They are about to get married, emotions are extremely high with lots of smiles and happy tears. Missing these moments and the story just isn’t the same. I aim to be with the bride and bridesmaids as soon as I can in the morning, normally around 10:00. I don’t charge per hour, I charge to create a story for you.
For wedding photography that cost under £800, I would expect you to get between 200-300 with a very basic edit and not very creative.
READ MORE: Why Hire A Professional Photographer
I recommend you set aside 8-10% of your wedding budget for your photography, including an engagement shoot and any albums you would like. With the average wedding costing £27,000 in the United Kingdom, setting aside around 10% for your photography budget works out at around £1,500-£3,000.
What Can Affect Wedding Photography Pricing?
I shoot many weddings around the world, I charge for my flight and 2 nights accommodation for anywhere in Europe and 3 nights for international weddings. This is then invoiced 30 days before your big day. You don’t have to worry about booking anything for me. I let you know my requirements, we agree and I book everything myself. The allure of the big, fancy and expensive wedding has been also been replaced by the appeal of a more intimate affair with gorgeous exotic scenery. A destination wedding has become a popular choice for couples looking to start married life in a memorable, personalised and more meaningful way and the costs are cheaper than you may think.
You will pay more if you reside in London than the rest of the UK. Lots of photographers will cover weddings nationally and you’ll be expected to cover their travel costs. It might help you save a little bit of money to look for a local photographer if your budget is really tight. Travel anywhere in the UK (even Europe) is now relatively cheap and easy so not really an issue for most couples. For a few hundred pounds more you are booking who you actually want.
READ MORE: Destination Wedding Tips
Best Times For A Wedding Photographer
If you don’t have a huge budget for photography, you can sometimes hire a photographer to cover just part of your day and reduce the cost. Maybe you’re happy with lower quality shots with bridesmaids and groomsmen taking some shots of the preparations and you just want professional photos of the ceremony, speeches, and cutting of the cake. If so, then ask your shortlist of photographers if they offer a half-day package.
I personally only shoot full day coverage as I’m a storyteller, not just somebody who takes photographs.
READ MORE: Get The Most Out Of Your Wedding Photography
Hidden Wedding Photography Costs
Most professional wedding photographers in London will have been contacted by a couple who’d thought they’d found a good deal with another photographer and ended up with photographs that weren’t a very good standard with spiraling hidden costs. I have even heard of couples who booked a photographer, had their engagement shoot and really didn’t enjoy the experience, either there was a personality clash or the images were of poor quality. This is the last thing you want when you still have the wedding day to get through! Do your research, check out their Google reviews from past clients, it will provide you confidence that the money you are investing is going to the right place. When I deliver quotes to a client I ensure I am transparent, I offer basic pricing and with just a few easy options.
Setting Expectations Early
I’ve been shooting weddings for over 12 years and have come across various stories of disappointment. One that stands out for me and is very common is where a couple paid around £800 for the day from a photographer who had some reasonable images on their social media page and the couple thought they had a bargain. Unbeknown to them these images were from a wedding photography training course the photographer had attended and all were staged. At these training courses, the bride and groom are models, used to the camera and you have a few hours to set up the shot. At a real wedding you have just seconds to change your camera settings and capture that moment……
Has The Photographer Actually Shot A Real Wedding
…..He didn’t actually know how to shoot a wedding for real, which is VERY different. “There was panic during the wedding when his camera jammed and he missed crucial shots because he didn’t have any backup camera. He was also a bit rude and had no idea how to talk to people” This is normally down to stress and inexperience.
After the wedding, the photographer-supplied them with 300+ poor quality images within 2 days, with huge watermarks. They were then asked to pay extra for removing the watermarks!
Normally image delivery is between 5-8 weeks and is the second part of a very creative editing process. I personally check every single image then hand edit each one. To negate any issues and for both our sakes I provide you with a written digital wedding photography contract that details everything we have spoken about and final costs with full transparency.
READ MORE: Engagement Shoot Photography
Cheap Wedding Photography
Wedding photography is definitely an industry where you get what you pay for. Think very carefully before you scrimp on those lasting mementos of your big day and find a once-in-a-lifetime moment hasn’t been captured.
You might have a close friend or Uncle Bob with a big camera who’s an amateur photographer or know of a photography student but choosing someone inexperienced is a risk not worth taking. If you are choosing someone to photograph your special day, you need someone who can do more than just take photographs. Wedding photography is a job of relationships, not just a person with an expensive camera taking photos. Don’t expect to be sharing many of the images you receive on your Facebook page.
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£1,000 Wedding Photographers | How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost
This should be the minimum you are spending for a fairly good wedding photographer.
Again, always check exactly what the photographer’s package includes. They might charge £1,000 but the coverage is only until the end of the speeches and there’s an additional cost to cover the cake cutting and the first dance.
When I offer full coverage, it’s full coverage. The story starts from the moment the makeup is applied to when everybody joins the dance floor to party. I will never understand why you’re charged extra. I absolutely love being at weddings and I’m there until after the first dance.
My wedding photography pricing starts at £1,650 for full day coverage anyway in the UK (not inc travel), with a few extras like; aerial photography, albums, engagement shoots, albums or a second photographer. I can also film your speeches if your budget can’t stretch to a wedding videographer which is a similar price to a wedding photographer.
READ MORE: Best Wedding Speeches
£1,500 – £2,000
This is the average cost for a good wedding photographer. Dedicated and knowledgeable photographers charging this price point should know how to cope with any situation the day throws at them, have a full body of work, various full wedding blog posts where you can view a whole wedding shoot and not just 1 or 2 staged shots. They will also be able to deal with equipment failure and knowing where to be at the right time.
Ahead of the wedding, you should expect a pre-wedding consultation in person or via Skype to discuss what you want as a couple and how the day will run. This is essential for the photographer to know and will also help you feel more comfortable with them on the day. I like to send a short questionnaire 30 days before your wedding day as by this time you would know the timings of everything you have planned which will then act as a guide for me on the day.
This price point (£1,500-£2000) gets you the full services of the photographer on your wedding day, which usually amounts to at least 10 hours of wedding day coverage. It should start from the bridal party preparations through to the couple’s first dance; you’ll expect them to capture those one time moments like a bride opening the letter from her future husband, the father seeing her beautiful and precious daughter fully made up ready to get married. The tears, the laughs and super proud Grandparents smiling. These moments are second nature to a fully fledged professional photographer.
READ MORE: 5 Wedding Tips They Don’t Tell You
After the wedding, you should receive either a download link containing your wedding images or USB of high-resolution, fully-edited images, usually of 400-500 pictures from the day. Your photographer should also provide you written consent that you are able to print off the images of your choice. Remember, the photographer owns full copyright to every single image taken at your wedding image.
Book An Engagement Shoot
Engagement photo shoots are an excellent way to capture some lovely lifestyle images before your wedding day. It’s also an opportunity to get comfortable in front of the camera and also to see how the photographer works and interacts with you.
£2,300 – £3,000+
For this price bracket, you should expect all of the above, plus a handmade wedding album and a second photographer.
My average client will spend around £2000 as an engagement shoot is nearly always chosen, which is £495 per session.
READ MORE: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Checklist
A second photographer is perfect for larger weddings with more than 150 people at the ceremony. Getting different angles during the ceremony, and capturing additional special moments, like both the bridal and groomsmen party preparations are a benefit. You receive around 150-200 images more.
Ultimately it comes down to the experience, quality of service, creativity and most importantly the personality of the person you decide to hire to spend 12 hours on the most important day of your life. The ones that have it all, will charge that little bit more as it does reflect the overall quality of what you receive. Is it worth it? You just need to ask yourself how much you value wedding photography. After all your wedding photographs are what you are left with.
I’ve hopefully provided you enough information for you to understand ‘how much a does wedding photographer cost’