Wedding Photography Prices

What do Wedding Photographers Charge?

Why do Wedding Photographers charge so much money?

‘It’s just clicking a button’ is a popular phrase uttered by many a drunken guest at a wedding. Swiftly followed by ‘a few grand for a day, alright for some’ and so many more I could list! But, I think these opinions are a common misconception and / or lack of understanding about what a photographer is actually charging for.
I’ve written this article for all of you lovely couples who are at the start of your wedding planning journey in the hope that I can explain the varying factors that  influence the cost of wedding photography and hopefully help you make an informed decision, whoever you decide to book.

First things first, you’re newly engaged (CONGRATULATIONS)!

Now, down to the serious business of planning the wedding and finding out just how much this thing is going to cost.

First up, the Venue . . .

I’ve actually written a separate article about Wales’ best wedding venues which you can read here.  The venue and how your photos will look are actually closely linked  and many people don’t think about this until after they’ve booked the venue by which time they’re stuck with the dodgy red carpet and yellow strip lights said venue boasts. Just saying.

Anyway, so you’ve booked the venue and next on your list is choosing a wedding photographer. Well, in an ideal world. Some couples are leaving it later and later to book their wedding photographer but believe me when I say that I turn away around 30 couples a year because I’m already booked to photograph another wedding.

Top Tip – Book your wedding photographer early to avoid disappointment

So the search begins on Google, Instagram, Pinterest etc etc etc. Twenty Photography websites later, overwhelm has set in and you’ve realised there are a lot of photographers who all seem to do the same thing but charge a wide spectrum of prices.

The average wedding costs £25,000. A good rule of thumb is 10-20% of your budget should be allocated to your photography budget. After all, why spend 25k on a wedding and then not have beautiful pictures of everything you spent the money on!

Some couples choose to have a smaller wedding and that’s absolutely personal preference and in that instance, I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to book a wedding photographer UNLESS having beautiful photos to document the occasion is important to you as a couple.

Either way, the key here is quality. Whether your wedding is a low key affair or high budget, if you want to have professional, good quality photos that show you and your wedding in the best light (literally and metaphorically), choose a professional, don’t scrimp on the only thing that last / stays with you post wedding day.

Top Tip – If you’re on a budget, book a high quality photographer for a lesser amount of hours rather than a low quality photographer on full day coverage.

Anyway, I’ve digressed. The point of this article is to explain the costs involved with wedding photography! Here goes . . .

What are you paying for . . .

* When you pay a fee for a wedding photography package, you are not paying for the photographers time on the day of the wedding. For me personally, my business currently operates in three areas, Photography, Workshops & Wedding Shows. The costs for each ‘arm’ of the business are different and the photography is costed as a separate entity. Costed into my average full day wedding photography package is approximately 50 hours and this is broken down into marketing (to get the booking in the first place), emails back and forth between first point of contact and end product, meetings (usually 2x 1 hour per couple), approx 10 hours plus travel time on the day of the wedding followed my minimum 10 full days and nights editing the wedding. The costs are also broken down to cover all of the above activity as well as fixed costs from editing software to camera kit, camera maintenance, insurances, accounting and everything in between that has to be paid for in order for my business to exist and me to fulfil my wedding photography contracts. So, much like any product or service you purchase which will have overheads factored in, wedding photography is exactly the same, it’s a business and it has to charge enough to pay the bills and make a profit.

*Most Wedding Photographers (Credible ones) are looking at an initial lay out of 15k on equipment, one lens alone can cost £1500, a primary camera and backup camera (6k), a computer that can keep up with editing large files at speed = 5k, most photographers have a laptop and desktop (10k), this is before you’ve even started on insurance, travel, Google Ads (current cost £400pm), website hosting, editing subscriptions, gallery software, I could give you the balance sheet but I think that’s probably enough to get an insight on why photographers charge a few thousand pounds!

*Experience. A valuable asset on any CV is demonstrable experience in the job you are applying for. In relation to wedding photography, experience is absolutely crucial for many many reasons. The photographer is often ahead of the co-ordinator in terms of running the day. Being assertive and knowing how to deal with people and any situations that may arise is key to getting the best out of your wedding photographs. Weddings also have a habit of being rather unpredictable, years of experience mean a professional photographer is equipped to deal with pretty much any incident that may arise on the day and is aware of the various things that can go wrong before they’ve even happened. Lighting, perhaps the most crucial part of ensuring your wedding photos are ‘nice’ is extremely unpredictable in this lovely country we call home. Knowing how to manage our less than ideal light and the less than ideal lighting scenarios we’re faced with in churches / corporate venues is a skill that only experience can teach. These factors are absolutely key and this is what you are paying for when you hire a professional wedding photographer.

Why do some photographers charge £500 and some charge £3000?

Bloody good question that. And one I often find myself explaining to couples when I meet them. It’s like anything in this world, you get what you pay for.

Experience – Student or Pro?

I touched on this above, like with any normal job, the more experience you have, the higher a salary you can command because ultimately, you are going to be better at the job than someone with less experience than you / someone just starting out.

An experienced photographer should be shooting on manual (yes, not auto, manual) all day and that requires an incredible amount of skill to adapt at speed to ever changing lighting situations whilst also ensuring no key moments are missed. An experienced photographer will also know exactly how to pull the best out of you and your guests when it comes to the couples shots and group shots.

People skills come with experience of working with people. I’ve worked with many many couples who hate having their photograph taken and I know how to manage that. I’ve had 7 years of analysing my photos during the editing process and learning along the way how to improve. Getting to the point where you 100% know what you’re doing in any given scenario takes years hence it comes with a price tag.

Part time vs full time

Quite a large portion of the wedding photography industry are part time photographers. By this I mean, they have full time jobs that pay the bills and for them, wedding photography income is bonus cash. I have no issue with this as everybody has to start somewhere but because their personal living costs are already covered by their full time job, they can and do charge less than those of us that are full time.

Whilst I have no issue with part time photographers, I do think that there is a risk to booking a part time photographer vs a full time photographer. A part timer who has a proper full time job and to whom wedding photography is a side hustle is not going to be as committed as a full time photographer because ultimately the risk to them is not as high. With photography being responsible for a large part of my income, I am 100% committed to ensuring that I provide a fantastic client experience to each and everyone of my couples. If I were working somewhere else 9-5 / Monday – Friday, I struggle to see how the photography business would be viewed as a priority, however, that is just my opinion based on my own personality!

Final Edit

Editing the photo is in some ways as important as the technical ability of taking it in the first place. I am what you would call a looks like film photographer, I purposely de-saturate my images to look a certain way and the technical ability of manipulating each image to fit my style allows for a consistent look across the entire wedding collection. There are many tools to help people edit photographs and it never fails to amaze me when I see a photographer using multiple different styles of edit across their instagram feed / website. This demonstrates poor editing ability and is 100% something to look out for when choosing your wedding photographer. You must first decide which style you like, bright greens or desaturated greens? Orange skin tones or clean white looking skin tones? Look at the colours in images and decide which look you like best. Beware of any photographers who are displaying images that are not consistent because you will end up with poor quality photographs!

And that’s just colours, never mind the time it takes for additional photoshop adjustments as and when required, be it an errant beer bottle or a random photo bomber, a skilled editor will make all sorts of adjustments and this is another reason why a top end photographer may cost more than one who does a lesser / basic edit.

Equipment

Equipment is important. I have upwards of 20k’s worth of equipment. That means I’m well equipped to deal with any lighting situation / if my camera breaks, I have an identical backup camera in my bag. My kit is also high quality enough that it boasts dual memory card slots. If a memory card corrupts, there is a back up card in the camera which means there is a duplicate copy of your photographs. Lower budget cameras do not have dual memory card slots nor can they cope with poor lighting situations. If someone is charging less than £1000 for a wedding, they are likely using low end kit.

Video / Photography

Photographer / Videographer in one person, be wary. I am 100% focused on getting the best images I can get during the course of a wedding day and cannot imagine a situation where it would be possible to do both simultaneously and get the same quality. Although there are many photographers who offer both, videography and photography are also completely different skill sets so whilst you might be a good photographer, that doesn’t necessarily translate into being a good videographer, particularly if you’re trying to do both at the same time. One word, avoid! Same goes for some of the ridiculous deals that occasionally pop up on my social media ie. two photographers, video, all day coverage and an album for £600, I never push anyone to book me as it has to be the right fit but as a general piece of advice, avoid these types of packages at all costs because you will be disappointed!

As a final note . . .

Things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer or  wedding photography package . . .

1 – How long have they been in business? What are the reviews like? Do they have an online presence / trail to prove they’re a credible business? Before engaging any business services, my standard checks are Website, Instagram, Facebook, Spelling / general presentation etc etc.

2 – Do you like their images and editing style? Look at the colours and skin tones.

3 – Budget – Get 5 quotes from similar quality photographers, use common sense, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

4 – Are they busy? How many weddings are displayed on their website? Can you see an example of a full wedding?

4 – How many edited images will you receive?

5 – Do they have insurance and contingency plans to cover every eventuality?

7 – What kit are they using?

8 – Do you get all of your images including within the price or are there any other costs after the wedding?

9 – In what format and how will you receive your images?

10 – This is crucial. Do you like the photographer and their personality? You have to spend all day with them, make sure you choose someone you click with!

I delve further into things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer here . . . .

Prices

To give you an idea of my pricing, USB only weddings start from £1095 for part day coverage and £1695 for full day coverage. Shorter coverage is available upon request. You can view my current brochure here. Wedding photography quotes are occasionally created on a bespoke basis based on factors such as length of coverage required, size and scale of the wedding, what type of album you require (if at all) and where and when you are getting married.

If you’re a complete newbie to the wedding industry and your mind is boggling at the costs being banded about, scroll down for some further info!

So, it’s the beginning of your wedding planning journey and you’re at that point where you’re just starting to research just how much is this wedding going to cost?!

In addition to cost, I imagine you’ve already looked at several wedding photographers courtesy of a quick ‘wedding photographers Cardiff’ search and you’re probably feeling overwhelmed with who the hell to choose because they all look the same!

I meet with newly engaged couples on a weekly basis and the majority are starting from scratch with this whole wedding malarkey and have no idea what to expect and what is ‘expensive’ and how the phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ really does apply as much in the wedding industry as it does anywhere else!

To help you understand how to navigate choosing your wedding photographer and to give you a realistic expectation of how much a wedding photographer costs and the factors that influence the price, I have put together two helpful articles, things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer and the cost of wedding photography explained. Click the links for some practical advice aimed at helping you sift through the noise. Or click here to get in touch for more info!

Latest Real Weddings Cardiff & South Wales

Creative Wedding Photographer Of The Year 2018 At WWA

Very very exciting news! South Wales based Documentary Wedding Photographer Francesca Hill (that’s me)  is now an award winning photographer! I am ridiculously excited to have been awarded the prestigious ‘Creative Wedding Photographer’ of the year award at The Welsh Wedding Awards 2018! My acceptance speech was a little ropey (I scarpered pretty quickly off that stage) but the mild embarrassment of having to take centre stage to accept my award was definitely worth it as I now have a beautiful glass trophy proudly displayed on top of the tumble dryer . . .

Welsh Wedding Awards Winner Of Creative Photographer

Global Wedding Awards Winner Of 'Wedding Photographer Of The Year' 2018 & 2019!

To say I was ecstatic when I won ‘Creative Wedding Photographer Of The Year’ at The WWA & The Global Wedding Awards last year is a bit of an understatement. To have won a second time at The Global Wedding Awards, this time for ‘Wedding Photographer Of The Year’ is just absolutely incredible. I absolutely adore what I do but it can be a little isolated without a team of office friends cheering you on / telling you that you’ve done a good job. I guess, winning awards is the office equivalent of a fist pump for a job well done! And whilst I’m fully aware this does not mean that I am intact the best wedding photographer in the world, it is a lovely lovely accolade to have won and I’m very grateful to the judging panel for choosing me again!

Press Release:

Cardiff Based Documentary Wedding Photographer Francesca Hill Has Been Awarded:

Wedding Photographer of the Year 2019 – South Wales

This prestigious award marks the hard work and stellar efforts of those who have helped shape this unique and dynamic industry, and our comprehensive selection and judging process singles out the true market leaders of 2019.

Our nomination, selection and judging process took just over 3 months, during which time our industry experts researched, counted nominations and analysed all supporting evidence to ensure that only the most deserving and top performing individuals, firms and products were recognised.