Wedding Photography, Why is it so Expensive?
Being a wedding photographer one of the most common questions I am asked is, why is wedding photography so expensive?
So, why is wedding photography so expensive?
On the day of the wedding, I put in about 10 hours work for a full day’s photography, from the bridal preparations to the first dance, but that is only the start of it. Let me break down exactly what you are paying for.
What is a wedding photographer worth?
If you are reading this article then you have or maybe still are in the process of sifting through the hundreds of wedding photographers out there. Prices range from the Facebook brigade at £250 for a full day including a wedding album up to the rock star photographers who demand £3000 for their services.
Why should you pay for a wedding photographer though when digital cameras are just so good these days, most people own one and even camera phones can produce some top notch images. Well, your wedding day is one of the most important days of your lives and to risk having your photos being ruined or not meeting the standards you have dreamed of, is not a risk you should take lightly.
Professional wedding photographers will have the experience to cope with whatever problems they come across during the day. I’ve known tears and tantrums on the morning of the wedding and being able to cope with this, whilst still taking beautiful photos takes a lot of patience and skill.
I have arranged group shots of 150 people and managed to get every one of those people looking at the camera and smiling, well almost everyone, there’s always one at every wedding! Taking the photos of the bridal preps takes skill and a real understanding of lighting to get flattering results. Blasting a flash gun in a bride’s face while she is having her make up applied is a not a good look!
The amount of equipment a professional uses is also a factor, cameras are not cheap. I use two main cameras and take a back up too. I take four lenses and a flash for the first dance. If that flash breaks though then I’m in trouble so I also have a back up for that too. My camera bodies have two memory card slots, so with each wedding photo I take, it saves on to both cards, this cuts down the risk of losing any photos if a memory card corrupts. This amount of equipment runs into thousands of pounds and it’s an ongoing cost, cameras wear out and need replacing.
Any wedding photographer worth their salt, amateur or professional should also have insurance. Public liability and professional indemnity will cover any issues. Many venues now insist that the photographer has at least £2 million of public liability cover.
Once the wedding day is over, it’s the just the start for the photographer. The editing has to begin and for that a quality PC is needed along with professional editing software. I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop and then back up all of the photos again using a portable hard drive. When your photos are ready to be delivered they are transferred to a USB ready for posting.
So that’s the practical and equipment side sorted, but like everything else, you are not just paying for those 10 hours of wedding photography on the day. From that very first email you send me enquiring about availability, my work really starts. Countless emails, phone calls and that first meeting in person. When you have booked, I have to draw up a contract to be signed. I include an engagement shoot too, which lasts around an hour, but call that 2 or 3 with travel, 5 or 6 after editing. Sometimes I will also visit a new venue before the wedding to meet with the wedding organiser and take a look around for the best photo locations. I also liaise with Vicars/Priests beforehand too.
After the wedding, editing takes around 20 hours of solid work. There’s blogging the photos, updating social media so your family and friends can be part of the day.
A wedding photographer is more than his camera
So hopefully you can see that after the camera equipment and the time spent on each wedding, you are now getting an idea of where your money goes but next is the big one. Photography skills have to be learned and it takes years and dozens of weddings to develop those skills. Give Joe Bloggs the best trowel in the world, mix up the plaster and let him plaster your ceiling, what sort of job will you get? Now give Joe Bloggs the best camera money can buy and let him photograph a wedding, you can see where I am going with this one.
Wedding Photography is an investment!
Your wedding venue is a purchase, just like your dress and your cake, the wedding cars, the wedding favours, the flowers etc etc. Your wedding photography is an investment. Done well, you can look back at those photos in years to come and still feel proud. The photos will live forever with your children and grandchildren.
So before you splash out on those flowers, wedding favours and dress, remember to put a lot of thought into your wedding photography and maybe budget a little more. You really do get what you pay for and an experienced photographer is worth their weight in gold.