When you start your wedding planning you’ve possibly never even thought about wedding photographers before.
Let alone how much one might cost.
Just like so much like a lot of things you’re paying for you have no frame of reference on the cost of them.
Good quality photographers start from £1,500 but most are much more than that and some are even MUCH MUCH more than that.
So why on earth are they so fudging expensive?
Here are the most common arguments and my counter arguments.
1) Some people have to work for a month to earn £1500, how can they justify charging this much for a days work?
(Let’s use the nice round figure of £1,500 throughout these examples which is actually a very good price for a great photographer)
There are so many points that need to be made against this already.
- Tax and National Insurance
£1,500 is the amount that is being charged – this isn’t their profit.
For starters let’s assume that the photographer earns less than £40,000/year so as a self-employed person.
They’ll have to pay 9% on National Insurance on this which is £135.
They also have to be income tax which is 20% – another £300 off.
We’re down to £1065 profit already – that’s without any business expenses included…
- Ongoing costs.
As a self-employed business person they also have ongoing costs just for continuing to be a business.
This may include but is not limited to:
- Hiring an office space
- Their photography equipment (Could be anything from £5k upwards and needs renewing every few years)
- Insurance for their equipment (£30/month)
- Liability and Indemnity Insurance (£30/month)
- Running a website (£200+/year)
- Advertising Costs (could be anything from £0-£1000/month)
- Exhibiting at Wedding Fairs (Not only is this an unpaid day of working it is also at least £100/fair sometimes £2500/fair)
- Printing costs (both for promotional material and getting your albums created)
- On and offline photo storage.
- Photo-editing software licenses.
- And sooooooooo much more.
3) It’s WAY more than just a days work
Your photographer’s work for your wedding doesn’t start the moment they turn up for the bridal prep photos.
There is all the advertising/marketing they’ve put their time into being found by you in the first place.
They will be spending hours and hours with pre-wedding meetings, answering emails and correspondence, deciding on a shot list, if it’s a venue they’ve not worked at before then they may take a special visit there to scope out the place.
And THEN there is a full day’s work at the wedding.
Once the wedding shoot is finished that’s when the work begins.
A wedding photographers work AFTER the wedding…
They’ll normally arrange a quick sneak preview very soon after so you get a few shots of your work as soon as possible.
A top photographer will typically take 3000+ images of your day.
Some of these will be perfect, someone will have you looking slightly odd with your mouth at a weird angle whilst you’re laughing with one of your eyes half-shut.
You do NOT want ever see that image, EVER.
Your photographer will spend hours rounding down these thousands of images down to the hundreds of best ones (this takes hours)
Then comes the editing, grading and colouring to make them look absolutely perfect and sending them to you to choose your favourite to go into your main album (this can take hours or days).
It’s long, hard work that some lesser photographers will actually outsource to other companies for £200+ because they don’t want to do it themselves.
All in all, probably 4 full days work.
And then designing the album and everything that goes with it before arranging for it to be delivered.
But it’s JUST one day’s work, right?
4) What on earth has this got to do with what other people earn?
The CEO of Sainsbury’s earn £3.9m/year plus bonus.
Most people won’t earn that in their entire life.
Cristiano Ronaldo earns 30m Euros/year BEFORE bonuses.
He earns what your photographer is asking for whilst he’s having a shower.
You’re comparing apples and oranges – there is also a huge misconception about what you’re actually paying for, but we’ll get into that later.
5) This is their livelihood!
A professional photographer earns their living doing this.
This means that from whatever profit is left over that is the money they have to live on.
You know for those silly things like:
- Mortgage payments/Rent
- Nights out
- Having a life
- Having fun
Remember, it’s their JOB!
This also means that they have no entitlement to
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Holiday Pay
- Maternity/Paternity Pay
- A company pension
- Any other perks of a full-time job.
2) “But they’ve already bought the equipment?”
What are you even talking about?
This is one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever heard against it.
Let’s say a man buys a merry-go-round puts it in the local park, goes through all the right channels business-wise for it.
He then charges £1 for a go on it.
Would you refuse to pay him for it because he’s already bought it?
Why would you even considering paying the venue to hire it?
The building has already been built, right?
If you believe any of this for even a second then just leave, go now!
3) But my Auntie Karen has an expensive camera and says she’ll do it for free and give me all the photos on a memory card.
Great let her do it, it’s your wedding.
You get one chance at getting it right, with photography once the moment has gone that shot is lost forever.
Can Karen control a full wedding party to get the group shots done.
Is she going to lay off the drink all day and night so that all the special moments are captured?
Will Karen happily miss out on special parts of the day by being the photographer rather than a guest?
Does Karen even know how to use her expensive camera?
The most important part of the camera is the person using it.
What training has Karen had?
Does Karen have lightroom or photoshop for editing the images afterwards?
Your photos are perhaps your only physical reminder of the special moments of the biggest day of your life.
Is Karen really who you want to be attempting to capture them?
4) I’ve found someone who’ll do all-day coverage for £300, I think I’m going to book them and save £1200.
By all means.
Again, it’s your wedding if you think they’re the right person to capture your day then go for it!
Just be sure to check all of their previous work, have they done full days at weddings before? If so ask to see full weddings and several of them.
Is the style and colouring consistent?
Will the images they take make you feel things? Do they capture the emotion of those moments?
Do they have glowing testimonials from a string of past clients?
How much do you care about your wedding photography?
The amount of times that my wedding photographer friends have told me that they’ve had couples contact them about “salvaging images” that the cheap photographer they booked took is far too high.
Booking a cheap, inexperienced photographer is false economy unless you really don’t care that much about your wedding photos.
And if you do care then you will end up paying hundreds of pounds to a professional photographer to try and save the crappy photos you’ve been given.
It would have been better just to pay more in the first place.
Thousands upon thousands more people regret NOT spending the money on top photography than they regret spending great money on top photography and a stunning end-product.
5) Other suppliers.
How much are you paying for your dress?
A month’s wages?
For a dress?
An item of clothing that you’ll only wear once.
You can get a near new Topshop dress in a charity shop for £5.
How much are you paying for your catering?
£50 a head?
I’ll drive you down the local chippie, we can get cod and chips for everyone for £6 each – imagine the savings.
Have I made my point yet?
6) It’s just taking photos, why are they earning so much?
What are you really buying when you’re paying a professional photographer £1000 to be at your wedding?
Are you paying for 10 hours of their time?
Whilst you are, yes – that’s not what you’re buying.
When you’re choosing a photographer for your wedding what you’re REALLY doing is deciding which person you are going to entrust with capturing the emotional, the moments, the love and laughter of the biggest day of your life.
The moments will be like dust in the wind if not captured.
You’re paying for their experience.
Their observation skills.
The audience management.
About a week of their time.
And then so much more on top of that.
Following all of this you are then delivered a product which only if it has been created correctly is capable of transporting you back in time to single, perfect, beautiful moments.
Ones which can now never be forgotten.
Moments that will forever be cherished.
And ones which the wrong/cheap/inexperienced photographer might never have even noticed.
But of course, it’s just a day’s work.
Photo Credit: Greg Thurtle TP Photography
Whilst I can appreciate that on first glance paying out £1,500 plus for wedding photography might seem expensive I think it’s vital you take a step back and realise what you’re actually paying for.
Think of all the other money you’re spending on for the day, venue hire, food, entertainment, styling, flowers, clothing, make-up, hair etc – all of these things come with an associated cost.
The photographer is going to be immortalising these things you’ve paid for in their images – when you’ve paid out so much on everything else wouldn’t you want to make sure that the worth of those other things is captured by someone who 100% knows what they’re doing.
You need to lose the idea that you are paying a person to take photos for a few hours – you’re not.
You are booking a professional business to perfectly capture the biggest of your life, forever.
Wedding Photographers I recommend
In my work as a full-time wedding magician I work with countless wedding photographers.
I know I’m bound to miss some and I apologise but here are a list of ones that I work on a regular basis and I give my personal guarantee are worth every penny they charge.
In no particular order:
Dan Roads Photography – www.danroads.com
Laura Dean Photography – www.lauradeanphotography.co.uk
Sadie Osborne Photography – www.sadieosborne.co.uk
TP Photography – www.thurtlepower.com
One Thousand Words Photography – http://onethousandwords.co.uk
Lemontree Photography – https://www.lemontree-photography.co.uk/
Bridle Photography – https://www.bridlephotography.co.uk/
Darren Lovell – https://www.darrenlovellphotography.co.uk/
Peppermint Love – https://www.peppermintlovephotography.com/
David Wheeler Photography – http://davidwheelerphotography.co.uk/
Kevin Wilson – https://www.kevinwilson.co.uk/–
Libra Photographic – https://libraphotographic.co.uk/
New Forest Studio – https://www.newforeststudio.com/