You are probably scouting around the web for wedding photography prices, or are setting your wedding budget and might be thinking "how much should I be spending on my wedding photography?"
Well, you landed on the right blog because I will be giving you some tips on how you should go about setting your budget and what to look out for when shopping for wedding photographers.
1. VALUING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOS
It all starts with how much you value your wedding photography. I am not talking about price here, but I am talking about the real value of having those memories in front of you in 5, 10, 50 years time.
The fact that you are reading this makes me think that you do value your photos in some sort of way or another. If you just wanted photos, everyone has a camera phone now a days, so why not entrust this to your guests as opposed to booking a wedding photographer? because you know that a professional photographer will ultimately produce a better product and experience. Now to understand the value that your wedding photos have for you, we shall start by answering 3 simple questions:
What would it mean to you if you got your wedding photos wrong?
Just imagine if after your wedding day you realised that your photographer missed a couple of key moments, maybe the photographer lost your photos through technical failure, or you simply are not in love with the style because you booked the cheapest option as opposed to a photographer who's work you love. Answer honestly, how would that make you feel ? Disappointed, sad, regretful? If so, and quite strongly so, I would probably say that you value your wedding photos highly, and will probably want to be looking at a budget of upwards of £2K for a full day coverage - but we will come to this in a second.
What do you expect out of your wedding photographer? do you value the overall experience, do you want them to make you feel valued as opposed to just another job ? Do you want them to blend nicely with your family and friends? Do you want them to direct you, or better yet how do you want them to direct you ? Do you want them to be confident and keep your day as stress free as possible?
I believe that hiring a wedding photographer is more than just hiring a professional who can take a good technical picture, its a more personal experience, and so I would encourage you to think about the above questions and uncover what kind of experience you want to receive.
Imagine getting your photos after the wedding day; what will make you happy?
Is it the colouring, is the candid emotion, is the artistry, moments, do you have a particular image or images you will value above all else? or is it the overall positive experience you've had?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you understand how much you value your photos, and where you place your values, which is as equally important.
Once you know that, we can step into the realm of investing and talk about your overall wedding budget, i.e how much you are spending on your venue, car hire, flowers, dress etc... because if you think about it, after those 24hours are gone, all that survives are your wedding photos and/or video. So it is only sensible that your photography and or videography budget is equally proportional to your total wedding budget. Ultimately, look at your photography (and or videography) as your insurance policy. Not only will your memories survive, but that all that money spent on flowers, decor, venue, dress, and details is not wasted away after 24hours, but invested as it's captured beautifully in your wedding photo collection.
So you should spend an amount which is directly proportional to how much you value your photos and your overall wedding budget. You should look at different photographers and select the one who inspires you and sparks joy, contact them to enquire about their availability, and then book a call. If they feel like the right fit, get a quote, and book them. If they are out of your price range, you might try to save up, or ask them if they offer an instalment plan. If they are still out of your reach, then ask if they would be happy to recommend anyone with a similar style and ethos, chances are they will be happy to share.
2. WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY PRICE RANGE
If you're still with me thus far, that's very good. Now that you know how to put a value on your memories, let's talk about the different wedding photographers and the range of prices you will find out on the market.
I classify wedding photographers in 4 groups, the Beginners, the Amateurs, the Professionals & the High Street Companies.
The Beginners :
These are the photographers who are just starting out in the wedding industry, some have been photographing for years and would recently have decided to venture into weddings, whilst some others just starting out as photographers altogether. Beginners will be eager to photograph your wedding at a low cost to gain experience and build their portfolio. Of course, whilst this can seem attractive at first, I do encourage you to think back on the value you are placing on your wedding photos, because your memories might be at risk if caution is not taken. To start off with, ask these questions and then evaluate if you are willing to take the risk on your selected beginner photographer:
a) have they photographed alongside a pro wedding photographer before or are they under the mentorship of a professional wedding photographer? Having guidance when starting out as a wedding photographer is essential, and them being under mentorship or would have assisted as a photographer means they will come with a little bit more experience under their belt.
b) how many weddings have they shot thus far? Weddings are very fast paced, and knowing where to be, when to be, how to direct and when to direct, what gear to use and what settings to use and being able to adapt to a multitude of unpredictable situations does only come with time. So do not expect too much out of a beginner and evaluate if you are happy to take the risk.
c) How will they safeguard your data? Shooting your wedding is a skill, however you need to be reassured that your data will be stored and double backed up, because technical failures are a sad reality. Cameras fail, lenses break, SD cards corrupt, and hard drives die. The safeguarding of your memories is an expensive endeavour starting from the purchase price of cameras able to shoot on 2 SD cards simultaneously (so that if one fails there is always a second backup), having multiple backup cameras in case any fail, having multiple back up lenses, to the storage of your files thereafter on multiple backup systems. Chances are that beginner photographer won't have all of these contingency plans covered.
Beginners will vary in price range, but you can find them for anything under £1K. If you do have a budget of under £1K and truly value your memories, I would urge you to revisit your budget and turn your total wedding budget into an investment by hiring someone more experienced.
Price: under £1K
Cons: Little experience, and your memories might be at risk
The Amateurs / The Lovers of the Craft :
Amateurs are aptly named because they love this industry and are doing it for the love of it. The name does not take anything away from their skill level because the Amateur wedding photographer might be in the mid years of photographing weddings with experience behind their backs. Amateur prices range from £1.5K to £2K. At this price point is where you start to see your money turn into an investment. As you entrust the safeguarding of your memories to the more experienced photographer. In this industry, experience is everything! There have been so many situations where I have been faced with obstacles - timeliness running late, rain, low light situations, technical failures, and the list goes on....and it is only through experience that nowadays I am in a position where I can problem solve quickly. Of course, that is something very precious on a fast paced day like The Wedding Day, where there are no room for errors!
Amateurs are great for this reason. Now the one con of Amateurs, is that because of that accessible price point, of course they will need to photograph a higher volume of weddings, which in some cases can lead to fatigue (especially in the peak of the wedding season) or the service not being as personalised.
Price: £1.5K to £2K
Pros: More Experienced
Cons: The service might not be as personalised especially in the peak of the wedding season.
Professionals are that set of photographers that are investing their time and energy into creating an excellent client experience, developing their skills through continued education workshops & industry conferences, developing relationships with other industry vendors and further investing into their gear and software to better serve the client and safeguard the memories created. From a couples' perspective, what sets the Professionals apart is the EXPERIENCE you will receive! Everything has been throughly pre planned for you so that any mishaps have been anticipated and addressed months before they even happen (if they happen at all). Professionals scout out locations beforehand so that your day can run smoothly and your photographer knows where to take you for photos and the best times of day. Professionals have the time and resources to sit down with you, understand your vision on a more personal level. Professionals guide you through the process especially if you are asking for candid wedding photography, because a lot skill and pre planning goes into creating a beautiful photo whilst allowing your day to be captured naturally. In fact I want to say that this guidance is one of the key elements which will make your wedding day picture perfect.
If you truly value your wedding photos, I highly encourage you seek out a Professional. Even if they are out of budget, try to save up and increase your budget for them, because they are truly your insurance policy that your total wedding budget is reinvested into stunning photos which transcend time.
Price: upwards of £2K to £10K or above
Pros: Assured quality, transcendental imagery and an overall personable experience
Cons: Higher price point might not be as accessible to everyone.
The High Street Companies:
What we've discussed above, operate under the umbrella of a sole individual running their own business; they are the photographer and will be delivering the service to you from start to finish. High street companies are different. They are run by individual teams; sales, marketing, customer service, editors and freelance photographers. The sales team will sell the wedding photography package to you (might sometimes also include video). Then once sold the company appoints a photographer from their pool of freelance photographers who will then come to photograph your wedding. After the wedding day, the photographer delivers the photos to the company who will process the images and will deliver them to you.
This is the epitome of high volume and fast service. There are pros and cons of booking your wedding through a company. Most times the price points are relatively low so they would suite someone who has a small budget. However remember that this system runs on a multi team system, so the final fee will need to be split to pay off for the entire team, so chances are that the photographer they will hire will get paid a fraction of what you are paying, which should make you question the quality of photographer you will get. Most times, you also don't get to connect with your photographer until your wedding day. Again you might want to think how comfortable that would actually make you feel on one of the most important days of your life.
Price: £850 to £2K
Pros: Might suit someone who doesn't wish to connect with their photographer and just needs it done.
Cons: Non personable approach and the quality & heart of the random photographer hired should be questioned.
So there you have it, my top tips for how to budget for your wedding photography and the 4 categories of wedding photographers, and what to expect out of the different levels.
In summary, think about how much your wedding photos mean to you, or what would it mean if you got them wrong. On top of this, think about the overall experience you wish to receive, and then budget directly proportional to your total wedding budget. As only like so you will turn all that money into an investment. Take to Pinterest, Instagram, Google, wedding blog or wedding planner and find a photographer who's work sparks joy, and connect with them. Inquire about their prices and get them booked in (even if it means you need to increase your photography budget). You won't regret booking the photographer of your dreams, but you will regret booking someone cheaper.
I hope that this guide has been helpful, and if there is anything I can assist you with then please do get in touch via email on email@example.com and I will get back to you as soon as possible.