Why Wedding Photography can be so expensive
Some people have a small budget, some large, and for others they have an endless pocket of cash, to to lavish on the biggest wedding they desire.
Add up the venue cost, and the catering! Then the long list of the bridal party’s suits, dresses, shoes, the wedding gown, flowers, and the bill can be astronomical. On some occasions it seems that wedding photographers are charging a large chunk of that bill. Have you ever thought why wedding photography can be so expensive? Why do some charge less than others? It’s because of the associated costs of being a wedding photographer, which many forget. Often it’s very easy to think that they’ve a nice camera, and that’s it, you just click away.
A bit about me
I am a Wedding Photographer, and I have to say it’s an expensive investment on my part. It’s an art, and something for which you have to train, and I don’t mean you require a degree in Photography. I mean training in that subject area of photography. I train with an award winning wedding photographer, who has earned his stripes, covering over 500 weddings. He teaches what he knows, to so many others. I’m digressing slightly but, will come back to this later. Let’s look at the photographer’s overheads which are calculated into the final cost of your wedding photographer’s pricing and packages.
There’s much work that goes on behind the scenes
A photographer’s work does not commence at the start of your wedding day nor does it end when they leave. You will have a pre wedding consultation, and possibly, a pre wedding shoot. There will be administration time, preparing invoices, contracts, updating those invoices when balances are paid. With social media, email and text messages your photographer is on hand to answer any questions, or thoughts that you may have. They’re on hand for maybe pintrest images you ping over and would like them to replicate. There can be regular conversations about the day, how you feel, last minute changes, add ons etc. You may be nervous, they are quite often on hand to provide an advisory, and calming service.
If I am attending an 8, 10 or 12hr wedding there will be my preparation times, arrival time half an hour before time requested. There could be a few hours driving to and from your venues and their home. Often there are long hours beofre a break time during your wedding. I’ve often worked 6 hrs straight without any form of a break.
Once your wedding ends the photographer will spend many hours editing your images so you get a wide selection of perfectly edited photographs documenting your day. It’s not uncommon to work a full 3-4 days editing a wedding. The photographer’s time is valuable, when you factor in the limited number of weekends in a year there are for them to do their work.
If you book a photographer that comes with an assistant, or second photographer, your cost is going to be higher. In return for getting more images from various places on your day, your photographer have to pay for their services.
Equipment, Insurance and Advertising
The equipment a photographer has in their bag will be high end, and capable of shooting your wedding, with double card slots, just in case one sd card slot fails. High-end lenses and bodies cost around £1500 plus each. A Wedding Photographer always carry back-up equipment in case their main equipment fails, which adds to the cost of the wedding photography prices. A good wedding photographer can easily carry over £10,000 worth of equipment to photograph your wedding. You’ll need to factor in prices of computers and editing programs too. Plus car usage, fuel, wear and tear.
Your photographer will be insured. Public liability insurance is a must, and isn’t cheap. What if a camera falls on little Johnny when he is running around like crazy with 4 or 5 other children, or Grandma Jones falls over a light stand. We need to be covered for all eventualites. What if equipment is smashed, or a photographer falls over a guest and breaks a leg. It’s a very smart and sensible photographer, who is an insured photographer. It doesn’t just cover the photographer but also the client.
Like all businesses we need to be found. So a website is a must. A photographer has to market himself with a very high-tech, professional Web site. This can be costly to design and maintain if the photographer doesn’t have web design skills. It is not unreasonable to spend over £5000 plus a year on website updates, SEO, and online marketing. Photographers also have to spend money on other types of advertising such as ads in the newspaper, business cards and brochures.
Wedding Albums, Education and Training
You would be shocked if you knew how much wedding albums actually cost. I mean good wedding albums that come with a guarantee, not cheap flimsy albums, from an online print lab. I am referring to extremely well made, by hand, last forever, thick rigid, high quality leather albums. Each one colour checked to ensure that each image printed matches the uploaded images the photographer has created and added to the album. Albums are expensive and are often added into the wedding photography prices. Don’t forget, that once you have ordered your wedding album, your photographer will design them as well.
Education and training within this chosen field is important. A Wedding photographer is always striving to be the best they can be, learn new techniques, and specialise in off camera flash, speedlite and be able to wow you with their images. As everything else, that education comes at a cost through instructors, award winning photographers. Travelling to 2 or 3 day courses, staying over night. This year alone I have spent £2000 on training, because I am passionate about my work and want to be the best. I want to offer a full service to my clients and ensure them, that with me, they are in safe hands.
Some photographers may be extremely cheap, then you’ll find that another is very expensive. Think why they might be cheap, there could many reasons. It’s not always a case of ‘you get what you pay for’ but quite often a difference can be seen in quality or service. I know photographers who want the odd bit of pocket money and like photographing weddings, they have no overheads, perhaps no back up equipment but, can shoot a wedding perfectly well.
So when you think “why does Jones Photography cost so much more than Smith Photography?” It might just be that, Jones has spent more money developing their business, into a full time professional photography service. They may continually heavily invest, in their own training and on going courses. This ends up costing more money than, possibly an inexperienced part time photographer, or someone who is just building their career! The list of reasons are exhaustive, but they are valid reasons and not excuses!