Why is wedding photography so expensive?

Behind the scenes, Featured

So… why is wedding photography so bloody expensive?

If you’re getting married I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question at least once (unless you have a photographer in your family!).

The short answer is: we don’t just take photos. There are a lot of hidden costs (well, hidden to you, very visible to us) that come with shooting a wedding.

Let’s try and break it down for you:

1) LABOUR

  • Back & forth emails: initial enquiry, planning first meeting, sending and agreeing quote, sending contract and invoice, planning engagement session, discussing timeframe and desired photos, payment reminders, delivery of sneak peeks and gallery, ordering album and prints… On average 20 to 40 emails. Say 5 minute per email = 1.5 to 2.5 hours
  • Preparing the contract & invoices = 30 minutes
  • Travelling: to and from first meeting, engagement session, wedding. Depending on how far all the locations are = 2.5 to 4 hours
  • Shooting = 8 to 12 hours
  • Editing: as a rule of thumb we try not to spend more time editing than we spent shooting the wedding = 8 to 12 hours
  • Designing album: depending on number of spreads = 1 to 2 hours

Total = 21.5 to 33 hours – Let’s use 25 hours as an example. If you take our full day collection (£1900) that’s £76 per hour before deducting expenses!

2) EXPENSES

  • Travel expenses: to and from first meeting, engagement session, wedding
  • Print(s)/album(s) costs: this varies depending on the collection chosen and number of spreads included
  • Insurance: ours costs about £200/year
  • Internet connection: …how else are we going to send you emails, order your album, set up your online gallery…? Now we obviously also need that internet connection for personal use (mostly Netflix, let’s be honest) so it’s only fair to divide it by 2 £180/year (£30 per month/2)
  • Online gallery and client management software fees: the one we use costs £480/year
  • Editing software: our subscription to Lightroom & Photoshop costs £120/year
  • Camera + back up
  • Lenses
  • Flash & lights
  • Memory cards + back ups
  • Batteries + back ups

Altogether our equipment is worth around £8000 and will last us 3 to 4 years so £2000/year

4) EXPERIENCE

  • Training/workshops: for example Lucie attended a wedding photography workshop in November 2018 that cost £80
  • Seminars/conventions: We bought tickets to a photography convention (including 2 workshops) in January 2019 which cost £300 per person

5) MARKETING

  • Wedding fairs: a stand at a local fair usually costs between £150 and £300
  • Advertising: for example we set a budget of £300 for Facebook ads this year
  • Printed material: leaflets, business cards, sample albums and prints… this can go up to £400/year

Estimated overall expenses: £5000/year. Say we shoot 35 weddings a year that’s £272 per wedding + album/prints costs (let’s take £400 as an example) + travel expenses (say £50) = £722 per wedding!

Did you notice that shooting the actual wedding is only a sub heading in this list? That’s because taking photos is only around 10-20% of the work. There is a huge 50-60% of the work that goes into editing and the rest is split between travelling (yes that counts, we sometimes travel 2 hours to get to the venue!), emails, preparing the contract and designing the album.

So before you decide to book a ‘cheap’ photographer, ask yourself this: why is this cheap wedding photographer cheap? Are they cutting any corners? Are they insured? Are they using the right equipment? How much experience do they have?

Don’t get me wrong, some ‘cheap’ wedding photographers are good. We all have to start somewhere! We’ve been there, Lucie shot her first wedding for £300… But the reason she was able to this was because she had a full time job at the time so she could afford to work for next to nothing. She also didn’t offer any album/prints, delivered the photos via Dropbox (which is free) etc…