Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?

Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?

Information on why wedding photographers charge so much?


Most couples will have a budget set for their wedding, this article is meant in no way to encourage breaking the budget, though it may help you decide to reappropriate funds. Though like most big projects, the budget can be all too often exceeded, partly because the cost is under estimated at time of planning. As with employing any trade persons, there are hidden costs in the industry, the price of a wedding photographer is not the take home pay, costs and tax have to be subtracted. According to Hitched.com (2019 survey) the average fee for a UK wedding photographer is £1500-£2000 for full day coverage and digital image files . A rough guide is the cost of your photography should be about 10-15% of your wedding cost. Though you can spend anything from a £50 to £5000.

It just depends on your personal situation and how important this aspect of the wedding is to you. So even if you are having a small, midweek wedding, it would be worth booking a professional photographer, most will have a more affordable option for short, off-peak assignments. Even taking this it all into account, the fee for one day of photography can be baulked at, leaving a lot of people asking, why is wedding photography so expensive? However if you break down the cost of running a photography business and the time just one wedding absorbs, then most photographer fess can be seen as reasonable.


Professional grade camera equipment is expensive. Having gear that can cope with intense and frequent use is paramount, a full day wedding can amount to thousands of shutter releases. Only the best equipment can cope with this reliably, even then back up equipment if required. Weddings are one-off occasion, they cannot be re-scheduled in the event of equipment failure. Full time professional photographers will have spent £10,000-£15,000  on their wedding day set up. And this is not a one time cost, equipment that is used so heavily, needs replacing every two to four years. This includes cameras, lenses, flash guns, memory card and batteries.


Most wedding photography specialists will work from home, though this space needs to be accounted for, as well as the business use of utilities. Then we have computer equipment that can cope with large digital image files. Also professional photography processing software need to be licensed, as does online storage systems. Additional costs include an office based archival system, so no wedding data is at risk, also the cost of running a professional website and all the specialist software, skill and time that entails to ensure clients can fin you. In all advertising and promotional expenses can mount up in a course of a year.


These additional overheads include insurance for equipment and professional indemnity and liability, which is mandatory to work at some venues. Then travel costs, not only paying for a reliable form of transport, but the fuel and maintenance all fall at the feet of a sole trader.


Photographing a wedding is not just your average day. For most people an average working day is eight hours, with lunch hour and breaks throughout. The average wedding day coverage is an intensive ten hours plus travel time, two to four hours round trip is not uncommon. Then once you are home, not many wedding photographers can sleep before they have downloaded and backed-up the days digital image files. So just the wedding day itself amounts to two normal working days. We also have to factor in the preparation time, client meetings and correspondence. After all this, the majority of the time is actually spent on processing and editing. Multiply days are spend in the office at the computer working on each image individually.


So why is wedding photography so expensive? In short because the fee for a wedding photographer is just not for the one day but incorporates, one to two weeks of work, as well as all of the costs listed above. Taking in mind the physical limitation on the number of weddings a full time photographer can take on in year as well running the business, the average fee can be considered good value.

Obviously there are different skill levels, so general advice is to be wary of photography services who charge less or offer additional second shooters below this level. There may be good reason for this such as, inexperience, or they have additional income from another job. Though these bring their own problems, sometimes a bargain is not a bargain in the long run.

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

Hopefully you have found this information on the costs of wedding photography useful. If you are currently planning your wedding, and looking for a South Wales wedding photographer who can capture your day with natural and emotive imagery, please do not hesitate to get in touch. My approach to wedding photography is friendly yet unobtrusive, designed to let you enjoy your day whilst I capture the essence with an understated reportage aesthetic.



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