Are wedding photographers ripping you off
If you’re planning a wedding, you’ll know that everything seems to cost the earth and the expenses of creating your dream day can appear huge. After booking the date at your perfect venue, thoughts turn to your wedding suppliers and quotes are gathered. Usually one of the larger quotes is for wedding photographers and this can be a bit of a shock! Over a thousand pounds for a few photographs? What a rip off! But is it really? Let’s have a closer look at what goes into providing your wedding photography by a reputable company.
First of all, your wedding photographer needs to have the correct equipment to be able to produce clear crisp images like the one above. The cost of just one camera alone is over £3000 and any trustworthy wedding photographer also needs a back up in case of camera malfunction, so we’re up to £6000 already. Each camera will need at least one lens which cost £1000 each and at least one flash costing around £350 each. Add on compact flash cards and SD cards for each camera (to make sure your precious photographs are saved and backed up on the day) at £150 x 2 and your wedding photographer has already spent around £9000 just on the equipment to take your wedding photos.
Next, let’s consider the costs of running a company. Your wedding photographer will need a reliable insured vehicle to ensure they arrive in time for your wedding. Let’s say £7000 for arguments sake and ongoing costs such as fuel, services maintenance etc. of maybe another £2000. If your wedding photographer has a studio, which would be nice, so that you can go along, see all their products and have a chat about whether you would like to book, the costs of renting a decent sized studio space is around £10000 per year. Utility bills to ensure that you visit a warm welcoming environment and telephone bills so that they can be contacted with your questions can add up to another £1000. Companies also need to keep accounts and really need at least one staff member to sort out the admin tasks while the photographer gets on with taking and editing photographs. If this is just a part time position, then we’ll include a cost of £8000 or so. Then add on the cost of a couple of computers and all the software needed to edit your photographs at around £2250. Your wedding photographer needs to be insured against anything which might prevent him from taking your photographs on the day and also for public liability, which he won’t be allowed in your dream wedding venue without, another £1000 a year. We’re up to just over £40,000 spent so far.
It’s not just about the cost of providing all the equipment and premises, your wedding photographer has to have certain skills and qualities. Imagine trying to control 100 or so people to get them to stand in the right place, at the right time, all at the same time? It’s no mean feat but good wedding photographers do this week in week out. Your photographer needs to be confident and able to communicate with a range of people involved in your wedding from the vicar to the chauffeur to the smallest bridesmaid, so an outgoing personality is a must! Experience and reputation is also vital. After all, you wouldn’t want an inexperienced amateur photographing your big day and potentially leaving you with awful, or even worse, no wedding photographs at all. Someone as skilled as this should be earning a pretty good wage. But they only work for one or two days a week, don’t they?
Now let’s consider the amount of the time your wedding photographer will spend on your wedding. Well , they’re only there for 5 or 6 hours right? Okay, now add on the hour they spent with you when you were comparing quotes for different wedding photographers. Add on another couple of hours for putting your quote together, making sure they have all your details and timings correct and maybe doing a reccie of your venue beforehand if it’s an unfamiliar one. Add on time for travelling and this may be up to three locations if you have bridal prep, a church venue and a separate reception venue, so let’s add on at least another hour. We’re up to ten hours now. Your wedding photographer may even stay for your first dance in the evening which would mean they are still at work while you’re having fun at your wedding breakfast and relaxing a bit before your evening guests arrive. Finally, they can go home but any reputable photographer will not stop until all your precious photographs are backed up in at least two places, so maybe another hour or two there.
Great, the wedding is over and you’re off on honeymoon! Does your wedding photographer stop work now? Nope, now it’s time to start editing the photographs. There may be around 200 – 300 photographs to check through. Some may be deleted or discarded but more than half of these will be edited ready to be presented to you when you return. The photos won’t be fully edited at this stage until you have chosen your favourites, but a few minutes will be spent on each photograph. This is a few days work of around 10 hours, but needs to be done in several shorter sessions to be done effectively.
You arrive back from your hols, eager to see your photos. Your wedding photographer arranges a meeting and spends another hour with you while you choose your favourite 70 or so out of the photographs. The chosen photos are then fully edited and arranged into software for creating your beautiful wedding album (another three full eight hour days of editing and manipulating photographs). Next, you have a look at the first proof of your album. You may be ecstatic with the results or you may ask for some changes. Your photographer will keep tweaking until you are happy, which could be another hour or two of work. Finally, your album is ready to be sent away for printing.
Your wedding photographer has now spent around 50 hours on your wedding which you might have paid him around £1000 for. Not bad you might say, £20 per hour. But wait, he has to pay for your album out of that, okay, £16 per hour. Not too bad? Whoops, we forgot about that £40,000 costs which he still has to pay for! He’s going to need to do a lot of wedding to meet his costs!!
Hopefully, we’ve given you a little insight into the amount of effort and time that goes into wedding photography and we hope that you disagree with the opening headline! If you’re offered cheap wedding photography, read the above again and consider how anyone can afford to spend this amount of time for a few hundred pounds. Where will they cut corners with your wedding so that they can make a profit?
Reed more about the dangers of going for cheap wedding photography on our earlier blog about Uncle Bob’s Wedding Photography
Check out the details of our wedding photography packages here