Why Does Wedding Photography Cost so Much?

Personal Branding Suffolk

Did you know on Google the most popular searches for wedding photography is "Cheap Wedding Photography". I have been meaning to write this post for a while, even from friends and family, I get “I don’t understand, why do photographers cost so much.” It’s not malicious in any way, it’s just a lot goes on behind closed doors. So, I thought I would write a blog post to explain.

First and Foremost

What do I do? I would classify myself as a wedding and lifestyle photographer. That means of all your wedding suppliers on your day, I am one of the suppliers that is there first on the scene and one of the last to leave. My job is to covertly capture every moment of your day. From your bridesmaids seeing you in the dress ready go (this moment gets me every time) to the first dance, where you look in each others eyes and you embrace the “I can’t believe we did it” smile reach from ear to ear.

What are the elements?

Some photographers may disagree, and there in no one way to do anything in this world, but this is my experience.

  • Time
  • Equipment
  • Training
  • Software & technology
  • Generic running of a business costs.

Tick Tock

So let’s start with time, as this is probably the biggest seeing as most of us are time poor.

Total Time - 0 Hours

We have many channels in which we can reach one another, search and look for various services. Most however, are now via email in some format. Much of the free time we get to plan our wedding is either in the evenings or at weekends. Therefore, email is the communication preference of choice, as there isn’t really another sociable way at 10pm. Often there are few emails back and forth about pricing, dates and other general enquiries and setting up an initial meeting.

Total Time – 1 Hour

The next natural step is of course to meet your supplier, I offer a free hour consultation with no obligation to book. Quite rightly, you want to get to know this person who you are trusting with your wedding photos. You want to feel you can approach this person and discuss idea’s, how you want your day to run and will of course work professionally and politely. I either meet my lovely couples for coffee or travel to their homes, whatever works for them.

Total Time – 3 Hours

If a couple wants to book me, there is course the formal side of preparing a contract and checking/ensuring the finer details are all correct. Then organising signatures on the dotted lines and any payment plans are put in place.  Sometimes there is insurance details to consult and consider as well. Worst case this take about 2 hours.

Total Time – 5 Hours

I like to keep in touch with my clients wherever possible and about a fortnight or two before the big day we sit down together and go through the schedule of events. It is very important to me that I am in the right place at the right time, especially to catch specific shots that you may be after. We work through the flow of the day, any ideas you might have and any group shots you may be after.

Total Time - 7.5 Hours

Depending on the venue proximity I often like to go and briefly visit before the event, this saves me having to scout about on the day looking for the perfect location and light. Although this is not always possible I try to do this where I can.

Total Time - 10 Hours

Its almost here, the night before I will fastidiously go through my kit (more than once). I clean my lenses (at least 6). I wipe down all my memory cards and charge all my batteries (in the tens). I will test all my cameras, triggers and lighting, from flash to continuous lighting. Just. In. Case.

Total Time – 12 Hours

The normal one liner I get is, surely you turn up, snap a few photos and leave. Ok, so the most obvious part is your wedding day, well that’s 10 to 12 hours, plus any travel time, so possibly an hour each way. Most definitely my favourite part, I love weddings, I love being a part of them and it is definitely an honour to be able to photograph yours.

Total Time - 26 Hours

So the wedding is done and dusted, thousands of images were taken, lots has been shared on facebook and everyone REALLY wants to see the finished photos. Every photographer is different, some are quite conservative with the number of images they take, I am probably the other way, I just keep snapping because I don’t want to miss a single thing. You are probably the same with your phone, but you end up with about ten of the same thing. Have you ever tried to go through and delete duplicates from your phone, the umming and arrrring over which one is the best angle or light.

Total Time  - 33 Hours

Once the 2500 photos have been culled down to the best there is often an edit to each one. Whether that be the way its cropped, ever so slightly under exposed (too dark), where there it a horrid fire exit sign to remove or a tattoo to cover up. Every single final photo gets edited to make it perfect. If edits are minimal you are talking about 10-20 mins per photo and say you are looking at 200 photos at minimum with anything up to 600, that’s at least 40 hours work.

Generally this is the stage that is missed with a cheaper photographer, as this is the bit that adds the time. You could deliver snapped straight off the camera, but that’s not what you want to look at for the next 40 years. You want the most flattering light, the best angle, no bags under your eyes and that annoying spot removed. You want to look like a movie star and so you should, its your day, you look like a movie star in real life so why shouldn’t you on film!

Total Time – 73 Hours

Midway through this process I like to prepare a preview with my favourites from the day, so the couple have something to look at before their final images. It also means if they want to print thank you cards they have some nice images too.

Total Time – 75 Hours

I get to the end, I have completed all the edits, format them appropriately load them all onto a usb, package them up and send them off.

Total Time – 76.5 Hours

So we have a total time on the clock of 76.5 Hours, let’s talk living wage which according to my quick google is currently £7.85, so this would equate to £600.50. Lets face it we know photography is a very skilled job and we would expect our photographer to be skilled. I haven’t even touched on the cost of kit (about £13,000), or running a business (insurance, training, editing software).

I hope I have given you a little glimpse into my world and that you have found it useful and interesting. It is true what your grandma said, you get what you pay for.

Much Love,

Beth x





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