I often see couples on online groups reaching out ask other couples what they are paying for their photography. Some are surprised when they say a cheap prices, just as some are shocked when something is at a high price. However, for me I do realise that this is a pointless exercise as without knowing exactly what package they have booked OR what photographer they are using, you just cannot make a comparison with your own price. You are not apples with apples but apples with pears.
As a wedding planner I learnt over time that there is so much that goes into photography and I am extremely happy to have Michelle & Phil from Kernwell Photography explain exactly all the elements that actually goes into being a wedding photographer so you can fully understand where all your costs go. It may even help you decide on a financial budget for your photographer for y our wedding day
Over to you guys….
What goes into the price of wedding photography, and why it’s an investment
I’m frequently asked by couples for advice on wedding photography pricing and what goes into the costs. It’s a significant part of any wedding budget, and so I’m very pleased to feature a guest blog today from Michelle & Phil from Kernwell Photography explaining the both the costs and why wedding photography should be seen as an investment.
Understanding wedding photography pricing
Planning a wedding can be equal parts exciting and stressful. It’s certainly a lot of fun to imagine yourself in stunning venues, pick gorgeous flowers, and choose between all those delicious cakes on offer, but choosing wedding vendors can also feel overwhelming and expensive at times. One of the more costly elements of your wedding day is likely to be your photographer—yet it’s also one of the most important to get right. After all, when the cake is eaten, the party is over and the guests are back home, it’s the photographs that remain.
While wedding photography might feel expensive at first glance, a lot of expertise, time and cost goes into it. It’s a lot more than just showing up on the day and pointing a camera for a few hours; there are several key elements that make up the cost of photography packages and that explain differences in price between photographers.
Artistry & craft
Good photos don’t take themselves, no matter how expensive the camera. Photography is an art and a craft. It requires both talent and experience to understand how to create photographs that are not only beautiful but draw you into the story and narrative. Each photographer has their own style and vision for how they do this.
Photography also requires significant technical knowledge, not just on how to use a camera. Photographers need to understand exposures, know how to deal with tricky lighting, changing weather and unpredictable moments that impact timelines on the day. They need to be able to find the best locations for portraits, and where necessary, create good light for beautiful photographs.
It’s this combination of artistic vision and technical knowledge and experience that bring real value and separates professional photographers from your Uncle Bob with a nice camera.
Processing the photographs
Most photographers spend more time processing photos than actually taking them. Once they finish capturing a wedding, photographers then need to import and backup the thousands of photos taken on the day. Then they narrow down, carefully choosing photos to build a cohesive set that tell your story.
Then they start editing—normally the most time-consuming part of the process. Photographers shoot in RAW format, which produces the best possible image quality but requires editing. Using special software, your photographer will adjust exposure, colours, and contrasts to give them their overall aesthetic feel, whether that be fine art, light and airy, dark and moody, or any other style.
Some photographers, like us, also shoot analogue medium format or 35mm film to achieve our distinctive timeless colours and creamy skin tones. Matching digital files to film aesthetics takes more work – but in our view is ultimately worth it for the soft, gorgeous feel of film.
Cost of equipment
While photography is more than just a good camera, a good camera is a requirement. Professional cameras costs thousands of pounds, and that’s without any lenses. Good lenses can cost more than camera bodies – and photographers need multiple bodies and lenses for backup on the day. They also need powerful computers that can run resource intensive editing software, as well as pay for software licenses. Take it all together and some photographer’s equipment can cost as much as a small car. On top of that, all of this equipment needs to be regularly maintained as well as fully insured.
It takes two to tango—and two to tie the knot. Many couples therefore like to have a second shooter, ensuring that both partners’ stories are fully captured if they get ready apart from each other. One of the nicest parts about receiving your photographs back is seeing the day from each other’s point of view.
Unless you hire a set of photographers who work together, like we do, your photographer will need to hire another photographer to support them on the day.
Delivery costs and add-ons
Most photographers will provide an online gallery and/or a USB drive with your images. They may also include prints or albums. All of these come with material costs and potentially require design time as well.
Some photographers, including us, also include an engagement shoot in their packages – these help you get comfortable in front of the camera and provide lovely photos for Save the Dates and wedding websites.
Photographers are small business owners. They have administration costs from accounting, taxes and liability insurance, to marketing and advertising. They also incur travel and possibly accommodation costs depending on how far away a wedding is from them.
An investment worth making
Many factors influence how much wedding photography costs, but it’s important to look beyond the sticker price when picking a photographer.
Choosing a professional with the right artistic vision, experience, and knowledge means they will be able to capture your day and your story in a way that creates lasting memories. Investing in great wedding photography is to invest in your family’s story and heritage. Remember, these are photos that will be passed down and shared with the generations to come.
I hope will help with understanding photography pricing – and to see the importance of getting the right photographer for your day.
Thank you Michelle and Phil for this great insight into all the elements that goes into being a photographer and providing photography for a wedding. I'm sure this much deeper level of knowledge will help couples put a reasonable budget for their wedding going forward in this area.
And lets face it, when eventually we lose our marbles, the one thing we can rely on is that our photography will still be there to remind us of that special day.