How much should you spend on your wedding photography?
The short answer is, as much as you are comfortable spending to get the results you want. You can spend £500 or less for a student or a "weekend warrior", the downside of this approach is the risk you are taking - when you are not happy with the resulting photographs the obvious reply is "Well you didn't spend very much - what did you expect?". See our Bride's Guide for details on the many unfortunate tales we have heard from brides who thought they were saving money or booking a reputable photographer only to be sadly let down by the end results.
You might know someone or a family member who is keen on photography or who has a decent camera. Unless they are an experienced wedding photographer we really don't recommend you go down this path. If you do, please ensure they know you are expecting them to be responsible for your wedding photographs. Many of us have had invitations to weddings with the added footnote "can you please bring your camera with you???". Do people invite friends who are plumbers over for dinner and ask them to bring their tools with them?! :-)
A typical good quality wedding photographer costs £1500-£2500, and at the higher end you could spend £5000 on your photography complete with fantastic wedding albums.
There's no such thing as a Standard Photography Package
When we got married, Jan went around and looked at photographers and got very confused with the different offerings.
"It's too difficult to compare" she said. "The first guy doesn't stay for the speeches, the second one doesn't include an album and the third one isn't including VAT in the quote but does have an 'Attendance Fee' ". (Note to that photographer - WTF is an Attendance Fee and how do you shoot a wedding without attending?)
After our wedding, I was changing our packages and pricing and my wife's simple instructions were "Make it an all-day, all-inclusive service, from preparations right up through the first dance, with all the added bits brides will like such as the slide show and the going-away album included". Like any good husband I do exactly what my wife tells me to, and that's what we do to this day, with two photographers making such we have both sides of the preparations covered and we're happy to stay later in the evening if you have fireworks or other event planned.
Tricks of the Trade
Don't get caught out by these photographer's tricks - some of which are actually taught at seminars advising photographers on how to close sales and make more money. We publishing details here as we don't believe some of this behaviour is ethical or defensible.
- The Don't Quote a Price trick - claiming that every wedding is different the photographer insists on meeting you in your home and then uses sales techniques similar to those employed by double glazing salesmen including "special today only discounts" to wear you down and try to clinch the deal.
- The Unrealistic Low Price trick - gets your attention by advertising a low price point such as £950 but does not mention this only applies to four hours of coverage, out of season and mid-week with no album. By the time you factor in the coverage you want for your day, the second shooter, and the album the price is now much more expensive.
- The Book a Big Name, Get Someone Else on the Day trick - book a well known or award winning photographer who has great rapport with you and then find they are suddenly unwell or otherwise unavailable on your wedding day. They send their apologies and an unknown photographer to shoot your wedding, which is allowed under the terms of their contract. Obviously any photographer could be ill occasionally, but when it happens on a fairly regular basis then I feel it becomes a dishonest practice.
- The Pre-Designing Your Album trick - getting you to fall in love with a huge album with many more pages than you initially expected. When presented to you immediately after your honeymoon, this relies on you still experiencing your "wedding high" and some special one-off today only discounts to get you to agree to spend many hundreds or thousands of pounds on an album you were not planning for.
We have produced "The Bride's Guide to Photography", a more detailed report which includes these and many more photographer tips and tricks you need to know about to make sure you don't fall for them. To receive a free copy of this or any of our other Bride's Guides please click below: