How much should a wedding photographer cost?

People are frequently confused by the range of prices offered by wedding photographers.

This is the classic how long is a piece of string question. If you have just started to look for a wedding photographer then you are probably surprised to find out how expensive booking a photographer for your wedding is and the wide range of prices. Also be sure of how much it will finally cost – some photographers seem very cheap until you realise that everything is an optional extra!

Some of the requests for photography are quite revealing. Some people will be asking for 12 hours wedding photography, from the initial bridal preparation until the bride and groom depart for the honeymoon, a CD of all the images taken, an online gallery, a TV slideshow of the wedding pictures and an album with two parents’ albums thrown in. This is great until the photographer gets to the bit where the client says their budget is around £700!

You might just about get the album for £700. Wedding photography is a wonderful example of getting what you pay for. Some photographers are just better than others and charge more. The amount of equipment required and the time spend in post production all adds to the cost. Remember what you see on the day can be insignificant when compared the time spent sorting the pictures and getting them ready to print.

You can however pick up a bargain price now and again. There are always lots of new wedding photographers starting up each year and many will be keen to get some bookings in so they can build up their portfolios. If you are getting married out of season then you might also be able to convince a high end wedding photographer to cover your wedding a reduced rate.

You maybe tempted to ask Uncle Fred to photograph your wedding. He has just got a brand new digital SLR for Christmas and he’s keen as mustard to help out as a favour. And don’t forget he took some really lovely photos of his holiday in Spain!

Be very careful if you go down this route. Photographing a wedding is one of the most demanding areas of photography. A professional wedding photographer won’t just have one camera they’ll have a backup and then a backup for the back up, they’ll have professional lenses with wide apertures for shooting in low light, they’ll have shed loads of memory cards etc. They’ll have top of the range cameras with enough battery power to shoot all day and long into the night. They’ll have been shooting weddings for a while and know exactly where to be with exactly the right lens. This is called experience! This is what you are paying for.

Professionals shoot in a file format called RAW - this is like a digital negative and allows the photographer to change settings like colour balance and highlights. The down side is that this increases the time spent in post production and hence increases the cost. Uncle Fred won’t be shooting in RAW format and instead be relying on his camera to turn the photos into JPEGs as he shoots. The limitations of this will only be clear once he shows you the images.

With the exception of you spouse your wedding photos will be all that remain of your wedding day and it can’t be reshot if you don’t like the pictures. Equally booking a photographer based purely on price can be a mistake. Just because you are getting X amount of hours or X amount of prints and an album included is no good if you don’t like the pictures. Consider a more expensive photographer and maybe wait for an album if you can’t afford it at the moment.

But above all talk to your photographer... (there may be some discounts!)

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