The True Cost Of Wedding Photography - SKL Photography

The True Cost Of Wedding Photography

The True Cost Of Wedding Photography

The True Cost Of Wedding Photography

This is our first blog in many moons. It feels like so long ago we’re ashamed by it. Blogging is like a personal diary made public. The thing is, we’re photographers, not writers. But we’re back on the ball and we feel better for it.

A week or so ago we were tagged in a post on social media. Someone wanted a wedding photographer to cover their day and our name was mentioned. We didn’t comment on the post. We would have loved to, but it would have turned into an argument due to the subject matter within the post itself. So we stayed out of it.

The person who tagged us in the post did so with the very best of intentions. We are not ungrateful and certainly appreciate anyone recommending us to potential future clients. But the post turned into a bit of a dig at how much wedding photography costs.

A friend of ours and a very good photographer stood up to some of the comments but we have seen this time & time again. There are hundreds of posts regarding wedding photography prices and why we charge what we charge. It just doesn’t sink in.

So what’s the deal?

wedding photography leeds Want photos like this? Think about what’s important to you and do your research.

This is as honest as we can possibly make it and as close to showing you our tax returns as we could. The prices you are quoted are in no way what we make after the wedding and products are handed over.

Let’s break it down shall we: Take the post on social media we were tagged in. In one comment a person said they received a day’s wedding photography, all photos in high resolution and some prints for £199.

Right, first off, today’s minimum wage is roughly £7 per hour. Do you want to work for minimum wage as a small business owner? Do you want to better yourself at every opportunity? That’s another story but for this example we are working for minimum wage.

Let’s skip back before their wedding photographer landed the job and presume they are professional (meaning insurance etc – we’ll get to that later).

They made appointments, visited clients, spoke to them on the phone, sent out paperwork – which is exactly what we do. That’s 2-3 hours.

The prep work the day before the wedding. Cleaning cameras, recharging batteries, formatting memory cards, checking the timings, making sure back up gear is ready (yes back up equipment – in case things go wrong). That’s a good hour.

Now, the day itself. 8-12 hours coverage plus drive time. For arguments sake let’s pretend the client is local, within half an hour. So all in you’re looking at approx 13 hours.

Do you think that’s it? Do you really think once the wedding day is over the photos magically appear on a USB in a presentation case, beautifully touched up ready for print? Think again. That’s 12-15 hours editing, easily.

So right now we’re at around 30 hours. This does not include designing an album, sending proofs, re-designing and sending another.  Then there’s meetings afterwards. The moment we deliver the package and the wedding is complete. That’s a weeks work at 40 hours total.

Even if you don’t have an album, 30 hours is £210. Minimum. So that’s a photographers wage on today’s rate. But wait….

Here’s what you don’t see

Remember, we are business owners. We have tax and insurance to pay like anyone else.

There’s photographic insurance, public liability, indemnity and equipment insurance. Web costs, accountancy costs, advertising, servicing of equipment, new equipment to buy when old gear bites the dust, cloud/off site back up storage in case there’s a fire at our premises and then there’s wedding fayres (ranging from £150 – £600 per stand). Our business pays to advertise with a local hotel, which is £1200 every two years. Oh, we nearly forgot. We have petrol, food & drink to add to that list. At the end of the day it comes off what we earn doesn’t it?

We attend courses on a yearly basis to broaden our photography skills and learn new techniques. These are paid for by us. We don’t get training paid for by a huge company.

What about sickness. Do we get paid? No. Who takes care of your day’s wedding photography then? Well, if you pay a professional they will have back up contingencies. We will have like minded photographers on standby just in case. They will want paying. Our fee then goes to them. Otherwise we rely on our insurance to sort it out. That’s why we have it.

Let’s not talk about holidays. God forbid we want a holiday after a hard year’s work (yes it is hard. Try getting 100 guests to stand outside in freezing temperatures in winter and look happy, when all they want to do is go to the bar). We don’t work, we don’t get paid. Simple. So whatever the cost of a holiday might be, add a couple of weeks wages to that as well.

We’ve not even included album costs. Manufacturing costs alone and our time designing them hasn’t even been touched upon but like we say, we’re working on a non album package here.

Now, go back to that £210 wage. What do we have left? It’s certainly closer to minus £200. So at a £199 wedding, that would mean we would lose money to attend.


Think about this…

You might be one of the lucky ones who stumbles across an up and coming photographer building a portfolio. Then again, you might be the next horror story we read in the papers, about how your day was ruined. Do you want to take that risk?

Yes, a family friend may have a ‘decent’ camera. But a wedding day throws up many surprises. Typical British weather being one of them. Does your friend come equipped to deal with that? What if they cannot attend? What if their camera fails? Our cameras and equipment are weather sealed, we carry back ups. We carry back up’s of back up’s.

Great wedding photography isn’t cheap. Years of experience and lots of hard work goes into a good wedding photography portfolio. If you are on a budget, that’s fine. We all have a limit. If you are wanting a photographer to work for next to nothing, then please don’t expect stunning photographs. Lower your expectations.

We aren’t cheap. We are a growing business and need to make money. But most importantly to us, it’s your wedding photographs mean everything. Once the dust settles and your day is over, what do you have left? Your wedding rings and your photographs. To coin a phrase, “What’s priceless tomorrow should be expensive today”.

So, we ask you: What is the true cost of your wedding photography?

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