The Cost of Wedding Photography Magazine Article
I was recently contacted by You & Your Wedding magazine as they had seen a previous guide of mine on choosing your wedding photographer and they asked me if I would be able to contribute towards an article on the cost of wedding photography and how to look out for hidden extras that may bump up the price.
Of course I was more than happy to contribute, so they sent over a few questions and I spent an evening penning my thoughts which were then used to form part of the final article. How exciting! I have had weddings featured in magazines in the past but writing for one is a new one on me.
The article is much better written than simply listing my responses to the questions put to me, but in the name of completeness I thought I would share those original responses with you.
Please could you break down the pricing of your wedding photography package and what is included?
I have three packages that I offer. First is my standard package at £895 which includes full day coverage right from the bridal prep in the morning through to the evening reception, typically around a half hour after the first dance but it can be later. All the images taken from the wedding are then hosted on an online gallery that the bride and groom can share with all their friends and family. The newlyweds then receive a USB containing all final edited images ready for printing and a second copy optimised for sharing on social media should they want to.
My second package, premium, is my most popular at £1445. This includes everything as per the standard package with the additions of a beautiful A3 lay flat story book album. Having every image taken at your wedding is lovely, but in time with them tucked away on your hard drive they are easily forgotten. A bespoke handmade wedding album however is a tactile thing that gets brought out time and time again, I know my wife still loves flicking through ours with a glass of wine once the little one is asleep.
My final package is the deluxe package, this is as per the premium package and also includes two parent books priced at £1695. The parent books are exact replicas of the album, but in miniature. There is a choice of either A5 or A4. These are very popular with the mothers of the bride and groom, the Americans call them brag books, I am sure you can guess why! I often find that the parents offer to pay the extra for these, or the couple surprise their parents with them in way of a thank you.
In addition to this I then have a range of optional extras that can be used to tailor the packages to make it unique for the couple, not everyone wants the same thing. These extras include
- Pre-wedding photography session
- Second photographer
- Guest signing frame
- Photo guest book
- Prints, frames prints and canvases
- Thank you cards
Are there any hidden costs brides should watch out for when booking their photographer?
Certainly, hidden costs are one of the big things to look out for, it is easy to be drawn to a photography by what seems like a good price only to find out later on that the price quickly escalates to get what you really want. This can really leave a bitter taste in your mouth, especially if you don’t realise until you have committed and signed contracts.
The most common hidden cost is additional hours of coverage. This will normally be in the format of a base price that takes you up to just before the speeches, then if you want coverage of the speeches and first dance there is an additional charge. I have also seen the morning bridal preparations listed as an extra by some photographers.
Many photographers work to a strict time limit and any additional coverage over that time is charged by the hour.
There is nothing wrong with these approaches, all photographers have their own pricing model. As long as it is clear and you know all the facts in advance there won’t be any disappointment, speak to your photographer before you book if you are unsure.
Personally I prefer not to work in that way. As far as I am concerned it is your day, and if it is an hour or so longer than anticipated then so be it, it’s not like I am going to be doing anything else that day! I don’t want you spending your wedding day worrying about any delays to the day and how much that in going to cost you to keep me there, so my prices cover the full day front start to finish whenever that may be.
Do you photograph engagement shoots, and is there an extra cost for these?
I do offer engagement shoots, or pre-wedding shoots as I call them. There is a cost to these as not everyone wants one and so I took the view that it would be unfair to have it included in the package prices for anyone who didn’t take it up.
However, it is a great opportunity to spend some relaxed time in front of the lens without the eyes of a full wedding party upon you. It gives you an opportunity to get to know your photographer a bit better before your wedding day and understand how they work. And of course you come away with some lovely photos.
I do though think it is a shame to have a pre-weeding shoot and not really have a purpose for the photos after, so I offer a couple of extras where the photos from your engagement session can be incorporated into your wedding day.
The first is a guest signing frame. With this you would choose a favourite image from the shoot, this would then be made into a large print and framed with a deep mount. This can then be put on display on a stand during the wedding reception and guests can sign and leave short messages on the border.
The other option is a photo quest book. Many photos from the session can be used here, they are printed into a proper hard back book alternating with blank pages. It makes a nice alternative to a regular bland guest book.
I charge £100 for the pre-wedding session, £90 for the signing frame and £140 for the photo guest book.
What is best practice for covering food and travel of the photographer? Should this be considered as part of the budget?
This is a popular question, one I see asked by brides to be regularly and I would say don’t be shy about bringing it up with any photographer you go to meet, how they answer the question can tell you a lot more about them than what their sustenance needs are.
A good number of wedding photographers do request to be fed on the day, some even go so far as to have it stated in their contract that they will be supplied the full three course meal the same as any other guest!
Personally I find that a little crass. As a grown man I am very capable of packing up a lunch the night before just like anyone else would in any other job. Having said that photographing weddings is a long day, sometimes upwards of 12 hours, so if a couple were to offer it then I would graciously accept. Some venues and caterers offer smaller staff meals at a reduced cost so you don’t always have to pay for a full meal which can easily get expensive if you have a couple of photographer and a couple of videographers.
I have even been fortunate enough to have been included on the seating plan on more than a few occasions. It is nice to have a change to mingle with some of the guests and to know that the couple have become that comfortable with you in the months leading up to their wedding.
Fingers crossed there may be some more web magazine articles I will be helping with in the future so keep your eyes peeled!