Some brides and grooms know that already and it’s obvious for them, however, some not. That’s why I’m writing yet another article about defining wedding budget for a wedding photography. I could simply say 10% and that would be the end of this story! But no worries, I’m kidding and I will try to explain a bit more about it. Although, if you search for this topic in Google, you will see that this 10% is the common answer, but of course depending on how DIY your wedding is or frankly, how important wedding photography is to you, 10% just won’t get you what you really want or expect.
So why is ten percent the most popular answer? What is so special about having 10% of your wedding budget reserved for a wedding photographer? Well, actually nothing! It is simply a good starting point for the average wedding budget.
Brides, before any of you get ideas and dreams about your wedding, having a defined budget is really essential. You can’t show your vendors if you don’t know what your budget for the wedding day will be. Did you notice earlier that I said ‘average wedding’? Right, so the average wedding dedicates approximately 10% of the total wedding budget to a wedding photography. According to Brides UK magazine, the average cost of a British wedding in 2013 was nearly £25,000. So how does your wedding budget compare to that? Is it similar? Maybe more or less?
So if your wedding budget is more than the average of £25,000 then there is a chance that you are planning a high-end wedding with no detail overlooked! Typical brides who plan a high-end wedding usually reserve more of their wedding budget for the photographer as they also purchase engagement sessions, albums and parent books.
If your wedding budget is lower than the average (£20,000 or less) then there is a good chance that you are making most of your decisions based on a budget. Many couples who are on the strict budget have a difficulties in finding a decent wedding photographer for two reasons: First, price is proportional to talent. Second, many brides and grooms are looking for more coverage than their budget allows and they will never find a great photographer who is keen to work for less money.
How to set your wedding photography budget?
Let’s start with this 10%. Figure out how much it is in your total wedding budget. Take the 10% of your overall budget and this will be a starting point to give you a better idea of what range of wedding photographer you can work with.
Now discuss with your fiance how important wedding photography is to you both and define your desired needs. Do you want a wedding photographer for all day or maybe from the ceremony until first dance? Do you want all images on USB? Do you need 2 photographers? Do you want printed albums? Etc. These are things you need to discuss to figure out what price range of wedding photographers you are looking for.
Make time to do some research on wedding photographer prices and packages. Compare your needs to what your 10% budget is. Are you able to compare it or do you need more than you were initially planning on paying for?
Now get back to the starting point. Look at your wedding budget again and check if you can stretch your budget for wedding photography by tightening it somewhere else? Or maybe you have to sort your desired needs again? Do you really need that second shooter? Do you really need extra parent books? There is a huge difference between needing something and wanting something!
Contact the photographers you have researched and arrange meetings. I recently wrote an article on questions you should ask your wedding photographer – this might be very helpful to you when contacting a photographer. If you are happy with their package, happy with the talent, happy with the work, happy with the pricing then go ahead and hire them!
This is a brief summary of approximately what you can get for your money when you are looking for a full day (8+ hours) wedding photographer at different price points:
Wedding Photographers for less than £700
There are real chances that these wedding photographers are only semi-pro and are inexperienced. They probably do NOT have liability insurance or back-up gear and either don’t really edit their photos or only give you a handful of photos. Probably a student or photography is a second job for this person.
Wedding Photographers £700 – £1,100
Very often a “new professional”, someone who is starting out and needs to build their portfolio. They are working for less because of their lack of experience. This photographer may limit the amount of editing on photos or only give you a certain amount of photos.
Wedding Photographers £1,100 – £2,000
This is a professional photographer, experienced wedding photographer and is flexible to work in any situation either solo or in a team with their second shooters as an option. Generally, this wedding photographer give clients all images on USB or in an online gallery and usually adds some freebies like an engagement session. Reliable, talented and hardworking. Usually offering a second shooter and high-end albums and prints for additional fee.
Wedding Photographers £2,000 – £3,000
Professional wedding photographers with semi-professional or newly professional shooters included in price. The main photographer takes a larger share of the money as the second shooting photographer is willing to work for less as they are usually still building their own portfolio. The 2nd shooters may not always work all day as part of their job may be assisting the primary photographer. Generally, they give all images on USB and very often adds freebies such as engagement sessions.
Wedding Photographers £3,000 – £5,000
Professional photographer with a professional partner. Two professional wedding shooters for all day who are hard working, efficient and able to work well on their own too. Very good coverage, many photos from many angles, all the photos are given to the couple. Extra retouching like skin softening or albums are often included in the higher end of this price category.
£5,000 + Wedding Photographers
Everything that is mentioned in the previous price range and typically includes fine art albums and other expensive products like high-end canvases or prints.
This should give you some insight into the cost of wedding photography. I’d like to say one more thing: DO NOT plan your wedding according to a wedding magazine, book or a website! Just because I, some other magazine or book tells you to pay a specific amount of your wedding budget for a wedding photographer doesn’t mean you have to do it! Keep your total budget in mind but it’s also important to invest in your memories.