A guide to wedding photography – how much should a wedding photographer cost?

These days, with so many talented wedding photographers around, it can be difficult to pick the one that’s right for you. Some couples know exactly what style of wedding photography they’ve set their heart on and select their wedding photographer based on their portfolio. Others ask themselves how much should a wedding photographer cost and base their decision on the budget they have set aside for wedding photography. If you are considering a dreamy elopement – there is an abundance of self-professed UK Elopement Photographers and finding the one that’s right for you can be an absolute game changer for your elopement photography!

With prices ranging from £250 – £5000, the latest report by the Wedding Photography Industry states that, the average UK couple wedding photography cost in 2020 was actually £1,590.

But how much should a wedding photographer cost?

Llandudno Wedding Photographer

And why are wedding photographers so expensive?

There really is no simple answer. It totally depends on what’s important to you. If you just want a couple of generic wedding photos of the ceremony and family group shots then a photographer in the lower range (up to £500) might just do for you. Being in the lower tier, cheap wedding photographers pose a bit of a risk as they often skimp on proper insurance and have inadequate equipment. While there are, of course, always exceptions to the rule – a lot of wedding photographers in this category tend to shoot weddings as a hobby on weekends and possible don’t believe in themselves or their craft and the service they provide which is reflected in their low price.

Wedding Photography Costs

If you want someone a little more creative and involved in the process then your photographer needs to have invested in themselves with a couple of relatively expensive training courses or workshops. And this is generally reflected in the fee. A photographer charging up to £850 may be pretty new to the industry with a few weddings of their own under their belt.

They may still hold a full-time job and enjoy a couple of weddings during the summer. They may have a starter portfolio to show you and are starting to develop their very own style and this is generally reflected in their low price. 

The Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide

A guide to Wedding Photography Costs

Photographers finding their niche and starting to master their craft may charge up to £1200. In this category, you will find photographers that are talented and keen and starting to establish a name for themselves. Their very own style is important to them and they often want to have a connection with their client. Their packages may also include other products such as pre-wedding shoots or albums.

Snowdonia Adventure Couple Photography Sessions

Is Wedding Photography expensive?

If your photographer charges up to £1800 – you should be in pretty good hands! The portfolio of a wedding photographer in this range should reflect a consistent and personal style. You can usually expect a second shooter in this price range, maybe also a pre-wedding shoot and/or an album.

High-end Wedding Photographer

And if your budget is above £1800 – you can expect to get a photographer who has worked hard on becoming a brand. They’ll be very well trained, have a great deal of experience, and will be at expert level using artificial lighting.

how much should a wedding photographer cost

So what makes a photographer a professional wedding photographer?

Good question! The industry is not regulated and we don’t need to study for exams to become a professional wedding photographer. So pretty much anyone can buy themselves entry-level equipment, watch a few tutorials on YouTube, photograph a friend’s wedding, set up a website, and claim to be a professional wedding photographer.

What makes a wedding photographer a good one?

There is no clear definition as to what makes a photographer a good one. And since the standard of photographers will fluctuate so much – so will the prices. Which might put you at risk of this happening. Ever found yourself asking for photographer recommendations in a Facebook group? No doubt you’ll have experienced the ridiculous number of names popping up – usually tagged by their mums or other close relatives/friends. 

Tyn-Dwr-Hall-Wedding-Photographer

Why is wedding photography expensive?

The industry is pretty saturated right now and this can work both ways. So, how much should a wedding photographer cost? I’d definitely recommend finding a photographer whose style you can connect with. They may be out of your price range. But their price range is set for a reason. More often than not they are happy to work something out if they know that wedding photography and their style is important to you.

Maybe they’ll be able to cover a shorter package to meet your budget. Some, like me, even offer hourly rates. I recommend searching for a photographer in your area with your preferred style, rather than bringing out of area wedding photographers to your venue. Documentary wedding photographers in Wales or reportage wedding photographers, for instance, will give you images that show how things felt on your wedding day. While images from a Fine Art wedding photographer should have an artistic and bright & airy feel to them. As for micro wedding and elopement photographers – make sure you find a local wedding photographer who is super familiar with the area and can take you to THE BEST off-the-beaten-paths locations for those all important dramatic backdrop shots.

North Wales Wedding & Elopement Photographer

Wedding Photography Investment

Being a Wedding Photographer and wanting to do the absolute best for your couple is super time-consuming. It’s definitely not just a case of ‘turn up on the day and shoot away for 12hours’. From the initial contact via email or social media (not always leading to an actual booking!) to researching locations, coordinating dates, sorting out paperwork like quotes, invoices, contracts etc. to prepping & packing my kit, travel, spending the day with you, uploading thousands of images late at night, then picking the best to edit and selecting a few sneak peeks for social media to delivering an awesome slideshow & gallery for you to enjoy – phew, it all adds up!!!

North Wales Wedding Photographer

Keeping my website, social media streams and blogs up-to-date and looking fresh also takes a lot of time. And while my official job description is photographer, I find myself having to get to grips with costly and strategic marketing & advertising campaigns (to make sure you find me) and the technical upkeep of my website – it all adds up!

Snowdonia Wedding & Elopement Photography

Wedding Photographers in North Wales

To ensure there are no technical glitches on your wedding day, the cost of our basic equipment can often exceed £10,000. I always ensure I have more than one camera body with me so should one have a technical failure I can rely on the other one to carry on and your day will not be ruined. Student photographers or super cheap ones offering their services for  £350 might not have invested in any decent backup equipment or lenses and not have any relevant experience whatsoever.

How to start out as a wedding photographer

There are plenty of newcomers around who try and break into the industry by giving away wedding photography packages or offer their services super cheap which is fair enough, we’ve all got to start somewhere. Just remember that you get what you pay for.

North Wales Wedding & Elopement Photographer

So there you have it. Now that you know how much a photographer should cost and if you’re looking for authentic, romantic, and a tad arty wedding photography yourself right now – contact me, would love to help you document your perfect day!

You may also enjoy:

How to easily plan your elopement in 7 simple steps, with free guides & resources

How to plan a simple wedding quickly in the UK.

My favourite wedding venues in North Wales.

The Ultimate Snowdonia Elopement Guide.

Gay, lesbian, LGBTQ+ and same-sex wedding & elopement photography.

Proposal Photography in Snowdonia.

Click on any of the images below to follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of wedding & elopement inspiration:

Babs Boardwell is a wedding & elopement photographer based in Llangollen, servicing Wales and the surrounding areas. Often provides services for weddings across the whole of the U.K. Specialises in capturing artistic portraits paired with unique storytelling moments to produce natural, romantic wedding photography. The Clwydian Range is home but available for travel across the whole of the U.K. Also available to book as a North Wales Family Photographer.