Appreciate the cost of wedding photography

10 11 2010

It is a wonder wedding Photographers get up in the morning with so many half-wits butting in on wedding photography to offer a unsustainable business model, for brides surely this means if a low cost cheap wedding photographer offers a cost that is a “steal” they will be out of business even before they get to print your album?

We of course we have all heard about the bride and grooms who have not had their wedding albums or the photographer is bankrupt or the job that the so called professional was so bad they cried for weeks after the photographer wrecked the wedding and their memories are ruined. But is it a case of you get what you paid for?

those out of work people who are quick to see where they can make a buck over their dole Giro from a weekends work of quick snap and go to Asda for the wedding prints, they  are all over wedding photography and I would guess more than 50% of the wedding photographers you will find are up to it. 

Let set aside the buying and selling points of wedding photography and the professional photographer from the weekend uncle bobs who offer mediocre performance and quality work to work out the costs of real wedding photography, let us see if you’re willing to pay the costs the real wedding photography. I have made this very simple for those wishing to check the prices themselves with the links  next to the information, so that you can see the real world costs of your wedding photographer and photography.

We will start with the cost of Camera hire. as many people who hire photographers forget, cameras are not free and must be purchased. Professional Cameras also need Len’s to make use of the cameras body which are two separate things. Of course we should have TWO of the camera bodies just in case anything happens and we cant stop the wedding to wait for a replacement.


Of course a Camera isn’t any good without lenses and they are everything when it comes to quality and style.

£38.00 fish eye

£21.28 Close up macro lens

£23.83 Wide angle lens

£26.38 Long lens

£17.87 Flash

Basic kit cost so far: £356.00

We will then need:

Memory cards to store the photos and some  lighting

£4.26 8 Gig CF and we will need a few to cover the day: we will have 5 of these (£21.00)

£45.00 Portable lighting kit

 A portable lighting kit is ideal for those weddings where it may rain and the photo shoot has to take place indoors.

Of course we need to have the right insurance to cover both the photographer and the wedding in the event something should go wrong: its about £17.80 £204.00

This is correct, there are two types of insurance that a photographer needs to have, with £5million pounds cover the photographer can work and be covered in a number of venues and areas, these are broken down to public and professional liability.

We also need to get to the wedding: Car hire from the Friday to the Sunday so that the car is ready loaded on the morning of the wedding and can be returned the following morning after the wedding.
Often overlooked by wedding clients and anyone else, cars are not free and nor is the day today running costs and maintenance costs.


We also need fuel £15.00

The concurrent costs are now £736.80


We then need to pay the photographer who will not work for free for you because you have a nice smile and they have bills to pay, I’m sure you wouldn’t go to work all week for free, or would you?

£15.00 per hour, is a good rate of pay for a professional that is an expert in their Field of work, Car mechanics are paid around £45.00 and shelf stacker’s are paid around £6.80 per hour,   on the basis that they could be booked all day regardless if a client is booking half a day or not we need to cover the costs.

From 08:00 – 22:00 is 14 hours and covers many of the wedding preparations and the disco later on in the evening reception, this wage amounts to £210.00

We also want a second photographer and assistant thats £6.80 x14 hours £95.20

For those who would say we can do away with the assistant, please come to visit to hold my camera bag for twenty minutes, most people struggle holding the camera for 2 minutes. yes there is a weight to be carrying for 14 hours, plus I’m sure that you are aware that you would want a photographer taking photo’s not moving equipment around all day.

Total wages for the day costs £305.20

Retouching and post production

When the wedding day is over the photographer need to make your images stunning before making the on-line gallery for you to select your photos. Most photographs from Pro SLR cameras is never spot on and as you may notice from your cameras, lighting changes so the images have to be balanced so that they look even though the album.

Typically this post production work  is around 3 times the time that the photographer was hired taking the photos. This would amount to around 42 hours we will reduce the rate of pay to £10.00 for the professional job they do giving you a total cost of £420.00

They need a computer to do this post production and an Internet connection as well as a hosting site for the gallery. So we need to factor these costs into the wedding photographer’s costs:

Computer and monitor £48.00

keyboard and mouse £16.00

Internet £17.99

A telephone line also costs £11.50

Hosting and domain £55.00

These of course run off electricity and therefore would cost around £10.00 to run.

The Total IT costs are then: £158.49

Dealing with orders and albums

Once your wedding gallery is on-line you may wish to order an album, at cost (what the photographer pays) a good album on average costs £300.00

They of course do not magic themselves together and though has to go into the layout of the album, this is called design work and takes around 20 hours, we will use the same rate of £10.00 per hour so that gives us a total of £200.00

As you would want the album shipped to you  and be covered by insurance just in case it is lost or damaged this adds another £18.60

This brings the total album cost to £518.60

Adding it all up.

The wedding day £736.80

The wages on the day costs £305.20

Post production and album £1,097.09

Wedding total cost £2,139.09

 Less – Marketing and advertising costs as well as National insurance and Income tax payments.

Capitalist wedding photography verses communist wedding photography

As we live in the UK we are a capitalist society meaning that a business should make a profit, this makes perfect sense that any business should make a healthy return, this works out as: money into the pockets of investors, or money returned into the business to make the business grow. The communist business would be to charge just as much as it costs to do the work. However we don’t live in that world and so 25%  should be added. And with income tax, National Insurance payment being liable to the photographer which equals around 21%, you will soon see that this adds 46% to the total costs.

Just so that you can follow this, so you know this is not made up, take your wages before deductions and take off 21%, you will find that this is about correct. also in consideration that there is no employer for the photographer there is no sick pay or maternity pay, and also no guarantee of work each and every two weeks.

If we look at the wages – which is the actual money the photographer sees, and take into account that there are 52 weeks in the year, they may be ill for two weeks and go on holiday for two weeks this gives us 48 weeks, divide that by two to give us the maximum clients the annual wage for the photographer would be

£630.00 per wedding x 48  = £15,120 Less tax and National insurance.(£11,994.80)

Of course these figures are based on a photographer being able to sell all 24 weddings each year, and with competition growing many photographers fail to reach 15 weddings each year. It is these photographers that go out of business and simply cannot afford to live. incidental 15 weddings a year is £9,450.00.

Being unemployed living in a family home would net £12,162.00+, so as you can see the photographer is marginally above the poverty line working at these rates that I have stated.

 So, now you see the real rates and costs of wedding photography and can appreciate the work, time and costs of wedding photography, needless to say these figures are firmly based on factual figures of the world we live in and everyone has the need to live and enjoy life.

Wedding Worries: will your photographer be in business?

14 10 2010

For many brides planing their big day the economics  add undue stress.

For the past two years we have heard stories of wedding venues going bust and the administrators have turn up closing down the  perfect wedding venue that the bride and groom have selected for their special day.
There are still a growing number of businesses that offer wedding services, but will they be around when it comes to your wedding day? Read the rest of this entry »

low cost wedding

24 08 2010

Many people say that a wedding is costly and if you want all out flair and style for your wedding it will be based on the amount of money that you have.. I do like a challenge and I don’t see how this is possible to say that weddings are costly, and I think we can carry off a wedding for super value without cutting any corners at all. 

As a Wedding Photographer, Hotel manager and restaurant manager I see the whole picture, know the costs and just about everything there is to do with weddings. It is a common jest that I should be a wedding planner, but as yet I haven’t jumped that far, or into the fire. I hope this post will help brides and grooms who have a lower budget in mind to have a WOW wedding all for themselves. 

The general things we start with is with a man and a woman, I cannot help in this area and if you are reading this, I would expect that you  have the two main patrons. 

A wedding consists of these things: 

  • Bride
  • Groom
  • Bridesmaids
  • Wedding Dress
  • Bridesmaid Dresses
  • Best man Suites
  • Grooms Suit.
  • Wedding Venue
  • vicar/registrar
  • Decorations
  • Flowers
  • Wedding Breakfast
  • Meal
  • Wedding Reception
  • Buffet
  • —-
  • Guests
  • Guest Invitations
  • Wedding cars
  • DJ/band

Read the rest of this entry »

Taking wedding photos at the breakfast

19 08 2010

While there is a split between photographers who offer up to the fake cake cutting and those who stay for the speeches and even those who are there for the evening reception, This post will give you ideas and details for wedding photography of the wedding breakfast.

As you should be fully aware for every wedding it is the details that really make the difference, it is the planning that the Bride and Groom have done over the past year or two for their wedding and this is all in the details.

Taking photography of the wedding breakfast is interesting as you can be creative and there usually is time to do this after the group photo shoot, provided you do not run over in the groups and candid after the wedding, and that the wedding is well planned with its timing.

As we have posted before about the photography of the wedding details, much the same applies to the reception (Breakfast). You are going to try to make the most of the bride and groom alone photo set, but you will also want to give the bride and groom time to enjoy their time with their guests. This is the ideal opportunity for the detailed photos of the wedding reception room as the staff time to change around the room so that it is ready for the wedding breakfast.

Ideally, you send your assistant into take some photo’s of the room sets and then return when you go in to the breakfast room to take your master photos.  Leaving the assistant to take the candid moments before the welcoming and seating of the guests for the wedding breakfast start.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wedding detail photography

16 08 2010

The Weddings details are important, as professional wedding photographers should know many weddings are all the same, there are a bride and groom or two brides or two grooms, but the format remains the same with very little difference.

Bride and Grooms plans for their wedding for many years in some cases and this planning goes into the weddings details. The differences within the wedding can be seen in the gallery on this post with its 101 detail images from weddings.

While capturing the details of the wedding is important as a record for the bride and groom there is of course the fact that they make great backgrounds for cards and album designs and also stock wedding images as they do not have the wedding party involved directly in the photo.

I will define the content and definition of of the photography details (detailing) as they fall under two types.

 The details of the wedding and its parts, such as the venue, flowers and cake.

 The Other part of detailing the wedding is what is happening at the wedding, which the bride and groom may miss, or funny thing that happened which made part of the day.

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As you can see in this slide show there are images that are taken of the wedding which do not last like the flowers or even the dress that is put away and the food that is eaten.

By detailing the wedding you can capture for the bride and groom all the day without missing a thing. If you are providing a disc of images it is these that are more appreciated in later years when the wedding has long since past and of course for their children who may want to look back at how mum and dads wedding looked and what they had and did.

Traditional photography is IMO more of the people, reportage is how it happened and with any skilled photographer mixing the two with added commercial photography can really work.

For photographers that have not reviewed their images and photography at a wedding or carry out the detailing services for their clients, they should approach the photography of the wedding in a different way.

Ideally a photographer with skills from commercial photography can tackle the details with either a venue or service provider in mind. This meaning that if you are shooting the wedding car; you would approach this as if you were hired by the company to take photos of the wedding car service that they provide, and the same with the venue, flowers and catering.

By Arriving early and having a clear plan from your experience of weddings you should find the time to fit the detailing into your photography plan, for the venue simply turning up early will give you the time to shot the venue and also know where you intend to take you more formal photos during the wedding.

For photographers carrying out the preparations you will find that a single photographer cannot carry out all the detailing prior to the wedding ceremony and you should always shoot with TWO photographers. This allows you to carry out the photography  while an assistant or shadow carries out the detailing photographs when you are not there. However there can be time during the lul between the groups and wedding breakfast (reception) where you can take many of the shots, but you have to ensure that they are in order as you cannot expect to ask the bride and groom to remove their rings so you can get that photo after the wedding ceremony is finished. Solo reportage wedding  photographers will also find this detailing quite hard due to the format of their photography style.

photography during the wedding

11 08 2010

When it come s to the wedding ceremony there are just a few opportunities to get those memories captured. Not so long ago wedding photographers were strictly limited and if we misbehaved (did our job) we could risk the officials stopping the wedding.

The weddings of today are a little more flexible over the three images we had been allowed to capture, the signing of the register is limited and faked but we have looked at the different way to capture this moment.

you can take a look through some images with real and fake registry signings from a few of our weddings where we have taken photographs to match the album design requirements or alternative layout options and of course choice.

Follow this link for the post on the Wedding Elegance photography website.

We have other posts that may be of interest:

Wedding Photography Marketing

4 01 2010

We all know that there are wedding fairs, the internet, Yellow pages  and a large number of  Wedding Photography Directories all over the internet. One of the best ways to market wedding photography is by word of mouth and maybe you are unfortunate like myself who has a lot of international clients, so word of mouth in a different country will just not work for you.

The objective behind marketing is to yield the most prospective clients who will pay the price for your products and services, at the lowest possible cost to you. The process of marketing can be separated into two categories: You contact them first, or you entice them to contact you first; This is known as Push and Pull Marketing.

An overt “push” onto a  qualified focused group of  people who fit a specific profile to send mail shots or get contact details. This  is a mix match as far as the person on the end of the phone. You are the one that attempts initial contact using these methods so this is pushing.

By contrast, the other approach is  called, Pull Marketing which is a broad-based marketing approach, using general mass-media outlets, such as print and television, where potential clients are “pulled in” by a promotion. This is where clients respond by initiating contact with you.

Backward directory Pull.

I will talk about website directories as they are counter productive to your online efforts and as the use of the internet is growing  for searching for services providers then you can see why I would select this particular area.

SEO and SEM is one of those things that photographers do. If you dont have a first page rank on Google then you will cry and no work will come to you. This isnt really true, but your work will be greatly reduced. As you look at your keywords say For example “Wedding Photographer Birmingham” You will find that there is a directory listed and its got your competition on there so you want to give out your money to get on this directory and get people to your site so you can enjoy business.

The single problem with this is what is called “Back-link Ranking” What happens is that the search bot works buy looking at the value of the sites and information and of course relevance. What happens is that Your site is relevant to Wedding Photographers in Birmingham, as will many other photographers wedding websites.

If you have the directory page listing the sites of all these photographers, the directory links and provides information from its page so the bot declares that this directory is helpful.

Like wise, you also boost the directory by Linking to it, this happens with the free links and listings where your website boosts the rank of this website directory.

What the bot sees is not logic but probability, and what the Bot designers calls page recommendations, so when you link to a directory or site, you are saying this is good, there is more information here. The links going into a site would say if it is important or not. So, if the directory has 100 links, and your site has 6 then it will define your website as less important that the directory.

In short, listing your self is counter productive to yourself and other photographers when you link to a directory on line, there are very few directory sites that are of any benefit and you will find that this is not for the reasons you can think of.

Back to Pull Marketing

There are many options available for Pull marketing and you should know many of them already

  • Television and Radio
  • Newspapers, Magazines and Other Publications
  • The Internet
  • Fairs, Art Festivals, Public Exhibitions

    A simple observation would suggest that the Pull strategy is better because it reaches more of the target audience. But, the price of producing and placing an ad in such a magazine may be prohibitively expensive. Moreover, a direct mailing may not be as quickly overlooked as an ad might be.
     Also, a mailing can be somewhat personalized, or include target-specific information that may not be effective in ad. Back to the other hand, the ad can be placed strategically next to a particular article that your target audience is highly likely to see. (Such placement often influences brand identity, which also increases the subtler influence of brand perception.)
    This type of pro-and-con analysis should illustrate that one form of marketing is not inherently any better than another—it’s more a matter of choosing based on circumstances.

    Television and Radio

    Television; as you may see there are NO photography business’ advertising on this high cost media, BUT with the large gravitation to YouTube you can find a whole wealth of photographers using this as a platform to advertise their business.

    Radio can be somewhat costly and defeats the objective as photography is very image based and radio is just simply sound. Radio can benefit photographers who work in a local area and want to reach a locally targeted market. Typically, many will sponser something on the radio station like the traffic report which will establish a brand name, so you may hear something like…  “this clear picture of the traffic was brought to you by A-Z Photography, your local photographers.”

    News Papers and Magazines and other publications.

    I have seen the stats and colourful impression that many magazines say they have and I have very little faith with them due to the stats. But picking the right Magazine for your target market is a little miss understood.

    Lets take some interesting titles, say; Professional Wedding Photography Magazine..  You may think this is great, the title says it all, but this is targeted at other photographers and so your target market isnt looking in this magazine for their wedding photographer.
    Most local areas have a wedding fair and some magazine that runs with them covering a few events,  This magazine is your Target market. You do need to look at how may other photographers are in the magazine and what the reach of the magazine is.

    Publish your own.

    If you are a professional and have been in corporate business you will know that every business is in business to make money. These magazines that offer ads in their publications offer a half page for around £750.00. As a designer and Business owner with a lot of contacts and also trained in marketing I see  things a lot different.

    Here is how I see a Magazine..  £700/ pages/ run time/ distribution/ competition = VFM

    If we say the Magazine has 16,000  quarterly magazines distributed, the Factual level of the people who will see your advert is just 2.5% This is the same for  flyer dropping or handing these out. so it’s around 400 of your target market, then this will be divided by the completion (8) Giving you a possible 50 Clients. The real life figure maybe as low as 5, so your advert will cost each clients around  £140.00- £70.00 each.

    Printing your own Magazine is  a little different, it is like your website and if you can create something interesting that your target market will find interesting then they will contact you and read the articles. There is a little more to this, but thats why I own a business advisory service. But your own publication should only cost around the same as your single half page advert in other magazines.

    The internet

    The odd man out to the various marketing strategies is the Internet. As it is still classed as the newest entrant into the “mass-marketing”  options. The net can surpass television and radio for the potential of seen by the greatest number of eyes and ears.
    Additionally, it can be used to target specific individuals, since, unlike broadcast television or publication, it has  a bi-directional communication mechanism. Ironically, it can also be the least expensive way to capture those eyes, even less expensive than the most common direct-mail and cold-calling methods and many other methods you can think of (apart from word of mouth).
    One example for bi directional marketing would be Facebook,  Facebook allows you to use the information that it holds to target the market who see’s your adverts.
    When you think of wedding photography and Facebook, you automatically know that if someones status is “engaged to XXX” then you can bet that they will be looking for a wedding photographer shortly..

    In this era of digital images and information technologies, some sort of presence on the web is absolutely mandatory for every photographer. Whether it’s just a simple portfolio page with contact information, or a full-blown storefront, you not only have to use the web, but not using it can hurt your business. The Big Problem with website ownership and development  is that web pages are everywhere, and where your site “ranks” in the noise of other websites can either make your business a smashing success, or a huge waste of time and money if you get it wrong.
    Getting it right isn’t easy as  many  photographers will  either under-invest in their website by only having a short resume and portfolio, while others over-invest by paying a designer to create a very sexy and unique site that fails to draw in prospective clients.

    We have invested two years in the development of  websites which were just looking at the users  and user trends to see which users view the sites and what they like and don’t like. One of the things that MOST miss is that not everyone has high-speed internet and with the big fancy websites making them impossible for old computers, mobiles and dial-up connections to gain access to the website or for it to look as it should.

    We have also had many years of experience in online businesses and marketing and also perceived value and trust which goes with the design and services being offered which differs to the different target markets. One example was one of my own websites which was simple and basic. The amount of clients was silly and I just couldn’t cope with the work. On the flip side  when I updated the site (but none of the information) the business dropped off. There will be no points for the person who can say why this happened, as it is clear. Despite the Many challenges of having the right site, one fact is  very clear: not using the Web can actually be harmful, not just because of the lost opportunity, but can also give the impression that you’re not the professional your clients expect you to be.

    Following a poor strategy in implementing an online presence can be costly in time, money and lost opportunity. If you impress a brand name on a bad site you could affect future business when a person notes that your brand wasnt good and then even after an update will skip past you based on the old average ” first impressions count”. So, it’s imperative to understand your goals ahead of time. This doesn’t mean you have to know how it’s going to look and function from the beginning; you can and should approach this slowly, in a step by step fashion.

    Numerous books have been written on the tasks of web design, Most are very good in general design aspects and technical details, but none address the niche of a photography website. What may be good design for some sites (or most sites), may not necessarily be right for a good photo site. The  other side to this development is that  you must have a site that will also be good for search engines.

    If we take for example some of our developments with City photography, You may have heard many photographers who will tell you to let the pictures do the talking; Well here is an example of a ‘pictures doing the talking’ website –  There is very little text on the site and little that can be added.  The other site say Offers a more textual website over the other site, but one of the clear things we have noticed is that this site seems to be very popular. That said this website has had a lot of development over the other sites which is run under the same design. But we have taken considerable time to make sure this site works for the clients it targets and this means that the sites individual pages  have been developed  several times over to give that perfect balance of information and images.

    We are still developing the right information from the site like the wedding package information and also the boudoir photography page as we can see how long people are on the site, if they leave, which buttons they clicked and how they got to the website and if they come back. This information can be found by using google tools, and while they are basic will give some idea to some users, we do use advanced software to check our websites and can deal with the the client and follow them on the site.

     Fairs, Art Festivals, Public Exhibitions

    Wedding fairs are some what helpful as it is spreading word of mouth and also enforcing brand awareness, the “I saw them at” can really help push your business forward in terms of having people talk about you.  If your photography extends out of wedding photography then Art fairs could also see you spreading your services into homes and businesses so that someone may refer you or take a further look at your work and what you do. Obviously the more outlandish you are with the art, it may make the market smaller for those who wonder if you also do wedding photography. But never the less at some festivals you can show the art books (albums) as art in themselves and not  being reserved to a wedding fair.

    Public exhibitions Is quite simple and I have toyed with the idea and spoken to other photographers who have done the same.  If you live in a market town then hire yourself a stall and show off your photographic works. They wont be personal wedding photos but perhaps your floral, macro and landscapes will adore homes and with a we also do wedding photography pitched in the background with a small sample of work. You may find that this offers you two sources of income and plant your brand in the minds of local people, not to mention the big advertising space you will have. There is a clear down side to this type of market marketing in that it often causes visions of fly by night, here today gone tomorrow. So you may wish to keep things more on a down low or look for specialist market days which some towns have. Like a local farmers market and not a saturday market.