This is a question I frequently get asked so I thought id take the time to show why there isn't really a wrong or right answer to this. When you decide to delve into the world of what is wedding coverage you will be bombarded with people offering you prices anywhere from a couple hundred to thousands of pounds. Some will be good and some not so good, and there will be many reasons for this fluctuation in price and quality. Below I'm going to address some of these things and give you a bit of the behind the scenes stuff that can determine how much or how little a videographer/photographer can cost you and hopefully help you decide what is best for you.
This is the most important thing you should consider when looking to hire someone to capture your wedding. You need someone who cares about your day as much as you do. You also need someone who can handle any dramas that the day brings. This could be something as simple as rain or dealing with some relatives who do not get on. However a professional is also ever vigilant on the day and is always prepared for those little moments that come and go in an instant. Someone without the correct experience won't have the eye for this. They also need to have technical knowledge of the cameras that they use. This is crucial as without this they can come unstuck in dark situations where knowledge will allow them to get the shot that they are looking for. This follows onto my next point.
Photos in low light can be a real challenge for inexperienced photographers
Wedding photographers not only need some pretty modern cameras, But They also need two of them. This ensures no matter what technical difficulties may arise there are redundancies in place to mitigate the worst. For example, I attend every wedding with at least 2 cameras and multiple lenses and memory cards. No matter what happens I know I can continue to seamlessly capture the day should one go wrong. My cameras also write to multiple memory cards at the same time so everything is being backed up automatically as the day goes on. It doesn't stop there. I then use high-end computers and screens at home to make sure that my editing is the best it can be. After all, these are your most precious memories. Naturally, all of this costs a lot of money and add to that insurances, marketing, music licensing (anyone who uses commercial music is a warning sign) and software for editing all have to be factored in. My business running costs for last year came in at just under £8000! That's quite a chunk of money to make before I can personally get paid.
Those precious, intimate and unposed moments
This one is important! Those of us who do this full time, we care... A LOT. Not only is this our livelihood from a financial perspective but it's also our passion. We live for the camera and taking those breathtaking pictures We get just as much satisfaction out of seeing killer images as you do! I know that I still get that buzz when I see the images coming to life during the edit. We pour over them, we spend time on them and that time can amount to many, many hours. Typically 10 hours on the day them roughly 20 hours in the post-processing. It is safe to say we dedicate around a full week per wedding sometimes more. Your weekend warrior as I like to call them, the ones who charge less because they work a fulltime job. They can only give your weddings a limited time. Do they care as much about your day when to them it's just a side hustle? Maybe. Some do but just ask yourself do they dedicate the time to you that you deserve?
Capturing the raw emotions
So. Answering the question about how much should you be paying? Well, that ultimately is up to what you want and what your budget will allow but I can give you some idea. For digital packages somewhere around the £1000 to £1500 mark is the average. Those with more experience and years under their belt will be at the higher end of this scale. Closer to major cities and this could fluctuate a little. For those who want albums should be looking at paying £1600+. slightly more than this for video packages depending on what they come with. Anything under the £1000 mark you are starting to get into the weekend warrior territory and the ones who "bought a good camera and now I'm a wedding photographer" bunch. You may be lucky and find those just starting out who have good talent in this but you are gambling and it wouldn't be the first time I've heard a horror story of either a photographer not showing up or making a complete hash job of the coverage. My final advice is to set your budget, explore styles and spend time looking through portfolios. Most importantly meet your supplier. That's the best way to get a feel and find whos right for you. After all, When the flowers are dead and the food is eaten. The dress is ruined and the honeymoon is over. The only things left are your memories. Isn't it best to capture them the best way possible?
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