Unless you work in the wedding industry or have helped a friend plan their wedding, then wedding planning is uncharted territory for most. It can seem a little overwhelming when you first start on the journey, but remember that at the heart of it your wedding day is simply about marrying the one you love, celebrating the beginning of a beautiful new chapter of your lives.
In this new mini blog series I'm answering some of the most common questions newly engaged couples, brides-to-be, (even those still waiting for him to put a ring on it!) have about wedding photography.
Q: Why is there so much variation in what wedding photographers charge? And why the heck is wedding photography so expensive??
Okay so this is a very loaded question! But I know it’s something a lot of people think when they start looking at wedding photographers. Our own friends have actually said to our faces we must be creaming it as photographers when they find out how much we charge per wedding! (If only).
Wedding photographers can range from free to $10k or more! Prices vary so vastly because of a number of different factors; the level that photographers are currently at skill-wise, their perceived value of themselves, whether it's more hobby or business, how much they're in demand and many more reasons. It also doesn't help that each photographer has different ways of packaging up their services, some sell top end product, others don't offer physical product at all. Some photographers cover the whole day, others charge by the hour. Our industry has no standardisation and this can make it extremely hard for couples to know where to start when they're searching for a wedding photographer.
So why do we charge what we charge? First & foremost I consider the numbers because while we absolutely love what we do, we're also running a legitimate business that has to make us a living. The hours associated with prepping for a wedding, meetings & emails, shooting the wedding, then editing the wedding are staggering when you break it all down. I worked out once that we spend over 50 hours from start to finish working on just one wedding. Then there’s costs directly associated to each wedding; travel, accommodation if it’s not local, printing, framing, albums, that fun thing called GST. Then before I even pay myself (and Matt) there’s also all those other costs of doing business to factor in first; insurances, depreciation of gear, training, maintenance, website fees, licences, phone, Kiwisaver, vehicle costs, etc.
But I also can still remember what it was like as a bride to be, trying to juggle a budget and plan a beautiful wedding. Most couples have a budget they need to stick to for their wedding and whether that's a big budget or a small one my advice is to prioritise for the things that are most important to you. If the music is important, go big with the band and compromise somewhere else. It could mean using a cheaper venue so that you can have the dress of your dreams. And if having timeless photographs to look back on in years to come is important then don't skimp on the photography budget. Sadly I've heard too many stories of regret from couples who chose an amateur, just got a friend with a camera to take a few snaps or worse; hired a less-than-professional photographer and ended up getting burned!
If you're struggling with finding the right photographer for your budget here's my top tips:
Find more wedding information, from wedding day timeline templates to tips for a stress-free wedding day & everything in between, over on the Wedding Hub section of my website.
The Wedding Hub is a free resource for those planning a wedding, it's constantly being updated & added to and is a curation of years worth of experience from ourselves as photographers and also other wedding vendors including florists, celebrants, make up artists and more!