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How much does a wedding photographer cost?

The average starting cost for a good wedding photographer in the United Kingdom is anywhere between £1,500-£2,000. You probably were not expecting that, were you? While you may think this is an astoundingly high figure for photography, it is important to remember that your wedding photos will last a lifetime and can be displayed in your home and shared with your family for generations to come. You will want to remember your wedding day as if it were yesterday, and good wedding photos will do just that by capturing all of the emotion of the day and those special moments you will never want to forget!

 Wedding planning is an exciting time, but it can become overwhelming once you start factoring in all of the budgets that you have to set and getting everything organised in enough time. Once most women are engaged, the first thing they think of is their wedding dress, venue and colour schemes and wedding photography may not immediately seem a major factor. However, your wedding photos are so important and a good wedding photographer can make all the difference! This article outlines wedding photography prices so you'll have an idea of what you'll expect to budget.

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Unlike many aspects of your wedding, such as the dress, venue, flowers and food, your wedding photos are an investment. They capture all the raw emotion and tears of joy, from the moment you walk down the aisle and your partner seeing you for the first time, to the happiness and joy at the wedding reception. To put it simply, it is all you have at the end. They will forevermore tell the story of the love and happiness shared between not only you and your partner, but also your friends and family that shared that special moment with you too. 

Average wedding photography prices

AreaAverage Cost
North East£1,268
North West£1,318
South East£1,545
South West£1,675
West Midlands£1,495
East Midlands£1,450
East of England£1,480
Scotland £1,618
Northern Island£1,380

What can you expect at each price level

As with many things in life that you would invest in, you tend to get what you pay for, and that is especially true when it comes to wedding photography! There is a saying that you have likely heard at several points in your life - ‘if it is too good to be true, then it probably is’. This saying rings true with wedding photography, so if you have found what you think is a deal, it is likely there are hidden costs that you may not realise right away. Worst of all, you aren’t likely to be happy with the quality of the images you receive and rather than being excited to share them with everyone, you will be hiding them away with embarrassment. 

Let’s have a look at the breakdown of what you can expect at each price level:

£0-£500 price range

A photographer charging rates within this bracket are likely to be amateurs or a student hoping to gain experience. The quality of the images you receive will be low, especially if this is an all-day package price. Most good wedding photographers edit each image, but at this price, it isn’t likely they would do this. Of course, you can find good photographers within this price bracket, but it would only be for a couple of hours. So, if you do have a limited budget for your wedding photography, instead of finding a photographer offering cheap and limited quality all-day packages, look for a quality photographer who can cover a couple of hours and include the most important moments like the ceremony.

£750-£1,000 price range

Typically, a wedding photographer charging around the £750 mark for an all-day package is newer to the industry and may even do it as a hobby, rather than a profession. Due to these reasons, the quality of the images you receive can really vary. If this is your budget, you should make sure you do lots of research beforehand and take a look at their portfolio to determine the quality of their work. Alternatively, you can find a good, professional wedding photographer at these rates for a few hours. At this price, be aware that you will only receive digital copies of photos from any photographer. 

If you are thinking about hiring a photographer for only part of the day, you will want to think about those special moments that you want to have captured. Most people will agree that those moments are:

  • Getting ready
  • Ceremony
  • Cocktail/canape hour 
  • Speeches
  • Cutting of the cake
  • First dance
  • Party shots

If you are hiring a photographer for only part of the day that won’t cover the cake cutting, some will offer the option of a mock cake cutting; when contacting various photographers, ask if this is something they can include.

£1,000-£1,500 price range

If you are based outside of London, you can find local, professional wedding photographers charging this as their day rate as average, but are on par with photographers in London who are charging the average £1,500-£2,000. Always ask how many hours are included for their day rate, although it is typically based on eight hours. Most photographers will give the option to extend their hours, but you should find out how much they charge for each additional hour. You can then determine which parts of the day you will want them to cover. Always compare portfolios, as the level of editing can vary at these rates, and you will be able to pick this up by comparing work. 

£1,500-£2,000 price range

With this being the average day rate for an excellent, professional wedding photographer, your expectations are to be higher. Not only are photographers who are charging this rate, and have outstanding portfolios, highly knowledgeable and dedicated to the work that they do, they are also prepared in any situation that could occur on your wedding day, without compromising the quality of your photos. For example, while they say rain on your wedding day means good luck, it can pose a problem and change some of the ideas your photographer had in mind for capturing some special moments; however, a skilled photographer charging in this price bracket will know how to create the best pictures, even if you are forced inside. 

The service you receive, aside from the photography, is superior and you can expect a consultation prior to your wedding to discuss your expectations and talk about the plans of the day. They usually also use high-quality cameras with great lenses and may use lighting equipment to help capture the best shots. A longer time is spent editing photos, so if you have anything that you are conscious of, you can discuss that with your photographer for them to bear in mind while editing. The majority of photographers spend 30+ hours editing your photos. 

A photographer in this bracket is also likely to have insurance, but you should always ask as this does vary.

£2,000-£2,750 price range

In this price bracket you will receive breathtaking photos and you can expect all aforementioned benefits of a photographer in the £1,500-£2,000 bracket, as well as a bespoke album of photos. Photographers charging these rates are typically known in the industry. 

£2,750+ price range

This top tier rate means your wedding photos will be captured by a renowned, award-winning wedding photographer who is well-known in the industry and would have had some of their wedding shoots published in magazines and on websites. Many photographers charging this rate make use of a second photographer, which is great for capturing moments before the ceremony with both the bride and groom separately. 

They will have professional lighting equipment to capture high-quality photos both during the day and in the evening. The cameras and lenses that they use on your wedding day can cost up to £50k! They will also have all the necessary insurance and certification that you would expect from any highly skilled professional. 

At this rate, your photographer will be spending 50+ hours editing and retouching photos, leaving you with stunning photos that will last a lifetime. You will also receive a bespoke wedding album. 

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Factors that will affect your wedding day photography prices

There are so many factors that can affect the price you pay for your wedding photography. Before you even consider these factors, you should think about what is important to you when you envision your wedding photos. Having an idea of what you are wanting will help refine your search. Consider how long you will want your photographer there for and pick a style that you feel suits what you want. Always browse through portfolios to get a feel of what a photographer can offer in terms of their photography and editing skills. Once you have a better idea in mind of what you are seeking, you can then begin to consider some of the other factors that affect how much you will pay.

Date of the Wedding

The date of your wedding can have a major impact on the cost of your wedding photography. The day of the week and time of day are equally influencing on price. The most popular days to get married are Friday and Saturday, so if you are planning a midweek wedding, you may be able to negotiate the price a little; this also goes for the month in which you are getting married, winter tends to be much quieter for wedding photographers, so they may offer deals at this time.

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Prices of wedding photography can vary quite drastically around the United Kingdom, so you can expect to pay much higher prices in London. If you are finding that your budget is limited for photography, many couples will opt for a local photographer as they tend to be cheaper. Again, just always do your research and compare several local photographers to see who you feel is going to provide you with the level of service you require.

Time Coverage

The averages listed above are based on full-day photography coverage at your wedding, so if you find that you are unable to choose a full-day option, you can request half-day prices or a set amount of hours to cover the most important parts of your day. Many photographers will work with you if you want to include a mock cake cutting or mock exit, so discuss this as an option if you have a limited budget but do not want to forgo those moments when it comes to your photos.
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Digital Photos vs. Bespoke Album

If you are happy receiving digital photos only that you buy the rights to and can later have printed to create your own wedding album, you can save some money. Always speak to your photographer about these options. If you do have the budget for a bespoke album, they are a beautiful way to look back at your day and tell a story that you can share with your family.

Professionalism and Experience

This goes back to the kind of style that you prefer and level of quality you expect. Many amateur photographers will charge low prices to start building their portfolio, but the quality of the images will likely show their lack of experience. Consultations about your wedding day are included in many packages, but those that are priced low may not offer this. Most couples prefer a consultation to be able to discuss the vision they have for their wedding and the kind of photos they would like to have captured. Without this consultation, you could be left wondering how they will approach the day.


Add Ons

As packages can vary greatly, you should always be sure of what is included. There are usually many additions you can discuss with your photographer if they are not included, such as engagement shoots, a second photographer, additional prints or even thank-you cards. If you are more flexible with your budget, many photographers are happy to create bespoke packages that will cover everything you have in mind!

Do You Need Wedding Videography Too?

It is not necessary to hire a wedding videographer, but if you feel you want to capture every detail, it is a great way to do so. Your wedding day is so eventful and many times, brides feel as though the wedding day flies by and everything may be a bit of a blur. To avoid this, hiring a wedding videographer will allow you to remember every special detail. Photographs are perfect for capturing moments, but sometimes a video ensures those priceless moments are never forgotten, such as the speeches and all the emotion during the exchanging of vows.

Wedding videographers typically charge about £1,500 on average for a full day of filming, so it can be an expensive addition on top of your wedding photography. At that price you will normally also receive a video anywhere between 40-90 minutes and a highlights video. Much like wedding photography, the price can be affected by your location, wedding date, amount of hours spent filming and the experience of the videographer. The minimum you should plan to spend if you are considering a videographer is £1,000; you can find them for less than £1,000, however they are likely to be very amateur and they will not have the professional skills to edit and shoot to a high-quality standard.

If you do have the budget for it though, you will be able to relive every moment of your wedding in incredible detail. Many studios offer a discount if you book both wedding photography and videography through them, so it is highly recommended to consider this. This is also beneficial because the photographer and videographer will have worked together in the past, so there won’t be any awkward moments of them clashing while trying to get the best shots.

What if I'm getting married abroad?

If you are planning a wedding abroad, you can either bring a photographer with you or find a wedding photographer who resides in the destination to which you are travelling. 

Many couples do use a destination wedding photographer who lives in the United Kingdom. Most destination wedding photographers will still charge the same day rate as they would if they were shooting within the UK, but they will expect you to cover all aspects of their travel - airfare, transfers and accommodation - if travelling within the same sort of time zone. However, if you are travelling to the Caribbean, for example, it can take almost a full day of travel to get there on occasion, so you would need to cover the cost of their additional time travelling as well as cost of travel. Your photographer would normally give you a fee for this, which would vary depending on how much time would be spent travelling prior to the wedding and how many days they would be required to stay at the destination.

As you would with any other wedding photographer that you would consider, always compare portfolios of various destination photographers to get an idea of how they perform and the style and quality of the photos they produce while abroad. Some wedding photographers will allow for a few test photos, for a fee, so if you have the budget for this, it is a great way to work with them briefly to see how you feel and to get an idea of how they work. They can also then provide you with some suggestions for poses and shots that would be great to get at your wedding.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I Need to Hire a Wedding Photographer?

While high-quality wedding photography can be pricey, it is an investment, as the photos you receive will be invaluable treasures that you cherish. While you may think about cutting costs and using a friend to snap some quick photos here and there, you will end up regretting not making a wise investment. There are several reasons you should hire a wedding photographer, let’s take a look:

Using the services of a low-skilled photographer or just asking a friend means that there could be more work involved for you - which, on your wedding day, is the last thing you want to be worrying about! A professional wedding photographer will be prepared for any situation and will have scoped out your venue to get an idea of lighting and areas that will work best for your photos for maximum quality.

It will help you feel at ease, especially during posed shots. It can sometimes be awkward getting those more intimate photos, but a good photographer will help you feel comfortable, so you can relax - which will be apparent in your photos. Your wedding photos are all you have to remember the day by, so you want all of those important, special moments caught so you can look back at them whenever you want.

Taking wedding photos is much more than just snapping shots, so that is why it isn’t appropriate for just anyone to be taking them. A professional wedding photographer is skilled and knows how to use a camera to get the best shots regardless of conditions or lighting. They also then spend hours editing your photos and creating an album to last you a lifetime. As you can see, there is so much more to photography than just taking the photo; hence why your wedding photos are an investment and hiring a wedding photographer is the best investment you can make for your wedding day.

Why Do Wedding Photography Prices Vary So Much?

As this guide has demonstrated, there are so many things that can affect the price! Location and experience of the photographer plays a huge part in the cost of packages. Similar to hairdressers, salons and other industries, prices can vary greatly, but you typically get what you pay for; with photography, the lower the cost of a package, you should expect lower quality images.

How to Find a Reasonably Priced Photographer?

Reasonably priced photographers will be dependent on your budget! What one couple may consider reasonable, may not be for another. It is always recommended you should set aside 5-10% of your total wedding budget to put towards your photography. Considering in 2019 the average cost of a wedding was £31,974, if you do stick to putting aside 5-10% you will be able to find a good photographer.

The best way to find a reasonably priced photographer for you can be done in a few steps:

  • Determine your budget first
  • Pick your style - candid, traditional, creative, contemporary, etc?
  • Request testimonials from a photographer you are considering
  • Browse through multiple portfolios to get a feel of what the photographer can offer; does it match your style?
  • Ask if they are familiar with your venue. If they are, they will know the best spots for photos and will be familiar with lighting conditions and how to work in them.

A simple Google search yields hundreds of thousands of results for wedding photographers in the UK, but using some of the steps above, you can help create a shortlist of photographers that would be ideal for your wedding.

Do You Pay Wedding Photographers Up Front?

Normally when booking your wedding photographer, you will need to pay a deposit to secure your wedding date and book them. Deposit amounts do vary, so you could be looking at paying anywhere between 10% and 50% to secure them. Collection of the balance is usually down to the preference of the photographer; some photographers will request payment prior to the wedding, whereas others may wait until after the photos have been completed.

When Should I Book My Wedding Photographer?

On average, most couples book their wedding photography anywhere between 9-12 months prior to their wedding. However, popular photographers can book up well in advance (sometimes up to 3 years!), so it is best to book your photographer as soon as you have a date set to avoid any disappointment. Remember that certain times of year and days of the week are more popular than others, so if you are picking a prime time to get married, you should start enquiring about availability as soon as possible. You should have your venue booked already so that your photographer can ensure they give you accurate pricing for their services.

How Long Will I Need to Wait for My Wedding Photos?

Your wedding photographer will aim to get your photos to you as soon as possible, but the best wedding photographers spend hours editing to perfect them. If you are paying in excess of £1,500, your photographer could be spending anywhere between 30-50 hours editing. Most photographers will get your photos to you within 2-6 weeks and will typically send you a few ‘sneak previews’ to build the excitement and help make the wait not too unbearable!

How Many Wedding Photos Do I Receive?

This will depend on the amount of time for which your wedding photographer was hired. A general idea of how many usable photos that are produced per hour would be approximately 50-100, so if you have hired a wedding photographer for the whole day, you can expect anywhere between 400-800 photos. The actual number of photos that can be taken throughout the day can exceed 2,000, but you would not want to have all of those! You may be thinking, the more, the better, however, you would realistically only want the images that are of the best quality; you would not be happy receiving hundreds of photos with your guests eye’s closed or an unflattering one of yourself! Your photographer will filter through all of these and make the best selection so that you can relive your wedding day and proudly display your photos.

What Happens if My Photographer is Ill on My Wedding Day?

The majority of professional wedding photographers have a network of other equally professional photographers that would be able to cover them in this scenario. We understand this may not feel like the most reassuring answer, however, most photographers would show up unless the circumstances were severe. Always ask your photographer about this and talk about what your preference would be if this happened. However, most couples would not like to have to find a replacement at the last minute as it could end up costing more and may be impossible, especially at busier times.

Professional photographers have insurance, this usually also covers them for public liability, so you can be sure that you will get your money back if your photographer could not be at your wedding or find an appropriate alternative. Always make sure this is in your contract.

Do I Need to Feed My Wedding Photographer?

You are not required to feed your wedding photographer usually, but it is a nice gesture to do so. This does not mean that you are expected to consider your photographer in the seating plan, though! There are some photographers that will require being fed and this will normally be outlined in your contract, so you can ask them about this.

Here are some ideas for arrangements you can plan to make before the big day, while keeping your wedding photographer in mind:

Ask your venue about vendor rates, which could give you a discount for the venue preparing food for your photography, DJ, band, florist, etc. The venue will arrange a space away from you and your guests for them to eat.
Let the venue know that when it is cocktail and canape hour to offer them to those that are assisting with your wedding.

Now that you are well armed with information, you can start to consider your budget and begin your search. The key in searching for the best wedding photographer is to remember that it is going to be an investment. What you pay for is what you will get, so invest wisely!