Budgeting for your Wedding Photographer
In the last post, we looked at how and where to begin your search for a Wedding Photographer. Once this process has begun you’re going to need to start to think about how much you want to spend on a photographer. You may already have this figure in mind but it’s always good to re-assess this once you start looking and begin to get a feel for what’s out there. This post looks at the things you should consider when budgeting for wedding photography.
No matter what we’re looking to invest in, we all have some kind of budget. One of the first things you’ll need to do once you have started searching for a Wedding Photographer is to work out what you’re willing to spend and what you want for your money. There’s no point in narrowing down your list to 3 or 4 wedding photographers that charge £5000 each if you have a budget of £1200. It’s a good start to look at those photographers that are reasonably close to your price range and start from there.
Wedding photographers usually fall into 3 main price brackets. Budget Wedding Photographers (under £1000), Mid-Range Wedding Photographers (£1000-£1750), High End Wedding Photographers (£1750+). Although there will always be exceptions to these rules the price category that a wedding photographer falls into will usually reflect the type of service that you should expect. Someone paying £500 for a wedding photographer is probably not expecting to receive a hand bound genuine leather album with the package. Likewise, if you’re paying £5000 for your wedding photography, you should be expecting the photographer to be at the top of their game and deliver some amazingly beautiful images along with a top of the range Wedding Album.
The key thing for someone budgeting for a wedding photographer is to remember that however much you spend on flowers, invitations, venues, food, drink etc. Your wedding photographs will be the one thing that you keep forever so you want the absolute Best Wedding Photographer that you can afford as they will give you some beautiful memories that you will keep forever. Here’s a couple of tips for making sure your wedding photographer money is spent as wisely as possible.
1. Forget the album (for now)! Yes this really is my number one tip. The extra money is far better spent on getting a better wedding photographer and receiving the digital negatives and most good wedding photographers will allow you to do this. The reasoning behind this goes like this. A good wedding album will cost between £750-£2000. If your budget for wedding photography is £2000 for example then you’re going to be looking at a budget wedding photographer to get a ‘package’ that includes a ‘good’ wedding album. The problem here is that a budget wedding photographer may not capture the quality of images that will do a ‘good’ wedding photographer justice so you will probably be looking at a budget wedding photographer plus a lower end coffee table album for your money. The best advice I can give is spend the whole £2000 on getting a top wedding photographer or spend the money on getting a full day’s photography rather than just half a day.
In a year’s time, for your first anniversary (which appropriately is your paper anniversary), ask for gifts of credit towards getting an amazing album made up or just treat yourselves then. My point is that you can add the extras afterwards but you can’t go back in time and hire a better wedding photographer or book a photographer to cover more hours afterwards. Spend as much as you can on just the wedding photographs and add all the less important stuff afterwards.
2. Don’t pay an average wedding photographer and assistant what you can pay one very good wedding photographer. You may hear from them that they capture other angles and more action etc but if you’re looking to maximise your money then you’re better off having 400 amazing photographs rather than 1000 OK photographs. A good wedding photographer will be an expert in being in the right places at the right times to get the best pictures so will be better overall value when you factor in that the photographs will be better quality in terms of composition and technique.
Of course, if price is less of a factor then by all means order the album package and a second photographer but if you’re trying to maximise the level of photography that you can get for a limited budget then consider those tips.
How Much Should You Pay for a Wedding Photographer
So, how much should you pay for a wedding photographer? This depends on a number of factors including what you’re after and the style and quality of images you want but a good rule of thumb is to budget around 10-20% of the cost of the wedding for photography. Remember, in years to come, your wedding photography is one of the only things you will have to remember the day by so you want the very best that you can afford. Remember that whatever price range you’re looking at, there will always be exceptions to the rules so make sure you are confident that your wedding photographer will be able to meet your expectations.
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In the next post we will be looking at narrowing down your wedding photographer choices.