Lets not beat about the bush and go for the big question first….just because the word “Wedding” is involved you’ve bumped up the price!?
Let me start by getting you to think about one counter question……How comes that wedding photographer is so cheap? And that is a hugely valid question to ask, let me explain.
As much as nearly every wedding photographer will claim that they are doing it for the love of it, the love of it will not pay the bills for the business or the house, the kids, the car unless it is charged at the right level.
So what is the right level and why are there some who will charge £250 for a whole day yet there are some who will want £1500 for the same thing?
Well, that in many respects is a hard one to answer specifically because each and every person in this industry is different and will have different lifestyles, outlooks, expenses, budgets, so all I can do is explain what I face in my day to day running of my business and then ask you how does someone doing if for £250 manage it unless they are not doing the job properly.
My full day charge at the moment is on average£750 and on average that accounts for 4 hours work prior to the wedding in meetings, venue checks and admin. On the day I will spend 10 to 11 hours shooting. After the wedding I will then have about 500 images to edit, that if done properly, will account for as much as 30 hours worth of editing. So that’s 45 to 46 hours of work to service a full day.
That means I’m on £15.21 an hour…..woah, thats a nice rate, but is it?
To get your attention in the first place I have had to advertise. Whilst it would be great to only use free advertising like Facebook I can’t rely on it to generate enough business to support what we need. So I do wedding fairs, of which I do about 6 per year, most of which cost me about £120 each depending on the actual wedding fair. I also run a website which has cost me money to create and it means I have a monthly fee to pay my hosting company to keep it running and a yearly fee to keep my domain names. I also have to spend out on advertising stationary, like business cards & leaflets and whilst I could use a cheapy firm creating cheapy products like that printing company that are always on the adverts on the telly (Used once for wafer thin business cards that were awful & door signs that went flaky and started peeling after 6 months) but as I want my products to last and show a bit of class I use decent printers, but they cost a bit more to use. Add to this the fact I have to create and pay for new sample products each year so you can see my latest work in print and to see what products I can supply. All in all that means my advertising costs come in at about £1000 to £1200 per year.
To get to those meetings and the venue checks ahead of the wedding I’ve had to jump in my car and use petrol, that’ll have cost £10-£20 on average. To get to and from your wedding it’s going to cost me some fuel as well and that obviously depends on how far it is from my home in Linwood. Also, to be able to run that car to allow me to get to a from everything it needs an MOT and insurance, I know everyone else with a car has to pay these as well but they have to play part in my budget.
Then there is the purchase cost and maintenance of my equipment. My equipment has cost in the region of £3500/£4500. If you wanted to hire that equipment for your wedding for a family member or friend, who is a budding photographer, to use then you would be looking at about £400-£500 expenditure…..and then they would have to learn how to use it all.
On top of that is my editing software costs for Lightroom & Photoshop, and insurance costs that cover the gear, public liability and professional indemnities.
When you then take all those expences, that directly benefit your big day, into account, that hourly rate dwindles quite quickly to somewhere more like £8-10 per hour. What also needs to be thought of is all the hours that have been spent learning how to take pictures, good pictures at that, as it’s not as simple as just hitting a button. I have spent many hours learning what I do, far to many to recall in fact and although I realise that hasn’t actually created a financial cost as such, it is still a time investment in your big day because you benefit directly with my camera skills and know how and get the high quality images at the end of it all, because of what I have learned over the years. So there is a skill factor that is being paid for. My artistic output has a value, but how do you value such a thing.
I personally have no idea and there is no calculator that can work that one out for us, but, I tend to make a comparison that most of us will be able to relate to. When you take your car to an independent garage, so not a VW or Merc or Ford main garage, but a true independent and have just a simple oil change, that mechanic commands about £45 an hour in labour to basically jack up your car, undo one sump nut, drain the oil, replace the sump nut, undo and replace the oil filter, fill it back up with oil and bingo, you’re good to go. So how and where do you value your wedding images against the value you place on your cars upkeep. These are images from one of the most special and important days of your life. Images that if they turn out wrong or bad can’t be replaced or re-done.
One other thing that has to be taken into account is the fact that weddings are seasonal, and there are only so many I can do throughout the summer, but, the flip side of that is there are very few weddings to shoot from Oct to March, and so part of what I earn through the summer has to help me, us, survive the winter months as well, because if I can’t survive or justify my costs at anytime of the year then I simply won’t be able to continue in this business.
So I honestly ask you, how can a photographer do a full day wedding for £250 if they have all the above to take into account and are running a proper, true, legit photography business…..or are they doing the job wrong, not giving you the service you think you are paying for, cutting corners and simply going back to their real day job on Monday morning instead of paying proper attention to your images via the editing that they should be doing, when all they’ve really done is made some nice pocket money from your big day with their cheap equipment, that isn’t insured and doesn’t have the correct back up of gear, and god forbid should they suffer a malfunction of a piece of equipment on your wedding day meaning they can’t capture any images from there on in.
I realise this may sound like I’m being bitter about those who operate cheaper, I’m really not, I’m being very open and very realistic. I have nothing to lose or gain by telling you all this. The one person who can gain from this information is you. If you still believe that I cost to much, or you simply don’t have the budget to spend (and I fully realise everyone has a budget to work to, no matter how big or small) that you should be incredibly careful and considered in your approach to choosing who you use to shoot your very special big day because there are some out there who simply want to take advantage of the fact they can earn some extra dosh without a care in the world for your images and that is what worries me the most. If I am not the photographer for you, that is perfectly fine, but I would much rather see you use a true professional who will take care of your images and someone who has true pride in their work because you will benefit from it when you get your images back.
I truly hope this goes some way into to showing you it’s no where near as simple as paying £700 and then me turning up and just pressing a button. If you need to know more, or have a specific question about budgets/prices then please do get in touch as I’d love to be able to discuss things further with you.
My prices can be found here, packages, on my website but wedding only starts at £595 through to £895.
Deposits are from only £150. If you wish to cancel for any reason, you can, if you need to. Unfortunately the deposit is non refundable. If you need to cancel it would be a huge help if you did so as soon as you can. You can do it via email or giving me a call on 07738521501. I will need the cancellation in writing or email at some point in order for me to keep for my records.
Do We Meet Before We Book??
Definitely, Just as you should with any photographer you might enquire with.
Its a great chance to get to know me and see what I’m about and you’ll instantly see why I had to use the word passion in my business name.
Honestly though, meeting is important as you’ll need to know you like that person and can work with them for a long time because a full day wedding is a long day to be with someone who turns out to be not your kind of person.
How Do We Book??
Booking me can be as simple as checking my availability for your big day, filling in the contract and paying the deposit. When you should book is entirely up to you, but, I work on a first to do the contract and pay the deposit system gets the date. As much as I’d love to hold the date for you while you consider your options, I have to protect my interests and income by not turning away work when it is offered to me.
Can I Pay In Instalments?
The simple answer would be yes. If you find that you have money left at the end of the month and want to pay something to your balance then please feel free to do so. As soon as any payments are made, i will endeavour to send out an up to date receipt and invoice. If you do pay money into my account, please let me know and use your names as a reference for the payment.
How Long Is A Full Day?
A full day is generally 10 hours coverage.
If the wedding ceremony is about 2pm then I will look to start with the girls at about 11am. From there on in I will capture the details of the day, like the dress, shoes, flowers etc etc as well as the girls getting ready. After that it is usually some bridal portraits as well as the bride departing for the church or venue. I then race ahead of the bridal car to capture your arrival. It’s then onto capturing the ceremony as it happens, then the signing of the register and the happy couple exiting the wedding venue.
After the ceremony we capture the group shots followed by the bride/groom portrait session. Your entrance into your reception venue is next followed by the speeches and the cutting of the cake. Whilst your venue is then transformed from the wedding breakfast to the evening party we then have the opportunity to do another bride/groom portrait session or family shots if requested. After this it’s onto the first dance and a bit of the party.
All the way through the day I will also have my eyes open for any candid shot opportunities and as a result I will have loads of natural images of your guests enjoying your big day.
As the first dance is usually somewhere around 8pm my finish time is generally 8.30pm but this of course is totally dependent on how the timings for your big day have run.
How Many Photos Will We Receive?
Image numbers are something that can never be guaranteed, but on average you should get somewhere in the region of 450-500 images
This is of course approximate and can be dependent on such things like the number of group shots required and more importantly the weather. On a day with fab weather the image numbers will be at the higher end of the scale, whereas on a day where it rains heavily or blows a gale and we are restricted to being inside then image numbers tend to fall towards the lower end of the scale.
Will We Get Full Copyright On The Images?
Nope, afraid not, and to be fair there is no need for anyone other than the photographer to have the copyright, I’ll explain.
Firstly, what I give you is what is called Print Rights. You will have full print rights, and that is limited to the wedding couple and their immediate family only, being Mum’s Dad’s, Grandparents. No one else beyond that has any right to the images without purchasing downloads or USB/Albums.
Secondly, the images I take are my sole assets. I have nothing else that I own or have created within the line of my work that I can make a living from, other than selling my camera gear, but then my business would last very long if I did that. I have to protect my assets and potential income by retaining the copyright. Each image I take has a value, and that value can be vastly different for different uses.
Not owning the copyright won’t stop you from being able to print and show the images, so it’s no bad thing to you at all, but any photographer who offers to give “Full Copyright” is either not a full time professional, not showing much worth for his or her work, or plainly not aware of the potential implications and losses to themselves.
Are There Any Hidden Costs?
Nope, not one. What I quote you is what you pay and it will all be detailed in any receipts/statements or contracts we sign.
I do not charge VAT on top as my income levels don’t hit the VAT threshold.
The only time a price might change is if you change your requirements, and that can be increasing or decreasing your coverage, or adding or taking away products. Though products can not be cancelled once they have been ordered and sent/uploaded to my print company and no refund on them can be given. However, should there be a genuine issue with the quality of the album/book/print, not including any accidental damage after it has passed my own quality check and has left my possession, I can take things further with my print company to ensure a favourable outcome in terms of a reissue of the product or potentially a refund.
How Long Until We See The Images?
This one depends on my workload. If your wedding is at the start of the wedding season and I have a clear editing queue then you could have just a 2-3 week wait, where as if we are slap bang in the middle of my busier months the the wait time is more like 5-6 weeks.
My contract with you states it will be no more than 12 weeks but this is a big safety net should I become seriously booked up with something like a wedding on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday two weeks on the trot. My edit queue would be far longer than normal and so the wait time could extend to 12 weeks for the last of those weddings.
At this moment in time I think the longest wait anyone has ever had from me is about 4 weeks to get their images.
How Long Will It Take For An Album?
Once I have uploaded the images to my website, you can look through your images and start to choose which you would like in an album. Knowing what image numbers you have will then mean we can discuss which size album and what page numbers would be best for them.
I then ask you a few simple questions. Out of say the 50 images you have chosen, which 15 would you like to have as appearing in the album larger than the rest? Would you like there to be a background to each page, making it appear as if each image has a border? Would you like a modern approach to your album design where each image goes edge to edge with each other and the actual pages as well, meaning no back ground can be seen and there is no border to each image? Would you like it to be a mix of the two styles, where some pages are edge to edge pictures and some are with a background? What cover would you like?
Once I have those answers I can design it and once it is done, usually around 7 working days, I can send you a PDF proof for your to review. If there is something about it that is not quite right for you then just tell me what it is and we can get it sorted. Once you are happy with it I’ll get you to check it one more time, because as soon as you give the green light to send it to print is the time that I have to charge you for it, because once it’s uploaded for print there is no backing out, or changing the design, or refunds.
Once the uploaded order has been accepted the turn around time to get it back to me is usually 21 working days. I will then check it over to ensure I am 100% happy with it’s quality and then I will arrange to get it to you.
What Sort Of Photos Do You Take?
I say to most couples that i like to be a 'natural' photographer. This means that i will take most of the shots throughout the day as i see them. I try not to 'pose' too many shots except for the formal photos after the ceremony.
4/6 weeks before the ceremony i normally have another meeting/conversation with yourselves and ask you to compose a list of 'must have' photos./ These are generally the most important photos to the couple themselves.
The standard list is (And yes they all include the bride and groom) :-
Bride and Groom and……….
Both Sets Of Parents
Both Sets Of Grandparents
Both Sets Of Siblings
Best Man, Ushers, Pageboys
Maid Of Honour, Bridesmaids, Flowergirls
Like I say, you choose whats relevant to you and add to it as you please, but I do advise to keep the list to about 15 images just because of the timescale it can take to get these shots done, though if you want more, we do more.
Can You Make Me Look Slimmer In My Photos?
This is the most common question i get asked by mothers of the bride.
Can i do it? Yes.
Will I do it? No
I am a natural photographer and believe in all my shots being natural. I do not airbrush the photos and neither do i 'slim' people down. On your wedding day, that is who you are. Do not change that for anyone.
I can and will use Photoshop/Lightroom in order to make subtle changes to your photographs and i try to do this as much as is necessary to ensure you get the photos you deserve.
Can I See A Full Wedding You Have Photographed?
Yes, you can.
Reason being is that most photographers websites and portfolios will pretty much only show their stand out, show piece images to tempt you in with the stunning shots. My website is no different at all, and why wouldn’t I want to show you my best work?
Yet throughout the whole day there will be many different images taken of many different parts of the day. So why don’t we photographers show them all? It’s simply because there would be far to many images to show and there is half a chance you’ll have had enough of looking through them by image number 62. It’s also because a lot of the images we take are candids of the guests, and whilst they might be technically great and a really good photo, they won’t necessarily have the same emotional impact on you as they will do with the bride and groom of the actual wedding involved because they are not images of your family and friends.
What I would be more than happy to do is organise for you to see full weddings that i have photographed in order for you to see exactly what is taken throughout the course of the day, and that although I have my stunning images, my run of the mill standard images are also high quality, well exposed and as creative as they can be.
If these faq's have NOT answered all your questions, then please feel free to call me on 07738521501 or send me a message through the website Contact Form
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