Why Is Wedding Photography Expensive?

I decided to write this blog after seeing quite a big debate on a wedding forum on FB. The topic was, do photographers charge too much? So, from a photographers perspective here are my thoughts, its a bit of a quickly put together blog so doesn’t really have any flow, but is packed with information about why wedding photography can be seen as expensive.

Before I start I recently saw a post by a large wedding company and the average cost for Wedding Photography is £1500. Sitting at £1195 I have resisted the urge over the past 2 years to increase these prices, so that said you can have me photograph your wedding, along with another professional photographer for less than the average cost.

Why haven’t I increased costs? Because I set out to be affordable and I want it to remain that way. And also over the past 3 years I have photographed 221 weddings and 80% of those bookings were from word of mouth. So in effect, my diary pretty much fills itself so why would I change things that work?

First up, we have huge costs to cover, just like other companies, we need the equipment to function. Simple as that! On a typical wedding day you will see me and my assistant carrying 2 big bags around. Within, typically are……..

  • 2 x Nikon D850 £3000 each
  • 2 x Nikon D750 £1600 each.
  • 5 x Lenses (Average cost £900)
  • 4 x Speedlites (£180 each- I do often burn these out as I push them to the max)
  • 1 x High Powered Flash (£475)
  • 6 x Spare Camera Batteris £40 each
  • Flash Modifiers £250 worth

Some togs will carry much more than this and carry more expensive equipment. Above is what fits my needs for what I wish to achieve.

And then there are all the other bits and bats which do certainly add up. All my cameras are pro-level cameras so have dual card slots. If a card corrupts we still have a copy!! Absolutely vital and I have heard horror stories of single card slot users- a risk I shall never ever take on someones special day. Sure a studio photographer can call them back if anything has happened, a wedding tog certainly cant!! Each card costs around £50, and I have about 20 of them. Then theres other things such as batteries etc.

We also have running costs such as insurance, wifi, electricity etc. I edit on a Mac which as I am sure you are aware, are not cheap!! Editing software isn’t as expensive as it used to be, however still a cost. Transport is also a cost.

We only get one chance at a wedding, no re-runs, so everything has to be in tip top condition. I change my camera bodies every 2 years or when they have reached 70% of their expected life.

You also have to remember that yo are paying for someone who can deliver on your day. You’re paying for their experience, their ability to change things up should they need to and most of all, not to cock up the biggest day of your life

In the group debate, hourly rates were also mentioned. Believe it or not, its not just about taking photos!!! Heres a rough breakdown of the percentage of time I spend on each task that this profession requires…..

  • 30% Taking Photos
  • 50% Editing Photos
  • 10% Communication (Couples, Venues, other wedding suppliers)
  • 10% Business Admin

Editing often goes on into the night, I really love exceeding expectations and getting images back to the brides and grooms as quick as possible- but without compromising quality!!

Your wedding photos are investment. You are investing in the craft of the person taking photos. Photos that will last forever!!!! We are very approachable at weddings and the amount of guests who thrust cameras in my hand asking what have I done wrong??? A few simple turns of dials they then take the shot again and hey presto, perfect!!! Don’t compromise on blurred photos, or photos that are badly exposed, get them right!! I have been asked on 4 occasions to edit photos a friend or relative has taken as they didn’t want to pay the photography fees. A task I wouldn’t do as I am sure my colleagues wouldn’t do either. Some brides in the past have booked me simply because in their words- ‘The venue is not the best so we chose you as we know you can create amazing things anywhere’ On all occasions we haven’t let them down. But thats because we create great angles and know how to manipulate light and add in our own when needed.  I remember a bride whose venue wasn’t particularly appealing for pics (she absolutely agreed) and I laid in the middle of a road in Castleford and created a ripper of a photo. She actually nearly cried when I showed her the back of the camera. Invest in this art and know how, trust the professionals!

After the wine has all gone, the food has been eaten, the last dance danced, all you have left is the photos, don’t compromise. I would say this as I am a professional photographer right? I am saying it because I love photos and memories. 2 massively integral parts of a weddings day

Memories are all you have left at the end of the road. Don’t risk looking at your relatives underexposed blurred photo of you walking the aisle!!

We as a family love looking back at not just our wedding photos but photos from when my children were babies and also having fun on holidays.

With booking season upon us, as I am a recommended photographer at Waterton Park Hotel in Wakefield, Oulton Hall in Wakefield, Dimple Well Lodge in Wakefield Thorpe Park Hotel Leeds, Kings Croft Hotel Pontefract and Rogerthorpe Manor so if you would like to see what we have to offer you can catch us at their open days. Failing that get in touch and we can arrange a meeting to chat through your wedding and how I would photograph it.

Peace Out!!!


Ps, its not a rant, I genuinely want everyone to get what they want from their big days. And to give insight into what we actually do

Pss A great camera doesn’t make a great photographer, I wear David Beckham aftershave but still look like a grotter. And I have seen wedding guests with pro-level cameras shooting photos in full auto mode I often see them scratching their heads wondering what happened!

‘Matt Nicholls is a highly sought after multi award winning Wakefield wedding photographer scooping Wedding Photographer of the Year 2016 and Wedding Photographer of the Year 2019.’