Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?

Published by Sam, Editor -
Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?

Everyone wants to remember their special wedding day and therefore home videos and poor quality photographs on a camera phone won’t cut it; this is why the majority of couples will opt for a professional wedding photographer to document their special day.

However, one question many are faced with and ask is ‘Why is Wedding Photography so Expensive?’.

Why is Wedding Photography so darn Expensive?

So are wedding photographers expensive? Only if you think they are, but lets try and understand the value of what you are paying for and how they are also affordable, however there’s a lot more hours involved than you might, and also a lot more work behind the scenes than just taking photos on your wedding day.

The Expense of a Wedding Photographer

The price charged by wedding photographers can range hugely and many charge into the thousands for a full day of shooting, however, they are a necessary part of any wedding day. Wedding days are the most important day in many of our lives and the risk of not having the photos you dreamed of runs high unless you have a professional taking care of it.

Not only do wedding photographers take staged photographs of the wedding party and guests, many offer a full day of shooting which involves everything from photographs of the bridal makeup and hair being done right until the last person leaves the wedding reception.

Furthermore, photographers’ work is not done when the day is over as they then have the responsibility of choosing the best quality photos and making any edits to those that need it.

With such pressure on professionals to capture every perfect photograph, it is somewhat understandable that wedding photographers are so expensive when you consider the sheer amount of equipment required.

Not only do they need one camera, but also lenses, tripods, memory cards, batteries, a different camera for this, a different camera for that and camera equipment is not often easily affordable with many wedding photographers’ kit reaching a cost of well into the thousands of pounds. With all this expensive kit you also need public liability insurance that most venues require before allowing you to work on their premises, again another large expense.

That is just the camera, what about editing your photos? A powerful laptop or PC is needed, software to edit the photos, back up hard drives so nothing is lost, USB pens and online storage to supply your photos, all these costs add up.

With everything there is time, you are not just paying for the wedding photographer to attend our wedding for 6-12 hours and that is it, they will spend time making sure all they have all the equipment set up for your wedding, they may go and recce your venue to ensure they know the best places for some beautiful photos, then after the wedding, transferring images, backing them all up, and then editing them and creating albums that you fall in love with.

Additionally, wedding photographers have a huge pressure placed upon them; one wrong click or one faulty piece of a equipment and the hundreds of wedding photographs you have been waiting for are gone, and the fault lies solely with the wedding photographer themselves, you are paying for experience.

Why do photographers charge so much for photos?

Who says they do? Who says they don’t? As with anything the price of something or cost of something varies, there is always cheaper and there is always more expensive. The key is to understand what you are paying for. Why does it cost more to go to a award winning 5 star restaurant then it does to your local fast food take away?

Photography is more than an expensive camera

As you can see there is a large amount of money is spent on having the right equipment for the job, and also a large amount of time that goes into it all, but there is more to the job and capturing your perfect wedding day than just the camera and all the gadgets, these are just tools.

There is a skill and an art that has been developed, learnt and honed by the photographer over many years, you can give all the same equipment to someone who has little professional experience and they may take one or two nice shots, but a professional photographer with years of experience will take a whole album worth of stunning shots that tell a story. This is what you are paying for. Someone with years of experience, someone you can trust.

Is a wedding photographer worth the cost?

Wedding photography isn’t just a purchase, your wedding dress is a purchase, you shall wear it once and that is all, your wedding flowers are a purchase, after a few days they shall wilt and that will be that, however your wedding photography is an investment.

Your wedding photos are a story of your perfect day, they will capture the emotion of the day, your beautiful fresh flowers, your stunning white dress, your wedding album will hold all those memories and moments forever which you can share with friends, family and grandchildren.

You get what you pay for...

So before you purchase your flowers, cake and dress just remember that saving a little on each of those will make for an even better investment in your wedding photos.

Like most things you get what you pay for, so find an experienced wedding photographer that you value and that you trust to capture your special day, you only get one chance.

What is a reasonable price for a wedding photographer?

As with may thanks costs can vary, a full day wedding photographer package can cost from £1000 to £4000+, so what is the difference in this? Experience. Experienced photographers have developed their skills over time and have a proven track record of delivering high-quality results.

A photographer with years of experience, a set style and specific style of couple would cost more than a wedding photographer that may have less experience or is just starting out.

Other articles that are also relevant:

Article Updated for September 2023.


  1. Stephen McCurry

    Fab article.
    As a photographer who regularly spends around 12 to 13 hours shooting at a wedding the level of physical and mental exhaustion you feel the next day is enormous.
    The hours you spend getting the images edited and displayed all add up. If you as preparation time in as well one wedding day soon turns into a couple of weeks of work.

  2. Jenni Cluskey-Smith

    Great article.
    I do a couple of days teaching during the week and I have young budding photographers who tell me “you can’t charge that much!” when we talk about business models. But when you explain totaling up the amount of hours spent on each individual couple; the cost of the kit, insurance, overheads and then work out how many weddings you need in a year to just cover those costs – they can’t believe they’d thought about charging so little.

  3. London girl

    A high pressured job!??? Hahaha try being a Dr, surgeon, Pilot, Trader, Banker or any other high powered career before you moan about “pressures of selecting the best photo”.

  4. Obi

    Guys as a profession, we really need to stop trying to justify the cost of wedding photography. Don’t write, share, discuss, comment on articles about it at all. The more we do this, the more suspect it looks. We are artists, and no artist needs to justify the monies he or she charges for their work.

    Secondly we are professionals, and like all professions, investments will be on made, books, gear, overhead, training, hours etc. No one cares. ALL professionals do that. I’ve never seen a doctor, or mechanic charging me and telling me its because of what he’s invested.

    So guys please lets just stop this.

  5. Leonardo-studios

    Don’t forget the old “you get what you pay for” does not apply to Wedding Photography. Some people pay over £2000 and get a bad photographers, others pick a photographer for £250 and get fantastic pictures. There are many people who claim to be wedding photographers who are terrible at it and they come in all price ranges!

  6. Gareth Wignall

    Good article. I believe it is important for clients to understand Wedding Photographers are more than just an expensive camera. We are truly Artists.

    As with everything in life we prioritise, that which we see value in. Wedding photography is no different.

  7. Gareth Newstead

    really good article and important for couples to understand what goes into having a great wedding photographer and not just someone who has a decent camera and presses the shutter

  8. Harry Who

    Photographing the “Big Day” only takes 12 hours, but we spent a lifetime in crafting our art and skills. Then we will spend 1 week to process the images to perfection. Some clients understand how hard we work, and some don’t. It is a part of our job to make them understand that what we do is worth the cost and more. Wedding Photography is hard work and most of us does it with our heart, mind and soul. Furthermore, it is fun, and we won’t do it any other way. 🙂

  9. Andritsos Photography

    Excellent article, wedding photographer is one of the most important parts of the wedding. As a patient will search for the best doctor, you should definitely pay him accordingly. The operation can take a few hours, however, the experience of the doctor’s got many years, costs money and of course lots of people will wait for him!

  10. Evie Jones

    I agree that a wedding photographer is one of the most important factors of a wedding as it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity (or for most people anyway). I’ve just booked an amazing photographer for mine at an amazing Oxford Wedding Venue at Aynhoe Park – definitely check them out in you’re UK based.

  11. Terry James

    The bottom line is that we as wedding photographers need to educate brides and grooms more about why we charge what we do and the importance of having a professional photographer. Some B&G’s see their wedding photography as just another expense on an already over priced one day affair.
    I am normally the first to arrive and one of the last to go home and more than anyone else I am at the bride and grooms side pretty much more than anyone else on their wedding day.

    This is a very good blog post that goes someway to informing Brides and Grooms of the why. Great article!!

  12. Adam

    To run my wedding photography business each year cost £20k, and that’s before I’ve made any profit at all. You need to be turning over at least double that to make it any kind of a success, once you’ve paid your taxes on your taxable income. If my total turnover was say £45k my salary would be around £20k. If you shoot 25 weddings a year and it’s your only photo gigs you need to charge £1800 to sustain this. Bottom line is you probably need to diversify and have other business.

  13. Jane

    What a great and needed article. I find myself getting angry when I see a post calling for photographers that wont cost and limb, or wont cost them their newborn child. It makes me want to scream “would you work for a fraction of what your paid”? It’s up to us as photographers to educate our couples, so they see where their money goes and understand that when its worked out to an hourly rate for a wedding, we are not earning massive dollars, if we are doing our job right.

  14. Smiley Snaps Photography

    I agree with the costs (equipment, time, …) but not so much with the unbreakable relationship that Ranolph indicates of expensive-good and cheap-bad. Not being an expensive photographer is going to be better than another that is not so much.
    There are other factors that mark the prices of photographers such as hook rates, economic status, work capacity, etc. etc.

  15. Dan Thurgood

    The pricing question to me is simple – I say to my customers, “How much do you want to earn in a year?” Then, when you explain to them that you only can do so many weddings (I suggest that 50 would be an absolute maximum) and that all your year’s wages have to be divided between those shoots, you can see the lights come on in their eyes. It’s not a ‘justification’ as that sounds like we are charging too much. No, it’s an ‘education’. This is why prices are NOT coming down and precisely why they must not do so – we have to educate brides and grooms. Thank you for this article being an attempt to do so.

  16. David Wilkins

    So true, I’m sure many wedding guests think it’s a matter of turning up for a few hours on the day and then spending the rest of the week laying around

  17. John Price Photography

    This is a question that gets asked by so many who do not quite understand what goes into being a professional photographer and what work is involved. The article is good and gives a broad overview but is by no means complete. Many couples presume we charge an XYZ amount and that is our profit.
    They do not understand, that often in a package there is the cost of products that will be received, the hours and hours of administration and meetings that would have taken place over the course of the initial booking. Travel costs, Website costs, Accountants (yes we have to pay for accountants and we pay our tax and insurance too.) With all of this and all that has already been said by the time you work out what is left and divide that by 35+ hours of work that a wedding has consumed, you may be left with just a normal wage, one that is probably less than what your clients earn (yes the ones who are saying you’re expensive)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our photography community today

Be found by couples looking for their perfect wedding photographer, showcase your work, enter our awards and features.

Sign up

  • © 2024 Your Perfect Wedding Photographer. All images and logos are the copyright and/or trademark of their respective owners.
  • Terms
  • Privacy
  • Cookies