The Value of Wedding Photography

An Investment In Pictures

When I proposed to my now fiancé, I found the whole ordeal so traumatic that I simply cannot remember the moment. I remember shaking, feeling completely vulnerable and all at once unable to speak. Fortunately with the relevant prop in my hand it was fairly obvious to my other half what was unfolding, fast forward a few moments and we were engaged. This may sound bizarre that I use the word traumatic as opposed to, say, elated, but such was the surge of pure emotion it has somehow distorted my memory, and that ladies and gentlemen, is where the importance of the photograph becomes apparent.

Never underestimate the power of photographs

My soon to be father in law took a photograph in that instant (I had primed the family) and that image now stands as a trigger for me to recall the moment. Without it, what would I have? Given the power of the image to record memories, how do you put a price on it? And what would you be willing to pay?

Not the cost, the value of wedding photography

I listened to the most fantastic talk by portrait photographer and all round wonder woman Sue Bryce recently, a question she put to her audience changed the entire atmosphere in the room. The conversation concerned how photographers set their prices. Assuming that the photographer charged £1500, the question simply was this; “what can you buy for £1500?

This blew my mind. It puts into perspective how the price of wedding photography is distorted by the the total spend of a wedding. So lets consider for a moment that you had budgeted £1500 for a wedding photographer, what else can you buy for £1500?
A Dell XPS 15, £1499, how long does a laptop last?
A quick search on British Airways; a return ticket to Australia in Economy class is roughly £1600.
This leather sofa from furniture village is £1595

leather sofa

Say you were considering spending £1000 on a wedding photographer.

Visit the EE website and look for an iphone 6s, you will be charged 45.99 a month for 24 months. That totals £1103.76…for a phone, for a PHONE! and you may well replace it after those two years.
Arsenal season ticket £1035, for one season, and it’s not even cricket!

It is of course easy to trivialise these matters when removed from the overall cost of a wedding. The average cost in the UK according to Money Saving Expert is now £25,000.

How much does it cost to get married?

wedding ceremony

Image by Liam

For this example I’ve used Buckinghamshire county council as the local borough. It costs £35 each to declare your intent to marry, £475 for a Monday to Friday service and £4 for a marriage certificate. That totals £549. If we’re being completely logical about the entire process, that’s an average overspend of £19,951.

I would never suggest that anyone overspends. Of course a similar argument in terms of investment could be made for a wedding dress, cake or entertainment, which is why it is important to prioritise. The top two items on our list were catering and photography. Of course I would have loved a tailored, hand made Prada suit and shoes, but we can’t have everything. Choose what is important to you, budget accordingly and stick to it.

A survey compiled by boho weddings in 2012 said that 12.3% of their reader survey were budgeting £1000-£1200 for their photography. This is an interesting statistic, but relative to the aforementioned items and the long term investment that photography represents, this seems to undervalue the importance and the longevity of the product.

Love your wedding

Weddings shouldn’t be just logical, it’s a celebration of unrivaled importance. They should absolutely be the greatest event of your life. The biggest and best party you will ever throw with all the people you love around you. You are going to commit yourself to the most important person in your life, for the rest of your life. These are the days that we live for, enjoy, celebrate, quaff, dance and be merry. I am so stoked for my wedding, ultimately, we’ve had to prioritise our spending on what means most to us, but equally, the whole process has made me re-evaluate what’s important. This whole thing I’m sure reads as being completely biased because I am a photographer, but when thinking about how my sofa was as much as my wedding photography budget, I immediately upped it.

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