Why is wedding photography so expensive?

So… why is wedding photography so bloody expensive?

If you’re getting married I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question at least once (unless you have a photographer in your family!).

The short answer is: we don’t just take photos. There are a lot of hidden costs (well, hidden to you, very visible to us) that come with shooting a wedding.

Let me try and break it down for you:


  • Back & forth emails: initial enquiry, planning first meeting, sending and agreeing quote, sending contract and invoice, planning engagement session, discussing timeframe and desired photos, payment reminders, delivery of sneak peeks and gallery, ordering album and prints… On average 30 to 50 emails. Say 5 minute per email = 2.5 to 4 hours
  • Preparing the contract & invoices = 30 minutes
  • Travelling: to and from first meeting, engagement shoot, wedding. Depending on how far all the locations are = 2.5 to 4 hours
  • Shooting = 8 to 12 hours
  • Editing: as a rule of thumb I try not to spend more time editing than I spent shooting the wedding = 8 to 12 hours
  • Designing album: depending on number of spreads = 1 to 2 hours

Total = 27 to 34.5 hours – Let’s use 30 hours as an example. If you take my full day collection (£1,495.00) that’s £49.83 per hour… and that’s before deducting my expenses!


  • Travel expenses: to and from first meeting, engagement session, wedding
  • Print(s)/album(s) costs: this varies a lot depending on the package chosen and number of spreads bought
  • Insurance: mine costs about £200/year
  • Internet connection: I mean… how else am I going to send you emails, order your album, set up your online gallery…? Now I obviously also need that internet connection for personal use (mostly Netflix, let’s be honest) so I think it’s fair to divide it by 2 £150/year (£25 per month/2)
  • Online gallery and client management software fees: the one I use costs £480/year

  • Editing software: my subscription to Lightroom & Photoshop costs £120/year
  • Camera + back up
  • Lenses
  • Flash & lights
  • Memory cards + back ups
  • Batteries + back ups

Altogether my equipment is worth around £3,500.00 and will last us 3 to 4 years so £875/year


  • Training/workshops: for example I attended a wedding photography workshop in November that cost me £80 and another one in April that cost me £175
    Seminars/conventions: I bought tickets to a photography convention (including 2 workshops) in January in the sum of £300
    5) marketing
  • Wedding fairs: a stand at a local fair usually costs between £150 and £300
  • Advertising: for example I set a budget of £300 for Facebook ads this year
  • Printed material: leaflets, business cards, sample albums and prints… this can go up to £200/year

Estimated expenses: £3200/year. Say I shoot 30 weddings a year that’s £106.66 per wedding + album/prints costs (let’s take £400 as an example) + travel expenses (say £50) = £556.66 per wedding!

Did you notice that shooting the actual wedding is only a sub heading in this list? That’s because taking photos is only around 10-20% of the work. There is a huge 50-60% of the work that goes into editing and the rest is split between travelling (yes that counts, we sometimes travel 2 hours to get to the venue!), emails, preparing the contract and designing the album.

So before you decide to book a ‘cheap’ photographer, ask yourself this: why is this cheap wedding photographer cheap? Are they cutting any corners? Are they insured? Are they using the right equipment? How much experience do they have?

Don’t get me wrong, some ‘cheap’ wedding photographers are good. We all have to start somewhere! I’ve been there, I shot my first wedding for £300… But the reason I was able to this was because I had a full time job at the time so I could afford to work for next to nothing. I also didn’t offer any album/prints, delivered the photos via Dropbox (which is free) etc… In the end my clients were over the moon with their photos and even came back for more once their little one was born.