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How to Navigate Wedding Photography Pricing: Spotting Scams and Avoiding Overpriced Deals


Finding the right photographer for your wedding isn't exactly a walk in the park. Before you get overwhelmed with wedding photography pricing from every photographer in a 50-mile radius, let's take a breather. By asking yourself the right questions you can find some amazing deals and stay clear of disappointment or, worse, getting scammed! I'm going to dive headfirst into a topic that's currently making waves in the industry:


Underpriced and Overpriced Wedding Photography Packages


Have you done your wedding photography market research? Let's do a quick check!

  1. How long is a "full-day"-coverage considered in the UK?

  2. How much do you think the average Wedding Photographer in the UK charges?

  3. How many photos can you roughly expect on average from a full day of coverage?


Now, take your answers and compare them with the following:

  1. A full-day coverage is considered a length of approximately 8 hours. To some photographers, it is even as long as 10 hours.

  2. Professional UK Wedding Photographers are charging an average of £1300-£1700.

  3. The average number of final photographs for a full day is 500-700 images.



How many questions did you get right?

  • none :(

  • 1

  • 2

  • all 3 :)


 

Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2023 hit a staggering £20,700, and it's only expected to climb higher in 2024? Let that sink in for a moment!

During the wedding prep, where budgets seem to vanish faster than you can say "I do.", couples are all ears when it comes to saving some hard-earned cash. When you ask online for tips on how to save money during wedding planning the usual suspects are: "Do more DIY decoration projects.", "Cut the guest list.", or "Send email invitations." Hardly ever do you stumble upon advice like, "Hunt down the cheapest photographer you can find." Yet, somehow, many budget-conscious couples are drawn to those too-good-to-be-true deals like moths to a flame. And let me tell you, it's a recipe for heartache.


With that being said, let's look at:


UNDERPRICED WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Being cautious of underpriced wedding photography offers that might seem too good to be true is important, especially when you're conscious of your budget. While some may genuinely be beginners offering discounted rates to build their portfolio, others could be potential scammers aiming to take advantage of your special day. Here are some warning signs to look out for:


  1. Pricing That Seems Unbelievably Low: You're casually scrolling through Instagram when suddenly, you stumble upon a deal that seems too good to be true. An "award-winning" photographer, boasting a decade of experience, is offering a whopping 50% off their already cheap packages (e.g. Full-Day Coverage, 700 images, 4k video for only £250) in the middle of wedding season without any obvious reason. Are alarm bells ringing yet? Quality wedding photography involves not just the day of shooting but also preparation, editing, eventual album creation, and other pre- and post-production tasks that are usually invisible in the process. Extremely low prices may indicate that corners are being cut somewhere along the line or that you won't receive any service from them at all. Hit that abort mission button and keep on scrolling!

  2. Limited Portfolio or Experience: Beginners often kick off their journey by offering discounted rates to build their portfolios—a path many of the top photographers have traveled at some point in their careers. If you stumble upon a photographer with minimal experience or a sparse portfolio, chances are they're just dipping their toes into the market. However, don't dismiss them too quickly; within the realm of beginners, there might be hidden gems waiting to shine, and if you're lucky you even find your perfect beginner photographer who will charge peanuts AND deliver your dream photos. The chances are low but never zero! To identify potential talent, take a close look at their portfolio, even if it's not specifically wedding-related. Are the photos well-exposed, allowing you to clearly see the action? Are they mostly straight, with horizon lines and architectural details aligned? Does their editing style align with your vision, particularly in terms of skin tones under artificial light? If you can't find evidence of their previous work or any references, proceed cautiously.

  3. Lack of Professionalism: Communication is key when hiring any vendor for your wedding day. Keep an eye on how responsive and professional the photographer is in their interactions with you. If they're inconsistent, unresponsive, or fail to provide clear terms and conditions, it could be a sign of a lazy beginner or worse, a scam. Another aspect to consider is the photographer's online presence. Having a professional website demonstrates investment and dedication. If your preferred photographer only has a Facebook page or Instagram account, it's worth questioning the seriousness of their business. While social media is fine for the initial chat, when it comes to sealing the deal, email is the way to go. It's more professional and helps you and the photographer keep track of everything easily.

  4. No Contract or Written Agreement: Professional photographers typically provide a contract outlining the services they'll deliver, the timeline, and the payment terms. Beware of anyone unwilling to provide a written agreement, as this could leave you vulnerable to potential scams or misunderstandings. The contract should also contain information about a plan B, should your photographer need a replacement on the day.

  5. Research and Reviews: Before jumping into any decisions, take some time to research the photographer thoroughly. Check out their portfolio and look at full galleries not only single shots, read what clients have to say about them, and see if you can find any reviews. If you're not finding much, don't worry and keep searching. There are plenty of photographers out there and I am pretty certain that you will find the perfect match to capture your special day!


Now, what goes one way can also go the other way. In 2024, the Covid wedding surge slowed down, leaving many photographers with empty calendars. The demand for wedding photography was immense after all the lockdown-related weddings had to be postponed into 2022 and 2023 which created business opportunities for a lot of established photographers but also newcomers. The market is getting back to its pre-Covid state, which means there are now more photographers than couples getting married. (This situation was actually predicted by some people back in 2021.) In the runup to the 2023 wedding season, many talented photographers received more requests than they were able to handle, leading them to jack up their prices. Where there is high demand, services become more expensive which is a fairly normal process in any industry. So, how does this shake up the 2024 and potentially 2025 market, and what does it mean for couples trying to hire a photographer? Let me explain:


OVERPRICED WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Overpricing is when photographers charge rates far above what's typical in the market which means it's the opposite of underpricing- easy, right? But the tricky part is even if you've done your homework and know the average prices, you might still end up paying more than you should. If you're dead set on getting the best wedding photos, you might be willing to fork out the extra cash. And that makes you a prime target for photographers looking to charge a premium.


Imagine this, couples: You've sifted through most of the market and found a photographer who ticks all your boxes and more, but their prices are sky-high and way beyond your budget. What do you do? Do you convince yourself that going into debt after hiring that photographer must be worth it? Or do you shake it off and explore other photographers? When we talk eye-watering prices, we're referring to anything over £4500 for a full-day package with up to 500 images and all the extras. Top Tip: create a pros and cons list and write down all the reasons why you want to hire them. Sometimes, what attracts you to a certain photographer may not be the best reason to hire them, e.g.: they've shot luxury weddings for celebrities or have a huge following on Instagram. If those are some of the main reasons you're considering them, you might end up paying way more than necessary for a service you could get elsewhere for much less. Those glamorous six-figure budget weddings you see on Instagram aren't necessarily more difficult to shoot. While photographers who land these high-end weddings receive a lot of praise from the community, I believe photographers who capture the magic and emotion in less opulent wedding settings deserve the same recognition, don't you? Whether it's an extravagant celebration at Lake Como or a cozy village wedding, both present similar challenges for photographers—like capturing fleeting moments, adjusting to changing light conditions, and mingling with unfamiliar guests. In short, a big price tag doesn't necessarily guarantee better quality.


Here are some tips to help you navigate the world of wedding photography without breaking the bank:


  1. Do! Your! Research!: I can't repeat myself often enough. Take the time to research multiple photographers in your area, maybe even further afield. Compare their portfolios, reviews, and pricing packages to get a sense of what's reasonable in your budget. The best way to do that is to go on Google Maps and search for wedding photographers or visit pages like Hitched or Bridebook to use more precise filters.

  2. Set a Realistic Budget: Before you start looking for a photographer and after you have done your market research, establish a budget for photography services. This will help you narrow down your options and avoid overspending. One side-note that is probably the most important advice in this whole blog post: Your Wedding Photos, Videos, and memories will be the only things that are left from your wedding day. Make sure that you feel good about the decision you made because you will be reminded of that for a looong time!

  3. Beware of Hidden Costs: When reviewing photography packages, be sure to ask about any additional fees or charges that may not be included in the initial quote. This could include travel expenses, overtime fees, or the cost of prints and albums.

  4. Negotiate: Don't be afraid to negotiate with photographers to see if they can offer a lower price or customize a package to better fit your budget. Many photographers are willing to work with couples to find a solution that works for both parties. But please bear in mind that a photographer who charges £2000 for a full day won't be giving you a 50% discount because they aren't in your budget. Be fair and considerate when asking for a personalised offer! Should you have more than one option to choose from, please don't forget to inform all photographers about your decision. There is almost nothing worse than being ghosted, especially if they created a personlised offer for you. Declining an offer is absolutely fine, you just have to say it out loud!

  5. Trust Your Instincts: Finally, trust your instincts when choosing a photographer. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is, and remember that quality photography is an investment, but it doesn't have to break the bank.


Wow, you're still here! I have a few more thoughts to add.


Many wedding photographers feel pressured to constantly raise their prices to match those of their fellow industry colleagues. This pressure often stems from a desire to maintain status or a fear of appearing less skilled if they don't charge as much. Some photographers actively promote the notion that higher prices equate to better quality or prestige. They may share stories of earning six-figure incomes by overcharging couples, leading others to believe that this is the industry standard. The newest industry trend is to offer workshops to other photographers that promise to transform average businesses into high-end, award-winning ventures and only share success stories to prove their points. However, it's important to approach these workshops with skepticism, as quick success isn't always guaranteed.


online ad from a photographer promising high income by using a "proven" methof
"proven process" in capital letters, very convincing
online ad for a publication template
"Ready to charge 10k per wedding" - really?


So, what's the key takeaway? When selecting a wedding photographer, it's essential not to solely focus on price whether you have a small or big budget. Instead, prioritize finding someone whose style resonates with you and who offers transparent pricing that aligns with your budget. Ultimately, capturing timeless memories should be the primary goal, rather than fixating on the cost.


I hope this helped a bit! Happy planning :)

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@2024 Verena Wood | Remember Tomorrow Photography

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