FAQ

Frequently asked questions

The most annoying thing about this section? You’ll find a lot of the answers are ‘it depends’. There are thousands of photographers in the UK, each choosing to run their business differently. This means that often you’ll have to enquire to get a definitive answer, but at least this article should help you get the ball rolling.

How much does a wedding photographer cost UK?
How much does photography cost for wedding?

1. Student/starter/low-end/budget – £0-£500
2. Semi pro/mid standard – £500-£1000
3. Professional/good standard – £1000-£1500
4. Professional/Excellent standard – £1500-£2000
5. Premium brand – £2000+

It really is impossible to nail this down, and cost is not always an indication of quality, you may well find a talented individual only charging a few hundred pounds, who knows. The above list should give you an idea of what to expect. If your photographer is just starting out, then expect to pay a few hundred pounds, the trade off is the images won’t be particularly good. If the photographer you like is well known around the world and gives talks at conferences, you should expect them to be in the £2000+ region. There is an element of the more you pay, the higher the standard, but the average photographer in the UK charges £1500, so if you are keen on photographs and want high quality that will stand the test of time, then you should be budgeting between £1500-£2000. Don’t forget, it’s not just the photographs you are paying for. A higher price means better service, peace of mind that they have back up equipment and insurance etc.

How do I choose a wedding photographer?
Top tips:
1. Know your fine art from your reportage
2. Look at lots of complete weddings on the blog, not just portfolios
3. Meet in person and establish trust
4. Make sure you like them!
5. Understand what’s included in each package
This is a huge topic with many things to consider, thankfully to make life easier, I’ve written an entire blog post on this topic alone. You can read my thoughts on how to find a wedding photographer here. https://liamsmithphotography.com/how-to-choose-a-wedding-photographer/

Is a wedding photographer worth the cost?
Photography is subjective, the value is entirely dependent on how you perceive it’s value. Digital cameras on telephones have enabled us to take photographs whenever we like, with no fear of running out of storage. Has it devalued photographs? I believe it has. It has enabled habits of examining the image only in the context of the present and forgetting that photographs have long term value, they capture ones likeness for future generations.
Aside from this, I think wedding photographs are definitely good value. I say this purely from the point of view that it is incredibly rare for your entire friendship group and families to all be present in the same place. This means you can acquire high quality images of everyone you love. The equivalent cost of paying for every guest to have a shoot in a studio would be significantly higher, so if you remove the emotional value of the photographs and look at it from a purely practical angle, it is incredibly cost efficient.

Why are wedding photographers so expensive?
It takes a considerable investment of time, effort and money to develop a skill. Photography is a career choice, not a side hustle to make money. There’s a reason why most of the really good photographers in the world are in their late 30’s – it takes time to get good! The other unspoken truth is that wedding photography is unbelievably physically challenging, which means it’s not a job you could realistically do until you retire. It’s a young persons game, so the best in the world are able to charge a premium, firstly for their skill, and secondly, because they are excluding others to work with you.

Weddings are also seasonal. The vast majority of weddings in the UK occur on Saturdays in the Summer, which means there is a limited window in order to provide the service. If you are a wedding specialist (like me) then your earning window in a year is approximately 6 months.
Wedding photographers also have these main considerations to contend with:

1. From consultation to image delivery averages 70 hours – it’s much more work than just one day.
2. You only get one shot at it, so you have to be good.
3. Experience takes time, effort and money
4. Equipment is expensive, one camera can cost £5000.
5. Education – Degree/Practical courses/Workshops
6. Laptops, cars, accessories
7. Insurance – Liability and for equipment
8. Travel expenses
9. Marketing

Let’s examine all of the unseen work that goes into a wedding photographers job

If I charge £1800 for a ten hour wedding day fee and break it down to an hourly rate.
1 hours – Wedding Consultation if via Skype – 4 hours if in person accounting for travel
3 hours – Prepping for shoot. Washing and ironing, charging batteries, readying memory cards
10 hours – Wedding Day
3 hours – Average travel to and from wedding
40 hours – Post Production
3 hours – Admin Work (emails, calls, accounts etc)
That breaks down to £30 an hour, £24 an hour after tax. That total is also not taking into consideration – blog post creation, social media posting, website maintenance, equipment maintenance, meetings where clients choose not to book, etc. Being a wedding photographer is a lifestyle choice, it’s not a fast route to making money that some would have you believe. Expect to work very, very hard to make a decent living.

How many weddings does a photographer do a year
The average photographer shoots between 20-25 weddings per year. The majority of weddings occur on Saturdays in the Summer. Weddings are extremely tiring, if your photographer brags about shooting 50 in a year, I’d be inclined to ask how they keep their standards up. I know if I shoot back to back weddings then I’m knackered for at least two days.

How many hours should I book a wedding photographer? Is 6 hours of wedding photography enough? How long does a photographer stay at a wedding?
It depends on what you need and what you can afford. Typically a photographer would aim to be at the wedding from the bridal preparation, through to the first dance at least. Average coverage is 10 hours, this would allow from bridal preparation through to the evening dancing. It depends on your timetable, in some cases 12 hours is necessary.

Who is the best wedding photographer in the world?
Photography is entirely subjective, but here is my list
1. Liam Smith Photography
2. The ghost of Liam Smith
3. The artist formerly known as Liam Smith

Who is the best wedding photographer in London?
Photography is entirely subjective, but here is my list
1. Liam Smith Photography
2. The ghost of Liam Smith
3. The artist formerly known as Liam Smith

What camera do most wedding photographers use?
The most popular cameras in the wedding industry are the Sony A series and the Canon EOS R and 5D mk4

Do you provide food for a wedding photographer?
Yes. Weddings photographers are part of your day and work extraordinarily hard, you should definitely be feeding them. How much should you feed them? Quite a lot, same as you are planning to eat, we are hungry, hungry hippos.

Do I need two photographers at my wedding? How important is a second photographer at a wedding? Is a second photographer necessary?
The biggest advantages of two photographers:
1. Multiple angles of ceremony, speeches, bride and groom preparation
2. More pictures of guests
3. More candid images

Another massive topic that requires analysis from multiple angles. I’ve written an entire blog post on the topic here:

Do I Need Two Wedding Photographers?

How many photos do you get in a wedding package? How many photos do wedding photographers deliver?
You should always look for quality over quantity, but for a 10 hour wedding day, you should be expecting in the region of 500 images.

Where do wedding photographers stand during the ceremony?
You should have a conversation with your photographer about where you think you would like them to stand. The choices you are limited too are either behind the officiant (sometimes unable to move) or stood in the aisle.

What do photographers wear to weddings?
Whatever they want. I choose to wear all black; jeans, shirt, boots. Shorts aren’t off the table if it’s incredibly hot. If it’s a concern, then you should simply ask.

What is a receiving line at a wedding?
The receiving line typically consists of the married couple and both sets of parents, stood in a line greeting every guest as they enter the reception. The receiving line is not a necessity and you can have as many people in the line as you wish.

Do wedding photographers deliver all photos?
No. RAW photos stay with the photographer. Why? Often we take multiple images in a sequence and then send the client the best one. My cameras sometimes bounce off of my waist and take a picture of the floor and sometimes, it’s down to the artist, the creator to disclose the best version of their product.

What do you do with your wedding photographs?
1. make an album
2. make gift cards
3. make Xmas tree baubles
4. print a canvas
5. frame prints
6. create a multiframe

When should I book my wedding photographer?
As soon as possible. Wedding photographers book up two years in advance, if you’ve found someone who you want to work with, you shouldn’t delay.

What does a second shooter do at a wedding?
The second photographers job is to capture angles that the primary photographer cannot, photograph the grooms preparation and to capture candid images of guests.

How many photos do wedding photographers take?
A wedding photographer can take thousands of images on a wedding day. 5000 image is fairly standard for a 10 hour wedding. 10,000 or 20,000 is not unheard of.

How long do wedding group photographs usually take?
This depends on how long your list is. If you assume that each group will take 3 minutes to assemble and then multiply that by the number of groups in your list you’ll have a good estimate to work with.

How long do wedding couple portraits take?
This depends on the style of photographer you have booked. A fine art wedding photographer prides themselves on posed couple portraits, these are heavily curated so expect them to take an hour at least. Documentary photographers however can take as little as ten minutes.

How can I save money for my wedding photography?
1. Avoid paying for an album up front, this can always be made later
2. Don’t have an engagement shoot
3. Ask for contributions rather than wedding presents
4. Book years in advance and lock in a rate to avoid inflation
5. Book at the very last minute and ask for a reduced rate

What is usually included in a wedding photography package?
1. The wedding photographer for a set amount of hours
2. Digital photographs
3. Optional extras – Album, second shooter, prints, online gallery

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