A few months ago we contributed to the Polka Dot Bride Wisdom, an offshoot of the original Polka Dot Bride wedding blog. We decided to write a post about why wedding photography costs what it does, just to give people a little insight into why photographers charge what they do.  Recently we thought that we should re post the article ourselves on our own site, so here it is…. Enjoy! J&K

The real value of wedding photography

Most newly engaged couples are unfamiliar with wedding photography, and pretty much all couples will at some point wonder: Why do those photographers charge so much?

You’ve heard it before:  photography is one area of your wedding that you don’t want to skimp on, because you’ll have those pictures forever.  You spend thousands making sure you will look perfect on your wedding day, hair, makeup, wedding dress, suits, cars & beautiful flowers. Shouldn’t the capturing of that perfect beauty & those heartfelt moments be as important as the creation of it? Most couples will realize this and so they venture forth to hire a photographer to do just that, but, the actual cost of photography can be a hard pill to swallow if you have never planned a wedding before.


Budget is a huge part of every wedding; according to online sources the average Australian couples are spending between $20,000 – $40,000 on their weddings (and there are now many couples who are spending a lot less than that with all the fabulous DIY weddings going on). People place a certain value on different things for their day, for example a couple will expect to spend a vast majority of their wedding budget on venue, food & drinks while perhaps only a smaller portion of their budget on things like hair, makeup or perhaps flowers. Photography is a service that can sometimes be perceived as a lesser expense, mostly because people don’t see the value in what is being created or the real amount of time being spent on their day.

Often, when it comes to wedding photography, you get what you pay for. Since the advent of the digital camera everyone thinks they are a photographer, but are they really? There is an art and a skill required to capture the moment. A professional wedding photographer will know the in’s and out’s of a wedding day, their equipment and how to create or when to wait for & capture magic. You are not just paying for a service but a photographer’s expertise, their eye and their art.

romantic pre wedding photos perth Araluen Botanical Garden wedding

Did you know that a photographer will spend an average of 40 to 50hrs working on each individual wedding? That’s right 40 to 50 hours! Believe it or not, taking the pictures on your wedding day is probably one of the shortest things on the “to do” list, it’s by far the most important but not the longest. Included in those 40 to 50 hours are things like:  Planning, Itinerary design, travel, meeting with clients, emails, invoicing, photographing the actual event, culling through images, image processing, uploading images, archiving, photoshopping, blogging, social media sharing, administrative tasks, print ordering, album designing and more. For every hour of actual shooting time on a wedding a photographer may estimate about four hours of post processing work (uploading, backup, culling, processing, basic photoshoping, blogging, DVD burning, gallery upload etc). So, if a photographer shot a 7 hour wedding, they may leave the wedding day with approximately 28 hours of work ahead of them.  This doesn’t include e-mails, consultations, album design, album edits, equipment preparation and much more.


Now that you’ve seen the hours, ask yourself this:  How much do you expect to be paid for 40 to 50 hours or more of work?  Add on top of that the cost of the photographer’s expertise, artistic perspective and experience. You also want to consider the cost of the professional products they are offering, their professional affiliations, their insurance (such as Public liability), their travel on the day and photography equipment (like cameras, flashes, lenses, tripods, memory cards, computers & hard drives). If you expect your photographer to arrive at your wedding with a professional camera kit & backups (sometimes totalling between $10,000 – $20,000 worth of equipment) should you not be expecting to pay a professional price?

Vintage wedding flowers

The truth of the matter is every photographer has their own reasons for their prices.  They can charge whatever they feel their craft, their products and their time are worth. Our simple aim is to inform you, the engaged couple, of the number one reason why wedding photography costs what it does, TIME. So when you allocate your photography budget and start to look at photographer’s prices keep in mind that 40 – 50 hours of their time as well as their expertise, eye and their artistic perspective is what you are really paying for when you hire them. J&K