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The Cost of a Wedding Photographer

07.20.24

You’ve spent time curating the perfect Pinterest wedding board and saved loads of posts on Instagram. You have an idea of the wedding style you’re after, but before you go any further with researching venues, scheduling dress-shopping appointments, or booking your photographer, you’ll need to focus on the B-word. No, not that B-word. I’m talking budgets.

I know—it isn’t exactly the most glamorous piece of the wedding planning puzzle, but it is one of the most important. Below, I’ll cover the average cost of wedding photography in Ireland and help break down what’s included so you know exactly where your money is going. I’ll also help you with a few pointers, so you feel more comfortable booking the right wedding photographer. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get to it, shall we?

How much are wedding photographers?

Regarding wedding photographer pricing, several factors come into play, from the travel required to get to your venue to the photographer’s experience level and more. So, just how much are wedding photographers in Ireland? The short answer, and probably the most annoying, is: it depends. According to a recent One Fab Day survey, however, the cost of wedding photography in Ireland typically ranges around €4,000. Another measurement you can use is that many couples spend about 8-15% of their wedding budget on photography. Of course, you can spend far less than that, but do you want to cut corners when it comes to the photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime?

What does the cost of wedding photography include?

If spending thousands on photography is challenging to wrap your head around, remember that you’re paying for much more than just a photographer’s time on the day. Below, I’ve outlined what else goes into the total cost.

  • 01

    Skills

    Can your photographer work with the changing light throughout the day, ensuring you and your partner always look your best? Do they know the ins and outs of how wedding days run to anticipate and solve any kinks in the plan? That all comes with experience. Experience is more than just having been in the game for a while and taking stunning photos. By the time your wedding day comes, you’ll have worked tirelessly to plan every detail of your wedding, so your wedding photographer doesn’t want you to think about a single thing on the day except enjoying yourself!

  • 02

    Experience

    One thing that separates a low-cost wedding photographer from a great wedding photographer is their ability to direct as needed or slip into the background for the rest of the day, so you don’t even notice them snapping away, capturing every last detail. There’s nothing worse than getting pulled away for the entire drinks reception for family and couple photos. The best wedding photographers are confident; they know how to kindly and effectively command a room, keeping to your schedule and getting you back to celebrating. After all, your family is here for a wedding, not a photoshoot. By taking the same amount of photos in half the time, the more experienced photographer creates a smooth, efficient, stress-free experience. Do you want to miss out on spending precious time with friends and family for €500 in savings on your photography budget?

  • 03

    The Type of Photography

    Are you choosing a high-volume wedding photographer who takes on multiple weddings a weekend or a photographer who focuses on quality over quantity? The photographer who takes on a limited number of monthly weddings will give you a personalised wedding photography experience and better results.

     

  • 04

    Safe, Secure Photos

    We’ve all been there: that dreaded feeling of knowing you’ve lost or broken a phone filled with photos you haven’t backed up. But to have that happen on your wedding day is simply out of the question. That’s where a professional wedding photographer comes into play. First, we come to the wedding prepared with backup equipment in case the unthinkable happens. (It doesn’t, but we’re ready in case of a technology failure!). Next, we keep each and every photo safe and secure with a backup to the backup. What I mean by that is we’ll essentially do a photo dump of all your wedding photos as soon as it’s over, both offline on external hard drives and online via cloud storage. We also ensure all images are kept on at least two devices in case one has technical issues. Finally, the professional cameras we use have two memory card slots that make instant copies of each photo once it’s taken. While cards and other equipment rarely fail on the day, these things can happen, so wedding photographers aren’t doing their best work for their clients if they don’t back up their photos—and then back them up again. The added expense of all this extra storage space is costly, and most budget photographers wouldn’t be able to take it on due to the lower prices they’re charging. Therefore, cutting your wedding photography budget may involve some level of risk.

  • 05

    Time

    All that time spent backing up your images takes time, but so does the rest of it! You might only see your wedding photographer on the day, but that’s only one stage in the process. Before the wedding, your photographer will have done plenty of research and hosted multiple client meetings. Any good wedding photographer will also scout the location ahead of time to find the most gorgeous spots with the best lighting so no time is wasted on the day. Then they need to cull all the images that were taken and back them up before editing, organising, exporting, and delivering them with plenty of admin work throughout. Whew!

  • 06

    Equipment

    While a great photographer can take stellar photographs with just about any camera, quality tools help to ensure high-quality shots. Today’s best equipment can keep up with the quick pace of a wedding day, allowing a photographer to capture every emotional reaction in real-time. Most photographers are careful to insure this equipment, which comes at an additional cost. Technology is constantly advancing, so while equipment updates can get expensive, keeping everything well-maintained and up-to-date helps prevent any issues on the day. To further safeguard against technology mishaps, professional wedding photographers will show up with a backup camera just in case. Hard drives, cloud backup accounts, high-speed internet, and fast computers are also needed to edit your photos and more—all of which cost substantial money to maintain. As you can see, a lot of equipment is needed to ensure your wedding photos come out perfectly, which is factored into the total wedding photography fee.

  • 07

    Professional Wedding Photography Insurance

    It’s not only camera equipment that needs to be insured. Several popular venues (the Smock Alley Theatre, National Gallery of Ireland, Fota Ireland, and the Shelbourne Hotel, to name a few) require photographers to have an insurance policy that covers up to €6.5 million in addition to a permit from the OPW for locations such as St. Stephen’s Green. Without these policies and permits, your photographer may not even be allowed on-site, and that’s not the kind of stress you need on the day.

The bottom line is this: as with most things, you get what you pay for when it comes to the cost of wedding photography. Your wedding photos are an investment, so don’t cut corners. It’s not just time on the day that you’re paying for; it’s the photographer’s talent, expertise, equipment, and more that factor into the overall cost.

Are engagement photos included in the cost?

Engagement photos are another cost to consider, and while some photographers may include this as a part of a complete wedding bundle, engagement photos are often separate from the wedding day package. Still, if you’ve found yourself wondering, “Should I get engagement photos?” chances are, you’re either considering it, or you’ve seen so many engagement shoots in your Instagram feed that you feel like you’re doing something wrong if you don’t get them. My best advice? Think about the photos you’d most like to see flipping through a photo album now and in the future. If you’re most concerned about the photos of you and your partner on your wedding day, then maybe it’s not that important to you. On the other hand, while engagement shoots are relatively new, they can help to ease your nerves if you’re feeling camera-shy. You might also use this opportunity as a test run to see if the photographer you’ve chosen for your engagement shoot is the one you’d like to go with for your wedding day. Some couples opt for engagement photos strictly for images to include on their wedding invites. If any of this is important to you, go for it! Then, look at your budget to see if this expense makes sense. It is up to you, but there’s no pressure to do so. 

Do I even need a wedding photographer?

Listen, I am a wedding photographer, but I’m not in the business of telling anyone how they need to spend their money. That said, if you’re worried about costs and wondering whether wedding photography is necessary, here’s why I would always favour booking a wedding photographer: The number one thing I hear from couples after their wedding day is that it went by so fast! You’ll be buzzing with excitement from the moment you wake up until your head hits the pillow, and there will be so many little details you may not even notice on the day because of it! I’ve heard brides say they didn’t even see their wedding cake on the night, so it’s essential to book a photographer who can capture all the little things you might have missed or all those special moments that you wish you could’ve kept on a still-frame in your mind.

Other Reasons to Consider a Wedding Photographer:

Weddings allow you to bring all your favourite people together for one awesome party. The love in the room will be palpable, and there will be times throughout the celebrations when you’ll feel like your heart could burst out of sheer gratitude. As a result, you’re guaranteed to experience many beautiful, spontaneous, emotional moments. There’s nothing quite like capturing these moments so they don’t just live in your memory—you can revisit them anytime you flip through your photo album or walk past the framed picture on the wall. Investing in the right photographer is worth it for years to come so you can relive all the magic of the day long after you’ve dry-cleaned your dress and pressed your wedding flowers.

Some couples think wedding photography is unnecessary as their guests will take loads of photos anyway, which can be shared after the celebrations. As much as your friend says she’s all over it and can take pictures for you on the day, things might not go according to plan. And, no harm to the craic, but those would be some challenging selfies to take! Plus, once your hair and makeup are done, you’ll want amazing photos to document how gorgeous you look. When else do you get to step into the most stunning dress after full glam? Unless you’re a movie star (which you very well may be!), you probably aren’t attending too many formal events with you as the focus, and that’s something to be celebrated. Ultimately, I understand that every couple’s budget is different, but if you think you might regret not having wedding photography, it’s worth looking into.

Helpful Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer

So, how do you find the right wedding photographer? Here are a handful of tips to help you in your search:

  • See if you vibe with your photographer by speaking with them beforehand. You will build a rapport and help ensure you’re on the same page about the specific shots you want, the style of photography you’re after, and more. Wedding photographers understand that many couples don’t always have a clear vision regarding the specific photo moments they’d like to see, so the right photographer will be happy to work with you until you get there together. Better still, the more comfortable you feel with your wedding photographer, the more relaxed and at ease you’ll feel in front of the camera, creating more natural-looking photos.
  • Research photographers’ portfolios before booking. A photographer’s style is as different as your unique wedding style, so it’s important that you like their work and that your styles align. For instance, if you’re worried you may feel awkward having your photos taken, a documentary-style wedding photographer who takes gorgeous candid’s might better suit your needs. Be aware that homepages will showcase any photographer’s best work, so it can be helpful to look through entire wedding galleries to see the full range of their capabilities. As you do so, look for consistency, not just a few photos that blow you away.
  • Read photographers’ reviews before booking. This seems like a no-brainer, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. According to a recent survey conducted by weddingsonline, reviews were the main deciding factor when deciding which suppliers to book, above even the budget. Yep, 58% of couples booked suppliers because of their reviews, 33% chose their favourite choice, and only 9% let the budget be their deciding factor.

Wrapping Up

When you spend thousands on your wedding, saving a few hundred here and there can seem like a huge win. Of course, if you’re not too fussed about certain aspects, such as the cake, you might opt for a budget option there. But your wedding photography is one of the few things you’ll have to hold onto well beyond the wedding day—and likely the only thing you’ll revisit throughout the years. So, while it might seem significant to book the cheaper wedding photography option now, will it cost you your dream photos in the long run?

If you’re worried you may regret not booking wedding photography, that may be reason enough to book wedding photography.

You can’t re-create the look on your partner’s face as you stand at the top of the aisle or re-enact those massive “we did it!” post-ceremony smiles you’ll have as you walk back up the aisle, hand in hand. These genuine, magical moments can only be captured on your wedding day.

That said, it’s your day, so what you decide on is totally up to you. No one else can make that decision for you. When it comes to costs, it ultimately depends on whether or not you’re willing to sacrifice a budget photographer missing any of those beautiful moments that an experienced photographer innately knows how to capture—for the sake of saving a few hundred quid.

There’s a lot to consider regarding wedding photography, but if there’s any information I can provide to make your decision easier, I’m happy to help. If you’d like to know my wedding photography pricing and availability, fill in your details here, and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible with more information.

In the meantime, please read my FREE Wedding Planning guide for more tips on how to ease some of the wedding planning stress. Happy planning!