How to Pick a Great Wedding Photographer and What does it Cost

April 01, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

How Do I Pick a Great Wedding Photographer
and Why Can it be SO Expensive

How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost in Ireland? Everyone at a Wedding has a Camera. Why Bother Paying a Professional Wedding Photographer. They Can Be So Expensive!!How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost in Ireland?Everyone at a Wedding has a Camera. Why Bother Paying a Professional Wedding Photographer. They Can Be So Expensive!!



I hope you are all enjoying the few days of sun we are getting here in Ireland (mid July 2021) as I am at the moment. Normally July is frantic with weddings as it is possibly the most popular month for couples as you have the best chance of good weather, schools are off and people coming from abroad can combine a couples wedding into part of their summer holiday plans. 

So with a little extra time that I have compared to most July's I wanted to explain why wedding photography can be one of the more expensive items on a couples list when planning a wedding and how to pick a good one and get the best value for your money. From the outset I am obviously biased but I hope to give an impartial view of what a wedding photographer does which might help explain the cost and when picking a wedding photographer some guidance on how to avoid the cowboys. 

When a couple is planning a wedding they have the choice of getting a friend to do it or for all the guests to share their images with the couple and then they can pick the best or if they choose to hire a wedding photographer they will see they need a budget anywhere between €400 and €4000. You can see what I charge here Wedding Photography Packages and Prices


Option 1: Friends and Family Doing the Photos at your Wedding

Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer? Do you need a professional Wedding Photographer?Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer?Do you need a professional Wedding Photographer? Maybe a Friend Can Do It!

Let's start with the family and friends option. You're thinking I am going to knock this but I'm not!. It is a perfectly valid option. We are in the middle of a pandemic and lots of people are hurting financially so budgets can be tight. Couples also sometimes want a small intimate wedding and the memory of the day is enough.

The difference between getting a professional and having a friend (Assuming they are not a pro wedding photographer....then you've struck gold) do the photography is this. The friend may have attended a lot of weddings as a guest but wouldn't have the experience of a professional. They will turn up and capture what is happening and will likely get some nice shots. They wouldn't know the pitfalls of what can go wrong. For Example in church weddings it is very important to speak to the priest and ask where they are comfortable for the photographer to go. I have had every answer from "Do what you need to do" to "Don't step past this point" and everything imbetween.  

After the ceremony is the time for Family Photos. I have yet to meet a family that doesn't have a good proportion of the guests roll their eyes at this point. They're having a drink and having fun and the dreaded photographer is now going to ruin their buzz. A pro will deal with this in good humor and in their stride and get all the shots needed quickly so everyone can get back to the fun. An amateur will take longer and will lack the experience of getting people into position to get the shot done quickly.

After the family photos usually the couple will get some portraits done alone. Again a professional photographer will have picked a nice spot and will get the shots done quickly and get the couple back to the party.

Later in the evening when the dancing starts most amateur equipment can't handle dark rooms with flashing lights and guests dancing. We have all seen the blurry, grainy images on social media. This is the most challenging part of the day from a photography point of view and only the best equipment will produce a satisfactory result. 

After the wedding the friend may give you the cards out of the camera or download them for you and send them to you. A professional will curate the images to select the best ones and then individually edit the ones chosen to bring out the best in them. This is the most time consuming part of photographing a wedding and producing a professional looking result.

If you understand the above and appreciate a friend is unlikely to produce the quality a professional will and are happy with that then go for it.

Option 2: Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer

Why Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer? Not Everything Might Go To Plan On Your Wedding Day but You Might Get a Great Photo From It With a Professional Photographer on Your SideWhy Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer?Not Everything Might Go To Plan On Your Wedding Day but You Might Get a Great Photo From It With a Professional Photographer on Your Side

Not everything might go to plan on your wedding day but if you decide to hire a professional wedding photographer you should be guaranteed picking someone with great experience, great testimonials and a large portfolio of previous work to give you comfort in your choice. It is hard to hide on the internet these days so if you do a little research you can weed out the cowboys.

6 Steps to Picking a Great Wedding Photographer

Step 1: Shortlist 5 photographers that you have seen and like their work

Step 2: Email them and check availability on your date (Tip: If someone takes forever to reply to an email beware as you don't want the stress that can produce close to a wedding)

Step 3: Check Independent Testimonials: All photographers will put great testimonials on their own website. Check testimonials on their Google My Business page, Facebook Page, etc These will give you a more complete picture of who you are dealing with

Step 4: Get a detailed package and price list. Understand exactly what you are paying for. Some photographers bundle everything into a package (Eg 2 photographers, a main album for the couple, parents albums etc) Some offer the photography as a stand alone and you can add on the extras. Don't pay for anything you don't want just because it is part of the package. Ask if it can be reduced if you don't need everything offered.

Step 5: View several full wedding galleries they have done. If you are considering a package that will produce 300 images then ask to see a gallery from a similar wedding with 300 images. Don't accept a highlights gallery of 50 or 60.

Step 6: Have a chat. The couple will spend  a lot of time with the photographer on the day. Make sure you get on. This will give you confidence and help you relax on the day which in turn helps the photographer get the best shots. If you are happy with all the above then you are probably ready to hire your photographer


Always Make Sure When Hiring a Wedding Photographer

1. Get everything agreed in writing. A professional will insist on it anyway
2. Understand what you are paying for. This should always be in the contract or booking form
3. Understand what happens if something goes wrong. EG is the deposit refundable or can it be transferred to a new date

4. Great Independent Testimonials. (Hint: On my own website I can write whatever i want)
5. Good communication from the photographer. Personally I think 24 hours to answer an email is plenty and can often be a lot less. Silences can cause stress to couples which can be easily avoided


Things to avoid in Hiring A Wedding Photographer

1. Anyone who guarantees a turnaround within a few days. Individually editing hundreds of images can be done in a couple of days but it is not advised.
2. Anyone who does not offer post production on the images.
3. Anyone who tries to find out the size of your wedding or budget before giving you a price. If you want a photographer from prep until the 1st dance it makes little difference to the photographer if there is 25 guests or 250 guests
4. Vague testimonials. We have all seen them on websites of all kinds
5. Only being shown highlights galleries
6. When a contract/booking form with terms and conditions attached is not offered

So Why Can Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer Be So Expensive

Hire a Professional Wedding Photographer and Get Amazing Images. An Investment for Yourself and Future GenerationsHire a Professional Wedding Photographer and Get Amazing ImagesAn Investment for Yourself and Future Generations

So bringing it back to the cost of all this. I am going to ignore all the items usually trotted out such as equipment, insurance, fuel etc and base it on the number of hours put into a wedding.

A professional wedding photographer will spend at least a couple of hours dealing with the couple before the day including emails, meetings, sending contracts and showing previous work etc. On the day there is usually an hours traveling time each way to and from the wedding. For a full day prep could start at 10:30am and the first dance can easily start at 10:00pm with the photographer leaving at 10:30pm. So this is 16 hours work in total which is what most people think the wedding photographer does for their money. I wish :) 

After the day the photographer will upload and back up all the images. Then the fun begins. Typically a full day wedding will produce between 1600 - 2000 images. The first job is to bring that number down to what amount you said you would deliver. For me that is normally around 350 450. This takes approximately 2-3 hours. Then each of the 350-450 images needs to be edited individually. No matter what presets a photographer uses an image will always look better going in and individually editing it. Even if each image takes 2 minutes to edit that is another almost 12 hours work. So in total for a full day wedding a photographer will put in approximately 30 hours work. So if you divide the price of your package (After you take out albums/USB Boxes etc) and divide it by 30 you will see why wedding photography can be expensive

So with all that in mind why do some photographers charge €400 and some €4000. Well let's start with the €400. It can be an option. Most photographers were there at the start of their career. I certainly was. I was a professional photographer that worked for magazines and newspapers and corporate clients but had never done weddings and at the time I advertised a package outlining I had no wedding photography experience but showed the quality of other work I had done. I got a few bookings from couples that weren't going to have a photographer but took a chance. They got a budget package and I got the start of a wedding portfolio. So don't rule it out but understand there is a risk involved.

Next you have the majority of  Wedding Photographers that charge between €1100 and €1700 for a full day from prep until the first few dances. The difference can be in the level of experience they have. How much they are in demand and is there any extras included in the package such as a luxury wooden box for the USB key or a significant amount more images delivered etc

Then there is the a the group that charge over €2000. These can vary from a photographer that has a day job and wants to limit the amount of weddings they shoot during the year as it is a supplement to a full time job. Simple law of economics, price goes up and demand goes down and they are happy to hold out for the couples that really love their work and are happy to pay a premium for it.

In this group there are also photographers that are in very high demand with decades of experience and have worked their price up to this point and know the amount of weddings they want to shoot in a year and have delivered quality work to couples for that time and new couples are happy and confident in the service and quality they will get. In this group you will also usually find it will include a second shooter, albums and prints of some sort.


If you would like to discuss your wedding plans for later in 2023 or 2024 please get in touch at [email protected] or phone/Whatsapp +353 86 8137668 or if you want to read some more information about wedding photography please click here

Thanks for looking


That's All Folks



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