Recommendations for wedding photographers in London?
July 23, 2013 6:09 AM   Subscribe

Seeing prices of GBP 1300 - 2000, which is above what I'd like to spend, and the lower end seems to lack experience, am I just being a cheapskate?

November wedding ... mefites who want to quote, or personal recommendations appreciated ...
posted by fistynuts to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They are expensive. But you're not just paying for the day - you're paying for pre and post consultations and often for two photographers in the day itself.

I've used Marianne Taylor, who was lovely and took fantastic photos. I can't recall the price when she did my and Mrs MM's photos a few years back but I neither recall it being outrageous nor super cheap. She turned up at our wedding having done a trial (I think, in theory it was supposed to be a post-engagement shoot) with an assistant in tow who also took pics. Her photos of our wedding were superb and she was great to deal with.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:15 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Can't speak to London (sorry) but a general tip is that a lot of photographers -- at least the good ones -- will be flexible with their packages, taking out things like prints (c'mon) and substituting a DVD of images for less. Or using an assistant instead of a second photographer, or just staying for less time (normal packages can be 12+ hours). Make sure you talk to even the expensive ones before writing them off completely.

But yeah, that is in the normal range for US photographers as well. And personally, I'd encourage you not to cheap out. I've seen some really awful returns on cheap photographers, and you're going to be so harried that day, that getting back really excellent photos is pretty incredible. I have very few things I'd change about my wedding, and paying for an excellent photographer is nowhere to be found on that list.
posted by supercres at 6:20 AM on July 23, 2013

On non-preview-- engagement shoots can often be dropped from packages to save a few hundred.
posted by supercres at 6:21 AM on July 23, 2013

Previously -- whether to use a professional photographer for a wedding and how to cut costs if you do (short answer: you should use a professional photographer)
posted by deanc at 6:30 AM on July 23, 2013

I wish that in addition to our photographer, I had asked two friends to take candids, or hired a candid professional.
posted by mecran01 at 6:31 AM on July 23, 2013

Another thing to remember is that you aren't just paying the photographer for the time spent shooting; the good ones will do some editing/retouching as well. You can ask if that's included in their price, and if you'd rather do it yourself, you can see about getting the RAW image files.
posted by evoque at 6:38 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

Full-service professional photography is expensive for perfectly legitimate reasons. Save money by buying a less comprehensive package, or by hiring a less professional person, or by doing it DIY. No need to think of yourself as cheap; there's nothing wrong with valuing other things above a perfect picture to hang on the wall or a fancy album that will sit on the shelf untouched for years at a time.
posted by jon1270 at 6:52 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

You're paying to greatly reduce the chances that they will screw up. Will the inexperienced ones be bringing a backup set of equipment? Will they have an assistant who is manning an off camera flash?
posted by Sophont at 6:52 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I used Lillian & Leonard, who have since moved to London - they are wonderful people, and I love my photos. Their style is reportage, so they stay out of the way of all the proceedings and just snap moments as they go. They're still happy to do posed photos if you want them, but my favourite shots are by far when we just let them stay in the background.
posted by ukdanae at 6:59 AM on July 23, 2013 [2 favorites]

One detail to be clear on is what is the status of the raw files (negatives). Will you have a large fee for each reprint or can you get the original image files?
posted by sammyo at 7:41 AM on July 23, 2013

Photography is a "You get what you pay for" kind of thing.

You can look at portfolios and determine if you can find quality you like at a price you can afford, but ultimately, yeah, that's what it costs.

I had a church member do my photos, meh. I have about 2000 photos of our wedding and I like about 20 of them. I think that's about average.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:57 AM on July 23, 2013

I definitely regret not spending extra on our wedding photographer. YMMV of course.
posted by rouftop at 8:09 AM on July 23, 2013

I almost used Lillian and Leonard for our (Scotland) wedding. They were lovely and I would recommend a chat with them!
posted by like_neon at 8:47 AM on July 23, 2013

we cheaped out on our wedding photographer and got a 'professional' for 50-70% of the going professional rate and regretted it. Her photos (other than 3-4 photos) weren't any better than a relative's shots. She missed other photos too- thank goodness my dad got a good 'first dance' photo!
posted by noloveforned at 9:27 AM on July 23, 2013

Don't ask your friends to do it for you. If they want to take photos, that's great, but wedding photography is a job and the person doing that job will be too busy to relax, enjoy and be present at the wedding. If your friends offer to do it, that's great, but they won't be able to participate in the day.

I've only shot a wedding once (I was hired for £120 for the day, which I would never have done if I wasn't really skint and doing a favour for someone who turned out to be a massive Bridezilla - never again. She wanted me to give her the photos unedited so 'I can do arty things like turn them black and white and have just my boquet coloured red' and only asked me to take two or three of the couple together - the rest were shots of her in her dress) but my understanding is that engagement shoots aren't actually that common here.
posted by mippy at 9:59 AM on July 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

My sister used Rebecca Bruce. Her packages start at £799 and I would recommend her.
posted by plonkee at 10:06 AM on July 23, 2013

Congratulations on your impending nuptials!

I don't think you're being a cheapskate, but you may be being optimistic, depending on how much less than £1,300 you're willing to spend (e.g. my wife and I spent £700, trying to economise (and we're in the North, so prices are a bit lower here), and whilst we weren't horrified by the images we got back we weren't bowled over either).

Speaking as a photographer who doesn't do weddings (tried, hated it, stopped):
  • Don't worry about getting RAW files unless you want to retouch everything yourself. Most photographers should do necessary retouching, colour-correction and blemish removal for you. High-resolution JPEGs will be fine for printing unless you're planning to print an A0 poster or something.
  • Many wedding photographers will be willing to be flexible with their packages if you ask (them as don't ask don't get, as my mother would have said). Printing can be taken out, but they may charge a fee for a DVD of all the high-resolution shots (i.e. without them editing down to some sane number). You may be able to get things down to a reasonable price by haggling; don't be scared to try.
  • Remember that it's about what you want to remember for the day. So if you don't want full wedding coverage, you could even hire a portraitist to do some formal images and rely on guests for candids and so on (though I'd advise against it if you want to be sure of decent coverage of the ceremony).

posted by gmb at 3:25 AM on July 24, 2013

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