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Wedding Photographers Swamping UK Market

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pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 3:31 PM

Been doing some business plans research and looking at various figures from various sites UKTrade Business Sites etc and have come across a fairly standard figure being banded around and wondered what everyone elses thoughts on the subject were. These are not my figures nor can I verify them but here they are :

Approx 300,000 people get married each year in the uk
Approx 50,000 pro photographers ( currently registered as businesses in uk )

So lets say for complete theoretical arguments sake that 60% of people who get married employ a photographer. So 180,000 weddings with a photographer.
That would only equate to 3.5 weddings per photographer

And thats not taking into account all the amateur photographers doing weddings.

So lets say that of the 50,000 photographers in the uk , only a third are wedding togs

that still only equates to approx 19 weddings per tog

In reality maybe there are at least another 50,000 non registered amateurs practising wedding photography too

That would then mean 5 weddings per tog




Doesnt matter how you look at it there seems to be a massive imbalance in the figures and I really pity any new photographers entering the market with their business plans and having to show there is a market for the product , because by all accounts the market is absolutely saturated.

Has anyone else come across any figures that make any sense ?????

I live in an area where there are 100s of photographers to quite a small region so i certainly believe the figure of 50,000 photographers is not unrealistic and quite probably there are more, and I guess the figure for marriages are taken from factual sources so should be accurate.

On top of all that we are still taking 40+ weddings a year and know others locally who are , so whats going on ??

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peted01
peted01  570 forum posts United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 - 3:59 PM

you make interesting reading.

I dont have any numbers to add but I do think that the proliferation of wedding photographers is down to the fact that so many people being made redundant even if they dont have a real interest in photography think that it is a cash cow and but some gear and away they go, which for me is the wrong reason to be doing it. It also gives the industry a bad name when it all goes wrong.

I took the decision not to do weddings, despite being asked if I do when I tell people I am a photographer, in fact usual it is the first thing they ask.

Really annoying.

Pete

Paul_Anthony
26 Oct 2012 - 4:38 PM

Although I love photographing weddings, have many delighted clients and it does make up a large pert of our business model. We have recently taken the decision to stop spending our advertising budget on getting Wedding contracts. There are very few High Street Photography Studios in the South Wales area, particularly Newport where we are based, so we decided to focus all of our attention on making good use of the studio and spending pretty much all of our advertising budget on gaining new portrait work and commercial contracts.

The reason for this is as you say, it's a saturated market, we charge a minimum of £900 for our wedding photography, which is quite a high starting point for the area that we work within (Newport, Pontypool, Cwmbran, Caerphilly, Bridgend, Cardiff etc.). It's easy to say that it is you work that sets you apart from the Amateur Wedding Togs that charge £395, and this is true, the trouble is that there are also a hell of a lot of Professional Wedding Togs charging the same money, all producing great work. It's a saturated market on every rung of the ladder. And like it or not, couples are not putting as much value on quality wedding photography as they used to. Of course there are couples who do, but they are few and far between unfortunately.

We will still be taking Wedding work on and we we still continue to do a fantastic job for our clients, but anticipate a gradual decline in bookings.

Paul

pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 4:57 PM

I agree with the fact that without taking action there is likely to be a gradual decline in wedding bookings , though have to wonder how much effect the economy is having on the industry. Particularly now as we seem to be reaching the end of the recession - its likely to be another year before the wedding industry sees that as most bookings are taken a year in advance , I think it also took the wedding industry longer for the recession to really hit for the same reason.

There is also the unfortunate probability of a lot of photographers going and having recently gone bust who will then not be in a position to take advantage of the upturn in the economy, how many photographers after dedicating such time and effort into their work and losing it all would then go back and start again if things picked up ? or would they stick to relaxing sunsets and a 9-5 ?

thewilliam
26 Oct 2012 - 5:14 PM

Have you been to a wedding fayre recently? Half of the exhibitors will probably be snappers.

She-who-must-be-obeyed has retired from wedding photography to concentrate of studio work. Her last wedding fayre was 3 years ago and there were 22 photographers and snappers over a 10:1 price range.

One real cheapie snapper had a stall right next door to She-who-must-be-obeyed and there could hardly have been a bigger difference in either quality or price. She-who-must-be-obeyed started at £2475 and was showing flush-mounted 30x24 inch prints of images that the prospective brides would have seen published in Cosmo Bride and similar magazines. The neighbour started at £249 and the stand was covered in colour photocopies.

Sadly, some newbies are charging "professional" prices but don't have the skills to back it up. Some of these get free advertising on Watchdog!

Entry to the business has never been easier. Digital cameras are now cheap and a good website can give the impression that the snapper has plenty of skill and experience. Many newbies steal images from the websites of their betters and some have been known to copy a complete site.

There may be only 50k registered professional photographers in the UK but weekend warriors may well swell that number up to at least 200k or even 300k.

pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 5:25 PM

Have I been to a wedding fare recently - no . in fact I have NEVER been to a wedding fare ! All our work is through internet and recommends and can quite believe the stories I hear from wedding fares of photographers fighting literally for business. I am happy to be in a position where we don't have to trawl round them and to be fair we don't have many spare weekends where we could even if we wanted too.

The wedding fare industry as I see it is just one great commercial gimmick and no-one who organizes them really gives a stuff how many of a particular industry are there as long as they have the fees covered. Its great for brides to see the choices on offer but I do wonder just how many come out totally confused and we certainly book a "fare" few of them Smile

If we then said there were 300k photographers and 300k weddings what on earth future could there be in the industry ?

llareggub
llareggub  3656 forum posts United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 - 5:51 PM


Quote:
Approx 300,000 people get married each year in the uk
Approx 50,000 pro photographers ( currently registered as businesses in uk )

So lets say for complete theoretical arguments sake that 60% of people who get married employ a photographer. So 180,000 weddings with a photographer.
That would only equate to 3.5 weddings per photographer

And thats not taking into account all the amateur photographers doing weddings.

So lets say that of the 50,000 photographers in the uk , only a third are wedding togs

that still only equates to approx 19 weddings per tog

In reality maybe there are at least another 50,000 non registered amateurs practising wedding photography too

That would then mean 5 weddings per tog


This is everything wrong with numbers, you can paint them any way that you want the figure for another 50,000 unregistered togs is pulled out of the air and is a guess so is irrelavent and many of those businesses practising wedding photography will also gain further income from different types of photography or mark ups on products.

I am sure that the business is tough and is being squeezed by the relatice ease of access to market, however if you are using this alone to build a business plan from you should possibly think twice about setting up you own business. Sorry if that sounds harsh but these figures are parsimonic and meaningless and have nothing whatsoever to do with an operating business environment.

pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 5:56 PM

If you bothered to take the time and read the thread and my profile you would realize I already run a successful business and as with any successful business you need to keep an eye on what is going on in the future and where your business plans are going to take you, to simply remark that figures are meaningless is childish at best as figures are what the world economies run on. These figures are an educated guess yes but as I have already explained I am well aware of the sorts of numbers operating in my area and can easily transfer that number out across the UK so its not rocket science.

I am not embarking on making a business plan purely debating what is happening in the market right now and if that's not of interest to you then don't feel the need to join in.

llareggub
llareggub  3656 forum posts United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 - 6:49 PM


Quote: Been doing some business plans research and looking at various figures from various sites UKTrade Business Sites etc and have come across a fairly standard figure being banded around and wondered what everyone elses thoughts on the subject were. These are not my figures nor can I verify them but here they are :

Approx 300,000 people get married each year in the uk
Approx 50,000 pro photographers ( currently registered as businesses in uk )

So lets say for complete theoretical arguments sake that 60% of people who get married employ a photographer. So 180,000 weddings with a photographer.
That would only equate to 3.5 weddings per photographer

And thats not taking into account all the amateur photographers doing weddings.

So lets say that of the 50,000 photographers in the uk , only a third are wedding togs

that still only equates to approx 19 weddings per tog

In reality maybe there are at least another 50,000 non registered amateurs practising wedding photography too

That would then mean 5 weddings per tog




Doesnt matter how you look at it there seems to be a massive imbalance in the figures and I really pity any new photographers entering the market with their business plans and having to show there is a market for the product , because by all accounts the market is absolutely saturated.

Has anyone else come across any figures that make any sense ?????

I live in an area where there are 100s of photographers to quite a small region so i certainly believe the figure of 50,000 photographers is not unrealistic and quite probably there are more, and I guess the figure for marriages are taken from factual sources so should be accurate.

On top of all that we are still taking 40+ weddings a year and know others locally who are , so whats going on ??

As I say I was not trying to be harsh, I am pointing out that the figures you have quoted are far too simplistic and as such are impossible to make any valued judgement upon (ergo meaningless), you actually stated that you were doing some business plan research and as such if these figures form any part of that research you should look elsewhere. I am not looking to pick a fight am mearly commenting on the data that you have presented.

I have no indication from your post that you run a successful business only that you undertake 40+ weddings a year, that statement in and of itself does not indicate a succesful business!

All I have done is pont out some of the flaws in your logic and I have taken the time to do this as I am intersted in furthering the discussion and not to offer any personal criticism of you (whilst you choose to use the word childish) or your business.

All the best

Brian

As an point aside I am not sure why you feel that a respondant to a forum poist should read an individuals profile prior to any response, I have subsequently read your profile and still see nothing that changes anything above but I "dig" the pictures!

Last Modified By llareggub at 26 Oct 2012 - 6:51 PM
pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 7:22 PM

Thanks for the dig !

The figures of weddings are actually fairly accurate as you would expect the 2010 figures were at 250,000 and there has been a rise in 2012 tho the exact figure has not yet been published.

The figures for how many photographers there are in the uk are obviously going to be much harder to work out but I personally feel from my own knowledge that 50,000 would be an underestimation to say the least hence the reason I have brought this topic into debate.

To make it a bit clearer I live in Middlesbrough and the population of our area ( Teesside ) is in the region of 250,000 , we have at least 100-200 working photographers practicing in our area alone.
If i extrapolated that data out into the 55,000000 uk population that would work out at between 20 and 40 thousand photographers. Then adding in the photographers not registered amatuers and others who take paid wedding jobs i really don't see how it could be any less than 50,000.

A successful business is one which turns a profit , so fair enough to say we do 40 weddings does not make us successful in its own right , however if you can do 40 weddings and not make a profit then there is something extremely wrong with your business model !

Whilst i am guessing you are a facts type of man , I would be interested in your ideas on why you feel the figures are wrong or meaningless , to me being involved in this profession its extremely important at this moment in time to get a grip on whats going on and take note of all the data possible , in some places there will be no real data so we will be left with making educated guesses to at least attempt to theorize the way forward and I don't see that as an issue - as indeed many mathematicians and statisticians haven't over the decades either !!

Thank you

Andrew

PaulSR
PaulSR  8511 forum posts England
26 Oct 2012 - 8:07 PM


Quote: Approx 300,000 people get married each year in the uk
Approx 50,000 pro photographers ( currently registered as businesses in uk )

So lets say for complete theoretical arguments sake that 60% of people who get married employ a photographer. So 180,000 weddings with a photographer.
That would only equate to 3.5 weddings per photographer

300 000 people getting married equals 150,000 weddings. 60% of that equals 90,000 weddings that means only 1.8 weddings per photographer

pulsar69
pulsar69  101611 forum posts United Kingdom6 Constructive Critique Points
26 Oct 2012 - 8:20 PM

I think the figure of 250,000-300,000 is the number of marriages tho not sure now !

scottishphototours

My experience certainly backs up the idea that there are no more than about 10 weddings per year for every tog in your immediate area.

The good ones will tip the balance so that they get more of the action but that means that there are ones doing no more than 5 weddings per year. You can't run a business doing just 5 weddings a year and you can't be taken seriously either - we know Brides rely on actual footage from venues and we base our website around this fact and it gets us business. Fact.

A local photographer tells me he's given up a full-time job to go "pro" with 8 weddings for 2013. Utter madness!! - and he wanted to pick my brains on "a few things" - needless to say he got short shrift...

Studios - why?? Ran a studio for nearly 4 years with declining turnover in every year, despite offering the best lifestyle and boudoir in the district. Lots of interest but very little uptake eventually. Crippling overheads and 6 day week for very little was very disillusioning.

The only thing to say is that MANY local photographers have turned their back on weddings and many have retired or chucked it all together. This leaves us hard-core muppets!!

Bottom line is this - you have to love it to do it. It'll never make you a millionaire (in general) but it is a very satisfying avenue of photography that I personally love. I love going to new weddings and saying hello to the former clients or family or those that were part of a Bridal party at a wedding we shot in previous years; it's a very nice feeling...

PS - Wedding Fayres - gave up the big ones (too expensive) and concentrated on small local ones. We now get 80% of business from reputation and word of mouth.

Last Modified By scottishphototours at 26 Oct 2012 - 8:49 PM
lemmy
lemmy  71762 forum posts United Kingdom
26 Oct 2012 - 9:26 PM

I have a camera on my phone and am setting up as a wedding photographer. I will charge £25 per wedding and undercut all the other profiteers.

If there are 150,000 marriages every year and I only get one in 100 of them, that means I make nearly £40,000 a year.

My mate says it would be better if I bought a digicamera thingy but I reckon the phone is well good enough. Money for old rope.

That's my business plan. My mission statement is 'Never Knowingly Undercut'. Smile

User_Removed
26 Oct 2012 - 10:10 PM

(PMSL!!!!)

Fundamental rule of business people!

What DIFFERENTIATES you from your competitors?

THAT is your justification for your price/charge(s)

HOW you sell it is down to you.

Smile

Last Modified By User_Removed at 26 Oct 2012 - 10:15 PM

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