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Wedding Photographers Swamping UK Market

26 Oct 2012 10:27PM

Quote: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

I am looking for a position as an assistant to enhance my portfolio before I go it alone. You look like my kind of role model. Can I help you out? I am happy to wipe your camera phone down with tissues to remove the sweaty palm prints you'll get thinking about the money we''ll make.

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PaulSR 12 511 England
26 Oct 2012 10:54PM

Quote: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.

Thats about 30 weddings every week, also it would cost about 70,000 a year on photos and albums
uggyy 12 2.1k 9 Scotland
27 Oct 2012 12:03AM
We have a studio, mostly family based but do weddings for our previous clients.

We can not compete on price with local TOGs pro/amature, even some of the so called pros who have dropped down to 300-500 and wonder why they go bankrupt. What can you do when another TOG offers a DVD only at 500 for the full day and is a competent TOG, watch them go bankrupt and then come back again with the same set up and all there equipment.. Baffles me.

As said, you have to compete on your style and quality if your going to win in the long run.

Just do a google search on your local area and see how many TOGs there are rofl, they just seem to crawl out the woodwork, check the location and most of them in a house in some street. YET people still will go use them.

Interestingly, we had a new company approach us over frames of late who had tried to contact various so called "wedding togs" via google and found about most of them inactive or dead lines.

Is the market swamped, yes.. Will it get worse? I personally think it will.

No point getting bitter or worrying, just got to get on with it and love what you do.. Smile
llareggub 7 825 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 8:44AM

Quote: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


You are welcome Smile

I have no probelms in general with the figures although there is an awful lot of assumption there but the fact remains that these figures are too simplistic to ascertain anything other than a taking point on a forum and can not be used to derive and form thoughts on the market place.

However the largest jump that you have made is the leap between 50,000 photographers and the number of wedding photographers, this is pretty much impossible to extrapolate from any data provided and it also assumes that a wedding photographer is just that and not a maternity, lifestyle, commercial, event (you get the drift) photographer. Whilst the market place may be getting a little more crowded certainly British society seems to be more accepting of "pro photographers" taking pictures of them, as such I think it would be fair to argue that the market for profesional photography is now greater in the UK than it has been at any point in time in the past and as such needs to be factored into any discussions about how crowded the photography market is.

I agree that any business needs to be aware of market trends and its own position in that market but this is the wrong way to go about it and as far as your business is concerned completely irrelevant unless you are planning to go national. You offer a service that has a footprint, you need to concentrate on identifying where you sit within the competitive structure of the market in the territory that you operate, you then need to decide whether you believe that moving forward you can be cometitive in that area. If not you evolve or shut up shop!

It is not impossible to compete in a crowded market place, however business practices and products need to be sharper and your average "pro photographer" probably needs to be more commercially aware now than they did 20-25 years ago, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Depressingly this has nothing to do with photography, I love taking pictures which I am sure is how you got in to the business however the truth of any sole ownership business is that the operation of the business and commercial acumen is far more important than the product produced.
pulsar69 13 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 9:09AM
I would add that the talking point on the forum is the very reason I posted this and completely agree the figures are simplistic but sometimes you need to go on something and this is the little something we have. The very conversation that is striking up here is very much in line with what I expected and as such its good to hear that others think the same way and good to also here other views including yours. There is still food for thought in these opinions for me and I like to get a feel for the 'outside ' world of photography as it were - sometimes sitting in front of a pc all day you get too departed from reality !
lemmy 10 2.7k United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 9:37AM

Quote:I am looking for a position as an assistant to enhance my portfolio before I go it alone. You look like my kind of role model.

You're on! And with two of us that would be twice as many weddings we could cover. It'd be great to have my phone wiped down regularly but you'd have to supply the cloth.

A quick look at a listing and Googling in my home area seems to show about 20 or 30 photographers in a five mile radius. Given that the population probably is 250 to 400,000 in the area, that does't seem so many. Pretty rough research, admittedly.
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 9:47AM
What do you expect when an amateur tog can make 400 on a Saturday! He/she may not earn that all week flogging himself/herself to death for a couple of hundred quid! He/she even might be on the Old King Cole (dole) To these types of togs, earning 400 to do a wedding is easy money. They don't have a reputation to think of, just the money. Surely, the couple getting married, also must realise what they are going to get for their 400! You get quotes from professional photographers quoting a minimum of around the 800 mark and up to 2,000 or so. It's the same old adage, you get what you pay for. If these people are happy to pay 400 for their special day and not really worry about the quality they will get, more fool them. For a true pro, it's just not worth their time to work a full day and evening for 400.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
27 Oct 2012 10:46AM
In these hard times, there are plenty of folk who simply can't afford to spend more than 400 on their wedding photography and many more who can find another use for the usual "professional" fee.

The real problem is the sheer number of incompetent or semi-competent snappers who ply for trade. In the good old days, a professional wedding photographer would cover 3 or 4 weddings for a reasonable fee and so the punters got a limited range of well-taken pix.
pulsar69 13 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 11:00AM
That brings up a major point that i think is missed.

Many couples cant afford to spend more than 400 ?

An average wedding these days costs between 10,000 and 15,000 , catering 4000, an average dress 1000 , the rings 500-1000 , the car 400 ( that's for 2 hours ! )

So to say the person/s who spend the most time of anyone at the whole event and after ( the photographer ) is paid the least is ridiculous and although the Bride and Groom used to understand this , the influx of cheap DIY weekend photographers has brought the market to a point where the B&G are now baffled by the pricing, and who wouldn't be - have a look in your area at the pricing structures and imagine you are a client.

We maybe need an OFCOM/Ombudsman style board for our profession to sort things out !
lemmy 10 2.7k United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 11:08AM

Quote: In the good old days, a professional wedding photographer would cover 3 or 4 weddings for a reasonable fee and so the punters got a limited range of well-taken pix.

Yes, I remember that. One I knew, Michael Wheeler in Tunbridge Wells, would offer a set of 8 pictures, the couple, family, cutting the cake etc for a much lesser fee. That mean he could cover several weddings in an afternoon. But those pictures would be very good ones, properly set up and composed with care. Not everyone could afford the full coverage in those days.

On the local paper where I trained, the local wedding photographers would supply a print of the happy couple which the paper would use without paying the photographer. But the photographer got a credit (Picture by XXXXXX & Son, Photographers, Tunbridge wells) which brought them in more clients.

Wedding photographers then invariably had a studio and would do industrial photography and so on as well. In other words, they were a compete photographic service. So many now wouldn't know where to begin with a lighting rig or a front tilt mechanism.

They are the equivalent of the bloke round the corner who buys himself a box of cheap spanners and sets himself up as a plumber. When I hear people hear people talking about wedding photography as if it were just a matter of having a camera, I despair. What about the responsibility to the couple and their family? What about the ability to cajole and arrange people tactfully? To handle children so that they do as they are asked? What about the personality so that people recommend to others, that people remember you as enhancing their day?

There are people with cameras and there are photographers. Let's not pretend they are the same thing.
thewilliam 9 6.1k
27 Oct 2012 2:29PM
Lemmy, we live in a world off illusions where image matters far more than substance. So many people in so may walks of life follow the doctrine of "Fake it and hope you can make it".

It would be nice to have an OFCAM to oversee quality. Thanks to the EU, we seem to be adopting so many German customs that it can't be long before photographers won't be able to practice without approval from the Mayor's office.
miptog 12 3.6k 61 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 2:51PM
The UK Wedding Industry - March 2011

I am not a Wedding Tog, but it would be interesting to hear if those who are, can realate to what is being said the the above article.
Just Jas Plus
16 26.2k 1 England
27 Oct 2012 3:00PM
"Wedding Planners" by golly!

The prospective couple could always employ a Cowboy/Weekend Warrior/Whatever Wedding Planner, I guess.

Or Lemmy - with his tablet sandwich thingie? Wink

Just Jas Plus
16 26.2k 1 England
27 Oct 2012 3:14PM
The great thing about having a few hundred, or so, wedding photos is that the 1 in 3 marriages that fail can have a better bonfire in the event.

Which might just contravene local environmental regulations. Smile

And how about the very many couples that don't marry?

Perhaps the might be some mileage in "Partner Photography"? (though perhaps not much money Sad )

Or even Partner Planning, to boot! Grin
pulsar69 13 1.6k 6 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2012 3:29PM

Quote:The UK Wedding Industry - March 2011

I am not a Wedding Tog, but it would be interesting to hear if those who are, can realate to what is being said the the above article.

In relation to that article and from the experience I have had with them , the average wedding planners role is to get everything on the cheap , thereby encouraging the cheaper end of the market through which they normally network and therefore saving a part of the brides budget to pay themselves ! this does nothing to heighten the quality of the day and in real terms just reduces it. Thats not to say all wedding planners work that way but as with a lot of industries and even more so with wedding planning there are not particular skills needed to start off a wedding planning business.

Hence I find something a little odd about an article with a wedding planner discussing how the financial crisis has hit weddings !

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