2018 Wedding Photography Industry Survey Results Are In: How Do You Compare?

2018 Wedding Photography Industry Survey Results Are In: How Do You Compare?

As a wedding photographer, regardless of which part of the world you're based, it's always fascinating to look at the yearly statistics of your industry and see how you compare. Take a look at the results from the U.K.-based wedding portal Your Perfect Wedding Photographer.

Bearing in mind that each one of us operate in different parts of the world and equally have completely different ways of working, whether it's full time or part time combined with other photography related jobs, or perhaps you do it only for couple bookings a year while focusing on a different career path, these statistics are based on surveying 300 professional U.K. wedding photographers and as such may not directly relate to your business. However, it's still interesting to look at the numbers and see where we fall within them.

Firstly, a few statistics about the average surveyed photographer. They were found to be 38 years old (compared to 39 last year), with 54% of those having 5 to 10 years experience working in the wedding industry. Editing photographs was what we spent the majority of time on (77%), followed with business and admin duties (18%). The rest included photography (4%) and communication (1%). If your couple is questioning your fee, why don't you show them these statistics to remind them that although they see you photographing on the day, whether it's half a day or a full day, your duties and responsibilities don't stop there by any means. On average, we spent 14 hours editing each wedding; this number has gone up from 12 hours last year.

A bride and groom on the beach

The survey found a quite large increase on average spend by couples on wedding photography in 2018, which was £1,560 ($2,039), in comparison to £1,480 ($1,934) in 2017 and £1,450 ($1,895) in 2016. With the living expenses growing, it's nice to see that clients are spending more on our services, too. The average number of weddings captured in 2018 were 29, compared to 31 in 2017, and 28 in 2016. Personally, to me this number is not as relevant because each one of us have differently priced packages to suit our business needs and working arrangements, such as working alone, having an associate shoot a wedding under our name, and so forth. 

Only 13% of wedding were unplugged (i.e., allowing guests a limited usage of mobile devices), while 53% of us photographers prefer to photograph such a wedding. No surprise there, it's a lot easier to do our job when we don't have to fight Uncle Bob who steps out in the aisle with his iPad. However, on the other hand, it's still a social documentary of the event and guests using mobile phones, tablets, and cameras can be seen as a natural part of it.

A groomsman taking a phone photograph of the couple

Interestingly, Instagram was found to be the most fruitful social media source for acquiring bookings (45%), followed with Facebook organic search (39%) and Facebook paid advertisement (10%). Most of our hard-earned money went on equipment, as well as online advertising and travel expenses. As for our camera preferences, Canon led with 47%, followed by Nikon (27%), Sony (18%), and 7% of Fujifilm users. 

If you want to see any additional statistics and numbers, you can find them on the Your Perfect Wedding Photographer website. As always, take this data with a pinch of salt; we all have different ways of running our businesses and this information shouldn't make you feel any less accomplished if your business doesn't look anything like this. Enjoy your progress and look back at what you achieved in 2018, learn from your mistakes, and try to improve on personal and professional level every day.

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20 Comments

Michael Aubrey's picture

I'm always a little annoyed that they only ever provide average numbers rather than the median.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

I would also like some graphic representation (eg. charts) - it's super hard for me to get all those numbers side by side just from the text alone.

Anete Lusina's picture

Hi Andrzej, yes please follow the link, it also contains more information.

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Now, this is sweet! Thank you - much more clear & digestible for me now. :)

Anete Lusina's picture

I know what you mean though, I love seeing the pie charts myself haha.

Bill Wells's picture

I can tell you that are as many differences between US vs UK wedding as their are similarities. We are finding that our couples tend to want a unplugged wedding. At least for the ceremony.

First looks seems to be less than 50% for weddings in the south. This very unscientific but just what we are seeing.

The average spend numbers are similar. At least based on what we see.

Eric Crudup's picture

14 hours to edit hundreds of photos? That seems insane to me. I take like an hour to edit 1 photo.

Eric Salas's picture

Do you take ambien while you edit?!

Eric Crudup's picture

This comment served no purpose other than to fluff your own ego. Feel free to create another response that has substance.

Eric Salas's picture

You disclosed you’re not a wedding photographer so I’m not sure why you’re even commenting in here.
If wedding photographers took an hour per image, we’d never complete a single wedding.

Eric Crudup's picture

I was just amazed at getting photos done that quickly! Eventually I will get quicker at editing (for non-product shots), but going through photos that fast must take a completely different type of thought process.

Eric Salas's picture

It does take a different though process and approach because our albums must look the same throughout regardless of lighting changes. It’s a completely different way to shoot as well.
Develop your own actions in PS and develop your own presets. Things will speed up exponentially

Eric Crudup's picture

Many thanks for the info! What type of photoshop actions have you developed? What kind of stuff
in photoshop specifically helps when you need to get things done super fast?

what are you doing to the photo that it takes 1 hour per picture.

hundreds of photos? we shoot roughly 3000-4000 per wedding and slim that down to 1200. a lot of sniper shooting.

it takes around 4 hours to edit a full wedding. our motto is "get it right in camera"
we adjust kelvin manually as well. we shoot raw only for the ceremony and outdoor b&g photo session. the rest is jpeg.

Eric Crudup's picture

Messing around with hsl, trying to coax color in a certain direction I like. Going through every parameter in Lightroom and adjusting it while A/B'ing the changes. Testingdit/color grade vs presents, trying to figure out why I like certain aspects of a third party preset better than my own edit and then incorporating those aspects in with the edits I already made. Looking at other photos for tonal and color inspiration. Coming back the next day with fresh eyes, etc. Basically trying to get better at color grading with every image I edit.

With the times you guys are quoting I'm assuming your just throwing on a preset and doing the briefest of tweaks if necessary, as I'm not sure a meaningful edit can be done in 10 seconds. Not my style but I'm also not a wedding photographer.

I did assume that more time was spent on a at least some portion of the images doing more substantial, detailed retouching work in photoshop like dodge and burn skin smoothing, but at less than a minute per image I'm guessing not.

Obviously these are all assumptions and I'm probably wrong.

im at 2 hours for 700 images (excluding culling which is another 2 hours)

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

1 hour? You lucky one! Mine take weeks! :D

Studio 403's picture

I do only 2 weddings per year. Never thought a couple would enjoy a unplug your day wedding, I like.

Stephen Kampff's picture

Love this! I always feel photographers never have enough stats on specific industries.