Wedding Photography Industry 2017 / 2018

A very good link for other wedding photographers, the Wedding Photography Industry Survey

From a professional perspective, it has some good stats, albeit from a low percentage of professional photographers working in the UK.

So here are my thoughts and musings…

Average Spend – £1480

Not a bad figure, and one that is sustainable in the long term.  Remember this seems to be from established wedding photographers so new people into the market would charge less.  The key here is to make your wedding photography business sustainable.  It’s not about price per se but making sure you can pay all the business expenses at a minimum. If you can charge £1000 and cover your costs and a small living profit – good for you.  If you can do that on £500 – show me how!! 😉

Average number of weddings – 31

Again a subjective number depending on what you need to earn form the wedding photography to make a living; however it’s a “do-able” number in a year.

Looking at the average spend and the average number of weddings leaves us with an average turnover for wedding photographers of £45,880 per year.  This doesn’t include engagement shoots, family, portrait or other work.

Again, looks a high figure but unless you know what the photographers cost of doing business (CODB) then you can’t really comment objectively.

FYI my own turnover is slightly higher than this and I shoot around the same number of weddings.  People that have spoken to me, attended my workshops or are being mentored by me know that I don’t shoot to a number of weddings but to an income limit.  Once I reach the income limit I stop taking bookings.

Unplugged weddings – 13%

Fit’s in with my stats as well, although I have noticed an increase for 2019 onwards.

Bookings

This was really interesting to me from a business process perspective.

Average percentage that book after an enquiry – 62%

Why is it low?

You are spending time meeting with couples and only booing 62% of those enquries.  That means that you are wasting 38% of your time answering emails.   If you can improve that figure you end up booking more weddings perhaps, spend less time meeting with couples who won’t book you, increase your prices, spend more tie on more profitable areas etc.  The trick is to identify why.

My own rough and ready market research would suggest some of the following –

  1. Photographers are not upfront about pricing.  They either do not put pricing online at all or use vague phrases such as “we have three collections starting from £xxxx”.
  2. Photographers that do not have prices on websites are not pre-qualifying couples at the enquiry stage but instead booking meetings and hoping the sales skills they have will be good enough to seal the deal. The stats say differently on that one!
  3. Photographers are not making sure their advertising is targetting the couples who will book them.  Now whether that is because they don’t have an Ideal Couple Profile (ICP) sorted out that they use to target or perhaps go for a shotgun approach I have no idea.

Just to put some objectivity around making an effort to reduce that 38%.

I make an effort to visit my couples in person.  If I am going to spend 12 hours + with people I and they need to know that we are going to get on.  Yes, Skype / Facetime is good, but no replacement for the real eyeball to eyeball contact. When a couple emails me they know what I charge, what they get, what experience they are going to get on the day etc.  This is pre-qualifying. We usually meet at the venue for instance, if not the nearest 4* or 5* hotel to them.  I plan on spending an hour to drive to the meeting, an hour at the meeting and an hour drive back.  38 wedding meetings that don’t turn into bookings means 114 hours of wasted time or 16 days of office time.

By the way, in 2015 this figure was 53% and in 2016 it was 65%

I do know that I target couples who would book me very specifically (website / social media / print) and my booking conversion rate is above 95%

Average percentage that buys an album – 33%

Again I am surprised that this figure is so low considering the plethora of wedding album companies out there. My own album company, nPhoto, offer some great deals for new photographers, prices are very competitive and quality is above par for the industry.

When I do some rough and ready market research I find…

  1. Photographers don’t offer albums at all.
  2. Photographers that do have albums on offer do not actively sell albums, they just use them to show off work. Again they are an additional add-on.
  3. They are not bothered about the album at all; hence don’t even offer one.

Personal rant.  The last excuse is, for me, abhorrent.  A photograph isn’t a photograph unless it is printed. Otherwise, it’s just a digital file on a USB / DVD / Cloud-based storage.