Wedding Photography Package Prices

More than half of all wedding photographers in NSW publish a starting price for their photography packages online.  Starting packages in Sydney range from $450 up to $5,950 and include anywhere from 1 to 15 hours of photographic coverage on the wedding day.  This article describes the range of wedding packages and pricing available in the photography industry and details the market size and competition within each price bracket.

Wedding Photography Packages Pricing Report 2016

Wedding Photography Packages less than $1,000:

Just 9% of the wedding photography market in NSW offer packages in this range.  More than three quarters of these suppliers publish a complete list of packages and pricing on their website.  The range starts at $450 for 2 hours coverage with the maximum inclusion being 5 hours intended to cover either Brides prep to photos or ceremony to start of reception.  

The most likely package available for less than $1,000 includes 3 hours coverage and high res images delivered on disc or usb.  These packages were generally intended for small, intimate weddings such as elopements where photos would be taken before and/or after the ceremony all at the one venue.  There are no packages advertised in this price bracket that include full day coverage or a high quality album.

NSW Wedding Photography Package Prices

Wedding Photography Packages $1,000 - $1,999:

This is the most competitive price bracket in the Wedding Photography industry.  36% of NSW based wedding photographers offer starting packages in this range.  A high proportion of these businesses (66%), promote a full list of packages and pricing on their website which suggests an active level of price based competition between suppliers.  Customers will find that most packages in this range start from above $1,500.  

While the coverage included by these wedding photographers does range from 1 to 15 hours, most packages (71%) include 4 to 6 hours of coverage.  Customers can expect high res images with any of these packages although albums are generally not included. 

Wedding Photography Packages $2,000 - $2,999:

About 30% of wedding photographers in Sydney provide starting packages between $2,000 to $2,999, with the average package in this price bracket being $2,501.38.  Fewer photographers promote packages and prices on their website in this category, representing the start of a shift in the market away from price based competition.  Customers can still find a full list of packages and pricing on 44% of supplier websites, and most of those are at the lower end of the price bracket.

Inclusions are evenly spread across this price range and while coverage at the lower end starts at 3 hours, there are just as many businesses that include 5 hours at either end as those that include 12 hours.  The package that customers are most likely to encounter includes 6 hours of coverage with high resolution images on disc or usb that are often beautifully packaged in leather folios or wooden boxes.  Photo albums are rarely an inclusion in starting packages within this range.

Wedding Photography Packages $3,000 - $3,999:

Photographers that offer starting packages in this range make up one fifth of the NSW market. The proportion of those wedding photographers that provide a list of packages and pricing on their website is just 19% as many aim to showcase their unique brand of photography without the tempting distraction of price.  While the average starting price in this range is $3,357.13, the most commonly found package is exactly $3,000.  

Of the 20% of businesses that detail their package inclusions in this price bracket, 84% include a minimum of 8 hours coverage.  The range starts as low as 4 hours however and extends to full day coverage with 1 in 6 photographers providing a high quality album as part of the package inclusions.  

Wedding Photography Packages $4,000 - $4,999:

The high end of the wedding photography market in Sydney is 4% of the total market. Customers can expect a full list of packages to be listed on the websites of 44% of these businesses.  Wedding photographers that promote their prices at this end of the market may do so because the inclusions make these packages competitive with those offered in lower price brackets.  Some of these photographers have found that full disclosure of higher package pricing helps to filter enquiries and increases the booking conversion rate.

All starting packages above $4,000 include at least 8 hours of coverage and a complete set of high resolution photos.  Most wedding photographers who offer starting packages in this range include full day coverage.  While these photographers may choose to service smaller packages to clients who request them, many prefer to solely offer their service as  a 'complete wedding day package'.

Wedding Photography Packages $5,000+:

At the very elite end of the market are the top .5% of photographers with packages starting from $5,000.  The highest starting price published in the Sydney market is $5,950 as at the beginning of March 2016, and includes all high resolution photos from 10 hours of wedding day coverage.  No album was included with this package which is in line with most starting packages in the Australian wedding photography industry.  

Customers seeking the very best wedding photographers in Australia will find most within the top two price brackets with starting packages from $4,000.  Wedding photographers in the top range are likely to be highly awarded in Australia - particularly from the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP).  They are also likely to be well published internationally and identified in "top 10" lists by prestigious photographic magazines.  Photographers at this end of the market often travel the world shooting weddings and consider bookings by their interest in the people and places involved.  

All pricing information provided in this article is based on the starting prices listed by NSW wedding photographers on their website.  Additional package and pricing information is regularly published on our Facebook page.


Enquiries driving down profit

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This week on social media we asked the question: "What do Brides base their wedding photography budget on? How do they come up with a figure?"  We wanted to know what impact the answers to these questions have on businesses and whether there is a direct affect on profitability within the industry.

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Most conversation about budget for wedding photography that happens in business circles has centred around whether or not to list prices on supplier websites.  Our research suggests that whether prices are listed or not has very little bearing on supplier profitability.  The process that wedding photography and videography clients go through when shortlisting suppliers however, does cause downward pressure on profits and the cause is directly linked to how budgets for these services are initially established.

Here's what one Bride told us when we asked how she'd determined a budget for her wedding photography: "I just looked through a heap of websites that have their prices available upfront and got an average so I would know what was reasonable and what was expensive."  This was a common story among the Brides who responded to our queries and provides some insight into the experience many suppliers face when attending to price based enquiries.

One of the top listed wedding cinematography businesses on Google does not publish packages or pricing on his website.  He told us this week that on average he receives one enquiry per day originating from his presence on Google and that the conversion rate from these enquiries was low.  This was to be expected, he said, as most of those enquiries centred around price.  Many wedding suppliers that experience low conversion rates interpret a need to reduce prices in order to make themselves 'more competitive' in the industry.  But consider what this Bride told us - "I did loads of research on different package prices and then went with word of mouth from girlfriends that had been married".

Customers are simply researching the market range in order to establish what they intend to spend.  Once armed with a budget they then have a mechanism to start comparing and eliminating suppliers from the myriad of options available to them.  It is this necessary focus on price that drives down conversion rates, and puts the most pressure on profitability within the industry.  And it's happening because price is virtually the sole definitive means for an average customer to compare suppliers.

In our next article we discuss how its possible as an industry to shift the primary focus away from price and instead empower customers to seek out suppliers by other favoured attributes.

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Queensland's (saturated) Wedding Photography market

The wedding photography industry in Queensland is one of the most competitive markets in Australia.  There are 354 businesses that are actively seeking weddings bookings right now, and they will service about 25,000 weddings in 2016.

Saturation of Wedding Photographers in AUS 

While the total number of weddings in QLD makes up about 21% of all weddings that happen across Australia, the proportion of Australia's wedding photographers working in QLD is slightly higher at 22%.  In comparison, VIC have 22 fewer wedding photographers than QLD, but nearly 4,000 more weddings per year.  The extremely high level of competition in Queensland has inevitably put downward pressure on prices making it very difficult to maintain a profitable wedding photography business in this state.  

Recently on a Facebook group for wedding suppliers, a Queensland based photographer posted about the frustration of established studios advertising wedding packages at below cost prices. Responses rolled in from photographers around the world attesting to the same issue being present everywhere from Malaysia to South Africa.  And being that wedding photography is an unregulated market around the world, there is significant competition within the industry across all countries.  But as one Australian expat pointed out; "I found Brisbane to be horrendous…" and the stats would agree.  Queensland may have the dubious honour of being the most competitive place on earth to be a wedding photographer.

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A high level of competition creates a high level of business churn and makes growth for existing businesses difficult.  Tellingly perhaps, the most popular wedding photographer in Queensland has accrued a minimal 74 Facebook Likes in the latest 6 month period.  Compare this to the most popular photographer in VIC who accrued more than 16,000 Likes in the same period.

Nearly 60% of wedding photographers in QLD operate a blog and keep it regularly updated. Most of the industry (92%) have a business page on Facebook.

For more information about wedding photography in Australia follow us on Facebook.

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