Save Money on Your Wedding - Pro vs DIY Wedding Photography

November 6, 2020

It can be easy to get overwhelmed when you hear how much getting married costs in the United Kingdom. After all, it is just one day of your life. The overall cost of your wedding may drive you to consider going the DIY route with your wedding photos. But we’re here to say that DIY wedding photography won’t actually save you money!

We can hear you gasping from here! You’re thinking that we must have gone mad to consider that suggesting hiring a professional wedding photographer is cheaper than taking your own photos. We’re sorry to tell you that it is.

In fact, the low end of our cost estimate for DIY wedding photography is almost £200 higher than the average cost of hiring a wedding photographer on Bidvine. Crazy, we know!

When you’re thinking about taking your own wedding photos or asking a friend to take the helm, you may be forgetting about all the extra expenses that go along with wedding photos. Sure, you may have budgeted for a camera rental and a month’s subscription to Lightroom or Photoshop. But what about the camera’s memory card, tripods, soft lighting, photography lessons, or any of the other pieces that go into the wedding photography puzzle?

To help you get a better picture (pun intended) of how much DIY wedding photography can cost, we’ve put together an infographic. In the infographic, you’ll be able to find the estimated prices of DIY wedding photography and the average cost to hire a wedding photographer in the United Kingdom. We’ll also include the information in text underneath the infographic.

Would you like to hire a local wedding photographer for your big day? Click the button below to get bids from wedding photographers who are ready to help!

If you’d like to see a regional breakdown of what wedding photographers across the UK charge, head over to this cost guide. The average price that Bidvine photographers charge for a wedding is £664.

Cost Guide: Pro vs DIY Wedding Photography

professional vs DIY wedding photography

DIY Wedding Photography: Camera & Equipment Costs

For this section of our cost guide, we’ve collected rental costs of photography equipment from They rent out cameras and other pieces of equipment in the United Kingdom, and their rental fees were quite useful for us during our research for this post.

DSLR Camera

There are many DSLR cameras to choose from, and it can be hard to narrow down your search to one model or even one brand. For the purposes of this price comparison, we’ve chosen the Canon EOS 7D. This camera is a moderately priced Canon camera that requires a detachable lens. We’ve included the cost of renting a lens further down in this post.

We recommend going for a three-week camera rental. With a three week (or longer) rental, your photographer will be able to play around with the camera before your big day. They’ll be able to adapt to the settings and feel of the camera instead of jumping into your wedding day blind.

A three-week rental of a Canon EOS 7D will run you approximately £350 (including VAT). Compare this to the recommended purchase price of £1249 (not including VAT), and you’re in good shape.

Memory Card

When your photographer is practising with your rental camera, you’ll need a memory card so that they can see the results of their work. This period requires a three-week rental to match the camera rental. We also recommend renting a second memory card for the day of your wedding. You don’t want to risk any photos being deleted to free up room on the memory card, after all!

Given these suggestions, it’s smart to rent one memory card for three weeks (or longer) and one for one week. That way, you’ll have time to get the photos off of the memory card after the wedding without worrying about returning it within a short timeframe.

A three-week rental of a 64GB Sandisk SD card will cost approximately £90 (including VAT). An extra week’s rental will cost approximately £44 (including VAT).

Extra Battery

What would you do if your photographer’s battery ran out halfway through your wedding reception? That wouldn’t be the best thing to happen on your wedding day, would it? Well, that nightmare doesn’t have to become your reality! If you want to avoid this catastrophe, it’s in your best interest to rent an extra battery or two for your rental camera. That way, your photographer will be able to switch out batteries without missing out on any of the wedding action.

Professional photographers come to weddings equipped with multiple charged batteries to make sure they’re prepared for anything. When you switch one out, just start charging the other one. Then you’ll always have a backup!

A week-long rental of an extra battery for a Canon EOS 7D camera will cost approximately £40 (including VAT).

Wedding Photographer Price Guide

Thousands of people ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.
Price Range


How is your photographer going to take steady photos without a tripod? It’s quite difficult to achieve a consistent quality of photography without a simple tripod, especially during your group shots. You likely want your photos to be taken from the same distance and at the same angle, which is almost impossible to ensure without a tripod.

You’ll need to rent a tripod for the same duration as your camera rental. That way, your photographer will have time to practice setting up and using the tripod. You don’t want to have to worry about your photographer fussing around with the tripod on your wedding day.

For a three-week rental of a simple tripod, you’ll pay around £60 (including VAT).


In 2017, a major trend in wedding photography is soft lighting. How can you achieve soft lighting when your wedding is outdoors or in a badly-lit area? You use softboxes! Softboxes diffuses the light and can reduce harsh shadows. Professional photographers use softboxes to improve the lighting in their studios and outdoors, as it can make their subjects look exceptionally better.

Many photographers use two softboxes at once when they’re taking wedding photos. That way, the light will be diffused from two different directions.

Each softbox rental will run you approximately £50 (including VAT) for a three-week period. That’s approximately £100 (including VAT) for three weeks with two softboxes. You’ll want to rent these for the duration of your camera rental, as well so that your photographer will have time to practice using them.


As we said earlier, using a DSLR camera often means you need a separate lens. This is so that photographers can switch out lenses for different purposes instead of having multiple full cameras.

Depending on the lens you need, a three-week rental of a professional-grade lens will cost between £150 and £220 (including VAT).

The costs are really starting to add up, aren’t they? So far, renting equipment for your wedding photographer will cost between £690 and £904.

skills and software costs

DIY Wedding Photography: Skills & Software Costs

Sure, cameras and tripods are important, but without a knowledge of photography and photo editing software, they won’t do much good. After all, using a DSLR camera is much more difficult than using the built-in camera on your iPhone.

Photography Lessons

Would you like your wedding photos to look professional without hiring a professional photographer? Of course, you would. But that’s a hard goal to achieve when your photographer doesn’t have any experience or formal education in photography. You’ll want to sign your photographer up for photography lessons so that they can get a hang of using their camera before your wedding.

If you’re interested in photography and want to learn more about the art, you can find a photography teacher on Bidvine. The average hourly rate for photography teachers on Bidvine is £50. Click the button below to get custom bids from photography teachers in your area.

If you live in a remote area or you have little flexibility during the work day, you might want to consider online courses instead. Particularly if you want to go through a comprehensive wedding photography training, professional courses such as those offered by SLR Lounge are a top choice. Ultimately relying on courses put together by professionals will mean you learn from experts and will save you time instead of having to piece together the same information from numerous YouTube tutorials and blog posts. 

Photoshop and Lightroom Subscriptions

When it comes to wedding photos, an online photo editing program or app on your phone just won’t cut it. You’ll need to get access to a top photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to work on your wedding photos.

A subscription to Photoshop and Lightroom costs around £10 per month, less if you have a valid student care. You’ll want to maintain your subscription for enough time to learn how to use the program and edit all of your photos. We estimate this timeframe to be three months, making your cost for a subscription to Photoshop and Lightroom approximately £30 total.

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Photo Editing Lessons

One of the best things about the internet is that you can often learn computer-based skills for free! If you do a quick search online, you can find many people offering free photo editing lessons. Or if you know a bit about the programs or need specific advice for more advanced software like Photoshop, again, there are quite a few cost-effective online courses that help you hone your skills with easy-to-follow video lessons.

And with that, we’ve reached the end of the skills & software section of our cost guide! This section brought the running totals up to £820 on the low end of the spectrum and £1184 for the higher end.

Remember, training and experience are two of the reasons why professional photographers charge the rates they do. You won’t be able to learn as much as a professional photographer in a few hours of photography and photo editing lessons.


DIY Wedding Photography: Photo Printing

When your wedding is finished, you don’t want to forget it! After all, that’s what wedding photos are for: preserving memories. And if you don’t have your wedding photos printed, you won’t be able to look back at them with fondness.

Printed Photos

If you want to frame your wedding photos and display them throughout your home, you’ll want to have them professionally printed. You may also want to gift them to your family members and wedding party, so it’s important to print enough to go around.

We estimate a cost of between £20 and £100 for printed wedding photos. This cost will ultimately depend on how many photos you’re printing as well as the paper quality and finish of the printed photos.

Professional Wedding Album

A wedding album is probably the best way to display your wedding photos after your big day. A wedding album can tell the story of your special day from beginning to end, and it’s a great conversation piece when you have guests over.

We spoke to Michal Ufniak, a Bidvine professional, about why it’s important to have a printed wedding album. If you’d like to read about why he recommends having a wedding album, check out his pro post.

For a printed wedding album, we estimate a cost of between £50 and £100, but the cost could be higher if you have one custom designed. Many photographers will include this cost in a bundle price, which is a great reason to hire a professional wedding photographer on Bidvine.

final cost

Final Cost of DIY Wedding Photography

So… how much does DIY wedding photography really cost? Well, we’ve been tallying up the cost throughout this post and now we’re ready to share the final cost with you!

Keep in mind that the average cost of hiring a wedding photographer on Bidvine is £664.

On the lower end of the price spectrum, you’re looking at an approximate cost of £860, and on the higher end, you’ll pay around £1384.

These price ranges both include one three-week camera rental, one SD card, an extra battery, one tripod rental, one camera lens rental, printed photos and a printed wedding album.

The lower end of this price range includes the following: 

  • one SD card,
  • two hours of photography lessons, and
  • three months of a subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop.

The higher end of this price range includes the following:

  • two SD cards (one three-week rental and one one-week rental),
  • two softboxes, 
  • five hours of photography lessons, and
  • three months of a subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop.

We hope this post helped you realise the importance of hiring a professional photographer for your wedding. Not only will you save money overall when you hire a professional, but your wedding photos will look exponentially better.

You don’t want to risk the photos of the most important day of your life looking less than perfect. When you ask a friend or family member to take your wedding photos, this risk increases a huge amount.

Instead of taking a chance on your wedding photos and making an expensive mistake, it’s smart to hire a professional photographer. Hit the button below to submit a free request and get free bids from wedding photographers in your area.

Further Reading on Wedding Photography

Featured Image Credit

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