Wedding photography packages: read this before you book your wedding photographer in Scotland

You’ll want pictures of all the best bits on the day you tie the knot – but who’ll be behind the camera and what exactly will you get for your money? Patricia-Ann Young did some digging to find out…

bride and groom jumping wedding photo by Rachel Spence Photography
Rachel and Gerry jump for joy during their wedding at Verdant Works in Dundee, with Rachel Spence Photography on camera duty

The best thing about good wedding photography is how effortless it looks. Whether the image in question is a private glance between you and your new spouse, or a snap of your father-in-law captured roaring with laughter during the speeches, a well-taken photo will perfectly encapsulate a fleeting but precious moment.

Of course, we all know that a huge amount of talent, artistry and experience goes into getting those amazing shots just right. And it takes a lot of budgeting and research by engaged couples to find the wedding photographer who can do it best for them. The end result might seem effortless, but the journey to find the right snapper, at the right price for you, is not always so smooth.

Before you start your search, there are probably quite a few questions you want to ask about logistics, packages, timings, add-ons and more. If so, you’re in luck – we asked first! Read on to find out what some of the best photographers shooting weddings in Scotland have to say about what goes on behind the lens both as the wedding approaches and on the day itself.

black and white intimate wedding portrait of a bride and groom by Karen Simpson Photography
A tender moment between Jemma and James in black and white captured by Karen Simpson Photography

What exactly is a wedding photography package?

Almost all photographers will offer packages that give different amounts of coverage on your wedding day. In nearly all cases, the more coverage the package provides, the higher the price – time is money, after all. You can strip coverage way back so that your photographer only takes shots of the ceremony (perfect for elopements), or you can go all out, immortalising every detail of your day, from getting your hair done in the morning, all the way up to when the crazy dance moves come out in the evening.

“A photography package is generally a set amount of coverage of your day – for example, half a day or a full day – for a specific price,” explains Heather at Heather Jayne Photography. “Lots of photographers offer packages. Some also allow you to hire them at an hourly rate, which can be good for small weddings that don’t follow the pattern of a conventional ‘big’ wedding.”

Can circumstances beyond our control cause the price to rise after our initial agreement? For example, if things are running late on the day, will our photographer charge us extra for going over the hours we agreed?

Once you have accepted a price and signed a contract, the photographer is unlikely to try (or even be able to) raise the price. Any price increase is likely only to impact new couples who have not yet signed a contract with the photographer. “Once you book me, no matter what package you get, the price is set – even if your wedding is two years down the line,” promises Dougi at Dougi McMillan Photography.

“It will still be the same price two years later because that’s what we agreed.” He explains that he always tries to reassure his couples by making that clear to them, adding that he understands that wedding days can be unwieldy, and that he does not ‘punish’ his couples if timings run off-track: “I don’t stand and watch the clock,” he smiles. “If we agree to a half-day and things slip slightly, that’s okay. Weddings have minds of their own, and most photographers understand that.”

a bride and groom kissing against illuminated light background at a barn venue photo by Dougi McMillan Photography
Newlyweds Bethany and James share a romantic kiss, captured by Dougi McMillan Photography

We’re on a tight budget – what’s the most basic package we can get?

Every photographer will be able to offer you a basic package that includes just the essentials. This might mean they only focus on one aspect of your day, such as the ceremony or the evening party, or perhaps they come during the drinks reception to get some group shots. They can also photograph most of the day but leave out the likes of the getting-ready shots or anything after the first dance.

Many professionals will offer a ‘second shooter’ as part of a package, but an easy way to cut costs is to refuse and have a little less coverage on the day (this usually means fewer pics of your friends and family, as a lone photographer will want to focus more on the couple and the wedding party).

Be honest with your photographer and you will be able to work out an arrangement that suits your needs. “There’s a package for everyone,” says Allan at Biggar Picture Photography. “I offer full-day coverage with all my standard packages; the most cost-effective option is digital-only, where you receive your photos on a personalised USB. And there are ways to cut the cost even further.”

a bride and groom walking in the grounds of Cornhill Castle at sunset photo by Biggar Picture Photography
Photographed by Biggar Picture Photography, Dani and Grant enjoy a sunset stroll together through the stunning grounds of Cornhill Castle

We want to go all out – what’s the most we can get in a package?

“The sky is the limit,” smiles Rachel at Rachel Spence Photography. “I am totally into whatever you want to do. I can cover a full weekend, accompany you to a destination wedding abroad, and organise a second shooter so you can have as much coverage as possible. Having two photographers means we can cover multiple venues – so, for example, we’d be able to shoot both halves of the couple getting ready at different locations at the same time. It’s brilliant when it comes time to sit down with your album – you won’t have missed a thing!”

Can we book a package and then upgrade it (or downgrade it) at a later date?

This really depends on the photographer and how busy they are around your date, but most will allow you to upgrade your package no problem. Downgrading is a potential sticking point, especially if you have signed a contract. It’s always worth asking, though, as many professionals will try to accommodate your wishes. “We’d of course discuss it with you,” says Rachael at Gary James Photography. “It’s your day. We understand things can happen and are happy for you to come to us with changes at a later date.”

a bride and groom showered in confetti photo by Gary James Photography
Gary James Photography was there to snap this fun moment between new husband and wife Steven and Shannon as they married at Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh

We’re thinking of not hiring a photographer and relying instead on the pictures our guests take during the day. Is this a bad idea?

Phone cameras are pretty amazing these days, but even the best camera needs someone who knows what they’re doing to take the photo. Think about it – you probably have the same phone as a massively popular Insta-influencer, but do your holiday snaps look as pristine as theirs? Maaaaybe – but probably not! Wedding photos literally capture precious, personal moments in time, allowing you to keep them forever, and the importance of that can’t be overstated.

“Once your day is done, and your dress is up in the loft, your flowers have wilted, and all the cake has been eaten, all you have left to look back on are those photos or videos,” points out Karen at Karen Simpson Photography. “Six months after my own wedding, my mum sadly passed away unexpectedly. I was lucky to have a few good photos of her at my wedding, and I cherish them to this day.”

bride and groom wedding portrait in a corn or wheat field by Heather Jayne Photography
Heather Jayne Photography caught this private moment between newlyweds Gemma and Eck at their Cow Shed Crail wedding

What can we expect on the day?

A good photographer will go above and beyond to deliver the perfect shot. “I’ve lain on the ground and hidden behind trees to get the image I want!” says Laura at Laura Kemp Photography. “I’ve even found myself trying to get dancefloor shots through people’s legs! I like to capture a wedding day exactly as it happened.”

black and white wedding portrait of a bride and groom walking along a cobbled street by Laura Kemp Photography
This romantic look between Nicola and Shaun was taken at Dysart Harbour in Fife by Laura Kemp Photography