How much does wedding photography cost? Most couples quickly realize they don’t know how to calculate the cost of their wedding photographer once they begin trying to determine their wedding budget. Wedding photographers are often the most expensive service provider you’ll use and may make you immediately feel as though your wedding budget is out of whack.
What do you, therefore, need to know? The first thing you should do is determine your overall wedding budget. You may then designate a portion of that to your wedding photography column.
In the United States, couples often spend between 10% and 15% of their whole expenditure on a wedding photographer. This is a lot. It is. But one of the most significant choices you’ll have to make while organizing your wedding is choosing the ideal wedding photographer for you.
There are methods you can spend significantly less than that, even though 10-15% of your whole budget is an acceptable goal. You may still acquire your ideal wedding photographer without going over budget if you are aware of the crucial questions to ask, typical price ranges, and money-saving strategies (described below).
How much does wedding photography cost?
Prices for wedding photographers can vary depending on several factors, such as your wedding’s location (photographers in large cities typically cost more than those in other areas), the services and packages you’re interested in, and the level of experience and expertise of the photographer you’ve chosen. The typical cost of a wedding photographer in the United States is roughly $2,000, with costs often falling between $1,150 and $3,000.
What Does the Cost of a Wedding Photographer Include?
Typically, wedding photographers provide packages that include one or two photographers and 6 or 8 hours of coverage. That price will rise or fall with the addition or subtraction of time. For instance, a 6-hour package can be ideal if you decide against having getting-ready images taken on your wedding day. Or, for an extra fee, you could want to include coverage of the rehearsal supper in your package.
The majority of packages include expert editing of the final photographs in addition to the actual coverage and delivery of the images on a USB drive or online gallery. Depending on how long your wedding will be, you can anticipate receiving between 50 and 60 final edited photos for each hour of coverage.
You should also find out if a digital print release, which enables you to have your wedding images printed at any lab you choose, is included in the package pricing from any prospective wedding photographers. Additionally, you should include this in your contract. Download a copy of our digital wedding guide for the most comprehensive list of provisions that EVERY wedding contract should have.
Additional Add-Ons for Wedding Photography
While some of these extras may be a part of your photographic package, they can also be purchased separately, which makes it easier to assess their actual cost.
An excellent technique to evaluate potential wedding photographers is through engagement sessions. You can ensure that you enjoy working together and that their images reflect your preferred aesthetic.
Photographers typically charge for their engagement photo sessions either separately or as part of a larger package. I’ve heard that adding engagement shots to a package can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,200, depending on how long the shoot lasts.
Your wedding photography price will also depend on whether you want a wedding album included in your package. I’ve seen skilled photographers charge between $1,000 and $3,000 for a wedding book, and they occasionally give you a better deal if you purchase more wedding coverage. A company like Artifact Uprising or Printique may offer a DIY online solution as an alternative. Read our analysis of the top wedding album designers.
Remember that when you charge your wedding photographer to create an album, you are also paying for their knowledge in crafting your “wedding story,” which they were there to capture the entire time. Simply consider how much that is important to you and whether you would prefer to complete that task independently in order to save money.
It’s a terrific option when a photographer lets you buy prints from your web gallery. Due to the fact that most photographers use labs to which the general public does not have access, you will receive a print of the highest caliber that will last for many years. Depending on the size and paper choice, a quality print should cost at least $3. Prices increase for larger prints like canvas.
While some wedding photography packages further include videography, which can cost an additional $2,000 or more. Even though you’ll still have to pay more, they occasionally provide a better value than hiring a separate wedding videographer.
You will be required to pay travel charges whether you are having a destination wedding and truly want your hometown photographer to photograph your wedding or you want to fly in that dream photographer who lives halfway across the country. While some photographers charge a travel fee, others estimate each trip separately. Get all the charges in writing up front if you plan to fly a photographer to your location.
When do I make a wedding photographer reservation?
The typical duration of an engagement is 14 months. The optimal time to reserve your photographer is nine months before the wedding. Those whose wedding is a year away should take note of this in particular. Scouting should start right away if your wedding is less than a year away.
This is so that photographers may only typically book one wedding per day. And even the best photographers will quickly run out of subjects. So, to ensure the date, hire your photographer at least nine months in advance if you plan to have a formal wedding and have someone in mind.
Why is photography for weddings so expensive?
Due to the amount of work involved, wedding photography can be very expensive. In addition to the photographer’s time on the actual wedding day, you must also pay for the days and weeks of work that follow. An enormous number of photos are taken at each wedding, and choosing the finest ones to give to the couple can take a long time. This is just the start of the post-production phase; there is also color grading and occasionally retouching.
In addition, there are other expenditures related to operating a professional photography business, such as transportation costs, taxes, assistant and second shooter fees, and equipment (and if you’ve ever purchased camera equipment, you know that this is not cheap!). The good news is that photographers can be found at various pricing points, but you must remember that, in the end, you are paying for quality.
Getting a wedding photographer on a budget
Any wedding photographer who tries to upsell you should be avoided. Choose the type of plan you want up front and stay with it. Good wedding photographers will be upfront and honest about their pricing.
Ask if they will shoot your wedding for fewer hours at a discount if you’re on a limited budget but absolutely must have a particular wedding photographer. For instance, we were able to reallocate some time because I didn’t really want pictures of me getting dressed, saving us from spending more money overall. Additionally, being flexible about the timing of your wedding photos may reduce costs as well!
The same is true for extras like an album or engagement photo shoot. If your wedding photographer offers any of those extras, leaving one or all of them off your package could end up saving you more than $1,000. Consider purchasing your wedding photography alone rather than as a part of a package.
Never be scared to bargain. Ask the photographer what services they might be able to provide that might be more affordable if you find one you like but they are out of your price range. Also, inquire about discounts if your wedding falls on a non-peak day (such as a Sunday or a weekday). Ask if they can suggest a photographer who IS within your price range if it’s way out of it.
The expense of adding a second shooter can go up. See what kind of discount your wedding photographer can provide if they only have one photographer instead of two if they are not on a team (which some are). Make sure they have experience shooting alone and feel at ease doing so (and ask if they can show you pictures from those weddings).
Go local! If you choose a wedding photographer who lives elsewhere, you will probably be responsible for covering all of their travel expenses (airfare, meals, hotels, etc.). I really wanted a particular wedding photographer, but after learning how much just the expense of travel and hotel would have been, we decided against it (and I’m so glad we did!).
Remember that while finding a wedding photographer who meets your budget is vital, selecting a wedding photographer who is suitable for you and has the portfolio to prove it is equally important (if not more so). Look at the photos they captured from previous weddings, and don’t be shy about asking for referrals if they aren’t as well-known in the wedding industry.
Keep in mind that hiring a less experienced wedding photographer is not necessarily a bad idea. They may be the ideal wedding photographer for you if you appreciate their style and work (and can view specific samples of it)!
FAQs on How much does Wedding Photography Cost
Do you tip a wedding photographer?
Etiquette experts say a 15-20% gratuity is typically acceptable if you are pleased with the photographer’s work. No matter how much you decide to tip, remember that doing so is always valued and goes above and beyond your duties as the wedding guest.
How long is it reasonable to wait for wedding photos?
For completely edited photographs, allow 4-6 weeks. 6 to 8 weeks during the wedding season, but shorter in the winter. between two weeks to two months, with four weeks on average. Depending on what you ordered, it may take 4-6 weeks.
Do wedding photographers edit all photos?
Most wedding photographers alter each and every picture before giving it to the couple. Usually, this is included in your photography package. Remember that various people may have different meanings for “editing.”