Photography is arguably one of the most important parts of your day and like most everything else, it does cost a bit. In fact, photography is expensive! So how much does wedding photography really cost?
It really just depends.
I know that’s not the answer you were looking for! But here’s the truth: you can find someone to photograph your wedding for $500 and there are also high end photographers that cost upwards of $15,000. It really just depends! The spectrum is gigantic. So what’s the difference and what does it all mean?
Here are a few things that make a difference in cost when looking for a wedding photographer:
It’s not uncommon for a photographer to offer several different packages with different price tags. However, not all photographers are the same. Some include albums in their packages and some don’t. Some include a second shooter and some add a second shooter as an additional cost. Some include prints and others don’t. So, if you are comparing pricing from different photographers, make sure to consider everything that is included in their packages, because it might be very different. It’s a good idea to inquire with several photographers to find out exactly what they include in their packages. It’s also important to not make assumptions based on the price listed on a photographer’s website.
The location of the photographer is a big factor in the way they price their packages as well. For instance, the average cost of wedding photography in Los Angeles will be drastically different than the average cost in Oklahoma City. You will also have to take your destination into consideration, too. Are you having a destination wedding? Hiring a photographer from a different city or state? If so, your photographer will more than likely charge some sort of travel and hotel fee. These are some things to consider! Keep in mind though, professional photography is going to be a significant investment wherever you are.
As a photographer just starting out, I used to charge a lot less for the same services that I do now. The higher the experience and skill of the photographer, the more expensive their services are going to be. And it’s important to consider what you want out of your wedding photography experience. I have heard too many horror stories of couples that went for a bargain photographer or a sweet friend that would do their wedding for $300 and they ended up hating their photos. Don’t let this happen to you! You get what you pay for. Seriously.
Figure out how important wedding photography is to you and your fiancé. In my opinion, it should be one of your top 3 expenses for your wedding day. Ask yourself these 5 questions
For my own wedding, our photography expense was about 25% of our total budget. Photography was at the top of our list and we budgeted accordingly! We love film photography and knew we wanted someone that had a fine art aesthetic.
I hope this helps you as you start to budget for your wedding and consider the pricing of photographers! Again, I would argue that photography is one of the most important parts of your wedding day–and I’m not just saying that because I’m a wedding photographer! After the cake is eaten, the flowers wilt and wither and the guests are gone, what’s left of your wonderful beginning is three things: the memories, the vows you made, & the photos and videos you get to look back on. Don’t skimp your photography budget and certainly don’t let cost be the only determining factor when choosing a professional photographer.