Average Wedding Photographer Cost: 2024 Study and Guide

how much does a wedding photographer cost
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The first question you ask when you begin the hunt for a photographer for a wedding is how much does a wedding photographer cost? Your big day is here, and photos are the only way you can preserve those beautiful moments. Now, you need a photographer who is not only spectacular at their job, but whose wedding photography rates are reasonable.

This post will show you everything on how to spot the best photographers, packages, and evergreen wedding photos!


Wedding Photography Prices – What To Expect?

Wedding Photography Prices
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In order not to get a rude shock or underestimate your wedding photo prices, you should know some things. A few things you will expect include the varying prices with photographers depending on their level of experience. This price will also change with the type of wedding photos you want and more.

A student will charge between $500- $1500, while a semi-pro will command a fee of $1000-$2500. A professional will most likely begin at $2500 and upwards of $10,000, grandmasters of wedding photos charge $6000 upward.

This rides on the hours they spend at your wedding which is between 2 and 8 hours. The package you opted for, experience, recommendation, and collaboration.
There are a few things to pay attention to, things that will affect your wedding photography prices. They include:

  • Your budget: On average, your wedding photography will gulp 10-15% of your wedding budget. These are only the basics. If you want more creative wedding photos with fluffs and all, increase the budget. Your wedding photos are something you should splurge on if you want the best.
  • Packages: A great understanding of the individual packages will save you lots of heartbreak. Find out everything about the package you opt for. How many images do you get? Will they be in print or soft copies? Will you get an album? How many hours does the package run for? Will you get basic pictures or well-edited and digitally manipulated pictures? This will help you know how much to spend and what exactly you spend.
    Mind you, you are not only paying them to take your pictures. You’re paying the photographer for their time and expertise too.
  • Your choice of photos: There are many wedding photo styles to choose from. You make your choice by what you want to portray and sometimes, your personality. It takes different levels of professionalism to achieve these styles, so the charges will differ. You can decide to go vintage and channel the old era, through some professional editing and touch-ups. There is the photojournalism style where you tell your love story. You could get all emotional, and sweet and end it with some wedding kiss photos. The traditional style sees you and your beloved posing for basic shots. Then the fashionable wedding style captures all the elegance of your wedding dress and accessories. If you want a vogue cover with this, you won’t be reaching. Lastly, the fine art or portrait style gets you all composed for your photo session.

Expert Answers
Is 4 hours enough for a wedding photographer?
For town hall weddings, yes! Civil weddings in town halls are very straightforward ceremonies that typically last 15-20 minutes, so booking a photographer for 4 hours gives you time for prep shots, bride & groom portraits, and group photos - and even detail shots, such as bridal details. Just make sure the process for group photos is organized! However, if you’re planning a reception and party after your town hall, you’ll want to book your photographer for more than 4 hours unless you’re willing to cut down on photos at the reception, the first dance, cake cutting, etc.


How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost?

Wedding Photographer Cost
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The price of a wedding photographer in the United States lies in the range of $2500 to $4000. The average wedding photographer’s cost is around $3000.

Expert Answers
Why are wedding photographers so expensive?
Wedding photography can cost a lot of money because of the work that goes into it - you’re not just paying for the photographer’s time on the wedding day itself, but also for the days and weeks of work after the day is done! Photographers shoot a massive amount of images per wedding, and sifting through these to select the best to send to the couple can be extremely time-consuming, and that’s just the beginning of the post-production phase - there is also the color grading, and sometimes retouching. There are also the other costs that are associated with running a professional photography business, such as equipment (and if you’ve ever bought camera gear you’ll know that this is not cheap!), fees for assistants and second shooters, transport, and taxes - just to name a few of the more standard business expenses. The good thing is that photographers can come in all different price ranges, however, you have to keep in mind that, at the end of the day, you are paying for quality.

Some factors influence pricing, they include:

  • Shoot time: this could range from 2 to 8 hours.
  • Pictures: they could be in prints, negatives, or soft copies. The cost depends on your choice.
  • Professional retouching
  • Travel distance: you may pay per mile for the photographer if they are driving. For destination weddings, it will include accommodation and airfare.
  • Albums: If you want albums, it will cost more.
  • Extra shots like engagement photos. A lot of couples do this and it will cost more.

Let us look at some photography packages and their prices.

Package 1: $1800

  1. Photography coverage for 6 hours
  2. A minimum of 100 fine art photos
  3. Professional edits of USB high-resolution files
  4. Online private gallery for sharing pictures
  5. Copyrights for photos
  6. One photographer

Package 2: Per day + professional editing $2000

  1. Correction for basic photos
  2. Deep retouching of portrait
  3. Creative retouching of photos
  4. Design of album
  5. Culling of photos

Package 3: per hour $550 + expenses

  1. One hour photoshoot
  2. 2 hours photoshoot
  3. 4 hours photoshoot
  4. 6 hours photoshoot
  5. 8 hours photoshoot
  6. Over time
  7. Engagement/bridal photoshoot
  8. Drone photography
  9. Wedding album
  10. A minimum of 200 professionally edited photos

Package 4: A la carte

  1. 10 hours of photo coverage
  2. Engagement photo session
  3. 2 photographers
  4. A print release of photos
  5. USB drive custom.
  6. Proofing online gallery
  7. Canvas paint 10 x 20
  8. Expertly retouched photos of 25 pieces
  9. Personalize wedding album 20 pages
  10. Correction of photo color

The A la Carte package allows couples to do what they want. They can either go for all or make their pick.

Click “Pin” and save a full expertly curated infographic about wedding photography costs!


Wedding Photography Costs
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What Questions Should You Ask A Wedding Photographer?

Beyond the expertise and cost of a professional, there are questions to ask a wedding photographer. These questions are important and will guide you on whom to hire.

You don’t want to work with someone who will make a real mess of your day. It is better to work with a guide of what you’re dealing with.

  • Do you have my wedding date free?
  • What are your photography specialties?
  • How much experience do you have in photography?
  • Do you photograph in digital and film formats?
  • What packages do you offer and what do they include?
  • Can I personalize a package to what I need?
  • How many hours do you work and how much does overtime cost?
  • When is the minimum amount of time to book you?
  • How much do I need to make a deposit?
  • Have you handled a wedding like mine, and how many?
  • What is your work style? Do you create or blend into the environment?
  • What makes you unique from other photographers?
  • Can I see a portfolio of the jobs you’ve done?
  • Are you familiar with my wedding venue, and would you check it out?
  • Do you have a plan B backup equipment?
  • Would you mind a list of the type of shoots I want?
  • May I see some of your references?
  • Do you travel and do you charge for it? What does it cover?
  • Can others take photos while you work?
  • How long does it take for you to deliver after a wedding?
  • Do I get it online, in print, CD, or USB?
  • Am I entitled to the negatives and digital pictures? How much?
  • May I know your refund and cancellation policy?
  • Tell me about your liability insurance.
  • What do you do if an emergency pops up?
  • Can you show me a contract?


Why Does Every Wedding Photographer Need a Contract?

While it is okay to have the best photographers with the best equipment to cover your wedding. These photographers must have a good eye for business and are professionals in the business part. It is important to have a contract because your wedding photos are important.

As much as they include a lot on their packages, it is just word of mouth if there is no contract. Should they default, you will have nothing to hold them to. A contract binds them and puts both of you on the same page.

Free Wedding Photography Contract Template

You can download the free photography contract template below to study. There are particular things to look out for in a wedding photo contract. It begins with the basic information that asks for your name, your spouse’s name, and contact information. The services obtained by your contract, wedding date, location, and time. A signature slot is also important for all parties to sign.

Other things to look out for are;

  1. Work agreement between you two. That you will be cooperative.
  2. Service agreement which breaks down all amounts paid and for what, in minutes and explicit terms.
  3. Rights of usage by you. Read to know what’s allowed and not allowed. Understand, what rights you can use the pictures.
  4. Commercial usage for the photographer. He may need to use them for his portfolio and advertising purposes. You should grant it.
  5. Refund policies.


Postponing A Wedding – Let Your Photographer Know ASAP!

This is a topic that has come up a lot recently because of COVID, and it’s never a pleasant conversation to have. It’s heartbreaking for the wedding couple and a source of concern for photographers if wedding photography is their only source of income.

As a destination wedding photographer in Europe, I try to keep my wedding postponement policy as flexible as possible, because I can understand that the situation is hard enough for the wedding couple without adding to their stress.

If you find yourself having to postpone your wedding day, then my advice is to let your photographer know as soon as possible, because that gives you a bigger chance of being able to secure another date in the future easily. Photographers can be booked out months and even years in advance! So talk to your photographer and propose a new date as soon as you can, so that if the photographer is available on the new date they can hold it for you right away.  – Michaela – wedding photographer

How To Save Money On Wedding Photography?

Splurging on your wedding photos will give you some feeling of satisfaction, especially when the pictures are divine. But what do you do if you need to save some cost on your wedding?

Remember, the pictures alone take up to 15% of your wedding budget. It may be little for some, but what if you cannot afford it?

Well, we will show you some ways to save a couple of dollars from wedding photos.

  • Decide on a package, and the cost, and stick to it. Do not bend your budget or overstretch, because a photographer is good with their marketing.
  • Ask the photographer if you can cut out some excesses which you don’t need. Things like getting ready for bridal photos, engagement sessions, and all. This will cut back on at least 3 to 4 hours, saving you money in thousands.
  • If you are hell-bent on a particular photographer because they are so good, negotiate! Ask for discounts and the lowest price possible.
  • Look for photographers who are comfortable shooting alone. The more staff there are, the costlier your shoot gets. As for one photographer instead of two. But be sure that they have experience with shooting alone.
  • Patronize ones in your locale. If you bring in a photographer from out of the state or country, you’d spend more. Aside from their expertise, you’d foot the bill for airfare, food, and accommodation. Better you work with one around you.


Frequently Asked Questions

Are albums included in a wedding photographer’s prices?

The inclusion of albums in a wedding photographer’s prices varies depending on the photographer. Some may offer them as part of their package, while others may charge an additional fee. It’s important to clarify with your photographer what is included in their pricing and ask for a quote if albums are not included. Albums provide a tangible and lasting reminder of your wedding day, but it’s up to you to decide if you want to invest in them.

Do I have to cover my wedding photographer’s travel costs?

Whether you need to cover your wedding photographer’s travel costs depends on their pricing structure. Some photographers include it, while others may charge an extra fee. Clarify with your photographer what their travel policy is and if there will be any additional fees for transportation and lodging expenses. It’s important to have clear communication about any costs associated with their services.

When Should I Book A Wedding Photographer?

Engagements last for 14 months on average. But the best time to book your photographer is 9 months before your wedding.

This is especially for those whose wedding is a year away. If your wedding is in less than a year, begin the scout now.

This is because photographers on average can book only one wedding a day. And the best of photographers will get their hands full in split seconds.

So, if you’re having a full-blown wedding and a particular photographer in mind, book them at least 9 months before your wedding, to secure the date.

Is There A Need For A Second Photographer For My Wedding?

This depends on the size of your wedding and budget. Having a second photographer on hand is a great idea, especially as a backup. But if your wedding is a small intimate one or on a budget, you don’t need them.

Conversely, if your wedding is a huge one, like the whole 9 yards. You need not only 2nd photographers but assistants and all. They will handle the lighting, settings, angles, and complimentary photos. They need to catch all the moments at the wedding, but it will cost more. About 35% of photographers add this to their fee, but others charge separately for it.


Is It Customary To Feed The Wedding Photographer?

As you should! As much as they attended your wedding as paid vendors, they are guests too. If they are present at your nuptials, please keep them well-fed. Happy people are productive people. They will be more eager to work and give you only the best.

Yes, we know that it will cost you some dollars, but it’s worth it. Arrange this with your wedding caterer. They deserve some food.

Do I need to tip my wedding photographer?

Tipping your wedding photographer is not mandatory, but it’s a thoughtful gesture to show appreciation for their hard work. If the photographer owns the business, it’s not expected. However, if they have a team, consider tipping each member or providing a bonus if you’re delighted with their service.

I hope we answered your question “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” thoroughly. It is good that you know what you are in for with wedding photographers before you jump in. It is also great you know that you can get the best even on a budget.

We also furnished you with all the important questions to ask and when you can book the best photographers. Look a belle, take those dashing pictures, keep those memories, and live happily ever after.