Capturing your special day with stunning photos is one of the top priorities for many engaged couples. But how much should you expect to pay for professional wedding photography?
The cost can vary quite a bit based on your location, the photographer’s experience level, and the specifics of your wedding photography package.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down the major factors that influence wedding photographer pricing, along with tips for finding the right pro for your big day without blowing your budget. Read on to learn the inside scoop on wedding photography costs.
How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost?
The average cost of wedding photography in the U.S. is around $2,500, according to surveys of recent newlyweds. However, it’s common for prices to range from $1,500 on the lower end up to $5,000+ for luxury wedding photography packages.
Here’s a quick rundown of average price ranges couples can expect:
- Budget/Entry-Level: $800-$1,500
- Mid-range: $1,500-$3,500
- High-end/Luxury: $3,500-$10,000+
According to WeddingWire, for example, wedding photographer prices typically range from $1,150 to $3,000, with the average cost hovering around $2,000. Prices can vary depending on the wedding’s location, the type of services and packages, and the photographer’s experience and expertise.
Bergreen Photography notes that the average cost for a wedding photographer ranges from $300 to $10,000, with the average couple spending around $2,000. The price varies based on factors such as location, services and products included, and the photographer’s experience.
WithJoy.com writes that wedding photography costs can range from as low as $1,000 to upwards of $10,000. The price is influenced by factors such as the photographer’s experience, the size of the ceremony, and the location. For elopements, the average price is typically a little less complex.
At JenniferSandersPhotography.com the cost of wedding photography is usually under $2,000 for 8 hours of coverage, making it suitable for those who don’t want photography to take up a significant portion of their budget.
According to Meyer Photo Video, you should budget photographers typically charge under $1,000, moderate photographers average between $1,000 and $3,000, and upscale photographers between $3,000 and $5,000. Luxury wedding photographers average between $5,000 and upwards of $10,000.
The exact price depends on your location, the number of hours you need coverage for, and options like wedding albums and second shooters. We’ll explore these factors more in the next sections.
Factors That Impact Wedding Photography Costs
Several important considerations go into wedding photographer rates and fees:
The photographer’s level of experience plays a big role in pricing. Top pros with 5-10+ years under their belt in the wedding industry and a robust portfolio command higher rates. Newer or part-time shooters tend to be more budget-friendly.
Hiring wedding pros in a major metro area like Los Angeles or New York City costs more than photographers in smaller cities and rural areas. The cost of living directly impacts rates.
Hours of Coverage
Most photographers price based on the number of consecutive hours they’ll be photographing your wedding day, from getting ready through the reception exit. The national average is 8 hours. Additional hours of photographs at the wedding venue typically cost $250-$500+ per hour.
See what’s bundled into each package. Many include a digital files made into a wedding album, rehearsal dinner package, engagement photo session, digital image files, and editing. More inclusions hike up the starting price.
Having a second photographer provides additional angles and coverage. This popular add-on can cost around $50-$100 per hour.
Breaking Down Wedding Photography Packages
Now that we’ve covered the major cost factors, let’s compare some common wedding photography package options couples have to choose from.
Some photographers simply charge by the hour with no packages. This gives maximum flexibility. Hourly rates for the main photographer often range from $150-$300 per hour. Hourly billing works for small weddings with minimal coverage needs.
This wedding budget package includes around 4 hours of photography on your wedding day, usually focused on the ceremony and family portraits. Half-day rates start around $1,000.
The standard full-day package includes 8 hours or more of coverage. This allows the photographer to capture getting ready, the ceremony, family photos, and the full reception. Full-day wedding rates average from $2,500-$5,000.
For a destination wedding or multi-day celebration, some couples opt for full weekend packages starting on Friday through Sunday. Prices often start at $3,500 for full weekend coverage.
Additional Services That Raise Costs
Beyond the core photography time, many couples opt to add on extra products and services:
- Engagement shoot – 1-2 hours with your photographer to get comfortable in front of the camera. Typically costs $200-$400.
- Second shooter – An extra photographer provides more angles and viewpoints during the wedding. Adds $50-$250+ per hour.
- Wedding photo album – Professionally designed physical albums start around $500+ for a basic flush mount album. Luxury leather albums can cost $3,000+.
- Extra hours – It’s common to add 1-2 extra hours of reception coverage for a grand exit, sparkler sendoff, late-night party, etc. Usually $250-$500 per additional hour.
Tips for Booking Wedding Photography
How can you find the right pro for your wedding and photography style without going over budget? Here are some top tips:
Know Your Priorities
Decide what’s most important – having a certain photographer, getting a wedding album, having a second shooter? This will help guide what fits into your budget.
View Full Portfolios
When pricing photographers, ask to see a full portfolio to assess their lighting skills, posing, and editing style. Make sure you love their work.
Check reviews on sites like The Knot and WeddingWire. Pay attention to pros with rave reviews mentioning their customer service, professionalism and delivery.
Understand Your Contract
Review the contract terms upfront. Know what’s included, when you’ll receive final images, refund/cancellation policies, etc. to avoid surprise charges.
Budgeting for Wedding Photography
The average U.S. couple spends around $2,500 in total on a wedding photographer. But you may be working with a different budget. Here are some tips on affording photography:
- Research new and part-time shooters in your area whose rates are on the lower end. Their fees can be up to 50% less than seasoned pros.
- Look at mini wedding packages that offer just a few hours of coverage. You’ll get all your must-have portraits without paying for 8+ hours.
- See if your photographer offers payment plans to spread out costs over many months leading up to the wedding.
- Get an affordable package and add just 1 extra hour of coverage for important moments like the ceremony exit.
- Save by skipping extras like albums and engagement sessions that aren’t in the budget. Focus on photography for the big day itself.
Why Invest in a Pro Wedding Photographer?
Photography is one of the top expenses for most wedding couples. But after it’s all said and done, most agree it was money well spent. Why is hiring a talented wedding photographer so valuable?
- Beautiful, Timeless Images – An experienced wedding pro has the skills and equipment to create magazine-worthy portraits, candids and artistic detail shots.
- Peace of Mind – With a pro handling your photography, you can relax and enjoy your wedding day knowing every moment is being captured flawlessly.
- Handle Challenges – From difficult lighting scenarios to organizing group shots, they know how to master every situation with ease.
- Cherished Lifetime Memories – Long after your wedding, you’ll treasure the photos and be able to relive your special moments vividly.
Final Tips for Booking Wedding Photography
Finding the perfect wedding photographer is about balancing your budget with finding a pro whose style and personality mesh with what you envision. By understanding wedding photography pricing and typical costs, you can make an informed decision.
Focus on finding someone in your price range that captures the quality of images that matter most to you. Ask about deals for off-peak days and packages without extras you don’t need. With the right photographer, you’ll receive priceless wedding photos to cherish without breaking the bank!
Common Wedding Photography FAQs
What is the average cost of a wedding photographer in the UK?
The average wedding photographer cost in the UK is around £1,500-£2,500. Most photographers price based on the number of consecutive hours, starting around £1,000 for 4 hours of coverage and up to £3,000+ for full weekend packages. Top photographers in major cities like London tend to have rates on the higher end of around £2,500-5,000 or more.
How much is a photographer for a wedding in Italy?
In popular Italian wedding destinations like Tuscany and Lake Como, couples hiring a professional wedding photographer can expect to invest around €2,000-€4,000 on average. Many international destination wedding photographers price in Euros or USD. Full-day coverage starts around €2,500, while multi-day wedding photography packages in Italy hover around €3,500 and up.
How much does a wedding photographer cost in Canada?
Canadian brides and grooms typically pay between CAD $2,500-$4,500 to hire wedding photography for their big day, similar to the U.S. market. Major cities like Toronto and Vancouver are on the higher end averaging $4,000-$5,500 for experienced shooters, while you can find photographers for $2,000-$3,000 in most other locations. Packages often include a wedding album.