According to an internal study conducted by The Knot, photographers are the most popular wedding vendors. People are often willing compromise on other things for their big day, but not the photographer!
The number one question we get asked by clients is: “How much does it cost to hire a photographer or videographer for my wedding?”
Does such a high demand come with an equally high cost?
The answer: it depends.
While many services can be straight-forward flat costs, many complex aspects, from venue, to timing, and much more, make the price of capturing your event not as simple. Instead of a flat rate for photography or videography, the final cost actually depends on a number of different factors.
Additionally, not all photographers and videographers charge the same rates. Unfortunately there is no mathematical formula to figure out exactly what you’re going to be spending on your wedding photography without planning and consultation.
However, we’re here to give you the next best thing.
How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost On Average?
The same internal study conducted by The Knot revealed that the average wedding photographer costs around $2400. Of course, this number is more representative of East Coast prices. The West Coast can be slightly more expensive, from $3,000 to $4,700.
Plus, it’s more accurate to say that these numbers represent how much people choose to spend, not how much wedding photography costs. What’s the difference?
Strictly speaking, the “cost” of wedding photography hinges on your budget. As you’ll soon see, wedding photography often includes various things that extend beyond the actual wedding as well.
As it turns out, 47% of the people are actually willing to go way over their budget and spend more on their photographer.
So, a slightly more comprehensive cost range is anywhere between $1000 to $10,000. This is not to say that the cost can’t be above or below this range, but rather is a general range to give you an idea of how high and low the prices can go.
How Much Does A Wedding Videographer Cost?
Oftentimes, videography is not included in the photographer’s packages by default. Instead, you have to specify that you would like to include videography in your package.
Other times, the photographer and videographer can be from different vendors and companies. It’s always best to avail a package if the option is available. Otherwise, you will have to go through the hassle of finding an independent videographer— and probably end up paying more as well.
For the most part, though, the average cost of videography is the same in either case. Couples tend to spend anything between $1,000 to $2500 for about 10 hours of coverage, with $1,700 being the average amount.
What Factors Affect The Cost Of Wedding Photographers?
As stated before, there isn’t a fixed cost across the board for wedding photography— not only across different vendors but even within the same company.
Instead, the final amount you will end up spending depends on a number of different factors. Some of these are things you may have even never considered!
Photography, Videography, Or Both?
Your foremost concern should be determining whether you only want a photographer or if you are interested in hiring a videographer to capture your big day as well.
Most people opt for both, and we can’t blame them. Videos capture your wedding in ways that photographs can’t, and vice versa.
But if you do go for both, it goes without saying that more manpower equals more cost.
Do You Want A Second Photographer?
Similarly, a second wedding photographer in addition to your lead photographer can cause higher costs.
However, a secondary wedding photographer typically doesn’t cost as much as the lead photographer. This is because a secondary wedding photographer usually coordinates with the lead photographer, and is less involved in planning and other aspects.
So, rest assured you won’t be doubling the cost.
The Wedding Location
What could a wedding location possibly have to do with the cost of hiring a photographer?
Well, if your wedding destination is somewhere different than where the photographer is based, they will have to travel to shoot the event.
Usually, the cost of travel will be included as an additional cost in your package.
Amateur photographers might not charge the travel cost to you. But it’s good etiquette always to offer to pay the full price.
More directly, the final photography and videography cost is proportional to the coverage time.
In other words, the cost directly relates to your expectations for how long the photographers stay. Are you interested in coverage of the the ceremony only? Then you can reduce cost by having shorter coverage! Or if you want you photographer to stay until the reception is over, to capture the intimate details of getting ready, and more – you can expect a proportionally higher cost.
The coverage time can be as short as two hours, or long as you want (even twelve hours a day for multiple days!). The average, however, is around six hours.
Have you considered some engagement photos ? How about HD drone video coverage of your ceremony and venue?
These additional details can add a whole new dimension, and capture special moments, of your wedding that showcase especially well in your final wedding album and videos. Of course, these additional services come at additional cost.
You might think that editing is a given. All of our photoshoots include professional editing of the images including: alignment, cropping, exposure, contrast, white balance, color correction, red eye removal. With close-up shots, we will also often offer eye and teeth whitening as well as light skin “softening” to remove some blemishes and wrinkles.
However, image altering is not editing and is not included in the base price. Examples include: weight reduction or “slimming” , neck tucks, extreme wrinkle reduction, tattoo removal, head or eye swaps, adding or removing people or objects from images, or extensive cosmetic image enhancement.
This is an additional service and is only performed when requested by the client. We will review the image and what you’d like done and provide a quote for this service.
The additional cost of image altering can be significant, considering the time, skill, techniques, and equipment required.
Once again, compiling the photographs into an aesthetic album isn’t done by the lead photographer. Instead, you ‘ll need to specify what you would like in a custom-designed wedding album, a gift album for the parents, etc. This can be done before, or after your event!
Similarly, you also need to specify any additional video you’re interested in: , Cinematic Feature-Length Video, Social Media Vertical Video, or even the Full-Length RAW Video of your wedding.
As you can see, you need to make a lot of decisions, talk it over with your photographer, and decide what keepsakes you’re interested in.
How Much Do We Charge?
Our experience with wedding photography and clients has been extremely versatile. Currently, have offered packages from 90-minute Courthouse Weddings starting near $700 all the way up to multi-day events reaching $8000+!
Of course, these are just examples of the current upper and lower bounds. The average often falls somewhere in the middle.
Of course, the actual final cost depends on all the aforementioned factors. Additionally, you can visit our page to get a rough price quote by answering three simple questions:
- The wedding date
- What city the wedding is in
- The venue of the wedding
Based on your expectations and requirements, we will customize your wedding photography package for you. This way, you’ll get exactly what you need and exclude what you don’t need, at just the right price.
How To Get The Best Value From A Wedding Photographer
When searching for a photographer to cover your wedding, your only strategy should be to capture the memories and moments dearest to you. In other words, more expense doesn’t always equal more quality.
Conversely, less expensive doesn’t necessarily mean that the photographer won’t be as good. Instead, a very talented photographer who is transitioning from portrait photography into the wedding industry can be happy to cover weddings at a reduced cost.
Does that mean that they’re bad? Not necessarily! So, how can you make sure?
Here are some ways you can ensure your photographer is actually worth good value:
- Check their references and online presence. (take a look at our galleries!) This will help you decide two things: whether their style suits your vision and if they can actually walk the talk.
- Ask whether they offer any wedding packages. Then, probe deeper into what the package includes. Finally, inquire whether they offer customized packages, which should be your first choice.
- Confirm how you (and your family members) will receive the final images and videos.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re looking to hire a wedding photographer for your big day, chances are these questions have crossed your mind.
Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive?
It might not seem obvious at first, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when it comes to your wedding pictures.
Apart from photographing the actual wedding itself, wedding photographers have to then go through and shortlist from hundreds of photographs.
And that’s just the beginning of the post-production phase. What follows is weeks of editing, compiling, and putting together the final product. Surely, all this additional, behind-the-scenes labor justifies the cost.
Do Wedding Photographers Offer Payment Schedules?
This depends on vendor to vendor and company to company. If a payment schedule is important to you, this is something you need to confirm before you book your photographer.
A typical payment schedule involves a deposit at the time of the contract and then one or two further payments. These could be after the event or after the final images are delivered.
Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?
It is standard practice to tip wedding photographers, especially small-scale companies or independent photographers. However, you shouldn’t feel obliged to do so.
Typically, people will tip around $150 on average.
Finding the perfect wedding photographer can be stressful, especially since it takes up such a large portion of your budget.
But knowing what to expect in terms of cost isn’t as straightforward as you would hope. Instead, the cost depends on a number of different factors. The best thing to do is consider these factors and only settle for a customized package.
After all, no one knows how to make your wedding perfect like you do!