Your wedding day is one of the most awaited days of your life, and wedding photographers are there to capture — and make it easier for you to reminisce — all the beautiful moments of this occasion. Apart from knowing who you should hire, you also have to consider how much does wedding photography cost.
Wedding Photography Prices 2023
Wedding photography services are just one item on your to-hire list. So we understand that you want to find the best deal. Here’s a quick guide to help you out.
Can you negotiate the wedding photographer cost?
While negotiating is something you can try, most photographers’ rates are fixed.
To give you an idea, here’s a rundown of the average cost of wedding photographers according to their level of experience:
- Student: $500 to $1,500
- Professional: $2,500
- Grandmaster: $6,000 to $10,000
These numbers are just average prices. Every wedding photography business has its own pricing — and it’s affected by different factors (more on this later). The good news is that they have various packages that can cater to your budget range. Moreover, some photographers offer a la carte services, so you only have to pay for the specific services you need and can afford.
But then again, there’s no harm in trying. On rare occasions, photographers can work around your budget.
Also, know that you can hire their services for a lower price during the off-season (which mostly coincides with colder months). If your wedding date falls on that season, you might not need some negotiation as photographers already offer their services at a discounted rate.
What’s the usual payment schedule?
Typically, photographers follow a two- or three-payment schedule.
- Two-payment schedule. In this setup, you must give a certain percentage of the total amount (e.g., 25% or 50%) upon booking and signing the contract. This way, you can secure your photographer’s services and availability on your wedding day. The remaining payment will be deposited before the big day.
- Three-payment schedule. Here, the first payment (usually around 33% of the agreed-upon amount) is upon booking. The second payment should be settled a few months before the event. The final installment will be paid after the wedding — before the prints and/or album are delivered.
You can pay in cash, check, or via credit card or online payment channels.
As a safety net for you and the photographer, you should include the total amount you’ll pay and the payment schedule on your contract.
Factors that may affect wedding photography price
Wedding photographer prices vary, primarily depending on the photographer’s level of experience, photography style, and “brand.” If they’re a renowned name in the field and have high-profile clients on their roster, expect to pay a much higher price.
As mentioned, the schedule of your wedding day can affect their price: It will generally go lower during the off-season.
The location of your special day is also a big factor. Usually, photographers drive on their own to the venue and charge per mile. If you have a significantly farther venue (i.e., you have a destination wedding), their rate will increase because you’ll need to cover their travel and accommodation expenses.
Some cities and states also tend to have a higher average wedding photography cost than others.
While photographers have fixed prices for their packages, having add-ons can drive the final amount you’ll have to pay upward. For instance, if you want to have pre-wedding sessions with them for your engagement and save the dates, expect to pay a higher fee. The same is true if you’ll be ordering additional prints or copies of the album.
Finally, consider the number of their team. If they have a second shooter and assistant, you must prepare more to cover their services (and meals).
What’s Included In A Wedding Photography Package?
These are the typical inclusions you’ll find in a wedding photography package:
- Coverage time. This indicates how long the photographer (and their team) will cover your wedding. Standard packages offer a coverage period of up to 8 hours; up to 10 hours for luxury packages.
- Retouching services. Photographers offer basic retouching services to ensure the consistency of all the photos that will be delivered to you. Depending on your package, you can have photos edited in a film-like or black-and-white style.
- A certain number of digital copies of your photos. This pertains to the number of retouched photos you will receive after your wedding day. These images are usually contained on a USB stick. If you want to DIY your printing, you can opt just to get digital images.
Other photographers also offer a password-protected online gallery containing your wedding images.
- A certain number of prints. If you prefer to receive printed copies of your photos, some packages include the delivery of prints (measurements are usually 6” x 4” or 7” x 5”). Some photographers also offer framed larger prints you can display in your home.
- A wedding album. Apart from the prints, you can also get a wedding album containing select photos from your special day. This is personalized with your and your spouse’s names and wedding dates. A few pages may also contain beautiful verses about love and marriage.
- A pre-wedding photo session. If you want to have an engagement photoshoot, make sure to choose a package that offers this as an add-on. Of course, this affects how much does wedding photography cost.
Wedding Photography FAQs
Got more questions about wedding photography? Let us help you better prepare for this aspect of your wedding with these FAQs.
1. When should you book your wedding photographer?
As soon as you finalize your wedding date and venue, your wedding photographer is one of the first suppliers you need to secure. You have to book them about 10 to 11 months in advance. This is especially recommended if you wish to have a pre-wedding photoshoot.
2. How do you find the best wedding photographer for your budget?
It’s not only the wedding photography prices that you’ll need to consider when finding a suitable vendor. Think about your vision — and check if their portfolio of work can live up to that. Also, you must choose someone you’re comfortable with and who you can trust.
Ask within your circle for recommendations (most wedding photographers get their gigs through word of mouth) and verify their work online.
3. Do you need a second photographer for your wedding?
If you have an intimate wedding, one photographer can suffice. But if you have a huge wedding and a spacious venue, you can hire a team with a second (or even third) photographer.
4. Should you tip your wedding photographer?
When couples ask how much does wedding photography cost, questions about giving tips also arise. A good range will be $50 to $200. Your photographer will also appreciate it if you can leave favorable online reviews.