May 26, 2022  •  5min read

How Much Does a Wedding Photography Cost?

Wedding photography cost details

It takes years of dreaming and months of planning, but once the wedding day arrives, it passes by instantly. This is why wedding photographers are one of the most important services for your special day, as they’ll capture every moment that you can keep for a lifetime.

Emily Millay, a wedding and lifestyle photographer with over seven years of experience, states that brides and grooms are going through the day’s important moments but think of every candid moment they miss. These candid moments are the things that make up the wedding, which is why wedding photography is an important investment.

Keep in mind that talented and experienced wedding photographers don’t come cheap. Location, demand and experience are the things that influence a wedding photographer’s price. Even though photographers offer different prices for their service, there are some commonalities. 

We’ve listed everything you need to know about budgeting for a wedding photographer.

The Average Cost of Wedding Photographers

Wedding photographers’ process may range from $1000 to $10,000 or higher in the US. Of course, it depends on which state you’re living in, as the average for Midwest photographers is between $3000 to $4000, while photographers in New York and California range between $2500 to $5000.

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While the styles of wedding photographers may vary, some photographers tend to go for airy images while others lean toward dramatic or documentary-style pictures. Note that styles don’t affect prices. Demand and experience are the things that mainly influence the price, but a higher figure doesn’t always offer better results. In most cases, the price is based on the photographer’s experience, as they raise their prices annually. Millay, who has been shooting for weddings professionally for eight years, has a starting price of $4,250.

What do You Get from an Experienced Wedding Photographer?

For an experienced wedding photographer with 8 years of experience, Millay offers up to 10 to 12 hours of wedding day coverage with a second shooter, an online gallery with digital collections and a complimentary engagement shooting session. This package also includes travel of around four hours and photo editing. This is only the base level of coverage. Millay charges another $200 per extra hour of wedding day coverage. And another $300 to $1,200 for add-ons, including albums and prints, depending on your selection.

When looking at old photos, you’re not looking at the picture’s quality but the memories in the photos. So, photographers know that couples aren’t going to pay a lot just to print their photos, which is why the printing prices are always reasonable. Rehearsal dinner coverage is also something couples are interested in, priced at around $400.

Note that photographers’ packages don’t usually provide videography services. Photographers and videographers are separated vendors from different companies. A wedding videographer usually costs less than a photographer, as for a 10-hour coverage and a five-to-ten-minute highlight film can cost around $1000 to $5000 or more in some cases.

When to Hire a Photographer?

We recommend booking a wedding photographer as soon as possible, especially if you have a vendor in mind. If you’re looking to use your engagement photos to save the dates, then book a photographer at least 10 months in advance, as save-the-dates get released four to eight months before the wedding. If you wait any longer, your favorite photographers may get booked up.

How do You Find the Right Photographer?

Wedding photography is a big investment. Because of this, it’s crucial to thoroughly go through different photographers before making any fixed decisions. But what’s the best way to find trustworthy wedding vendor reviews? You can start by asking around. Try asking your vendors if they have any recommendations. They won’t recommend anyone they don’t trust and like to work with. 

You can also ask for their past work. Almost every photographer can make a sunset photo session on the beach look good, but how about within a dimly lit church or a night session in the venue? Checking out their gallery from past weddings can help you confirm if they’re the right fit for you. If their collection doesn’t seem to fit your preference, you can look for another photographer.

Is Negotiation Allowed?

Most prices are already set in stone, but you can try negotiating with your wedding photographer. Photographers provide scaled packages at different price points to meet their clients and take negotiation out of it. The packages include fees such as editing software, licenses, gear, insurance and other things you don’t see and think about. For photographers, negotiation may lead to breaking even or even losing money. However, on rare occasions, some photographers are willing to consider a couple’s budgets.

Should You Tip Your Photographer?

Not every couple tips their photographers, but if you want to, you can add another $50 to $150. Around 50% of brides and grooms tip their vendors. It’s a necessary thing, but a tip is always appreciated.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

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