June 15, 2024

How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost in 2024?

A wooden ring box engraved with "The McCulloughs" holding two wedding bands, placed on a textured surface.

When planning your wedding, one of the essential aspects to consider is photography. The cost of a wedding photographer can vary widely based on experience, location, and the services included. Understanding these factors will help you budget accordingly and ensure that your special day is captured beautifully. This guide will break down the average costs of a wedding photographer that are associated with hiring a wedding photographer, providing insights from an experienced professional’s perspective.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost?
  3. How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost? (continued)
  4. What About Video?
  5. How Much Should You Invest in Wedding Photography?
  6. Looking for Your Dream Wedding Photographer? Let’s Chat!


If you’ve ever wondered, “how much should I spend on wedding photography?”, you know how confusing and stressful finding the answer can be.

A quick Google search for “what is the cost of a wedding photographer?” might lead you to sources like TheKnot & Brides which state the average cost of a wedding photographer is “around $2,000.” However, this doesn’t tell the whole story.

What type of photographers fall within that price range? How much experience do they have shooting weddings? What is their style? These are crucial questions that need answers.

If $2,000 is the average, is that the right amount for you?

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what to expect and how to select the best wedding photographer for your special day.

How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost?

Two wedding rings delicately placed on soft peach and white roses, creating a romantic and elegant display.

When considering how much to spend on a wedding photographer, it’s important to shift your perspective from simply asking, “What is the average cost of a wedding photographer?” to “What do I really want from a wedding photographer?”

By asking this question, you start to appreciate the value each photographer offers, rather than focusing solely on the price.

A bar graph depicting ranges of wedding photography prices for different levels of photographers. The x-axis categories are Brand New, Beginner, Amateur, Growing Amateur, Professional, and Luxury/Destination. The y-axis shows prices ranging from 0 to 16,000, with beige bars representing the higher price range and green bars representing the lower price range for each category.

As an experienced wedding photographer and a marketing instructor for other photographers, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a wide range of photographers and their starting rates for typical weddings. Based on my experience and additional research, I’ve categorized wedding photographers into six distinct pricing categories:

Brand New

Cost: $0 – $500

Brand new photographers are often just starting and may offer their services at a very low cost or even for free to build their portfolio. While this can be a budget-friendly option, it comes with risks as they may lack the experience needed to handle the complexities of a wedding day.

Beginner

Cost: $500 – $1,500

Beginner photographers have a bit more experience than brand new photographers but are still relatively new to the industry. They may have a few weddings under their belt and offer affordable rates. However, their work may not yet have the polish and consistency of more experienced photographers.

Amateur

Cost: $1,500 – $3,000

Amateur photographers have a growing portfolio and some experience with weddings. They often have a better understanding of lighting, composition, and the flow of a wedding day. Their rates are mid-range, making them a good option for couples looking for quality photography on a budget.

Growing Amateur

Cost: $3,000 – $4,500

Growing amateurs are on the cusp of becoming professionals. They have significant experience, a robust portfolio, and a good reputation in the industry. Their rates reflect their skill level, offering a balance between quality and affordability.

Professional

Cost: $4,500 – $10,000+

Professional photographers are highly experienced and often have a well-established brand. They offer top-notch quality, consistency, and reliability. Their services may include multiple photographers, comprehensive coverage, and high-end photo albums. Investing in a professional photographer ensures that every moment of your wedding day is captured beautifully.

Luxury/Destination:

Cost: $6000 Plus

Some can also start at $8k, $10k, or higher. These photographers have no issue handling high profile events with ease and have a refined style specifically for luxury events or destination weddings. I recommend this level to clients who are having a very large, luxurious wedding event, or an international destination wedding.


A close-up of a person adjusting a tie, showcasing a diamond engagement ring on their hand.

How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost? (Cont.)

In addition to the base rates, several factors can influence the cost of a wedding photographer:

Location: Photographers in major cities or popular wedding destinations may charge higher rates due to higher demand and cost of living. For example, photographers in New York City, Los Angeles, or San Francisco often charge more than those in smaller towns due to the higher cost of doing business in these areas.

Duration of Coverage: The amount of time you require your photographer to be present can significantly impact the cost. Full-day coverage, which includes pre-ceremony preparations, the ceremony itself, and the reception, will naturally cost more than limited hours of coverage. Some photographers offer packages with different levels of coverage, while others may charge an hourly rate for additional time beyond the standard package.

Second Shooter: Hiring a second shooter can increase the overall cost but ensures more comprehensive coverage and multiple perspectives of your wedding day. A second shooter can capture different angles and moments simultaneously, which is particularly beneficial during key moments like the ceremony and reception.

Albums and Prints: High-quality photo albums and prints can add to the cost but provide lasting memories in a tangible form. Many photographers offer various packages that include digital files, prints, and custom-designed albums. These physical keepsakes can be cherished for years to come and make wonderful gifts for family members.

Travel Fees: If your photographer has to travel a significant distance to your wedding location, travel fees may apply. These can include transportation, accommodation, and per diem expenses. It’s essential to discuss these potential costs upfront to avoid any surprises later on.


A close-up of a couple's hands gently resting on a bouquet of peach and white roses. The bride's hand, adorned with an engagement ring and wedding band, is placed on top of the groom's hand, which wears a wedding band.

What About Video?

You might think that wedding videographers operate in a completely different realm, but their pricing structures often mirror those of photographers. On average, videographers tend to charge slightly less than photographers.

One reason for this is that wedding videography is a relatively newer industry that is still evolving and catching up to photography. This current pricing trend can be advantageous for couples looking to save money. However, given the extensive work involved in creating a high-quality wedding film, it’s likely that videography costs will surpass those of photography in the near future.


A close-up shot of a wedding ceremony where the groom is placing a ring on the bride's finger. The bride is dressed in a lace-embellished gown, and the scene is intimate and heartfelt.

How Much Should You Invest in Wedding Photography?

Investing in wedding photography is a personal decision that depends on your priorities and budget. Here are some tips to help you determine how much to allocate for photography:

Set Your Priorities: Consider what aspects of your wedding are most important to you. If capturing high-quality photos is a top priority, allocate a larger portion of your budget to photography. High-quality photos will provide lasting memories that you can cherish for years to come.

Research and Compare: Look at the portfolios and reviews of several photographers in your area. Compare their styles, prices, and what is included in their packages to find the best fit for your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request references to ensure you’re making an informed decision.

Consider the Long-Term Value: Remember that your wedding photos will be a lasting keepsake of your special day. Investing in a quality photographer ensures that you will have beautiful, professional images to cherish for years to come. These photos can be shared with family and friends and passed down through generations.

Plan Ahead: Book your photographer well in advance to secure your preferred professional. Popular photographers can book up quickly, especially during peak wedding season. Planning ahead also allows you to budget more effectively and ensure that all necessary arrangements are made.


So How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost?

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are you looking for a highly experienced wedding photographer who can expertly manage any unexpected situations?
  • Do you want a wedding photographer who ensures a seamless experience and offers exceptional value?
  • Are you seeking a wedding photographer who consistently delivers high-quality photos?
  • Are you planning your wedding in a high-cost city?
  • Do you prefer to hire a full-time wedding photographer dedicated entirely to capturing the most important day of your life, creating lasting memories for generations to come?

Your answers to these questions will determine how much you should expect to spend on your wedding photos.

TIP: Since there are so many people who have postponed their weddings from 2020 & 2021, the demand for wedding photographers have increased a LOT so in order to ensure you can still find a wedding photographer, you should inquire at least 12 months before your date.

Looking for Your Dream Wedding Photographer? Let’s Chat!

Finding the perfect wedding photographer involves research, careful consideration, and clear communication. If you’re ready to start planning and want to ensure your wedding day is captured beautifully, let’s chat! As an experienced wedding photographer, I would love to discuss your vision and how we can make your dream wedding photos a reality.

Contact me today to schedule a consultation and begin your journey toward stunning, timeless wedding photography.