Wedding, Wedding Advice

How Much Should You Spend on Wedding Photography?

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I think we can all agree that weddings are expensive! I won’t lie, wedding photography is usually one of the pricier things that you need to book for your big day. But how much should you actually be paying?

There is no easy answer to this question. Every couple has different photography needs on their wedding day and every photographer is priced differently. Some couples live in the moment and would rather have a family member snap some iPhone photos than pose for a professional photographer. Other couples spend thousands of dollars to make sure every detail and moment of their big day is captured.

So how do you find out your photography budget? I’ve narrowed it down to a three key things you should consider and do before booking a wedding photographer.

  1. Value. How much do you value having these wedding photographs? Will you put them in an album and look at them every few months? Or will they be in frames all around your home? If you decide that your biggest concern for your wedding day is your photography, then you should be prepared to spend more money finding the right photographer for you.
  2. Prioritize. This goes hand in hand with value. The more you value photography for your wedding day, the higher a priority it is. Making a list of your top priorities for your wedding can help you better understand where you should be spending the bulk of your wedding budget. If photography is a top priority for you, I suggest booking a photographer early in your wedding planning journey. This will allow you to more evenly divide your remaining budget among things that rank lower on your priority list.
  3. Research. Wedding photographers are everywhere, so it is always best to research photographers in your area to get a good idea of price. While you are researching, I suggest you not think about a budget. Take your time looking through websites and sending emails to photographers whose photos catch your eye. When you find one that you would love to hire for your wedding day, then you can talk pricing. If you are still unsure about what you should look for in a perfect wedding photographer, check out my article How to Choose a Wedding Photographer.


A few extra considerations:

It is important to understand the time and effort that photographers put into their work that may impact their pricing. They spend time sending emails to potential clients and answering their questions. They set meetings with couples do go over their wedding day timeline. Photographers also spend countless hours editing and delivering galleries for engagement sessions, bridal sessions, and weddings.

Let’s say that you find a photographer who agrees to shoot your 8-hour wedding day for $400. It’s very possible that you found a great deal, but it’s important to look further into the pricing. At that price, the photographer is either willing to work hard for only $50/hour OR they may only put in a minimal amount of work toward planning, shooting, and editing because they are only making $50/hour.

Wedding photography pricing is also influenced by what each photographer includes in a wedding day package. Do they provide a complimentary engagement session? Does there package come with a second photographer for the wedding day? Do you get a photo album included with the package? Many photographers include these amenities in a wedding package as a bonus to their clients, but these extras can definitely add to the cost of the package. Finding a photographer who offers packages that include all of your needs (extra sessions, additional photographers, etc) is a great way to maximize your budget. On the other hand, if you don’t need all of the amenities a package has to offer, you may end up paying more for services that you don’t need or want.

I know I didn’t give you a specific dollar amount to spend on photography, but I hope my tips and advice will make it easier for you to find the best photographer for your wedding day! Good luck!

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