How Much Should I Pay for a Wedding Photographer? At least several thousand dollars. But why? Well, how valuable are your wedding day memories to you? to your family?
A good wedding photographer is not cheap. Sure, anyone with a camera can go out in a field and take enough pictures to eventually get a good one. As long as the lighting is perfect and they are able to have free range control over everything. A professional wedding photographer doesn't get this luxury. In fact we have very little control over the day and must be able to foresee and anticipate the moments you will treasure. You'll need a photographer who is proficient with low lighting situations too. "Natural light" photographers are a great, new trend and everyone loves that style and look but let me say this clearly, being a natural light ONLY photographer is not an advantage. Its a crutch. Its a crutch for a lack of knowledge and/or development in their business. Considering that most of a wedding is not shot in ideal lighting conditions and at the very least, 99% of receptions are at night and usually very dark (you know, for the DJ's lighting). Being able to react quickly, set up lighting, capture the non-stop moments of your day, is not easy. Its like trying to juggle wet cats.
Couples spend an average of $2,783 on just the wedding day without factoring in any extras such as engagements or bridals. I’ll say you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 but how much you eventually pay will be dependent on a lot of factors and considerations. Answering your “how much should I pay for a wedding photographer” question will depend greatly on the photographer’s experience and quality as well as the services and offerings within their package. Location and cost of living can greatly impact the cost as well.
What’s covered in your photography package?
When intending couples ask us “how much should I pay for a wedding photographer?”, they expect a straight answer around a certain price point but that’s not how the whole thing works.
While it’s always advisable to hire a savvy professional for your big day, whatever your photography and/or videography will cost depends mostly on the services included in your package.
So, the next time you want to know how much a reasonable wedding photographer would bill you, ask these professionals what is included in their service package or better still, discuss what services you’ll need and what you probably won’t need.
But ordinarily, your wedding photography cost will depend on factors like;
· How much time the photographer spends with you shooting the pictures –and most spend about 7/8 hours on average
· Whether your photographer will need to travel over a long distance or whether the event is holding in a venue nearby
· Whether there will be a second photographer or additional staffing –this has superb advantages but will increase the cost. We ALWAYS recommend having two photographers.
· How much editing your photographer will do to finally arrive at those pictures that vividly captures the best moments
· The actual images, as well as digital files also play into the cost estimation process
· Print release consideration which basically has to do with using the photos for your own personal use although your photographer still has copyright on the photos
· Purchasing and designing your wedding album will also play into costs consideration since most people often delegate this to photographers
· Additional shoots like most people will add engagement shoot, and other extras like bridal portraits, the rehearsal dinner coverage, and trash the dress among others will also increase costs
How much of your wedding budget covers photography?
It is agreed by many that photography is the second or third most expensive thing in most wedding budgets. On average, about 10%-20% of the wedding’s total budget will be allocated for photography. The engagement ring and the venue are usually the only other items that will cost more for most people.
Should I include videography in my wedding plans?
Time and again, some people overlook videography as another very important part of their plans. Maybe to save costs and all but on most occasions, couples who chose to look the other way when it comes to videography often end up regretting such decisions.
It’s your “one day” to share your love and make your vows in the presence of friends and families. It doesn’t hurt to capture every moment on this day. You want to cherish this moment and hold it dear to your heart always.
Along with photography, videography is another very important thing you shouldn’t overlook even if your question of how much should I pay for a wedding photographer is one borne out of our natural cost saving instinct.
What extras are not included in your basic package?
When it comes to how much a reasonable wedding photographer will cost you, the type of extras you throw into your package along with your basic photography package will also contribute to your costs.
Most couples we’ve worked with usually add one or more of the following;
· Engagement photo session
· Canvas print of one or more of their favorite picture(s)
· Specialty prints and albums, and
· Photo shoots of specific types
Depending on what you want, it’s not always easy to find a straight answer to your “how much should I pay for a wedding photographer” question.
How far in advance should you make your booking?
However, the last thing any couple will want to hear from their favorite or chosen photography is “sorry, I’m booked for the day”. That’s why we prefer getting our bookings earlier in most cases.
On average, 12-18 months prior to the wedding day is a good time to book your photographer. That way, you’re sure there won’t be any worries especially when your wedding falls into some of the busiest months.
At least you know how early you have to make your bookings as well.
Why are some photographers slightly costlier than others?
A lot of this has to do with quality and experience on most occasions.
As humans, it is natural for us to want to cut costs and save at every opportunity we get. Oftentimes this ends up compromising the quality of what we get to experience after such occasions.
I said it earlier that the quality and experience of your photographer will play a role in how much you get to pay. You can’t afford uncertainties and irregularities on your big day. You can’t afford to ruin your moments with a “cheap” photographer with little to no experience, professionalism, lack of equipment, and backup equipment.
But that also does not mean you have to pay over the top.
In fact, the best photographers may not be the most expensive ones. In our case, we try to be reasonable with our estimations because we understand how special this day is to you and will not like to put additional strain on your budget. That’s why a lot of the lovely and amazing couples we’ve worked with keep on referring us to their friends and families.
I think by now the above should have done justice to your question of how much should I pay for a wedding photographer or how much is a reasonable wedding photographer going to charge you for your wedding. Once again, it will depend on a lot of things with quality and service offerings playing the biggest roles. Regardless, there are affordable professional photographers out there who won’t put a strain on your budget.
Perhaps you or someone you know will be tying the knot with the love of their life anytime soon. We would love to help you capture every beautiful moment on your big day.
Although most of our work revolves around Asheville, Charlotte, and the Greenville neighborhoods, we’ll be there anywhere you want us even if it means flying across international borders.
It’s your “one big day” and yes – you can contact us and we’ll do our best to make it even more special and memorable because on this day, you deserve nothing but the very best!