(Updated for 2022 & 2023)
If you’re engaged and planning your wedding it can be hard to know how much you should spend on your wedding vendors. Well today I will be answering one question you’ve probably been wondering, “how much should you pay for a wedding photographer?”
Popular wedding blogs will tell you the average cost of a wedding photographer is anywhere from $1,500 to $2,500, but unfortunately in a lot of cases this is not accurate. Wedding photography is a full time job, like any other, and the amount each photographer charges varies based on many factors such as their experience, the value in their services, their expertise and the location. These are the 4 things I will highlight when explaining what to expect when assessing how much to spend on a wedding photographer.
To start off, every photographer is different in the way they price their services. These 4 things to consider will help you understand more about the process behind what it takes for your photographer to provide you with a wonderful experience and how pricing is determined. Keep in mind, these prices may fluctuate depending on the average cost of a wedding photographer in your area. Some states and cities have a higher cost of living therefore a photographer’s rates in that area may be higher when compared to another location.
Starting off with years of experience, this is something that not every photographer takes into consideration, but many do. With years of being in the wedding industry comes more experience for a photographer. They will have more knowledge of being properly equipped and will have the confidence to know how to handle certain situations for your wedding day. Generally speaking, photographers with a lot of experience under their belt will most likely charge a higher price for their services.
When hiring a vendor for your wedding day of course you want to make sure you’re getting a lot of value. Photographers all have different packages they offer, each with certain services and products included. Some photographers that offer greater value in their services will be in a higher price range due to the greater quality and value in the overall experience they provide to you.
When you hire a photographer you are hiring them for their expertise. Through years of experience photographers also spend time perfecting their craft, gaining proficiency in how they can handle certain situations that may arise, and being able to establish consistency in their editing.
As a wedding photographer myself, I am always perfecting my client experience to provide a personable and unforgettable wedding experience for all of my couples.
Are you wanting to learn more about how I take your wedding experience to a whole new level? Let’s chat! I want to learn more about you!
The average amount of time a photographer spends on one wedding:
On average, a photographer spends roughly 34-60 hours on just one wedding. This time does not include traveling to and from sessions/weddings, time spent updating or purchasing new gear and equipment, or time spent on courses and education related classes. Therefore, your photographer’s time is very valuable and what they charge reflects how much time they spend on weddings. When you are paying a photographer’s prices, you are not just paying for them to snap your photos and edit them, you are paying for much, much more.
Below are different experience levels of photographers and what kind of experience you could potentially expect:
Someone who has just started photography would fall under this category. Normally you get someone who has very little to no experience at all and is still trying to find their editing style, therefore it is not guaranteed that your photos will turn out a specific way you’re wanting them to. Someone who is charging $500 or less is probably looking to gain experience and build their portfolio.
A photographer who has some weddings under their belt would fall under this category. They might not have a lot of education under their belt or tons of experience with posing, consistent editing and the ability to provide other information.
Someone who has photographed a handful of weddings before or one who is still trying to build their portfolio would fall under this category. They might have a little bit more knowledge on how to comfortably photograph a wedding and have a higher consistency in their edits. They might be able to provide more info to help you feel confident in your wedding, but might lack some of the extra helpful services that a professional would have.
A photographer who has more experience and knowledge would fall under this category. They might have invested more than an intermediate photographer has, but may not be a full time wedding photographer. This is the category a lot of photographers fall under and is best for couples working with a tighter budget for their wedding photography.
Professional: $3,500-$6,000 (this price can be much higher depending on the photographer)
A photographer who is well equipped, has years of experience, invested in their education, has consistent edits, is comfortable and professional with their posing and includes extra value in their packages/experience would fall under this category. They have spent years building their business and perfecting their craft so they can professionally serve their clients in a unique and personal way and usually have a higher demand due to their positive client experience. Your location will depend most on what the average pricing is for professional photographers in your area.
Luxury: $6,000 and above
Photographers who serve clients who are planning luxurious and grand weddings would fall under this category. Their prices are much higher as they have probably been in business for years and have served over hundreds of clients during their career. They are able to provide an exquisite experience while delivering top notch quality photos and editing consistency.
Lastly, the location of your wedding will affect how much you should spend on a wedding photographer. For example, if you’re planning your wedding in a popular destination wedding location or a place where the cost of living is higher, then you can expect to pay a higher price for your wedding photographer. If you’re looking to plan your wedding in a location such as Scottsdale, Arizona, then you can expect to spend anywhere from $3,500 and up for a wedding photographer since the cost of living is higher than your average city. But, if you’re wondering, “how much does a wedding photographer cost in Arizona?” that can vary. Other locations such as Phoenix, Sedona, and Flagstaff are beautiful and popular areas to have your wedding so you can still expect to pay $3,000 and up not including travel fees from your photographer.
Below are some of the most important things to ask yourself before hiring a wedding photographer:
Your answers to the questions above will help determine what kind of wedding photographer you are looking for and how much you can expect to pay for their services.
In a nutshell, what you spend on a wedding photographer is what you will get out of one. Everyone has different budgets and that is 100% okay. But, if you are someone who is really wanting to connect with your wedding photographer, have consistent edits, high quality images with a beautiful editing style, or someone who can provide additional resources to help you feel confident on your big day then you might want to consider spending a little more on your wedding photographer to get the best experience possible. I am a big believer that there is a photographer out there for everyone and with proper research and following your gut you will find a wedding photographer that works for you!
Are you looking for a wedding photographer that can give you authentic, candid, and timeless images? I’m Kaylie, a Phoenix wedding photographer, encouraging you to spend your wedding day celebrating a way that feels right to the two of YOU! Interested in learning more about how I take your wedding experience to a whole new level? Let’s chat, I want to learn more about you!
MORE ABOUT KAYLIE
The article was written by me, Kaylie! I am a wedding & elopement photographer encouraging you to embrace the details that make your love story unique, to make sure you get a personable experience, & to be your helping hand and friend throughout the entire process! Specializing in nostalgic & candid images serving couples in Arizona & beyond!
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