Why Do Wedding Photographers Cost So Much? - Wed Mayhem
6 min

Why Do Wedding Photographers Cost So Much?

Wedding Photographer

While everyone understands the sentimental value your wedding photos have, the monetary value is not often talked about. For something so priceless, it can be difficult to understand how much you should be paying – so we asked a wedding photographer to break it down for us. Here to reveal the three things that impact the price of a wedding photographer is Wedding Wingman Vanessa Mir of Heirloomsnaps.

In the United States, wedding photographers’ average cost is a ranges between $1500 and $3000 according to Wedding Wire. Prices for wedding photography are all across the board as they are truly specific to each wedding. A wedding photographer’s service doesn’t start and end on the wedding day. 

“Pre and post-production add into the cost and amounts to about three times the work as the wedding day.”

Also, behind the scenes buying and maintaining equipment and promoting the business all contribute to pricing. Understanding the factors that impact how much a wedding photographer charges can help you set a realistic budget. 

Your Wedding

Just like anything else, prices can vary based on location. You can expect if your wedding is in a popular location or an area with a higher cost of living, a higher price. Furthermore, if you’re requiring your photographer to travel you can expect additional fees. Your wedding date can also impact the price as some photographers charge more for dates high in demand. Also, wedding size matters! “If you have a larger wedding and want to ensure everyone is photographed you may need to add a 2nd photographer or an assistant.” 

Your Vision

wedding photographer

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is the kind of wedding photography coverage you’re interested in. “A typical photography package includes 6 to 8 hours of coverage. Eight hours will include getting ready for special dances, increasing this to around 9 to 10 hours will include open dance floors and the newlywed grand exit. Longer ceremonies or location changes will also increase your price.”

Additionally, consider what you would be interested in adding on to your package such as an engagement session, videography, a wedding album, film camera shots, after wedding shoot, or a photo booth. The options are endless, Vanessa says she even saw one company offer wedding social media coverage! 

Your Photographers Experience

Wedding photography pricing is mainly based on experience. Some photographers will do it for free when they are just starting. Others have been in the industry for a long time and call themselves fine art photographers and can charge up to $10,000. 

However, just because someone has a large social media following or prices allude they are “high in demand” does not mean they are a good photographer. With any wedding photographer make sure to take a look at their portfolio to see their photography style and editing in action. Also, don’t be afraid to ask what equipment they use. In addition, if you’re nervous in front of the camera, look for photographers who offer posing assistance.

You are not obligated to tip your photographer. However, photographers do provide a service and Vanessa says “a tip lets your photographer know that you value their work. We understand weddings are expensive. If a tip is in order, leave what’s in your budget, and don’t forget to include all who helped such as a second photographer or assistant.” 

wedding photographer

How To Save Money On Your Wedding Photographer

Most wedding photographers are small business owners and don’t have the resources to offer big discounts. What they can offer is discounts on travel fees, prints, retouched images, and a faster turnaround time. However, Vanessa says sometimes if you book early in advance you can get last year’s rate. On the flip side, if you wait until the last minute occasionally photographers will offer discounts later in the season to fill up their calendars. A guaranteed way to save money is to consider less photography coverage as “the main events of your wedding happen in about 6 hours.” 

Meet Your Wedding Wingman!

Vanessa Mir is the lead photographer and founder of Heirloomsnaps. She loves her job—like really, really loves her job—especially capturing timeless moments with people who are in love. Her enthusiasm for the wedding industry sparked her to found Wed Mayhem, and she looks forward to being an essential planning resource for couples.

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