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How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost? – 2024 Update

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female wedding photographer

You want to capture your special day, and there’s no better way to do that than with a top-notch photographer. But you also need to know how much to budget and whether you’re getting a good deal.

That’s why we created this guide, to break down everything that you need to know and help you get the perfect wedding photographer at the best possible price!

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The Importance of a Wedding Photographer

When you’re at your wedding, you want to get wrapped up in the moment and not worry about anything else. The right wedding photographer can let that happen without ever getting in the way.

But if you get the wrong wedding photographer, when the pictures come back, you can end up wanting more. The problem is that there’s no going back to recapture that moment.

That’s the importance of a wedding photographer. They’re capturing one of the most important moments of your life, and they only have one chance to do it right. In short, the wedding photographer is about as important to your big day as it gets.

male wedding photographer at work
Image Credit: Getúlio Moraes, Unsplash

How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost? 

It’s an important job, so you need to know how much you’ll need to spend to get the services that you’re expecting.

The pricing does vary by region, but for the most part, you can expect to spend about $3,000 for a professional photographer; anything less, and you’re likely getting an amateur or a student.

If you’re looking for a master photographer, the price is usually about $5,000. Of course, there are exceptions to this pricing, so always double-check references and past work before settling on a wedding photographer.

Experience Level West Coast Midwest East Coast
Amateur/Student $1,000 $1,000 $1,000
Professional $3,000 $2,500 $3,000
Master $5,000 $4,000 $5,000

Additional Costs to Anticipate

This pricing is for basic packages, which usually include edited digital photos, props, and similar things, but certain things can drive up the price, including having your wedding in a more remote location that the photographer needs to travel to or getting upgraded video packages.

Many people are fine with the basic package and won’t need to spend any more, but it’s always best to ask what the package you’re purchasing includes and what optional add-ons are available.

Once you know what they offer, you can decide if the optional add-ons are something that you’re interested in.

male wedding photographer capturing the newlyweds
Image Credit: Kenny Eliason, Unsplash

When Should I Book the Wedding Photographer?

The best wedding photographers book out far in advance, so as soon as you have a date picked out, start calling around to get your wedding photographer locked down. This is especially true if you’re getting married during the heavy wedding season between May and October.

Sometimes, you can get a great wedding photographer with just a few months’ notice, but it depends on your location. It also likely means that you’re going to end up spending more than if you had booked a wedding photographer further in advance. Keep in mind that when you book a wedding photographer, they’ll typically require some sort of non-refundable deposit to lock down the date for you.

So, when should you book your wedding photographer? As soon as you can!

Does Wedding Photography Cover Videos?

It depends on the company or photographer you go with, but most of the time, wedding photography does not cover videos. However, many wedding photographers do offer an additional video package that you can purchase.

Just keep in mind that a video package can easily run between $2,000 and 3,000, and that’s for a basic package. Certain high-end video packages out there for weddings can easily run over $10,000!

So, if you do find a wedding photographer who has a video package without an upcharge, you’re getting a great deal, but don’t expect the quality to be quite at the level of a dedicated videographer.

wedding videographer at work
Image By: Chris Ainsworth, Unsplash

How to Pick a Wedding Photographer

Picking out the right wedding photographer is a big deal, and it’s not a decision that you want to rush. Finding a wedding photographer in your price range is a great place to start, but it’s not the only thing to look for.

First, check their reviews. You want as many good reviews as possible, but having more than 10 reviews is key here. The more reviews that a company has, the more likely that they’re legitimate, especially if the reviews are coming through a third-party source.

Next, look through their portfolio. Try to find pictures from as many weddings as possible, so you know that they’ve done it more than once. This also gives you the chance to tell your photographer what kinds of pictures you would like, so they know what to take at your wedding.

Finally, try to get a few different references from your photographer. Once you have those references, reach out to them and ask them any questions that you might have. The more questions you ask, the more likely you will get honest answers!

Related Read: What Is a Telephoto Lens? Photography Basics Explained

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Getting a top-notch wedding photographer is a big deal, and now that you know how much they cost, you can start budgeting. Getting a great wedding photographer is typically pricey, but remember, they’re documenting one of the most important days of your life, and that’s not something that you want to risk messing up.

Finally, try to get your ideal wedding photographer booked as soon as possible so you won’t have to settle for a second-rate option!

Featured Image Credit: Mariah Krafft, Unsplash

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.