How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost?

Marriage is not only an important milestone in a person’s life. It is also a significant calling that enabled the continuity of the human race (procreation). Unfortunately, the positive impact of marriage in adult life diminishes since its steady decline in contemporary times – a fact measured in terms frequency at around 3.2 divorces per 1,000 couples in 2014.

An interesting study explores the direct correlation between wedding spending and the risk of separation. It is believed that an ideal overall spending of less than $1,000 is associated with the significant decrease in divorce incidence. Speaking of wedding budgets, the average American spends around $25,200 for an entire wedding ceremony (excluding the budget for the honeymoon).

illustrated image of wedding photograper

Wedding photography comprises an important portion of the marrying couple’s budget. Most couples who wish to invest a significant portion of their wealth on wedding photographs and videos understand the great importance of keeping happy memories alive – another plausible solution to the looming threat of divorce.

wedding photograper

Average Cost of a Wedding Photographer

 While couples spend 48 to 50 percent of the budget for the reception, around 10 to 12 percent is usually allotted for documentation (photographs and videos).

Comparable to the average overall wedding budget in the United States, the photographer’s portion is approximately $2,814. However, it is important to take note that the gulf between price ranges can be very vast. It is possible to pay the smallest asking price of $1,000 while luxury spending may climb up to more than $10,000.

What are Included

In order to get a better perspective of what justifies the fee, here is an example of a cost breakdown by Wedding Wire:

  • Photography Services (e.g. packages, hourly rate, etc)
  • Post-production (e.g. editing, data storage, file backups, etc)
  • Employees (e.g. photographers, editors, studio assistants, etc)
  • Equipment (e.g. cameras, lenses, lighting, batteries, etc)
  • Business Expenses (e.g. studio rental, utility bills, seminars, etc)
  • Marketing & Advertising Expenses (e.g. website, magazine, radio, etc)
  • Insurance (part of the overall cost should cover the company’s insurance premiums)

Additional Expenses

In line with the previous part of the article, consumers must be aware of what they are paying for when they hire wedding photographers. Most of these additional features are consigned within the parameters of photography services and post-production:

  • Engagement Shoot

Photo sessions before the nuptials are not always included in the package – considering that these sessions are not part of the 8-hour wedding day coverage. Most of the time, one or two of the best engagement shoots are used as a front page of creative wedding invitation cards.

  • Extra Coverage

Most companies have a relatively limited coverage during the wedding ceremony and reception. Some standard packages do not always include still or video shoots of wedding speeches, dance, programs, and dinner.

  • Honeymoon/Adventure Shoot

Some couples love to have quality images and videos of their intimate honeymoon. These post-wedding shoots often capture fascinating vacation landscapes (e.g. Parisian evening cityscape, tropical beach sunset, Bolivian mountain trek, etc).

  • Exclusive Rights

Although couples practically own their wedding photographs, there are legal limitations in their ownership. For instance, they cannot publish the images in any profit-based media. In order to make it possible for couples to do so, they ought to pay extra fees for exclusive or extended rights.

  • Additional Staff

Certain styles require complex lighting and on-site configurations, hence the urgency for more technical assistance. Wedding photo companies only have a limited set of staff and additional crew may entail extra costs.

  • Additional Prints & Albums

A standard package naturally has a limited number of images. Couples who wish to give full set copies to their close relatives can pay an extra fee for this benefit.

Wedding Website

A photo album is one thing, but some couples cherish their nuptial memories so much that they prefer to push it to another level. There are those who would pay an extra fee to set up an interactive website organizing photos, videos, and testimonies for the world to see.

  • Wardrobe & Accessories

Costumes for engagement photo shoots are usually excluded from the photography company’s features. One has to access a theme fashion (e.g. Medieval Japan, Steam Punk, Wild West, etc) from tailors or party shops. Curiously, however, there are some wedding photography services that can provide limited props to accentuate background themes.

Shopping for Wedding Photographers

For those who deem the price of a wedding photo package expensive, it is often helpful for them to consider whether the value is reasonable enough. One way of doing it is to interview a selected candidate. Here are some of the perceptive questions one can ask a wedding photography company:

  • How long have you been doing this?
  • How many weddings do you shoot on a weekend?
  • Are you registered and insured?
  • What sets you apart from other photographers in the area?
  • What are the things included and excluded in your contract?
  • What are your methods of protecting my files?
  • How much time do you need for editing?

Asking these questions can provide consumers an outline of the company’s profile. It is always best to find out about their experience, average workload, credentials, and other transparent details that could, one way or another, affect the overall cost and value.

Factors That Matters

Although most packages are charged at a fixed rate, certain (expedient or unforeseen) circumstances can justify additional costs. As a recap of most concepts discussed earlier, these are the following factors that can affect wedding photography prices:

  • Time

The usual fee for a wedding photo package entails a fixed 8-hour rate for professional service. Oftentimes, photo shoots outside that prescribed timeframe are charged separately. In most cases, photographers can also add extra cost for extended hours during the wedding date.

  • Locations

In most cases, couples will have to reimburse the cost accrued by photographers traveling to multiple locations in order to shoot engagement or honeymoon photos. Even in terms of excluding engagement and post-wedding features, the wedding destination could be very far from the area where the photography company usually operates. It is relatively cheaper to hire photographers who operate in the midst of the church and wedding reception venue.

  • Packages

In relation to the set of prescribed questions discussed earlier, it is important for every customer to know the details included in certain photo packages. For instance, most of the extensive video scenes are often tagged as an additional feature. A major part of the basic inclusion concerns with the accessibility of the files (e.g. with or without wedding website).

  • Experience

A highly reputable wedding photography enterprise can charge at least $6,000 for a standard 8-hour wedding day package. It stands to reason that the markup cost is somehow driven by extreme demand as well as a sophisticated approach that made their art world-class.

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