Average Wedding Photographer Cost (A Complete Guide)

As a wedding remains one of the most important experiences of human life, it’s essential to take photos to keep memories. However, you’ll need a photographer.

The wedding photographer’s price is one of the most important factors to consider when planning your big day.

To capture wedding photographs, the average wedding photographer cost is $2,500, and generally hovers between $2000 and $3000.

Nevertheless, this amount can vary depending on several factors, such as the location, the package, the add-ons, the number of photographers, and the level of experience of the photographer.

Further information about factors affecting the cost of wedding photography will be discussed below.

Related Topic > How to Become a Wedding Photographer.

What Is The Average Wedding Photographer Cost?

Average Wedding Photographer Prices

Various factors such as location, number of hours covered, level of expertise, and equipment used factor into the cost of hiring a wedding photographer.

This is also included in what photography package the couple gets. Broadly, wedding photography can be categorized into low-end, mid-range, and high-end, with different price ranges for each.

In the U.S., wedding photographer prices tend to range between $1,150 and $3,000, with some couples spending as high as $10,000.

Low-End

Wedding photographers who are on the lower end of the spectrum may bill between $500 and $2,000.

They tend to have a smaller portfolio, fewer hours of coverage, and less experience. Couples with a tight budget and who don’t require a lot of services can make this choice.

When compared to more expensive packages, expect fewer hours of coverage and maybe inferior photo quality.

Mid-Range

Couples who are looking for a typical photographer with a respectable portfolio and quality can choose this option.

Mid-range wedding photographers may charge around $2,000 and $4,000. Their services include more coverage time and images.

The coverage extends beyond just the wedding and reception such as ready shots, creative portraits, and moments throughout the day.

Additionally, they have extras like an online gallery, an album design consultation, or a second shooter.

High-End

This package generally includes full-day coverage, significant services, and a renowned photographer with a distinct style.

High-end wedding photographers usually charge around $4,000 to $10,000 or higher for their services.

These services include customized albums, prints, videography, or extra drone photography. They are also in high demand internationally and have a vast portfolio.

Related Reading > Different Ways of Making Money as a photographer.

Why Do Wedding Photographer Prices Vary- How Much to Expect?

Conventionally, wedding photographers are ranked at different levels based on their skills, reputation, experience, and portfolio.

These levels and their price ranges are discussed below.

Entry-level Photographer Price: $0-$500

Entry-level photographers are just starting in wedding photography and are not generally hired by wedding couples.

Due to their low-level skills, you may expect them to charge within the range of $0 to $500.

Do not expect them to have the experience, equipment, editing skills, and professional skills for photography. Hence, they won’t deliver high-quality photos or have reviews.

Beginner Photographers Price: $500-$1000

Beginner wedding photographers have learned some skills and acquired little experience in the field.

They have little equipment, basic editing skills, and the certainty to deliver decent photos.

However, the downside to choosing them is that they do not have a distinctive style and you might be unsatisfied with their work.

They charge between $500 and $1,000. When you check them out they may have a basic portfolio and reviews.

Amateur Photographer Price: $1000-$2000

Amateur photographers have a decent amount of experience in wedding photography. They are competent in their craft and have begun to create a sizable portfolio.

Charging between $1,000 and $2,000, amateur wedding photographers are a couples’ favorite for a low-end package.

Amateurs have better equipment, editing skills, and the professionalism to deliver good photos with a distinctive style.

Growing Amateur Photographer Price: $2000-$3000

They are a step above amateurs as they have the equipment, the editing skills, and the professionalism to deliver great photos for your wedding.

Expect a distinctive style in their portfolio, additionally, they may have some reviews or referrals as they have a lot of experience in wedding photography and are growing and expanding their craft.

They may charge between $2,000 and $3,000.

Professional Photographers Price: $3000-$5000

Wedding photographers who have tons of experience in wedding photography means they have established a reputation for themselves in the field.

Accordingly, they charge between $3,000 and $5,000.

Not to mention a lot of reviews and referrals, professional photographers have the needed equipment, editing skills, and others.

Luxury Photographers: $500-$10000 and Above

The highest of all are the luxury photographers who mostly charge around $5,000 to $10,000.

This is because they mostly deal with luxury photography services and they have experience in the field.

Moreover, their services are top-notch and they offer different services including videography, and drone photography, to mention but a few.

Top 10 Factors Affecting Wedding Photographer Cost

factors Affecting Average Wedding Photographer Cost

As mentioned earlier, several factors affect the price of wedding photography, such as

  • Experience and Expertise
  • Lifestyle of the Photographer
  • Location
  • Photography Package
  • Number of photographers
  • Time and Season
  • Travel Fees
  • Equipment and Insurance
  • Retouching and Editing
  • Online Gallery

Experience and Expertise:

For any professional wedding photographer, experience is central to their level package.

More experience and expertise in the field means they charge higher for their services. Additionally, they have a proven track record of delivering high-quality photos.

Depending on their level of experience, they might have a large portfolio of previous work.

Lifestyle of Photographer:

Another thing most people don’t pay attention to is the lifestyle of a photographer.

Most times, the expenses of a photographer including their cost of living, taxes, insurance, marketing, and others can influence the charges they will request for a service.

However, this can also influence the quality of their work and high demand in the market. In short word, a photographer with an expensive lifestyle might charge higher for their service.

Location:

The location of a photographer and the wedding affect the wedding photographer’s price. Different regions charge different prices for similar services.

The cost of living and the average income of residents in a region markup the amount.

For example, wedding photographers in urban areas like New York may charge more than those in rural areas like Ohio.

Photography Package:

This refers to the number of hours of coverage, the number of photos delivered, the type and size of prints or albums, the rights to the photos, and other extras during the wedding.

Hence, the amount and quality of services in a photographer’s package will lead them to charge higher for that package.

You may find photographers that have a basic, standard, and premium package.

Number of Photographers:

Depending on the size and complexity of the wedding and the client’s preference, one or more photographers might be required to capture more moments.

For a solo photographer to cover the entire wedding you’ll cut costs since it may be cheaper.

However, it also limits the coverage and the perspective of the photos.

Although choosing a second shooter to assist the main photographer is more expensive, it enhances the coverage and the perspective of the photos.

Time and Season:

Time and season affect wedding photographer costs in two major ways. The first is the peak wedding season which takes place usually from May to October.

During this time, photographers are in high demand and will charge more for their services.

The second is the off-season period when there are fewer weddings taking place, mostly around November to April. This season may be cheaper than the peak wedding season.

Travel Fees:

Travel fees are the additional payments you pay a photographer for traveling from their situated location with their equipment.

These costs cover their accommodation, food, tolls, and others. However, the travel fees vary depending on the distance and the mode of travel.

It’s better to choose a photographer in your region to reduce the amount of travel fee.

Equipment and Insurance:

The camera is the main equipment of a wedding photographer and requires protection and security due to how expensive they are.

The higher the experience and level of a photographer, the higher their camera quality. The camera is expensive and requires more maintenance.

Therefore, photographers take insurance for their equipment to cover any damages or losses that may occur during the wedding.

This protects their equipment and gives them peace of mind to cover your wedding extensively.

Retouching and Editing:

This is the post-production work the photographer does on the photos.

There’s the basic editing which is a simple standard adjustment that the photographer makes on the photos, such as cropping, resizing, color correction, and exposure correction.

On the other hand, advanced editing is a complex and customized enhancement that the photographer makes on the photos, whereby they remove blemishes, whiten teeth, smoothen skin, change backgrounds, and add effects.

Based on the level of editing, you might have to pay more for advanced editing and less for basic editing.

Online Gallery:

Adding an online gallery whereby the photographer uploads the pictures to a secure and private website where their client and their guests can view, share, and download the photos.

Having an online gallery may be free or may have a small fee, depending on the photographer’s policy and the duration of the gallery.

If there’s no online gallery you’re likely to receive the images on a physical medium, such as a USB drive or a DVD.

How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Make at Different Cities In the U.S.A

While you are planning to hire a photographer for your wedding, you must need to consider the average costs of wedding photographers in different cities.

Here, I’ll provide a brief overview of the average wedding photographer cost in various major cities across the United States.

New York

Due to the highest living cost in the New York City, The average is around $8000 – $12,000 you  need to spend for an 8-hours or 10-hours wedding day coverage.

Here is some of the expert photographer in NYC

  • Matthew Sowa: An internationally renowned, award-winning wedding photographer
  • Susan Stripling: Great for capturing your candid moments.
  • Jenny Fu
  • Joseph Lin

San Francisco

San Francisco is also a costly living city, also sees wedding photographer costs at a premium.

In this city the wedding photographers typically charge between $3,500 and $5,500.

Renowned and affordable wedding photographer in San Francisco

  • Sarah Peterson
  • Hershey K
  • Tiana Hunter

Los Angeles

Over in Los Angeles, wedding photographer costs can vary widely depending on the type of photographer and their experience.

However, the average cost for a wedding photographer ranges from $2,500 to $4,500.

Wedding photographer in Los Angeles you can hire for your wedding shoot.

  • Jessica Claire
  • Lin and Jirsa
  • Callaway Gable

Chicago

Wedding photography prices are slightly more affordable in Chicago than the other cities.

Here, you need to spend between $2,000 and $4,000 for a professional wedding photographer.

Here is the wedding photography vendors near your Chicago

  • Andrew Weeks Photography
  • Peter Gubernat Photography
  • Collin Pierson Photography

Dallas

Down in Dallas, Texas, wedding photographer prices are relatively more budget-friendly compared to other major cities.

The average wedding photographer cost in Dallas falls between $1,500 and $3,500.

The best wedding photographer near Dallas you can hire below

  • Sami Kathryn Photography
  • Rebecca Ellison Photography
  • Arlene Stepanian Photography
  • Amy Karp Photography

Denver

Denver’s wedding photography market offers a good balance between quality and affordability.

In this city, the average wedding photographer can cost ranges from $1,800 to $3,800.

Top wedding photography vendors in Denver you can hire below

  • Sarah Roshan Wedding Photographer
  • Lily & Lime
  • River and Root Photography

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, wedding photographer costs are quite reasonable compared to other densely populated cities.

You can find wedding photographers offering their services for an average cost of $1,500 to $3,000.

Houston

Lastly, Houston offers some of the most affordable wedding photography rates among the cities mentioned.

The average cost for a wedding photographer in Houston ranges from $1,500 to $2,500.

Keep these figures in mind when budgeting for your wedding photographer, and remember that costs can vary depending on factors such as the photographer’s experience and the scope of services provided.

How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Videographer For A Wedding?

Having a video of your wedding is a great choice for some couples. Hiring a videographer for a wedding is a great way to capture the emotions, sounds, and movements of your special day.

That aside, according to The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding videographer cost in the U.S. was $2,100, which is lower than the average wedding photographer cost.

However, just like the price of a wedding photographer, a wedding videographer’s price can range from $1,000 to $10,000, depending on the quality and quantity of the services and products that the videographer offers

FAQs

How much should you spend on wedding photography?

Depending on the budget of the couples, there’s no fixed amount to be allotted for wedding photography.

However, some couples do determine to allocate about 10% to 12% of their wedding budget for photography and videography.

Nonetheless, on average, most couples spend about $2,600 on photography.

Is spending $4,000 on a wedding photographer common?

No, Spending $4,000 on wedding photography is common especially when you hire a professional and reputable photographer who offers a comprehensive package.

Depending on what package and services you get, you may spend as low as $300 or as high as $10,000, or more.

Although spending $4,000 is within the higher end of the spectrum, the quality of service and pictures you get is phenomenal.

How much does a wedding photographer cost in DC?

According to Omar & Company, a professional wedding photography company in DC, the average cost of a wedding photographer in the DC area is $4,000, with a range of $1,000 to over $10,000.

Therefore, before getting a photographer in DC, research, compare your options, and communicate your expectations with the wedding photographer.

Do you need to tip a wedding photographer?

Tipping is not mandatory, but it’s a nice gesture to show for their service.

Depending on the quality of work and your budget, you may tip the photographer to show your appreciation.

Typically, wedding photographers are tipped between $50-$200, or 10 percent of their rate.