Wedding Guide 2023: How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost?

jennifer skulski wedding hashers guest author

Jennifer Skulski

Published: Dec 7, 2021

Last Updated: Sep 22, 2023

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As you begin planning your wedding day budget, you’ll eventually be asking yourself how much does a wedding photographer cost?

Let’s break down the cost of a wedding photographer and go over all the details you need to know and the questions you need to ask prior to hiring your big-day photographer.

How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost? The Breakdown

The average cost of a wedding photographer can range between $2,500 to $5,000.

If you’re curious about how much a photographer costs on the cheaper side, you could find a photographer for around $1,000.

A higher-end wedding photographer, on the other hand, could cost $10,000 or more. The pricing will greatly depend upon the package or coverage you and your partner are most interested in.

In terms of your overall budget, on average your wedding photography will take up around 12% of your total wedding budget. For a more thorough breakdown of your wedding expenses, you can view the chart from our previous article on the perfect wedding budget.

price of a wedding photographer chart

Factors Of Wedding Photography Pricing [With Infographic]

In order to answer the question, “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” you’ll first need to consider all the factors that’ll affect the overall pricing. 

1. Shoot Time

Typically, the longer your shoot time, the more you’ll have to pay for your wedding photography.

The number of hours you want to hire a photographer can range from a one-hour session to cover solely the ceremony or courthouse wedding to a 12-hour session to cover the whole evening. If you’re looking for a photographer to capture candid photos of the buildup to the ceremony, the ceremony itself, then the reception-most couples book this type of photographer for around 10 hours.

wedding photographer for winter event

2. Travel Time

The travel time, or how far the wedding photographers have to travel to get to your event, will also affect how much a photographer costs.

Furthermore, if your ceremony and reception are also far from each other, this may also increase the overall price of the service.

3. Prints Or Digital Photos?

Wedding photographers will often have different packages.

You’ll need to consider how you want your wedding day photos delivered when your big day is through.

Are you looking for prints of your photos, digital copies, or both?

4. Extra Shoots Such As Engagement Photo Shoots

Preparing for and executing your wedding day is an important milestone in your lives and you may wish to capture these moments with extra photo shoots. If you’re planning on having an engagement photoshoot or a pre-wedding day photoshoot, this will in turn increase your overall wedding photography budget.

engagement photography

5. Purchasing A Wedding Album

Your wedding photographer may include a wedding album as part of their service or this may be an additional cost.

If you’re interested in a professionally curated wedding album to capture your lovely memories, prepare to pay a bit more.

6. Including Your Wedding Hashtag In The Package

Your photographer could also include your wedding hashtag as part of the package in order to ensure you and your partner have a special, personalized tag to post all your professional wedding photos under once your big day is through.

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7. Retouching Or Editing Your Photos

Anytime extra work needs to be done for the shoots or editing needs to be done to your photos, you should expect a higher price.

If you want your wedding day photos to be retouched or edited in any way, you’ll likely pay more for the service or package.

retouching wedding photos cost

8. Number Of Photographers

Having more than one wedding photographer can be a great way to ensure that every moment gets captured.

Not only will you have double the photos, but you’ll also get your wedding day from a variety of different angles.

If you’d like more than one photographer, or if your photographer is part of a team or needs an assistant, this service will cost more than if you hired a solo photographer.

how much does a wedding photographer cost: infographic

How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost: Insight From Professional Photographers

As you start looking for a photographer, you’re going to see a wide range of pricing. One factor to consider is this: how much value is that photographer adding to your wedding day? Are they quick to reply and a reliable part of your team? Or will you not hear much from them, if at all, between booking and the big day? I want my couples to feel like they got way more than just a photographer when they choose to work with me.”

-Wedding Photographer, Christy Hunter

“One main reason why couples should hire a professional photographer is so family members and guests can enjoy the moment.  They will also have a comfort in knowing everything will be well documented and the images would be the highest quality.”

-Wedding Photographer, Michael Chansley

“Having a professional photograph your big day can really put your mind at ease knowing that these moments are all being beautifully captured. Make sure that you connect not only with the photographer’s artistic style but also with their personality because they are going to be with you all day. Having that combination of artistic trust and genuine connection is priceless!” 

-Wedding Photographer, Heather McBride

Questions To Ask The Photographer When Hiring

As you begin to do your research as to which wedding photographer you should hire, it’s important to have some questions on hand to ensure their service matches your vision and your budget. Here are the most important questions to ask your wedding photographer:

  • Is my wedding date available?
  • Will you have any assistants with you?
  • How much experience do you have and what are your specialties?
  • Do you have any albums I can take a look at for examples?
  • If an emergency comes up, who will be your backup?
  • Can I customize any of the packages you offer?
  • What’s your working style?
  • How long will it take for me to receive my photos after the wedding?
  • Can I see a contract?

How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost: Frequently Asked Questions

wedding photography fees

Do I need to tip my wedding photographer?

When it comes to the question of, “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” you’ll be paying a few thousand dollars for the service, but this does not include a tip.

As a general rule, you don’t need to tip photographers if they own their own business, but if this isn’t the case, it is nice to tip them around $50.

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How far in advance should I hire my wedding photographer?

Wedding photographers can book up quickly, so you’ll want to hire your photographer 9 or 12 months in advance. If you’re planning your nuptials during the busy wedding season, you’ll want to book your photographer practically as soon as you’ve settled on a date and venue. 

Do I need to provide a meal for my photographer?

Yes, all vendors who are attending and working during your wedding reception should be provided with a meal, including your wedding photographer and any assistants. You’ll want to add these vendors to your headcount as you finalize the number of plates that need to be prepared and served. 

Find Your Photographer!

Ultimately, determining “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” will depend on the service, quality, and time commitment you’re searching for in your photographer.

Once you and your partner have decided on a wedding date and location, it’s time to start looking for a photographer, ask them questions to ensure they can fit your needs, then hire them well in advance.

By doing your research, comparisons, and negotiations, you can definitely find a fitting wedding photographer that matches both your needs and budget.

If considering how much a wedding photographer costs is a bit overwhelming, make sure you set your photography budget ahead of time then recall the various factors that may increase or decrease your service costs.

And remember: a bit of negotiation can go a long way, in keeping your wedding costs within your budget.


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