These price ranges are not set in stone, they’re averages. You can spend $12k total with someone who starts at $3000 for a wedding. Nothing is exactly fixed because there are so many factors that go into you and your experience as a client. These are generalizations and not to be taken as gospel. Sometimes you truly can get a “good deal” but you’re assuming more of a risk. The saying “you get what you pay for” comes to mind when talking about wedding photography pricing.
Something to remember when considering a wedding photographer. You are not just paying for someone to take photos for you. You are paying for someone who invests in themselves, their business, their camera equipment and their education to continue learning to create an even better experience every time they show up! They’re investing in equipment, education, software, and tangible heirlooms for your wedding photography experience.
Something else to consider: What comes in the wedding package?
Is the photographer just showing up, taking photos and leaving? Is an engagement session included? A wedding album, wall art, second shooters? High quality prints? Will the photographer help me with my timeline? All things that will raise the overall price of a wedding package. Your photographer is spending many hours creating an amazing experience for you.
Expertise is the ability of a given photographer to handle any wedding. Weddings have many different lighting scenarios and challenges that come along with that. A dark reception requires certain equipment and so does direct sunlight in the middle of the afternoon. Do you trust this person to capture every important moment even if the lighting changes? Can they think quickly on their feet and capture whatever may happen? Are they willing to provide full galleries to show how they capture every part of the day? Also, don’t forget the experience they’re able to offer beyond just taking photographs. Because remember - these things matter too! Communication all the way up to your day and communication after. Also, do they have proper backups for your photos and their camera gear? Unfortunately equipment fails on occasion and having multiple backups is important!
Style is subjective but certain styles are more en vogue than others. They’re also often tied to the way photographers approach the day. Some styles may lean more towards creating extravagantly posed artistic photographs of a married couple. Some may lean more towards capturing a couples story exactly as it is. Others may fall somewhere in between photojournalism and fashion. There’s a million approaches, and every photographer is a little different. This can apply to how things are shot and how they are edited. The demand for any particular style will help dictate that price as well just like any other industry.
It all boils down to what you value, what you want and what you need. No two couples are the same and no two photographers are exactly the same. You may have found a $800 photographer that you absolutely adore, awesome! Maybe you found someone for $10k and you’re obsessed. Are they in your budget? Awesome!
If you remember one thing from this article remember this - wedding photos are the one thing you will pay for that go beyond the day (besides those rings!). The dress, the decor, the food, all of that is gone once the day is over. Invest in what is going to be shown to your grandkids one day. Figure out what it is you value about wedding photography, and go from there. There’s no average. You can spend as little or as much as you like. This is your wedding, invest in what you value.
At the end of the day, does the photographer provide the trust, personality, product, experience and quality you want at a price that you can work with? If they check all your boxes, then you’re good to go!