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A couple in their late 20s researching wedding photographer packages in their living room.

Wedding Photographer Cost Guide & How Much Should You Pay

A couple in their late 20s researching wedding photographer packages in their living room.

Feeling overwhelmed by the cost of a wedding photographer? Researching the average wedding photographer cost in your area might help. It’s completely understandable—planning a wedding is stressful, and budget concerns can make it even tougher to pay for my wedding. Did you know nearly 90% of couples spend around $2,900 on wedding photography, emphasizing the importance of budgeting for how much a wedding photographer costs? We’re here to help you navigate these costs and find the perfect photographer for your special day, keeping in mind your wedding photography budget and how much do wedding photographers cost.

Keep reading—we’ve got all the details!

Key Takeaways

  • Wedding photography costs typically range from $2,000 to $20,000 based on the photographer’s experience and region.
  • Coverage hours, engagement photos, digital files, and physical albums are often included in a wedding photography package, helping determine how much do wedding photographers cost.
  • Additional expenses such as travel fees for out-of-town photographers and hiring a second shooter can add significant costs.
  • Assessing a photographer’s portfolio and reading reviews help ensure the chosen style matches your vision and they have reliable service.
  • Engagement photo sessions usually cost between $300 to $600 but may be included at no extra charge if bundled with the wedding day package, affecting how much do wedding photographers cost.

Understanding Wedding Photography Pricing

A couple comparing wedding photography packages online in a low-quality photo posted on Facebook in 2019.

Understanding Wedding Photography Pricing:

The cost of wedding photography depends on many things. We can expect prices to change based on the photographer’s skill, location, and package details.

Factors that influence costs

Photographer’s experience level impacts cost. More experienced photographers charge higher rates—sometimes double what beginners ask. Another big factor is location. Prices vary by region; places like New York and San Francisco cost a lot more than smaller towns, affecting how much you pay for my wedding photographer.

Coverage hours also matter. Most weddings need at least 8 hours of coverage, and weekend demand can raise prices further. Finally, travel costs add up too, especially for destination weddings or if your event requires the photographer to stay overnight.


A good snapshot stops a moment from running away, especially when taken by a photographer to capture every wedding detail. — Eudora Welty


Now let’s look at typical price ranges…

Typical price ranges

Sure, we know that understanding wedding photography pricing can be a bit overwhelming. Let’s break it down with some typical price ranges you might expect to see per wedding photographer…


Price Range Description
Under $2,000 Budget-friendly options, often from newer photographers or those building their portfolios.
$3,000 – $5,000 Mid-range photographers with solid experience and good reviews provide a balanced option when figuring out much should I spend on a wedding photographer.
$6,000 – $9,000 Experienced photographers with a strong portfolio and advanced offerings often come at a higher average wedding photographer cost.
$10,000 – $20,000 High-end services with extensive experience and possibly additional team members.
$25,000+ Luxury photographers with exclusive packages, often working on high-profile events.


Prices vary by region, affecting the average cost of a wedding. Manhattan, for instance, averages $8,000 to $10,000, while the Midwest generally sees lower costs. Consider these ranges when budgeting for your wedding photos…

What’s Typically Included in Wedding Photography Packages?

Wedding photography packages often come with several perks. They usually include hours of coverage, engagement photos, and digital files in their packages, potentially raising the average wedding photographer cost.

Hours of coverage

Coverage hours greatly impact a wedding photographer’s cost. We can often adjust these hours to fit our budget, allowing us to pay for only the time we need. Most photographers offer packages that start with around 6-8 hours and go up to full-day coverage, catering to various wedding budgets.

Booking more time does increase the price, especially on weekends due to high demand.


Weekend rates tend to cost more because of higher demand.


It’s important to consider how many moments you want captured—like getting ready, the ceremony, and reception highlights. Many photographers also offer optional additional hours if our celebration runs longer than expected.

This lets us customize how long they’ll be there without overpaying upfront.

Engagement photos

Engagement photos are often part of wedding photography packages. These photos let us capture special moments before the big day. They also help us feel comfortable in front of the camera, which is something important to look for in a wedding photographer.

Engagement sessions usually last for about 1-2 hours and can include multiple locations, often being included in a wedding package.

Photographers may offer additional services like coverage for the rehearsal dinner or the option to hire a wedding photographer and videographer together. digital copies or prints as part of the package, helping you decide how much should I spend. The average cost for engagement photos The cost of a wedding photographer is around $300 to $600, but prices vary based on location and photographer experience, reflecting the broader cost of living.

Some photographers might even include this service at no extra charge when booking them for our wedding day.

Digital and physical deliverables

These deliverables vary widely based on the photographer’s package. Most photographers give digital sneak peek files so we can quickly share them with friends and family. They might send photos as organized albums, online galleries, or USB drives.

Photo albums are popular too and used for beautiful prints or canvas galleries—perfect for gifts or holiday cards. We usually receive these photos 3 to 12 weeks after our wedding day.

Additional Expenses to Consider

Some expenses, such as the average wedding photographer cost, might sneak up on us. Think about travel costs, second shooters, and special prints, and look for in a wedding photographer who offers these services.

Travel and accommodation for the photographer

Travel and accommodation can add to the overall cost of a wedding photographer. If we choose someone from outside our area, they might need a place to stay, adding to our overall wedding budget and making it tougher to pay for my wedding. This could mean paying for their hotel room or other lodging.

Many photographers include these expenses in their quotes, making it easier to understand how much to pay per wedding.

If our wedding venue is far from the photographer’s home, we may also have travel costs. These can cover gas, flights, or even car rentals. It’s important to ask about these fees upfront so there are no surprises later on.

Second shooter costs

Hiring a wedding photographer or videographer can capture all your special moments. second shooter adds $200 to $500 to the total wedding photography cost. Some photographers include this in their package, while others charge extra. A second shooter captures more moments and angles, offering different perspectives of your wedding day, but consider how much should you invest in these additional services.

More photographers mean better coverage, especially for large weddings or events with many guests, and ensuring an experienced wedding photographer to capture every moment. This ensures not only candid shots but also spontaneous moments from various parts of the venue.

It’s essential to check if this service is part of your chosen package or requires an additional fee.

Albums and special prints

Albums and special prints can make your wedding memories tangible, which is a crucial part of what should be included in a wedding photography budget. We can get photos in organized albums, online galleries, or USB drives. Albums usually have a mix of candid shots and posed pictures, telling the story of our day and making a comprehensive wedding photo album.

Special prints include canvas galleries or gifts like holiday cards. These can be great for decorating our home or giving to family members as keepsakes. With these options, we don’t just store digital files but also enjoy beautiful physical pieces that last for years down the line.

Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Look at their portfolio and see if you like their style, which is a key point to look for in a wedding photographer. It should match what you want. Read reviews from other couples—these can tell you a lot about the experience and quality, helping with wedding planning decisions and assessing how much to pay for my wedding photographer.

Check references to ensure they are reliable and look for in a wedding photographer.

Assessing the photographer’s portfolio and style

Assess the photographer’s portfolio first. Check if their style fits your vision for the wedding. Do they capture moments naturally, or is their approach more staged? Look at full galleries, not just highlights.

This gives a better idea of consistency in quality.

We also need to see how well they handle different lighting conditions and settings. Notice details like clarity and composition. It helps to compare portfolios on platforms like The Knot Marketplace Where we can filter based on services, price, and style, making it easier to find how much to pay per wedding.

Reading reviews and checking references

Reading reviews helps us know more about a photographer. Sierra, based in New England, offers personal insights and packages for every wedding. Candid Studios boasts over 92% five-star reviews and has won ten awards, indicating how much do wedding photographers cost and how they can impact your special day.

These numbers tell us they are reliable.

Checking references gives a clear picture of past work. We should contact recent clients to ask about their experiences. This way, we get honest feedback and can make better choices for our wedding day, including how much should you invest in a photographer.


Wedding photographer costs can vary widely. You might spend from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on your wedding budget and how much does a wedding photographer cost. The average price is around $2,500 to $4,000 in the U.S. Remember to factor in additional expenses like travel and second shooters when figuring out much should I spend.

Choosing the right photographer involves reviewing portfolios and reading reviews.


Q: How much do wedding photographers cost?

A: Wedding photographer costs can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, and the services included. On average, couples in the US can expect to pay between $1,000 to $3,000 for a professional wedding photographer. Prices can go higher for more experienced photographers or additional services.

Q: What is included in a wedding photographer’s cost?

A: In general, a wedding photographer’s cost usually includes coverage of the wedding day, edited high-resolution photos, and a photo gallery. Some packages may also include engagement photos, a second photographer, or additional prints and albums.

Q: How much should you invest in wedding photography?

A: The amount you invest in wedding photography depends on your budget and priorities. It’s recommended to allocate around 10-15% of your total wedding budget for photography. Investing in a good photographer is important as wedding photos are a lasting memory of your special day.

Q: Should I hire a wedding photographer or a videographer?

A: Both wedding photography and videography are important for capturing different aspects of your wedding day. If budget allows, hiring both a photographer and videographer can ensure you have a comprehensive collection of memories. If you have to choose one, consider which format you value more – photos or videos.

Q: How much does a wedding photographer for an average wedding cost?

A: For an average wedding with around 100-150 guests, the cost of a wedding photographer can range from $2,000 to $3,500. This price may include 8-10 hours of coverage, edited photos, and possibly an engagement session. Prices may differ based on location and photographer’s experience.

Q: How much should I pay for my wedding photographer?

A: The amount you should pay for a wedding photographer depends on your budget and the photographer’s experience. It’s advisable to research local photographers, review their portfolios, and consider your wedding photography priorities before deciding on a budget. Remember that quality photography is an investment in capturing your special day.

Q: What are the average wedding photography costs in 2023?

A: Wedding photography costs can vary each year, but in 2023, couples can expect to pay around $2,500 to $3,000 for a professional wedding photographer. Prices may fluctuate based on market trends, equipment upgrades, and photographers’ skill levels.


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