So, you’ve started looking at wedding photography prices and you’re like HOLY CRAP that’s a big number. And it’s kinda scary to be honest. You’re entrusting this person to document one of the most important days and you have all this planning and coordinating to do. It’s seriously overwhelming and I feel for you.
So, I wanted to write this blog post to give you a little more insight into wedding photography pricing and so you can better understand the numbers when picking your wedding photographer. Everything you’re going to read is strictly my own opinion and from my own experience. If you have any questions please never hesitate to ask! I’m a firm believer in you get what you pay for and quality over quantity always.
Bottom line. Photographers with more experience can charge more and that is because you’re partly paying for their experience and your own for that matter. An experienced photographer has most likely helped photograph hundreds of weddings in ALL different types of scenarios. I’m talking about different lighting, aesthetics, color palettes, places, family backgrounds ALL of the things. Think of it like a personal trainer. Someone that’s been a personal trainer for years has a lot more experience, schooling, and probably certificates which allow them the ability to charge more than a new trainer fresh off their certification looking for new clients. Don’t get me wrong everyone has to start somewhere but it is something you may want to consider.
This speaks to their own experiences photographing wedding and your own. Typically a photographer with more experience is going to provide you with a greater experience as well too.
I hate to say it but it depends on your market just like real estate. If the cost of living in your area is a lot higher than other parts of the country photographers are people too and have bills to pay just like you. Now that doesn’t mean they should charge you an arm and a leg but your market does matter.
Here in the Bay Area, I would say we have a couple of different markets that vary with the price. First, some people are just really good and lower priced because they can be. There’s the Napa/Sonoma market for higher-end more luxury style weddings typically needing a team of people to put together their day. There’s the SF city hall market for the classic couple that wants to “elope” but keep it low key and beautiful. And the list goes on but, what’s important to remember is that certain styles of photography fit into these markets and therefore their pricing fits into these markets as well.
Super super important that you make sure your photographer has insurance. This means liability insurance, gear insurance, all of the different things. Some venues need proof of the insurance for your photographer to be able to shoot there anyway. Because if they don’t then you should move on to someone that does.
Back- Ups Systems
SUPER FRICKIN’ IMPORTANT. Mostly for you because you’re paying all of this money for this bomb a** party and for someone to capture said party you better know that they have the proper systems in place so that you will receive a full gallery of photos.
This means that their camera’s shoot with dual card slots, they upload your photos to two hard-drives or more, maybe throw in some cloud storage because ya never know. You don’t need them to explain their whole entire process to you but you should now that they do have one in place to keep your memories safe.
Sometimes photographers add this into their pricing (me) sometimes they don’t. This means depending on where your venue is located you may have to pay X amount per mile which would be stated in your contract. Or perhaps you’re hiring a photographer from a different state or even across the country they might charge you a separate fee for airfare, room, rental car, food, etc. So, it never hurts to ask if it’s not clearly listed in their prices.
Taxes also fall into this fee category and depending on the state laws they may or may not be included in the pricing. In California as long as no physical product is being delivered as a part of your coverage package we don’t have to charge a sales tax and federal tax can be included in our price. However, if I were to include an album in my pricing then I would need to pay tax on the entire package which means you would need to pay tax on the entire package as well.
However, some states like Arizona don’t let you include tax in pricing. For example, my prices include tax so I automatically take a percentage out and put it aside for me to pay taxes on. In Arizona, though that’s not possible, a photographer has to add the tax on after their photography package pricing.
Wedding Photography Prices What You May Not Realize
Everyone has a budget that they need to stick to most likely and I 100% realize that not everyone may be able to afford a $5000 photographer but you still want to have the best photos and best experience possible. Something you may want to realize price also comes with an experience. Not just the photographer’s experience shooting your wedding but also the experience you have working with them. How they communicate with you, how they deliver your photos, how professional they are with your other vendors etc.
Photographers spend so much time doing so many different things that you probably don’t even realize and it’s not just simply showing up and snapping some photos. It’s a legit business that has operating costs, standard operating procedures, and a salary to pay. Sometimes our brains have like 500 different tabs open at once.
So, when looking at wedding photography prices try not just to see the number but the value that a photographer may be providing you. We love all of our clients and are so grateful that we get to do what we love and seriously have the best job ever!
Let me know if you have any other questions about wedding photography prices or maybe even my prices! Always here to help. 🙂 Wedding photography prices don’t have to be scary. Some other helpful blogs you might want to check out are wedding photography coverage and do you need two photographers?