One of the most popular questions I get asked is how much do I charge, what are my packages, can you work with X budget, etc.
Sometimes even before a couple asks me if I’m available on their wedding date, the pricing question comes up first. And I understand why, it is a very important question. For many of us the cash flow isn’t endless!
When budgeting for your wedding photography there are a few factors to work through first:
What do you need/want?
Wedding Photography packages come in a variety of hours and a plethora of bells + whistles: second photographer, disc/USB of images, photo albums, canvas prints, engagement or bridal sessions, on and on…
Some photographers charge by the hour and offer additional services a la carte while others have set packages. Most wedding photography packages are priced to include time investment: sometimes before your wedding, on your wedding and after. Photographing is a time commitment.
When collecting pricing from photographers, make sure to ask for all of the services and products you’ll need.
Not all photographers are made the same. We don’t all photograph the same, edit the same and definitely do not have the same personality. We are artists and take pride in our craft.
Meet with the photographer(s) you are interested in photographing your wedding. Meet in-person or have a phone conversation, make sure this is someone you’d be okay to be around for 8 hours and to take care of capturing this new chapter in your life.
How much does experience mean to you?
Just like we are not all made the same, we all have different experiences. 12 years, 6 years, 2 years, 25 years…how much do those numbers mean to you? No matter how many years a photographer has been in the game, mishaps do happen, but a season veteran will know how to handle them, often times without missing a beat. There’s also something to be said about the new photographers, if my early clients didn’t take a chance on me, I wouldn’t be here 🙂 Either way, experience can impact how much photographers charge.
(The quality of equipment, insurance coverage and taxes are other pieces that factor into pricing.)
The truth is it’s hard to compare apples to apples when looking at wedding packages offered by different photographers, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t find a budget that works for your needs.
In 2014, the average wedding cost was just over $31,000 with the average spend on wedding photography at little over $2,500. That’s just an average…from two years ago. As mentioned above many other factors go into that, including location.
The “golden rule” for a wedding photography budget is 10% – 15% of your overall wedding budget. I’ve had couples that stick to this rule and I’ve couples that see photography as a larger priority. To each their own.
You’ll find photographers that charge $500 all the way up to $5000+ (remember we’re not all made the same). Go through the questions above, think about what you need/want and what’s important to you.
Ultimately, here’s what it all boils down to: Photography is an investment. It’s an investment for something that lives past one day. These are moments you may never even see happen or remember on your wedding day, but have a lifetime to relive.