How Much Should I Pay for a Wedding Photographer?

Wedding Planning

The question everyone is asking… and no one wants to answer. I’m spilling the tea in this post!

“How much should I pay for a wedding photographer?” The question you’ve wanted to ask, but never felt confident actually saying out loud.

Let’s start by acknowledging that talking about your investment in anything – from wedding vendors to a new home – shouldn’t be so secretive. You can find yourself in a bad situation if you’re not allowed to ask important questions before investing… especially in something as important as a wedding photographer!

According to, you can expect to spend between $1,000 and $10,000 on your wedding photographer.

While that may feel like a huge range, there are so many variables that go into determining the investment point that it’s hard to narrow it down much more.

Instead of focusing on a specific price point, let’s dig into what you’re paying for and what’s worth investing in.

Bride and Groom walk thru a bubble tunnel-How Much Should I Pay for a Wedding Photographer?

Experience Matters – and Costs More

Typically the more experience a wedding photographer has, the more their service will cost. That’s because a good photographer invests in their own education and refines their skills year over year – so you get a better experience and result.

The flip side of this can be dangerous.

A wedding photographer with little to no experience may offer their services at a significantly reduced cost. (We sometimes see offers as low as $300 for an entire wedding! This is red flag.)

I suggest focusing more on the experience and portfolio of a wedding photographer, and less on the overall investment if you want to receive the best photos!

What’s Included in a Wedding Photographer’s Price?

When you hire a photographer, the job can seem pretty straightforward. They show up, take your photos, and then send them to you. (I wish!)

What’s really happening behind the scenes tends to really surprise people who aren’t familiar with photography!

The investment you make in your wedding photographer includes:

  • Updated equipment (a single lens can cost anywhere between $500 and $20,000!)
  • PhotoShop or editing suite license
  • Continuing education classes
  • Mileage and gas to and from locations
  • Photo accessories – flashes, memory cards, backup batteries, etc.
  • Second shooter
  • Online gallery hosting
  • Small business taxes
  • Emailing, texting, and calling to book your session and plan your wedding
  • Creating a custom timeline for each wedding
  • 8-12 hours of shooting during the wedding
  • 10+ hours of culling galleries and editing photos
  • Final image delivery

And honestly so much more…

We love what we do – and it’s important that you realize how much work happens behind the scenes!

So… How Much Should I Pay for a Wedding Photographer?

My honest answer? You should pay enough to get the high-quality experience and timeless images you deserve.

If we’re talking in real numbers? If you’re in the midwest, you should budget at least $3,500. Increase that number if you want your photographer to be there from the time you get ready to the time you run through that sparkler exit you’ve been dreaming about.

Your wedding photos are the only lasting memory you’ll have of your wedding! (Unless you invest in a wedding video, which we highly recommend and actually offer!) These are the images that will hang on the walls of your home forever. When your kids demand to know why they weren’t at your wedding (they get so upset when they learn this fact!), these are the pictures you’ll share to tell your love story.

Your wedding photos matter.

The experience matters, too! You’ll spend more time with your wedding photographer than almost anyone else on your wedding day. You want to find someone you feel comfortable with, who makes your day better.

Instead of concentrating on the investment, prioritize finding an experienced photographer who captures images in a style you love and who you connect with on a personal level.

And if you’re looking for an experienced photographer who takes authentic, bright, and electric images – we should chat!



FOLLOW ALONG @Studio1534_