The average cost for a wedding photographer is $250 per hour. Hiring a wedding photographer to capture your big day, you will likely spend between $100 and $400 per hour. The price of wedding photography can vary greatly by region (and even by zip code). View our local wedding photographers or get free estimates from pros near you.
A wedding—one of the biggest celebrations of your life. It’s also the event that needs the best photographer, because twenty, fifty years down the road, your photos may be the only reminders of it you’ll have.
Before you start, ask yourself this:Where will these photos be seen years from now? Will these photos live in an online album, be on a coffee table, or hang on the wall? How important is the quality?
Ultimately, the answers to those questions should help you decide what your budget is.
Some wedding photographers charge by the hour, some by the event. Ultimately the price they offer will include the equipment they use, travel time, length of wedding, number of people, years of experience, post production time, and tangible products like albums and photo frames. You’re not just paying for the hours of taking photos.
On average, photography with a second shooter and all the images for a five-hour wedding will cost $2,500-$5,000.
Leah Marie Photography in Raleigh, NC, charges by the wedding, and her prices start at $2,500.
Happy Gatherings in Wayland, MA, has an à la carte fee of $300-400/hour, but she says less demanding events can be priced lower. Her wedding collection pricing begins at $3,500.
Wedding photography can also be as low at $1,250.
(Second Shooters): $50-$75 more/hour
An additional photographer is often needed at weddings to take the extra shots a single photographer simply cannot be there for.
Even if another photographer is not needed, a photographer will often hire an assistant to, for instance, hold reflectors for family shots or carry equipment. Simply put, if you don’t have two photographers for your wedding, important moments can be missed forever.
Hiring a professional photographer for a wedding will always cost more than a simple hourly fee because of the travel time and costs of packing up and or renting equipment.
The higher the headcount, the higher the cost as well, because it’s difficult for one photographer to get everyone meant to be in each photo to cooperate. There is also the communication time with sending each attendee photos and having them want changes or more options.
The photographer also has to take into account what the lighting is like at the event center, and usually has to make a special trip there in advance to know what he or she is dealing with.
A "Plan B" also needs to be made if weddings are outdoors and there is a chance of inclement weather, with appropriate lighting prep made for that too.
Most couples don’t just want photographs of the wedding. So much effort is going into making this a special day that it makes sense to capture every possible moment of the lead up to it and the days after.
Scala Photography in Vancouver, WA, offers one hour of photography with two outfit changes for $199. This price includes a DVD or USB of images.
Songbird Weddings in Austin, TX, charges $400 for an engagement or bridal session.
Captured Moments by Christine in Victoria, TX, charges $200 for the first hour and $100 for each hour after that. This price includes a downloadable album with all the images. RG Insights in Maryland Heights, MO, charges a flat fee of $100/hour for all noncommercial work.
From $250/hour plus travel expenses and travel time
Fly the photographer to your honeymoon resort and capture photos of your first days together as a married couple. Payment per hour of travel time is usually half of the photographer’s cost to shoot per hour.
A few photographers also specialize in videography, such as Long Walk Productions in Rock Hill, SC; and HD Perfect™ Photo & Video in Nashville, TN, which wedding and commercial clients have appreciated. Others, like Brick House Images in Oakland, CA, offer hair and makeup services for an extra charge.
When it comes to wedding photography, there is always more to pay for than just the photoshoot time because the end goal is to have prints or digital copies.
Before you even meet with a photographer, list everything you would like included in the quote and you should find the overall price dropping per item as you go.
When a photographer quotes a “from $x up” price, you might only get one photo out of it, like one useable family shot or one 8x10 of the happy couple. Alternatively, the highest price can include plenty of products you don’t care for, like that same couple’s photo on a mug or t-shirt.
Simply put, the more you know what you want up front, the better your package deal will be. Most photographers are happy to work out a custom quote for you.
Many photographers are self-taught, while others, for example the main photographer at Happy Gatherings in Wayland, MA, has studied photography at New England Institute of Professional Photography and taken workshops with many top wedding photographers. He has owned Happy Gatherings for 22 years and photographed 700+ weddings and events. His average price is $300-$400/hour.
Another example is James Corwin in St. Petersburg, FL, who is a graduate of a photography school in California and now an instructor at Ringling College, with a long history of being the chief photographer of various magazines and travel companies. His basic rate is $100/hour for everything he does.
It is unlikely for any photographer to send photos that haven’t been digitally processed in Photoshop or other software to enhance lighting, skin tone, etc. Once that’s done, the cost per photo will usually reflect the additional time taken to prepare the photo collection.
In order of average cost, photos can be delivered in a number of ways:
A photography always owns the copyright to your photos, just like an author owns the copyright to a book he or she writes, and you will find very few willing to include the copyright to yours without a huge additional cost.
Let us know about your needs so we can bring you the right pros.
Get matched with multiple pros that meet your exact needs.
Compare pros, ask questions, and hire only when ready.