Ashburn, VA

How much does a wedding photographer cost?

$1,600 – $3,600 average total cost
$175 – $500 average cost per hour

Get free estimates from wedding photographers near you, or view our cost guide below.

January 26, 2022

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert wedding photographers on Fash.

Average wedding photographer cost

An average wedding photographer costs $1,600 to $3,600, with most couples spending around $2,500. Wedding photography prices range from $700 to $10,000, depending on the package, add-ons, location, and number of photographers. Wedding photographers charge $175 to $500 per hour.

Average wedding photographer cost - chart
Average wedding photographer cost - chart

Average wedding photographer cost
National average cost $2,500
Minimum cost $500
Maximum cost $10,000
Average cost range $1,600 to $3,600

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.


Wedding photography prices and packages

Wedding photography prices range from $700 to $10,000 or more, depending on the package, experience, location, and add-ons. Most photographers offer a la carte pricing for package add-ons such as a second shooter, rehearsal dinner coverage, albums, and prints.

Wedding photography prices
Package Average cost Items included
Elopement $700 – $1,200
  • 1 photographer
  • 2 to 3 hours
  • Retouched digital files, with printing rights
Basic $1,300 – $2,300
  • 1 photographer
  • 4 to 6 hours
  • Retouched digital files, with printing rights
Standard $2,300 – $3,500
  • 1 or 2 photographers
  • 8 hours
  • Retouched digital files, with printing rights
  • Limited number of prints
Deluxe $3,500 – $5,500
  • 2 photographers
  • 10 hours
  • Retouched digital files, with printing rights
  • Photo album
  • Engagement photo shoot
Luxury $5,500 – $10,000
  • 2 photographers
  • 10 to 12+ hours
  • Retouched digital files, with printing rights
  • Heirloom quality album
  • Engagement photo shoot
  • Rehearsal dinner coverage
  • Bonus items (parent albums, canvas print, photo booth)

Wedding photographer capturing the perfect moment of bride and groom
Wedding photographer capturing the perfect moment of bride and groom

Wedding photographer cost per hour

Wedding photographers charge $175 to $500 per hour of event time, with a minimum of 2 to 4 hours. Hourly rates are higher for shorter sessions. Hourly rates are not as common as fixed package prices.

Hourly rates can be misleading because pre-wedding planning and post-production editing often take the photographer two to three times as long as the event itself.

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Beginner vs. professional wedding photographer prices

Professional wedding photographer prices are $3,000 to $10,000 on average. Beginner photographers charge $1,000 or less as they are still gaining experience.

Beginner vs. professional wedding photographer prices
Level Price range Experience
Beginner $500 – $1,000
  • A hobbyist who is just starting out
  • May have shot only a few weddings
Semi-pro $1,000 – $3,000
  • 1 to 3 years of experience
  • Has shot 20+ weddings
  • May not solely focus on wedding photography
Professional $3,000 – $6,000
  • 4 to 7 years of full-time experience
  • Has shot 100+ weddings
  • Specific photography style and extensive photo editing experience
Top photographer $6,000 – $10,000
  • 8 to 10 years of full-time experience
  • Has shot hundreds of weddings
  • In high demand for their unique photography style or reputation

First dance photo taken by professional wedding photographer
First dance photo taken by professional wedding photographer

Wedding photography price list by location

Wedding photographer prices are typically higher in major cities and on the west coast.

Wedding photography price list by location
City, State Average cost
Atlanta, GA $2,500 – $4,500
Austin, TX $3,000 – $7,000
Bridgeport, CT $2,500 – $4,500
Chicago, IL $3,500 – $7,500
Dallas, TX $3,500 – $6,000
Denver, CO $3,600 – $6,000
Houston, TX $3,500 – $6,900
Indianapolis, IN $2,500 – $4,500
Miami, FL $3,000 – $7,000
Los Angeles, CA $3,500 – $7,500
Minneapolis, MN $2,000 – $4,000
Nashville, TN $2,500 – $4,500
New Orleans, LA $2,500 – $4,500
New York, NY $3,500 – $8,000
Newark, NJ $3,200 – $6,500
Philadelphia, PA $3,200 – $6,000
Richmond, VA $3,000 – $6,000
San Francisco, CA $3,500 – $7,500
Seattle, WA $3,000 – $7,000
Washington, DC $3,500 – $6,000

Average cost of wedding photographer and videographer

Videography is typically booked separately as most wedding photographers don't provide videography services. The average cost of a wedding videographer is $1,400 to $3,600, which includes 8 to 10 hours of coverage and a 5- to 10-minute highlight reel.

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Additional wedding photographer rates and charges

Wedding photographer rates depend on the following factors:

  • Number of photographers and assistants
  • Photographer's experience and skill level
  • Number of hours and locations
  • Travel expenses for distances over 30 to 50 miles
  • Engagement photo session
  • Rehearsal dinner coverage
  • Number of retouched or edited images
  • Album type and quality
  • Number and size of individual prints
  • Add-ons like parent albums, canvas prints, or a photo booth
Additional wedding photographer rates and charges
Add-on item Average price
Standard photo album $350 – $1,000
Heirloom-quality photo album $1,000 – $3,000
Parent album $270 – $500
Canvas print (16x20) $100 – $250
Engagement photo shoot $250 – $650
Boudoir photo shoot $350 – $600
Rehearsal dinner coverage $500 – $1,500
Photo booth rental $400 – $750
Second shooter $300 – $750
Additional hours $200 – $400 per hour
Remember to factor in the cost of meals for your photographer and the second shooter or assistants.

Destination wedding photographer travel fees

Photographer travel fees for a destination wedding typically include airfare and lodging in addition to the photography package price. The price may also include meals, a rental car and fuel, or other transportation costs. Most photographers schedule their arrival two days before the wedding in case of flight delays.

Pre-wedding and post-wedding photos cost

Pre-wedding photography costs may include an engagement session, rehearsal dinner coverage, or a boudoir photo shoot.

  • Rehearsal dinner coverage costs $500 to $1,500, depending on the length.
  • A boudoir photo shoot costs $350 to $600 on average, depending on the number of wardrobe changes.

Some couples opt for a post-wedding portrait session a few weeks after the wedding to save time on the wedding day. Post-wedding photos typically don't save you money because they require hiring a photographer for another session, along with additional hairstyling and makeup costs.

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Wedding pictures, albums, and prints cost

Wedding picture costs range from $350 to $3,000, depending on the album type:

  • Standard wedding photo albums cost $350 to $1,000, depending on the album size and number of images.
  • Heirloom photo albums cost $1,000 to $3,000. Heirloom albums feature a lay-flat design, thicker board-like pages with archival-quality photo paper, and leather or linen covers with optional foil engraving.
  • Individual wedding prints cost $2 to $8 per 4x6 print and $10 to $60 for larger or matted prints.
  • Canvas prints cost $100 to $250.

Most photographers provide the images as digital files you can review, print, and share. Many photo packages also include a print credit you can apply toward prints ordered from a specific photo lab.

Remember to budget for post-wedding printing costs if your wedding photo package does not include prints or an album.

Typical bridal portraits cost

Bridal portrait photography costs $100 to $400 per hour, depending on the location, number of images, and the photographer's experience level. Most bridal portrait sessions include digital images, while prints, albums, canvas wall art, or a coffee table book of photos cost extra.

Engagement photos

Engagement photo prices are $250 to $650 on average, depending on the session length, number of locations or wardrobe changes, and number of images. Wedding photographers charge $150 to $300 per hour for an engagement photo shoot. Many wedding photography packages include an engagement session.

Typical wedding photographer payment schedule

Most wedding photographers have a two-payment or three-payment schedule:

  1. The first payment is a deposit due upon booking and reserves your date.
  2. The second payment is typically due one to three months before the wedding.
  3. The third payment is due at or after the event but before delivery of any prints or albums.

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Affordable wedding photography prices on a budget

Follow these tips to save money on your wedding photography budget:

  • Don't hold your wedding during the peak season. Wedding prices are typically cheaper from November to March.
  • Hire the photographer for fewer hours.
  • Create your own photo album instead of having your photographer design one.
  • Bundle engagement photos and wedding photos for a discounted package.
  • Purchase prints from an online retailer instead of ordering through the photographer.
  • Opt-out of additional items like an engagement photo shoot, album, or extra prints.
  • Hire a beginner photographer, but keep in mind a cheaper photographer won't have the same skills or experience as a professional.
  • Ask a friend to take wedding photos for you instead of hiring a photographer.
  • Place disposable cameras on the tables to allow guests to take photos.
Don't cut your wedding photography budget unless it's absolutely necessary. Wedding photography is among the top three items most couples regret not spending more on.

Small wedding photography charges

Small wedding photography prices are $700 to $1,200. Small wedding photography packages are also called elopement, courthouse, city hall, or micro-wedding packages and typically include one photographer for 2 to 3 hours, along with retouched digital images and printing rights.

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Frequently asked questions

How long do you need a wedding photographer?

Most wedding photographers recommend 8 to 10 hours for full coverage of the event, from getting ready before the ceremony to the end of the reception. Keep travel time in mind if the preparations, ceremony, and reception are held at different locations.

Add 2 hours if you plan to include a first-look photo session.

How many photographers do I need for my wedding?

One photographer is typically enough for small weddings of 50 or fewer guests, while large weddings can benefit from a second shooter. Hiring two photographers even for small weddings ensures no important moments are missed. Adding a second photographer costs $300 to $750.

Is a wedding photographer worth the cost?

A wedding photographer is worth the cost to capture memories you'll cherish throughout your lifetime. Your wedding only happens once, and you can't go back and capture those moments in photos later. When you've spent so much time and money on the perfect wedding, you'll want photos to help you remember the day.

Can you negotiate wedding photographer prices?

Wedding photographers' prices are typically non-negotiable. Most photographers offer packages at different price points to suit each couple's budget. Some photographers offer a base package paired with a la carte pricing, allowing clients to choose only the features and add-ons they want.

When should you hire a wedding photographer?

Book your wedding photographer as early as possible, ideally as soon as you choose a date and reserve a venue. The best photographers book events more than 12 months in advance, especially for weddings during the peak season.

How much should you tip a wedding photographer?

Tipping a wedding photographer is not required but is usually appreciated. Consider tipping $50 to $200 to express your gratitude if the photographer exceeds your expectations. In addition, write a favorable online review for your photographer and share their details on social media.

What are the different wedding photography styles?

The most popular wedding photography styles are:

  • Traditional/classic – the most common style, featuring formal posed portraits.
  • Photojournalistic/documentary – candid photos that capture moments as they unfold naturally. Most photographers offer a combination of photojournalistic images and traditionally posed photos.
  • Dark and moody – gives photos a dramatic and cinematic feel by using deep shadows or stark lines to create unusual patterns.
  • Vintage – uses a film or digital camera with special filters and editing to add graininess and heighten warm sepia tones.
  • Warm – uses soft orange and yellow tones to create a comfortable feel, but without the graininess of the vintage style.
  • Fine art – softer and more delicate than a traditional or documentary style. Goes well with a bright and airy aesthetic.
  • Black and white – most photographers offer some images in black and white.
  • Desaturated – uses muted colors to create a more earthy feel and is popular for outdoor weddings.
  • Landscape style photos are a popular add-on for weddings in scenic destinations. Work with the photographer ahead of time to scout good locations.
  • Editorial – photos posed like a fashion magazine, similar to a Vanity Fair or Vogue spread.
  • Aerial/drone photography includes photos taken from above and is usually offered only as an add-on.
Still have questions? Ask a pro. View Pros

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How to find and choose a wedding photographer

Before choosing a wedding photographer near you, be sure to:

  • Decide which photography style and aesthetic best suits your wedding.
  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, your wedding planner, the venue, and other wedding vendors.
  • Read their reviews on Fash and Google.
  • Choose a pro who specializes in wedding photography.
  • Interview your favorite photographers and discuss your ideas and vision.
  • Ask the photographer about their pre-wedding, wedding day, and post-wedding process.
  • Schedule an engagement photo shoot to allow you to work with the photographer before the wedding day.
  • Get a detailed contract in writing that breaks down everything included in your package, the payment plan, and the refund and cancellation policy.
  • Discuss the photo usage and printing rights to confirm how you and the photographer can use the images. Photographers typically retain the copyright to the images, giving them the right to use the photos for marketing and social media.
  • Beware of basing the decision solely on pricing. The photographer with the lowest price may lack experience or isn't as good as local competitors.

Questions to ask a wedding photographer

  • How would you describe your photography style and approach?
  • Can we see full galleries from a few recent weddings?
  • How many weddings have you photographed?
  • Do you have our wedding date available?
  • How far in advance do we need to book with you?
  • Have you ever shot a wedding at our venue before?
  • Do you have experience shooting weddings of a similar size and style as ours?
  • How much are your packages, and what do they include?
  • What add-ons are available? Can we customize a package to suit our needs?
  • How many hours do you work? How much do you charge if we go over that time?
  • Can we discuss unique shots we'd like?
  • How much extra do you charge for an engagement shoot or rehearsal dinner coverage?
  • Do you provide retouching, color adjustment, or other editing services? Do they cost extra?
  • How long after the wedding will we receive our finished photos?
  • How will the images be delivered – online, in print, or on a USB drive? If online, how long will the proofs be available for viewing?
  • Will we own the rights to the digital images?
  • Do you provide high-resolution digital files? Do they cost extra?
  • What size can we print the finished files?
  • Do you offer printed items or albums?
  • How can our family members and friends order prints?
  • Can other guests take photos while you work?
  • Do you work with an assistant or second shooter? Can I meet them before the wedding?
  • How many weddings do you photograph in a year?
  • Do you charge a travel fee? What does it cover?
  • How much do you require on deposit? What is your payment schedule?
  • What is your refund or cancellation policy?
  • Do you have liability insurance? What does it cover?
  • Do you carry backup photo equipment?
  • What happens if an emergency comes up and you can’t be present on our wedding day?
  • Will you be sharing our wedding photos on your website, social media, or other magazines or blogs?

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