Of all of the events in your life, your wedding is one of the most important. Because of how monumental this event is you will want to ensure it is properly documented. The memories of your wedding day are some of the most precious that you will have and with the right photographer you can treasure these memories for the rest of your life. A wedding photographer is often the first vendor that is booked by engaged couples, not just because of the importance of their role in the wedding, but also because these professionals are often in high demand, and choosing the best fit for your wedding early ensures that you won’t miss out because someone else books your choice first. This means that a photographer should be a part of the wedding budget from the first stages of planning. Understanding the average wedding photographer cost can help you to create a realistic and beneficial budget.
Average Wedding Photographer Cost by Package
Choosing your wedding photographer should be based on more than the costs involved, but nearly every couple has the restraints of a budget that makes it necessary to consider price when choosing vendors for their wedding. Most wedding photographers have a per-hour price that allows you to choose your services on an a la carte basis. This means that you will pay the photographer for their service depending on how long you require them, then choose other things such as prints and albums and pay for them individually. The average per-hour cost for a wedding photographer is $300.
The current trend in wedding photographers is not to offer a la carte pricing, but to package services together under specific price points so consumers are fully informed of the costs involved from the very beginning. There are usually several packages from which to choose, depending on the size and complexity of the wedding, and the budget of the couple. For the most part you can depend on certain averages:
- The most economical packages offer between one and four hours of photography coverage, usually by one photographer, and a simple photo album as well as access to printable images. These packages cost approximately $500.
- The next level of package usually offers more than four hours of coverage, an assistant to help the main photographer, and more prints and albums. These packages average around $1,000.
- Approximately eight hours of coverage by two photographers, a set of prints, and several albums costs an average of $1,000 to $3,000.
- The largest budgets, over $3,000, pays for a package that includes three or more photographers, unlimited coverage of the wedding, and a wide variety of prints, books and other products.
Factors Affecting Average Wedding Photographer Cost
There are several factors that can affect the actual cost of wedding photographer services. These include:
- The individual photographer will make his or her own pricing. Education, experience, credentials, and references can make a difference in how much a photographer charges.
- The number of prints that you order, and if you want them in printed form or would rather have a disc or flash drive with copyright release will affect the cost of the package.
- You will also see increased prices if you request effects added to your pictures, want large sizes, or high quality albums.
- Certain times of year are very busy for wedding photographers. This means that the cost for their services will increase during these times. Conversely, the cost will go down during less-busy points of the year.
How to Reduce Average Wedding Photographer Cost
Like with most elements of a wedding budget, there are ways to save on your photography services. These techniques can be highly beneficial if you are working with a tight budget, or simply want to stretch the available funds that you do have.
- Ask about any seasonal specials that are going on, or if the photographer gives discounts for choosing packages over individual services.
- Reduce the number of prints that you purchase and opt, rather, for digital copies so you can make as many prints as you want later on.
- Consider getting your formal pictures taken after the wedding instead of the day of, and have them taken on a weekday. Photographers usually charge less during the week, and you can save on the number of hours that you need them.
- Instead of going for one of the big-name photographers in your area, consider using a freelancer or a new wedding photographer. Their pricing for equal quality will be lower because they are trying to build a reputation.
The average wedding photographer cost is something that most couples will need to consider strongly when creating their wedding budget. Getting plenty of pictures of their special day is precious, and making the most out of the money that they have is important. Carefully choosing timing as well as which products you want to order will help you to keep spending under control.