There's a simple answer to this question: it varies.
Lol, I know, it's a crappy answer, but the fact is the vast majority of photographers are freelancers who create their pricing packages based on a variety of factors: experience and reputation, the location of the wedding, the length of time they will be shooting, and the type of products and services they offer.
If you do a quick search on Google on "How much do wedding photographers cost?" you'll find wedding photographers charging anywhere between $1,000 - $15,000 for an 8hr wedding (the average length of time for wedding photography). I understand it's mind-boggling seeing such a huge range in costs, but if you know what it is that you are looking for in a photographer you'll have a better idea of the investment you'll want to make for your wedding photography.
Below I'm going to break down some of the things you typically see from 3 sets of price points; the $1,000-$2,000 wedding photographer; the $3,000-$5,000 wedding photographer; and the $6,000-$10,000+ wedding photographer. Keep in mind these price ranges are for photographers local to Dallas Texas for an 8 hr wedding, and do not include any travel expenses. If you are wanting more or less time with a photographer on your wedding day you can easily add/subtract $500-$1000 for each hour added on/taken away to give yourself an idea of what your costs will be.
What can you expect from a wedding photographer that charges $1,000-$2,000 for an 8r wedding?
-Up to 8 hrs of wedding photography (that's a given)
-Minimal contact before and after the wedding
-Usually less than 2 years of experience as the lead photographer OR working as a hired contractor through a third party
-Not able to give a lot of posing direction,
-Bulk edited photos (meaning you may have the right coloring, but the images won't all be level, and you can forget about any photoshop requests)
-Photo delivery occurs between 5 days - 2 months (depending on the experience of the photographer, or if a third party is editing all the images)
When you opt for a $1,000-$2,000 wedding photographer that typically means you are either getting a less personalized or less experienced photographer. Can you still get quality images from the wedding day? Absolutely. And if price is the main priority for you, these photographers will be do great. However, if you want a more experienced photographer who provides a high-quality experience take a look at the next price tier:
What do wedding photographers that cost $3,000-$5,000 typically offer for an 8r wedding wedding day?
-Up to 8 hrs of wedding photography (that's a given)
-Typically an engagement photoshoot is included
-1-2 personally cultivated guides to help make your wedding day run smoother
-Regular contact and a more personalized approach to your wedding day photography (they will actually ask you what type of photos you want from the day, and what moments you value)
-Option for a second photographer
-A beautifully cultivated and edited gallery of only the best images from your wedding day (no mediocre fluff)
-Usually a sneak peek within 72 hrs, and final gallery delivery within 1-2 months
-Additionally quality prints or a wedding album may be included in your package
When you choose a $3,000-$5,000 wedding photographer for your wedding day you are saying that the quality of images, and your experience are a top priority to you. You may have a particular vision of how you want your wedding day images to look and you want a professional who knows what they are doing as they have proven themselves on multiple platforms.
However, if you want a little MORE luxury, or notoriety, you might be interested in the $6,000-$10,000+ wedding photographer...
What can you expect with a wedding photographer that charges $6,000-$10,000+?
-Up to 8 hrs of wedding day photography (that's a given)
-An engagement photoshoot
-Regular contact and a personalized approach to your wedding day photography (they work with a limited clientele)
-A beautifully cultivated and typically hand-edited gallery of only the best images from your wedding day (no mediocre fluff)
-Specialized photography (they are typically known for a specific editing or shooting style)
-Usually a sneak peek within 48 hrs, and final gallery delivery within 1-2 months
-Framed high-end photographs that look like art and an heirloom wedding album
-Notoriety (these photographers regularly have photos published in wedding magazines, and other publications)
-Highly experienced (they have been in the industry for 5+ years and have photographed 100s of weddings)
-Connected to the best of the industry (most of their clients are referred to them by professional wedding planners, and luxurious wedding venues)
As you can see, a $6,000-$10,000+ wedding photographer provides a LOT more to your wedding preparation, and wedding day experience than a photographer who will only charge you $1,000. Their connections, experience, and team ensure that you will feel like royalty leading up to your big day, on your wedding day, and afterwards with beautiful heirloom items to show for it.
In conclusion, while choosing a more expensive wedding photographer may require a larger investment, the benefits of doing so can be well worth the cost. With the right photographer, you'll have beautiful, high-quality images that will help you relive the memories of your wedding day for years to come. So, before making a decision, consider the long-term benefits and make an investment that you'll never regret.
I hope that this breakdown has helped you get a better idea of the price point you may want to plan for as your investment will inevitably show you what you value from your wedding day photography.
As a professional wedding photographer, you may be curious where I lay on this spectrum. Since I prioritize building a relationship and providing a high-end experience for my clients, my 8hr wedding packages start at $3,600. If you would like to learn more about everything that's included in my wedding packages feel free to schedule a call with me at the link below.
If you would like some additional help in your search for a wedding photographer, next week I will be sharing the 5 most important questions the wedding photographer you interview should be able to answer to show they provide a high-quality experience for their clients.
Until then, feel free to reach out or leave a comment if you have any questions!