how to price wedding photography

how to price wedding photography

Today we’re going to talk about how to price wedding photography. We’ll talk about pricing for profit and pricing to be competitive. It’s important to consider how to build your business but also how to be sustainable.

And with any type of creative work, wedding photographers want to feel valued. And the client wants to feel like they got a good value for their money. Therefore, when you consider how to price wedding photography you want to walk away with everything feeling like the value was good.

Feel free to scroll ahead to our 6 steps for how to price wedding photography or my personal tips in the conclusion. Or check out the YouTube series on building profitable photography packages. Otherwise, we’re starting with some research.

how much does a wedding photographer cost

It helps to do some market research to determine how much wedding photography costs in order to determine your pricing structure. The average wedding photographer cost is a big range, a wedding photographer costs anywhere from $300 to $10,000. While it will vary based on a lot of factors, I would say that in the $2500-$6500 range you can expect professional level photography when setting your wedding photography budget. Let’s see how my estimate lines up with more “official” statistics in the next section.

Wedding photographer prices might be hard to compare based on wedding photography styles, not just candid wedding photography prices versus fashion wedding photography prices. I’m talking about wedding photography style of business. Is it all-inclusive or a la carte?

Wedding photography and videography prices might be double the photography packages but if you go with one company you might get a better deal. Again, everything depends on if you’re looking for a cheap wedding photographer or a good wedding photographer because a professional photographer has to make enough money to sustain a business.

average cost for photographer for wedding

The average cost for a photographer for wedding depends on location, the services and products included, the budget of the couple, and the experience of the photographer. Popular and expensive wedding locations often produce more expensive wedding services, an experience wedding photographer will deliver more than a beginner. Meanwhile, some couples hire a friend or beginner which likely skews the average.

According to weddingwire, who likely has done more research than me on such things, says the average couple spends around $2000. Now, keep in mind that their bell curve ranges from less that $300 to over $4500 and that I personally know many photographers who charge over $5000. There are going to be a lot of factors to take into account when reading these numbers but they still seem a little low to me.

The Wedding Forward blog has a chart that seems more in line with what I’ve seen in the industry. The rank below $1500 as student, below $2500 as semi-pro, and professionals in the $2500 to $10000 range. says $1000-$10000.

As you can see, it’s a huge range of averages so you probably shouldn’t just throw a dart at a number when setting your wedding photography pricing. There’s this number that couples spend 15% of their budget on photography but thats unhelpful because I know couples that spent 95% and couples that spent 5%. It determines how much the client values photography and how big their overall wedding budget is.

what are affordable wedding photography prices?

Affordable wedding photography prices will vary based on the market you’re in. In many markets, you won’t find a wedding photographer under 1000 unless they’re just starting out and trying to build a business and a portfolio. Professional wedding photos are a luxury and as creatives, we need to value our work so while there’s a range of photography prices for beginners that doesn’t demonstrate that you’ll capture a wedding day perfectly.

If you want to build affordable packages just make sure that you as the photographer can continue to afford it as well. Otherwise, you won’t be taking wedding pictures for very long. Small wedding photography packages aren’t always sustainable for wedding photographers that have a limited number of wedding weekends in the wedding season.

engagement photos prices average

Engagement photos prices average between $400-$1400 depending on the length of the shoot, location, and experience of the photographer. Some wedding photographers include engagement photos in their wedding photography packages which can be a great value. Engagement shoots are definitely included on our wedding photography price list because we like to encourage our couples.

For example, we charge in the $1000 range for an engagement session but include them as a free add on in our Colorado wedding packages because we love working with our couples before the wedding day. Our pre wedding shoot prices are similar.

price of photography

The price of photography may be talked about in terms of hourly rates, day rates, or packages but the client is not just paying for the hour or the day or even the contents of the package. The client is paying for the shoot but also the production and post-production. Additionally, the client is paying based on the deliverables and the experience, equipment, and expertise of the photographer.

An experienced photographer has shot engagement and wedding photos from details to bridal party photos countless times and that experience counts.

photographer hourly rate

Photographer hourly rate depends on the type of photography we’re talking about but in general the hourly rate is just what a photographer charges per hour. While a portrait or event photographer might charge $100-$300 per hour, a wedding photographer might charge $400-800 per hour.

Then, on top of the hourly rate there might be print, product, or digital file costs.

We’re going to talk about packages in a minute but first I need to dissect the photographer hourly rate. Sometimes hourly rate is an easier way to compare jobs or careers. However the photography hourly rate can be a little misleading if you don’t think about it for a moment.

Let me explain, if you as a photographer charge $400 for an hour photoshoot that doesn’t mean you’re making $400/hour. That hour doesn’t include the time you spend planning, prepping, scouting, packing, importing, culling, editing, uploading, and communicating with the client. That’s why wedding photographers often charge more, there’s a lot that goes into wedding photography.

Therefore, when you’re setting your wedding photographer hourly rate, you want to consider how many hours you are going to spend on the entire shoot including driving and post-processing. Additionally, our non-self employed friends might know this concept of billable hours? Billable hours are the hours someone can bill to their client.

There are a lot of non-billable hours spent marketing or account during which we’re not getting paid. Therefore, don’t assume you can work 40 hours a week at $400/hour. Not only will that be more like a 80-120 hour week but it’ll be hard to find that many clients.

photography wedding packages

Ok, so now that we understand photographer hourly rate, let’s dive into wedding packages. Essentially, a package will contain a grouping of services and products. Conversely in an a la carte system you select individual items.

Wedding packages are a win-win because often the client gets more for their money while the photographer needs fewer clients to hit their financial goals. For example, if you’ve already shot the wedding why not make more money on a wedding album. And, that lucky client actually has something tangible to show for their money.

what’s included in a typical wedding photography package

Typically a wedding photography package includes the following items: hours of coverage and products. The products might include digital files, prints, and products. The coverage might include various events from the engagement session to the ceremony to the reception.

Additional expenses might be travel fees and taxes.

When you’re comparing and developing basic wedding photography packages make sure you’re comparing both the hours of coverage and the products. A 4-hour wedding photography package might cost as much as an 8-hour package if it includes a ton of products.

wedding package photography prices

Wedding package photography prices will vary again in that $1,000-$10,000 range. If I were to make an educated guess after my decade in the industry I would tell you that the mid to high range of wedding photographers are booking bigger wedding packages. This means they’re including a lot of value up front in addition to having experience and expertise.

If you’re following a standard 3-package model, when you build your wedding packages you will set your smallest package at your lowest accessible price point. Then, your middle package will add value to the client and likely be the package you hope to book most frequently. Your top package will add even more value to the client at a price point that might be out of reach for many clients, however, if you don’t have something to serve the higher-end clients you’ll leave money on the table.

When it comes to elopement photography cost, the same range may exist to serve those on a budget or those looking to splurge. Sometimes elopement photographer prices can be high because it’s the only think a couple is spending money on.

wedding video and photo package

Another great option is a wedding video and photo package. If you have the team and skills to do both it’s a way to create more value for your clients and more income for you as a photographer. Couples might expect a video and photo package thats a deal compared to buying both separately.

However, there’s also an convenience factor and a same team factor. One of the reasons we started offering both was because some videographers were difficult to work with negatively impacting our couples and their experience. Now we can control the experience and ensure the sacrifices are worthwhile.

photo packages pricing makes way for digital

Photo packages pricing seems to be a thing of the past. We no longer order that cute photo package with 3 5x7s and 1 8×10 or whatever, instead we want the digital files. This has changes how photography is priced because photographers use to sell prints after the fact.

Now, most photographers are offering digital files as part of their packages. Since access to the digital files means that the client won’t need to come back to the photographer for prints or products, those files typically have a price tag.

I still think that a marriage photography package should include something tangible so that after the wedding day the come walks away with something to enjoy during their marriage. The best wedding photographers know that wedding day coverage isn’t enough, how is the client going to relive those candid moments? We have to find another product to sell and a way to sell it, I personally love fine art albums.

photoshoot prices

Lastly, some photographers do still just charge just for the photoshoot instead of the wedding package. Photoshoot prices are in the $200-$2000 range depending again on location, expertise of the photographer, length of the shoot, and what they include. Some clients expect to get the digital files from their photoshoot in which case they’re paying on the higher end of that scale.

Wedding photographers often don’t do non-wedding photoshoots on weekend days during the busy wedding season in their regions. What happens if they book a $1000 photoshoot and then get an inquiry for a $6000 wedding? This is why wedding picture prices matter, you don’t want to be the cheap photographer.

(Unless you’re targeting SEO for “cheap wedding photographers near me” or “cheapest photographer near me”… but is that really your target market? Probably not if you want a sustainable business.

6 steps for how to price wedding photography

Now that we’ve broken down the many aspects of wedding photography pricing, let’s walk through steps for how to price your wedding photography.

Evaluate the market:

Using the information above as a starting point, get an idea of what photographers in your area are charging from the low to high end. Evaluate where you fall into that category based on your experience and perceived value. This will give you a ballpark of what the market might allow you to charge.

Determine your overhead:

Next, you need to determine what your overhead costs are. This means everything from your website to your camera gear to your health insurance. What costs are involved in running your business?

If wedding photography is a side hustle and you have another source for health insurance for example, then keep your overhead low. The lower your overhead the less pressure you will have on making money. This is nice in the beginning when you are building a client base and a portfolio.

Determine your cost of goods:

What other costs will you need to cover? Are you including any prints or products such as albums in your wedding packages? You’ll need to make sure these costs are covered too.

Cost of good is variable based on how many shoots you do unlike most of your overhead which are typically more fixed such as a monthly subscription to your editing software.

Decide what you want (or need) to make in profit

Everything you make beyond overhead and costs of goods is your profit. Wahoo! So, how much do you want to make?

You’ll then want to plan your marketing accordingly. For example, when choosing keywords to target with their SEO Atlanta photographers might research where the best search traffic is between: “Atlanta wedding photographers,” “Atlanta wedding photography,” and “Atlanta wedding photographer.” Even if “Atlanta wedding photographers under 2000” is a popular niche keyword, they would only target it if those are the clients they want to bring in.

If, for example, you google “austin wedding photographers under $2000,” you’ll get photography companies that hire various shooters, not a luxury wedding photography brand.

How many weddings

Now, how many weddings do you think you can book? Some easy math will have you dividing the total money you need for overhead, cost of good, and profit but the number of weddings you can book. That will give you a workable price point to start from that hopefully fits with whats reasonable based on your external research.

Now, on the simple end, you might make that price your middle package and hope it averages that way from wedding to wedding. Or you might made it your smallest package to guarantee that you’ll hit or even exceed your goal. You may end up fine tuning your packages as you gain experience with what your clients actually want and will actually value.

What happens if my numbers are unrealistic?

Did your numbers end up unrealistic? You need to charge $8000 per wedding and you’re only a beginner wedding photographer?

First ask yourself if your numbers are really unrealistic or if you’re afraid. If they’re really unrealistic then you might have to supplement your wedding photography with other photoshoots to make up the difference. Or you might have to cut your overhead.

You can also look at finding ways to add value to your packages. And then, go back to how many wedding you need to shoot. Maybe you can increase that number and hustle hustle to get more work.

Sometimes in the beginning wedding photographer have to focus on quantity until they can offer quality.

how to price wedding photography in review

I hope you enjoyed this article on how to price wedding photography. The methods you follow will vary depending on your expertise, set higher prices if you know how to deal with every condition from rain to stars to bridezillas. Know the market, know your worth, and do some simple math.

Some of my personal tips are as follows:

  1. Do a good job with your branding and marketing to attract clients who value your work. The best clients aren’t making a decision by comparing your prices with other photographers.
  2. Know when to let go of a lead, some people can’t afford you and that’s ok, there are clients with all price ranges and while it’s good to evaluate once in awhile, constantly doubting yourself isn’t helpful.
  3. Don’t be afraid to diversify. If COVID taught me anything it’s that multiple income streams can do wonders for your stress and your bottom line.
  4. Unless it’s the thing that sets you apart, don’t give it all away in your package. Leave room for clients to upgrade and want more if they love your work and want to go all out. Otherwise you’re leaving money on the table.

Be sure to check out more wedding photography advice posts on our blog such as tips for beginners, camera settings for weddings, easy to understand camera settings, exposure triangle, or more on our YouTube channel. Do you know why YouTubers and bloggers are always asking you to subscribe? It helps them afford to make more FREE TO YOU content (like the following posts or on our youtube playlist!)

You can also get our Free Guide on Building a Creative Business and Life when you subscribe to our newsletter.

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in Colorado wedding photography and other adventures but we also love destination weddings. If you found us by searching for “wedding photography and videography near me” then reach out and check your wedding date!

Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

Similar Posts