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How Much Do Wedding Photographers Charge
So we’ve already discussed what wedding photographers are in our article Wedding Photographers and What They Provide. We talked about all of the different industries in which photographers work, and compared wedding photographers to all other photographers. We discussed all of the different products and services many of them offer, and even the variations among them. However, we have not yet discussed prices.
When it comes to typical prices and fee schedules, most photographers in this industry stay within certain boundaries. You will see fee schedules and prices that surprise you, some that are incredibly low, and some that are incredibly high, but most stay right in the middle. Just like any other industry, there are different levels of pricing to match the different needs of brides searching for a wedding photographer. For instance:
- Low-priced photographers common start their pricing at around $500 and stretch up to about $1,000 - $1,200. These photographers typically do not offer a great deal of services, and are usually student photographers or those just breaking in to the scene. The value of the photos they will produce is spotty. Some may be really great, but most will just be trying really hard for you.
- Mid-priced photographers start their fee schedules at around $1,500 - $1,800 and stretch to around $2,000 - $2,400 for their highest package. These packages are perfect for the majority of couples getting married. They are normally of good value. Most photographers in this bracket are very talented, but also very sympathetic to the high cost of weddings and want to provide couples a good deal. Most photographers are going to fall into this category and that of the next one.
- Higher-priced photographers tend to start their packages at around $2,500 to $3,000, and go all the way through $4,500 to $5,000. These photographers are just as talented as those in the previous group, but charge more, either because they believe that their services truly are worth more (and they may be), or they realize that brides will pay more.
- High-priced photographers easily charge $5,000 and more for their photographer services. They might say that they offer more services to brides and are more qualified, but the truth is that they don’t and they aren’t. In fact, their photographs are usually much lower in quality. Truly quality professionals raise value to bring in more business, not price. No wedding photographer should ever cost this much.
But wedding photography packages are not the only products offered by these wedding professionals. Photographers have a plethora of other offerings, and each one offers each of these products at different prices. It’s smart to consider details when inquiring about information though, because a slide show, for instance, might be a completely different service between one photographer and another, and not all products are offered by all photographers. Here are most of the optional products and services that these professionals are offering clients, and the range of prices within each.
- Additional Hours: $75/hour to $250/hour
- Second Photographer: $50/hour to $1,500 total
- Photo Proofs: $99 to $250
- DVD of photos with copyright: $25 to $300
- Bridal Portraits to Engagement Shoots: $75 to $700
- Reception Slideshow: $125 to $330
- Photo Albums: $300 to $3,000
- Travel Costs for photography outside of city limits: $50/hour to $500
- Photo Booth: $300 to $1,500
- Individual Professional Prints: $8 to $590 each
What do you think is a reasonable price for wedding photography?
Less common, unique products and services being offered . . .
- Photography at an additional location: $50 to $100
- Choose your preferred photographer: about $300
- Boudoir session: about $425
- Photography Insurance: about $175
- Rehearsal pictures: $150 to $250
- Rehearsal Dinner pictures: $250 to $1,650
- Getting Ready photos: about $100
- Trash the Dress session: about $175
- Online Gallery for guests: about $100
- DVD Photo Montage: $100 to $350
- iPad2 with all pictures uploaded: about $1,250
I know some of these prices are surprising, but so are some of the products and services being offered. Wedding photographers have really gotten creative providing services to their clients over the years. As more and more photographers join the industry and are demanding a piece of the pie, the stakes are going up for everyone. Photographers are having to increase the value of their products, and not just their prices, to show their worth, as brides today are expecting more from their wedding vendors than ever before.
When researching photographers, it’s easy to just skim over package prices and offerings to try to ascertain value quickly. But it’s important to do your research when seeking photographers to find the best value. If they seem like they’re charging too much or charging for too much, they probably are. Call them, ask questions, ask for references, and make sure to compare them to other photographers in the area. It may seem like extra work to do the research, but it will be worth it in the end, especially if a little bit of research saves you thousands of dollars.
Many wedding vendors’ pricing, as you’ll see in future articles regarding vendor pricing in the wedding industry, are deliberately inflated. I’ve attended way too many conferences where vendors specifically promote the ideas that, “Brides may think that they have a wedding budget, but they really don’t. You can charge anything you want because brides don’t know any better. You simply tell them that you have a better value and they get what they pay for, and you can charge anything you want.”
Many photographers even have articles and websites full of advice for other professionals on how to charge more for their services. Obviously this is not just wedding photographers, but wedding vendors as a whole. Be careful.
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© 2013 Victoria Van Ness