Photos and Video

How much should I spend on my photographer???

Dear Knotties,

I've been engaged for a little over a month. We just set our wedding date, booked our venue and cateror, and secured our rehearsal dinner night. I'm wanting to go ahead and book my photographer early to ensure I get the one I want. How much should I expect to pay them? I have a friend who STARTS his wedding package at $10,000!! WAY too expensive for us. Another photographer I liked started at $4,200 - I even thought that was steep, but maybe I just don't know what you're supposed to pay. Any suggestions??


Re: How much should I spend on my photographer???

  • me and my hubby are both wedding photographers and start at $3,500 and got married in October and paid $4000.00 for ours without an album.
  • It truly truly depends on where you live. Metro areas are going to have higher pricing because there's higher cost of living/doing business there. I'd say you're looking at $3,000+ for a truly professional photographer, even more potentially in Houston. If that's too high for you, look in towns an hour or two away from you - the price difference may be significant even factoring in travel.
  • I think the national average is between $2,000 and $3,000. We budgeted $4,000 for our very expensive region, then found one through yelp for $1,000. I'm sure he isn't as good as those in the $2,000-$4,000 range, but photography isn't important to us. He's inexpensive because he's new to the area, having come from Germany and then the East Coast. Also, he doesn't have the typical bubbly, wedding-vendor personality. (Still very German) But he'll be super-conscientious about getting all the poses we want. He wants to tour both venues well ahead of time to get an idea of light conditions and possible poses. We get complete copyright posession. And he pays his taxes, while I think the others are shirking the Franchise Tax Board.

    [Yes, to skimp on photography is totally contrary to the advice everywhere, that the photographs are the one thing that lasts and should be the one splurge, but it's only a few of my parents' and grandparents' and aunts' wedding photos that my family really treasures. And my future husband and I don't like looking at photos of ourselves, no matter how good they are.]

    So, look on yelp for someone with good reviews and work you like, but with good reasons for being lower-priced.
  • So much depends on where you're located.  We're hosting a destination wedding in Panama City Beach, FL (only 2 people coming live there) and after shopping around, i found the average to be 2000-3000.  I did find some above and some below that range, but that was the average.  Personally, I'm not willing to skimp on photography, so we went with someone right in the middle.  It's a little nerve racking b/c i don't live there, i can't have a sit-down and discuss meeting with her, but she's made me feel very comfortable with her process.  Also, having the copyrights to my pictures was a very big deal to me.

    <a href="" title="Ovulation Calculator"><img src="" alt=" BabyFruit Ticker" border="0" /></a>
  • edited December 2011

    It all depends on location, as PP said.  I will say I went the cheaper route with our photographer, but who was reccommended by another knottie on my local board. Big mistake!!  If you can afford a "professional" I would do so!!!  That is my biggest regret in all the wedding planning :(

  • We got our top pick for a photographer. I didn't want  to spend over 3k, but I have very picky taste and due being from a family of photographers, I couldn't skimp. I LOVE our photographer and I feel he's worth every penny. We are paying 3800 with a fine art (NOT CANVAS) wedding album.
    I have noticed some photographers are not as good as their price tags, high or low.
    Who ever you go with make sure you look into these things:
    Rights to your photos
    Images are all edited on a High Res DVD (low res looks crappy when enlarged)
    CD's cannot be High Res FYI
    One wedding's entire album! Very important!!! Any photographer can take a decent photo and in turn make a collection of pretty pictures from various weddings. But it may be the ONLY nice picture from that whole album. This was one of the deciding factors of the photographer we chose. We loved his entire album of every wedding he had.
    An option for a second photographer. Your photographer cannot be all places at once.

    There are other things that I wanted in the package, but these things were must haves.
    Daisypath Wedding tickers
  • I think how much you spend on your photographer really depends on how big of a priority it is to you. If it is important, I don't suggest skimping or trying to find a bargain. You really get what you pay for and unfortunately you can't do it over again. 

    When you hire a professional photographer that has a solid contract to protect both of you, liability insurance, professional gear, backups (just in case) and provides not only a quality product, but also quality service... it's going to cost a significant amount of money. I would suggest checking out local organizations like a wedding and honeymoon association, PPA (Professional Photographers of America), WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Professionals International) to get started. Also, figure out what's important to you: Images on disc? Albums? Canvas Prints? A common misconception is that you receive the rights to your images. You will receive "print"
     or "personal" rights. This means you can take the images wherever you want to get them printed, but you don't own the images. Basically you can't sell or charge someone to look at your images... but not many people plan to do that though :)

    There are a TON of photographers out there and it can get confusing. If you find a photographer that's a bit out of your budget, consider that over 20,30,40... 50 years the cost isn't really that much for having peace of mind. 

    Scrpio421- You have some really great suggestions. You can put high resolution files on a CD though. The difference between a CD and DVD is just how much data they can hold. In general we use DVD's because they hold more photos. 

    Best of luck in your planning!

    Rose Street Studio

  • It really all depends a lot on the area, how much time you want covered, and the products that you want. $2-3k is pretty average for a lot of people.

    The package I'm booking is $3900, and includes 6 hrs (2 photographers) and a disk of wedding images. It also includes an engagement session, but I'll be purchasing a disk of the of images from that. I might also add some more hours on, so I'll probably be at $4500-5k by the time I'm done.

    BUT, I myself am a wedding photographer and images are really important to me. Even FI wasn't thrilled about the cost but I told him that I've taken his opinion on everything else to heart and that I was winning the photographer battle. ;)
  • I booked mine today! she had a special of 15% off so I booked it for $1300 for 8hrs and two albums and a cd with all my pictures, and I am able to order the prints from her as well. 
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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