What Goes Into the Cost of Your Wedding Photography

June 6, 2023

There should honestly be a full class on budgeting for your wedding. For most of us, we have to learn as we go and it’s easy to feel like everything is just so expensive and not know where to start. And when it comes to photography, there are a million options and packages and it can be confusing. So I’d like to break it down for anyone feeling as confused as I was after I got engaged… Here are the different items that go into the cost of your wedding photography.

Key elements that go into the cost of your wedding photography

  • Time on the day: One of the main ways you’ll see wedding collections priced is by how much time is spent with you photographing the day. That’s partially due to the longer day, but mostly because every additional hour in person requires many, many hours to edit those additional images. As a tip, if you’re having a traditional wedding (i.e. not eloping), I always recommend hiring a photographer for at least 8 hours to avoid stress and cover most of the big events on the day.
  • Number of photographers: This is another big one you’ll see pop up when you look at the cost of your wedding photography. Bringing on a second photographer is an added expense as your lead photographer, aka the person you hire, will need to hire out a subcontractor or pay an employee to come shoot alongside you. And beyond that, it’s also additional time for your lead photographer to sort through the second photographer’s images and edit them all as well. While cutting down to one lead photographer may be more cost effective, having two has some huge benefits (especially with how much happens in just one day!)
  • Physical products: Products like albums, hard drives, prints and canvases can all play into your total cost. Adding albums and wall art specifically can add to your total costs, but are also incredible additions and often can come at a discount vs. purchasing those products after your wedding. Consider looking for a collection with physical products if you are interested in preserving your photos in a physical form.
  • Number of images & time editing: For some photographers, part of the cost of your wedding photography is the number of images included. Some will have a limit and there could be additional costs for purchasing more photos (if you’re unsure, definitely ask photographers about how many images are included when you interview them!) Either way, the time it takes to edit your images also plays into the total cost of your wedding photography
  • Consulting & Planning: These costs are almost always baked in, but there is a good amount of time spent by your photographer coordinating with your other vendors and planning out things like timelines. How much of this plays in will depend on your photographer’s experience level and how they work, but it will definitely play in.
  • Travel: Depending on how far your photographer is from your venue, there can also be travel costs including gas, hotel stays, meals while traveling, flights, etc. If you’re hiring someone who isn’t in the same city as your venue, ask if there are travel fees you should keep in mind.

I hope this has helped you understand the cost of wedding photography, and helped you decide where your photography budget goes!

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