The cost of a wedding photographer will vary greatly depending on the skill of your photographer, how long you want him to stay and the prints or albums you want to order. The location and date of your wedding will also have an impact on the price of photography; summer weddings are more expensive because photographers are busier, and some regions or cities will also be more expensive.
The most important factor in the price of your wedding photographer is the package you choose. In general, average costs for wedding photography run from $1,500 to $3,000, but very basic packages often cost less. Ask your photographer what his most basic option includes, but expect lower-cost packages to include proofs or images on a CD rather than prints or albums. For more expensive packages, expect more hours of coverage, more photographers and more prints.
Photographers set their prices based on the cost of similar services in the area. In small towns where there are fewer photographers, it’s common for prices to be fairly uniform and fixed. In bigger cities you will find more variety in skill and price, from budget options to luxury packages. If you are planning a destination wedding you will also need to pay for the photographer’s transportation to the ceremony, unless you plan to hire a local photographer at your destination.
Photographers often lower their prices in the off-season, especially if wedding photography is their specialty. If you are planning a fall, winter or spring wedding, ask about discounts for off-season business. Some photographers also offer discounts for weekday weddings, when there is less demand.
Another important factor in the price of your photographer is their level of expertise. Newer, less experienced photographers may charge under $1,000, but their work can lack consistency and sophistication. Luxury photographers will be more experienced, and may bring a team of people to shoot your wedding, but can cost $5,000 to $10,000.
Additional time, prints, and effects can all add to the cost of your wedding photos. Some photographers offer add-ons to your photos like sepia tones, multiple exposures or special effects. Others will re-touch your photos for an additional price, or include an engagement photo session. Costs for these extras will vary by photographer; more expensive packages will probably include some of these services in their base price.