Wedding Photography Prices for Beginners – Where Should I Start?

One of the most common questions we receive is – how much should I charge for my wedding photography services? No doubt, this is a question many beginners and even some experienced photographers are asking. 

While many photographers are great artists, they struggle when it comes to running a business and getting people to actually pay them for their services. 

In this post, we’re going to shed light on how to approach wedding photography prices for beginners. 

Wedding Photography Price Points – The Basics

In order to figure out how you should approach pricing your wedding photography services, a good starting point is to understand the different price points out there and what they represent to potential clients (and other photographers). 

Below, we have listed starting price points (the lowest package price available) with information about the types of photographers and clients you typically will find operating at those points. 

  • Free. 
    • Photographers: Very inexperienced and willing to do anything they can to get a gig. 
    • Clients: Do not value wedding photography enough to pay for it. We do understand that everyone has unique life situations, and sometimes there is not much “in the budget”, however we can guarantee money is being spent on food, entertainment, a venue, etc. 
  • Less than <$1,000
    • Photographers: Very inexperienced but willing to work for very low compensation. For many, they may compare earnings to a wage paying job. IE: 1 wedding at $1,000 is $15/hr for 66 hours of work. (While this logic is not good as it does not take into consideration additional overhead, time worked outside of a wedding day, etc., it is the rationale). 
    • Clients: Are on a budget and looking for budget services. Sometimes, expectations do not align with what they are paying. With good expectation settings, these can be good clients. 
  • $1,000 – $3,000
    • Photographers: Beginning to have more of a portfolio of work and experience photographing weddings. Have photographed 5-10 weddings. Prices begin to move up as there is more interest in their services, and it takes shape that this career requires more time than initial expected (answering emails, culling, editing, etc.)
    • Clients:  Do not have photography at the top of their list of importance for their wedding day, but do see it as a valuable part of their day. They may also have reasonable budgetary reasons for wanting to keep costs down while having good enough quality. 
  • $3,000 – $5,000
    • Photographers: At this price range, for most photographers shooting 25-30 weddings a year, this career path looks much more sustainable. The price is increasing due to demand, more experience, a good reputation, etc. Many photographers get stuck at this price point. 
    • Clients: See the value in wedding photography even if their budget is a little restrained. 
  • $5,000+
    • Photographers: Prices above $5,000 typically reflect a higher end client experience and more refined photography portfolio. They have consistent demand, experience, a good reputation, and established workflows that help them to receive more inquiries and convert more into bookings. 
    • Clients: Tend to value wedding photography very much. These people also often are in established careers that provide them with a higher level of income than average. We often work for lawyers, engineers, teachers, nurses, doctors, etc. 

Most beginner wedding photographers who are just starting out will charge between $500 and $2,000 in our experience. As you gain experience, you should increase your prices rapidly. 

For fun – do you want to guess which price point we started out at? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

A Simple Guide to Setting Your Wedding Photography Rates

Now that you have a sense of what you should be charging as a new wedding photographer, it’s time to actually set those prices for your services. 

In this section, we’re going to talk about calculating your cost of doing business (CODB) and putting together some preliminary packages to make sure you can make the most money possible – even in your early stages. 

Finding your cost of doing business

Your CODB is the amount of money you need to support your personal and business needs before you take additional profit. 

Knowing your CODB early in your business will help you set better prices and maximize your earnings. 

To find your CODB:

  • Determine your desired annual salary
  • Determine what your personal and business expenses are
  • Estimate your taxes (roughly 30% of your earnings)
  • Determine the number of weddings you’d like to photograph per year

With these 4 things figured out, you can figure out how much money you need to make per year, as well as how much you need to make per wedding sold. 

For example, if you want an annual salary of $60,000 (how much you personally take home after expenses and taxes), and have $15,000 in expenses, you will end up paying around $30,000 in taxes. Your total earnings from your business will be roughly $105,000. 

In order to make $105,000 in a year, while photographing 30 weddings a year, you’ll need to make ~$3,500 per wedding. 

As a total beginner, $3,500 per wedding might seem like a lot, but we can ramp up to that number pretty quick with some good planning and pricing strategies. 

Stuck on calculating your spending budgets?

To calculate your annual personal budget, you will want to include all of your spending for a year including your fixed cost (like mortgage/rent payments, cell phone bill, car payment, etc.) and variable costs (like groceries, entertainment spending, etc.). The more accurate you can be, the better. Sometimes, it helps to review old spending logs in your bank account or credit card statements. 

To calculate your annual business budget, you will want to factor in fixed costs like paying for accounting services, your CRM, etc., as well as variable costs like setting aside money for new camera equipment. Fortunately for wedding photographers, most business expenses tend to be fixed, so you know exactly what you need to pay for each year.

Starter wedding photography packages

Now that you’ve narrowed down how much you need to make to run a business, we can start building packages with that in mind. 

Let’s say you want to make $2,000 per wedding (on average) as a newbie photographer. 

For the sake of simplicity, let’s go with a 3-package model. Here’s a sample:

Top Package – $3,200

  • 12 hours of wedding coverage
  • 2 photographers
  • Engagement session
  • Anniversary session
  • Online gallery with digital photos
  • 8×8 album

Middle Package – $2,000

  • 8 hours of wedding coverage
  • 2 photographers
  • Engagement session
  • Online gallery with digital photos
  • 8×8 album

Bottom Package – $1,400

  • 5 hours of wedding coverage
  • 1 photographer
  • Online gallery with digital photos

With the way these packages are structured, there are a couple things to learn:

  • Clients typically will gravitate towards buying the middle package as it’s perceived as “average” (not too basic, but not too luxurious).
  • You can charge higher prices by offering more value in your packages. Even if you have a low level of experience and limited portfolio, you can still charge more when you bundle in things like a 2nd photographer, more time at the wedding, an engagement session, an album, etc.
  • Some clients may book your bottom and top packages, evening out to an average sale of at least $2,000 over time.

While pricing specifically for your situation will be more nuanced than this, this should give you a good high level view of how to approach pricing yourself to set your business up for more success in the long run. 


Wedding photography prices will range pretty heavily depending on the photographer. As a beginner, you should expect for your first couple of bookings to fall between $500 and $2,000. With a little time and experience under your belt, you’ll be able to start increasing your prices quickly. 

One of the biggest keys to charging more as a photographer is getting more traffic to your website. With a wide enough audience, you’ll be bringing in new inquiries consistently and can raise your prices because you are so in demand.

If you need help getting your site optimized for search engines and generating that traffic you need, reach out today to talk with our team about how we can help you.

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