For photographers (aspiring and learning, newbies, or those in the industry for years), we’re going to help you understand what the average price for a wedding photographer is!
This is one of the most common questions you’ll see if you hang around the wedding photography industry long enough. Couples are asking it, wanting to know how much they should expect to spend for a wedding photographer to capture their day. Photographers are asking it, wondering how much money they could make to photograph couple’s big days.
For a short and sweet answer, the average wedding photographer will cost around $2,500. This is a price point that represents, at least, the entire United States – but may not be perfectly representative of your area or how much clients are actually willing to spend.
Now, let’s break that number down and talk about why it’s not the best one to be looking at when it comes to pricing your wedding photography services.
The Average is Not a Reliable Number for Determining Service Pricing
Everyone wants to know the average, but no one wants to actually hire an “average photographer.”
To get to an average wedding photographer cost of $2,500 – we must factor in the many, many photographers who offer themselves at cheap and affordable price points.
Not to mention, all studies we’ve seen that investigate this topic don’t get into the details of what couples are actually getting at this price. Just wedding coverage? Engagement sessions? Albums? It’s hard to know for sure.
Every market area may also influence prices.
In New York City, photographers can (and should) be charging more than average because the cost of living is significantly higher than many places in the world. A photographer operating in rural USA in a low cost of living town may be able to charge less, and still live comfortably.
This is why one significant aspect of pricing comes down to each individual businesses cost of doing business (or CODB).
Finding the New Average Price for a Wedding Photographer
After reviewing many studies on this topic available online, we decided to set out and forge our own data. The studies that exist give us a starting point, but also introduce a lot of bias. For example, data samples from websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire are not completely reliable – because it’s only looking at their website users (of which there are admittedly many). These sites tend to skew towards price shopping clientele, so it’s reasonable to expect lower photography price points as a result.
Still, one of our biggest sticking points with the average price of a wedding photographer is how this number can include people like friends & family who may charge nothing or a couple hundred bucks and new photographers just getting started and charging low. While these can be photography solutions for clients on a budget, they do not typically represent actual, professional wedding photography services.
In our research, when you remove complete novices from the picture, the average wedding photographer price is $4,000.
We do not have a gigantic data set, but on the surface this number makes sense because you would also expect better quality images, a more consistent client experience, and better business operations – all requiring and begging for higher revenues and sales.
How Much Should You Charge as a Wedding Photographer?
We get asked this a lot – often by aspiring photographers and photographers who are struggling to get their businesses to be profitable. We get it and want to help you!
While the average wedding photographer will cost between $2,500 – $4,000 (depending on who you ask), the actual price a couple will spend will vary greatly.
We’ve seen budget brides look for free photography or pay just a couple hundred bucks.
We’ve seen luxury wedding photographers that capture days for celebrities and the rich-and-famous charge $30,000.
There is such a wide range of price points, and it’s important to understand how to create your own wedding photography service pricing so you make the money you need.
3 Tips for Setting Your Own Wedding Photography Prices
You know the old saying…”Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for all his days.” Instead of just telling you what to charge, we’re going to teach you how to figure it our for yourself.
1). Understand how much you need to make first
Every wedding photographer who wants to charge for their services needs to figure out their cost of doing business (CODB). This is a formula we refer to regularly when helping photographers get their businesses to be profitable – both in our course and 1-on-1 coaching sessions.
Your CODB takes into consideration your desired salary (how much you personally earn) and all of your expenses as an individual and business owner. Without knowing how much money you need to make to live a reasonable lifestyle (or whatever lifestyle you want!), it’s impossible to figure out how much you should charge.
2). Consider everything you are offering (it’s more than photos)
The value of wedding photography is about more than just the wedding pictures you take. This is a big mistake many wedding photographers who go into business make – believing their clients are just paying for their photos, and nothing else.
Some things wedding photographers do that they should be factoring into their prices…
- Take wedding photos
- Do photo editing
- Help with wedding planning
- Create wedding timelines
- Photograph engagement sessions
- Create free resources on their blogs
- Bring experience and calm to a wedding day
- Send sneak peek galleries quickly
All of this time, experience, and support is valuable – and is really what a client is paying for when they purchase from a good wedding photographer.
3). Create multiple wedding packages
Once you’ve determined how much you need to make and all of the things that add value to your clients, you can start to attribute prices to your offerings.
We recommend using a 3-package model when packaging your services. Your lowest priced package should be pretty bare bones and be priced around the minimum you need to make. In your middle package, add things that are more common for people to want to book. Lastly, for your highest priced package – put in a lot of extra things like albums and prints, to make it really valuable for the high spenders.
The 3 wedding package pricing model has worked for us to help us grow our business revenues.
Want to learn how to charge even more than the average wedding photographer?
Chris is a SEO professional with a passion for helping photography businesses succeed online. With years of experience in the industry, he has a proven track record of increasing website traffic, improving search rankings, and driving revenue growth for his clients.