As a leading resource on finding wedding photographers we are often asked, what is the right price for wedding photography? Specifically what is the typical cost, and do wedding photographers get paid by the hour or by the event? All great questions that circle around the same concept: what is the price for wedding photography?
The question seems simple enough for a simple answer such as “on average, the price for wedding photography in the United States is $X” or “you should allocate 10%-12% of your wedding budget towards a photographer”. However, as with all skills based services prices vary greatly.
To complicate the matter, comparing photographers is not as simple as shopping for a product like an ipod. Here’s why. How do you attach a price and compare artistic skill between photographers when beauty is in the eye of the beholder and no two artists are identical? Remember, the service your purchasing is the capturing of your moments based on the photographers’ personal interpretation of an event that will never happen, the way it happened, again. Wow, sounds pretty important when you think about that way, wouldn’t you agree?
Many photographers who market themselves focus on the “quantifiable items of their service”. Items like hours of coverage, amount of photos taken, equipment provided, how many finished albums, proofs included and travel, etc. These are easy items for you to compare the price for wedding photography between photographers but they are NOT the items you should be most focused on. I would assign a percentage of importance to these quantifiable items of 25%. The remaining 75% should be focused on your personal preferences for what I call the “qualitative items of their service”, such as style and quality of work, their personality, relationship and trust in, and the reputation and quality reviews of the photographer. These are items that are difficult to put a price on and compare.
In the end the true price for wedding photography is priceless. If preserving the event for all time in a way that meets with your style is important to you, then this is one aspect of the wedding where budgets be damned. Focus most on the qualitative items above, and work with the person who makes a connection, listens, and matches your style.
Now learn what questions to ask a wedding photographer.
About the Author:
Ron Carpenito – Cofounder, WeddingPhotoUSA
With a passion for weddings and the web and over 20 years of experience in the wedding industry, Ron and wife Deb enjoy connecting brides to wedding professionals, writing & sharing about the latest trends in weddings and photography and growing their clients business.