“How much should I charge for wedding photography?” This is one of the most common questions that wedding photographers like you ask.
If you’re unsure how to price your services, here’s wedding photography pricing 101 for you.
Wedding Photography: What Beginners Should Know
We’ve compiled some helpful FAQs related to pricing your wedding photography services.
How Much Can You Earn As A Wedding Photographer?
The average cost of wedding photographer services in the US is $1,150 to $4,000.
For student-level photographers, the cost averages $500 to $1,500; $2,500 for professional-level photographers. Meanwhile, grandmaster wedding photographers charge a premium price of $6,000 to $10,000 upward.
What Factors Affect Wedding Photography Pricing?
As mentioned above, wedding photography prices for beginners will be lower than that of professionals and grandmasters. Apart from the level of experience (and the demand for the photographer), these factors also affect the pricing:
- Photography style. Fine art photography will be more expensive than traditional ones.
- Location. Some cities have higher wedding photography pricing than others. For instance, hiring a wedding photographer in New York will cost couples about $2,500 to $5,000. Photographers in Bay Area price their services $3,000 to $4,700 on average). It’s another case if you’re doing destination weddings.
- Hours of coverage. Shoot time can range from 2 to 8 hours (the longer, the higher the price will be)
- Coverage team. If you have more members in your documentation team (e.g., second shooters, assistants), you have to charge a higher price.
- Output. How many photos will be printed? Will you only give soft copies? Will the photos be retouched and compiled in an album?
- Travel distance. Typically, couples should pay you per mile if you’re driving. If you’re covering a destination wedding, your pricing should cover airfare and accommodation.
- Wedding date. During the off-season for weddings (i.e., colder months), you can give couples a discount to attract more clients.
What Should You Include In Your Wedding Photography Packages?
A standard package has a shoot time of 6 to 8 hours and a number of digital images (typically 50 to 100 per hour). It also includes basic retouching, travel expenses within a particular range, and photo printing rights.
You can charge an additional price if the couple wants you to take care of the printing and album compilation featuring a set number of images. They will have to pay an additional fee if they order more prints or copies.
A high-end package will also include a second shooter, more coverage time (about 10 hours), a certain number of prints, a bespoke album, and an engagement session prior to the wedding day.
Do You Need A Wedding Photography Contract?
Anyone giving professional services — including photographers — should have a contract.
A wedding photography contract usually includes package details, the timeline (including deliverables schedule, rescheduling parameters, and overtime policies), the pricing and payment method, and copyright specifications. Some also add a meal clause.
A contract will also serve as a safety net for you as well. In case you’re unaware, couples frequently sue their photographers for breach of contract, misrepresentation, and misappropriation.
7 Tips On How To Price Your Wedding Photography Services
With 9 in 10 couples hiring a photographer for their wedding day, it’s safe to say that the market for wedding photography is lucrative. Want to thrive in this niche? Start right by following these seven tips about wedding photography prices and packages.
1. Research industry rates
Know your target market and consider the city where you’re in. This will help you set a benchmark on where you can base your rates. Additionally, you have to look into your competitors (geography- and photography style-wise) to get more idea on how much you should charge.
2. Know what sets you apart
You should also identify your strongest selling points. How do you differ from the other wedding photographers out there? What makes your services and your outputs unique? If you offer dramatic, movie-like shots and not just the standard portraits, you must showcase that in your promotional materials.
3. Be honest about your level of experience
Experience is one of the weightiest factors affecting a wedding photographer cost. If you’ve just graduated from photography school or are a novice, understand that you have to set a lower price.
Bear in mind that photographing weddings is a different experience. Even if you’ve been a photographer for quite some time now, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can perform just as great when covering such ceremonies. You can only sharpen your wedding photography skills once you get more exposure to this scene.
4. Take advantage of your portfolio
Once you’ve gained experience and built a roster of clients who are satisfied with your services, you should put effort into making a portfolio. Showcase your best works and let those photos speak for themselves.
If you charge a high price and don’t have the portfolio to back it up, you can hurt your reputation and lose potential clients.
5. Factor in your investments and expenses
Professional photography entails using quality gear and tools. Take a look at your arsenal and consider the financial investments you’ve shelled out to acquire those.
Also, track your costs to gauge your average expenditure every time you cover a wedding. That should include your travel expenses and the time you spend taking photos and doing post-wedding tasks (e.g., retouching, printing, and album creation).
6. Create basic packages
Don’t just put one price tag for your services. You can maximize your profits by offering different packages that cater to different budgets and preferences. You should also set a price for a la carte services and add-ons.
7. Mind your words
How you word out your packages and promotional materials can also affect the perceived value of your services. For instance, if you include engagement sessions as a bonus inclusion, consider saying “Engagements included” instead of “Engagement sessions are free.”
When To Raise Your Wedding Photography Prices
The discussions about “How much should I charge for wedding photography?” don’t end with knowing how to price your services rightfully. You must also know when to raise your price and let your fee truly reflect your worth.
After gaining significant experience — and subsequently, testimonials from your previous clients’ experience — you can start contemplating increasing your rate. Also, consider the inclusions you may have added over time (e.g., wedding videography).
In raising your price, your mental attitude plays a critical role. Many photographers (and other creatives) tend to be meek and modest, and as a result, they end up undercharging their clients. You have to be confident about your worth, especially if you have tons of images as proof.