There are three big factors that impact the cost of wedding photography:
1. Location — Prices for wedding photography vary dramatically from city to city. You can probably look up average prices for wedding photography were you live. In the South Florida area, for instance, the average price of wedding photography hovers right around $2,500. You might find that prices, where you live, are double what couples pay in other cities! No matter where you live, though, you’ll discover that professional quality wedding photography is going to be a significant investment.
2. The pricing and package structure — It can be difficult to compare apples to apples in wedding photography because there is no “standard package” that all photographers offer. For example, some photographers charge an extra fee for having a second photographer, while others include that in their pricing. Some include an album in every package, and others do not. When considering photographers, remember that everyone will structure their pricing and packages differently. So make sure that you don’t make assumptions based on a price listed on a website. Find out what that price includes. If you are comparing photographers, make sure you are comparing the same set of products and services side by side. Ask the questions that need to be asked in order to approximate an apples-to-apples comparison.
3. Skill and experience — This is a biggie! You may find two photographers in the same city, offering the same products and services, whose prices differ by several thousand dollars. How can that be? Usually, the answer comes down to skill and experience. When I was just starting out in wedding photography, I didn’t have much experience, and my prices reflected that. As the quality, consistency, and artistry of a photographer’s work increases, their pricing does as well. The phrase “You get what you pay for” typically rings true when it comes to wedding photographers. Remember, just because you see a handful of photos on a photographer’s site that you love, that doesn’t mean you will see that level of quality throughout a full wedding gallery. Every photographer can probably show you a few stellar images. The difference in a higher-priced photographer is that you will likely get many more photos that you will cherish from your wedding day than you will if you opt for a budget-photographer. There is a HUGE RANGE of skill and overall quality between low-end and higher-end photographers.
So how much does wedding photography cost? I stand by my short answer: It depends. But hopefully, this explanation can help you gain some context in your search.
One final thought … Your wedding day will be fleeting. You will be caught up in a whirlwind of people and excitement. Your relationship and your wedding photos will be the only things that remain when that whirlwind is over. Your photos will be the only way to tangibly preserve your precious memories of that day. When choosing a wedding photographer, please consider carefully and don’t let the question of cost be the only determining factor.