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For many couples, their wedding will be the most important and significant day of their lives thus far. It’s filled with love, excitement, tears, family, friends, and so many happy memories. For this reason, choosing an awesome wedding photographer is extremely important, and even adding on a wedding videographer is a great idea. If you’re starting to plan your wedding, you’re most likely starting to realize that the second you say “wedding” the prices skyrocket skewing all perception of what’s fair and what’s pricey. Because of this, we find many of our brides taking a step back and asking themselves “how much do wedding photographers even cost?” So you can avoid this question, your friends at BrideBox (hi, that’s us! :)) put together a complete breakdown of what you should expect when you’re wedding photographer shopping:
Photo Credit: Peaches and Mint
Important Things to Look for in Wedding Photographers
While there are way more questions to ask your photographer before making a final decision, here are three key things to look for in the beginning:
- Quality – Your wedding will be one of the most memorable days of your life and you’ll want to make sure that the documentation of it matches the memories you have. Not to mention, you’re spending a pretty penny, so quality is key.
- Personality – Because this person (or people) will be sharing some of your most intimate moments with you, you’ll definitely want to like them and their personality. Take a look at their social media, their website, their portfolio, and yelp if they have it. If they get raving reviews, they’re going to be a great candidate for your big day! A great tip is to reach out to any friends or family members for recommendations. The best (and sometimes worst) part about weddings is that everyone will have an opinion and they are eager to help out!
- Style – Are you drawn to pictures with mostly-white hues or are you drawn to more HD quality pictures with a ton of clarity and color? Do you love candid shots with a more artistic feel or do you love the timeless nature that comes with classic photography? Do some research on what you feel most connected to, and then start your hunt for the perfect wedding photographer. You will be reminiscing on this day for the rest of your lives and sharing it with family and friends for years to come so make sure you love every bit of them.
Photo Credit: Khaki Bedford Photography
What do I even need in a photography package?
- Retouched digital files (with printing rights)! While having prints and an album is absolutely necessary, buying it straight from the photographer can add an extra expense that you can bypass. There are awesome DIY alternatives that will be just as high quality and for a much more affordable cost.
- Getting a bundled price for your engagement shoot and wedding day would be ideal. By booking both of those at the same time, you’ll tend to be able to negotiate a lower price with the photographer.
- Specified amount of time at your wedding. This is on you to figure out. Do you want them there from the getting ready scenes all the way through the final getaway? Or do you want to keep it basic and just have the standard before pictures, family pictures, and a few fun pictures? Determine what’s important to you and then you can figure out the time they will need to actually be shooting.
- Number of Photographers. Do you want to make sure you get both sides of a shot (for example: simultaneously seeing the bride and groom’s reaction as they see each other for the first time)? If that’s the case, more than one photographer will be necessary. In some cases, photographers will give you better deals and more pictures if you add a second photographer to the deal.
Photo Credit: Nicole Berrett Photography
Average Cost for Wedding Photographers
Ok, this is a tricky one as it depends on where your wedding will be located. For example, in Los Angeles, CA the average price of a photographer is around $4,000. However, in Salt Lake City, UT it’s around $2,200. A good reference point is to look at your wedding budget.
On average, brides spend about 10-15% of their total budget on wedding photography. With the average cost of a wedding in the United States somewhere around $31,000, you’re looking at a range of $3,100 – $4,650 for your photographer.
Photo Credit: Joey Kennedy Photography
How to Save on Your Wedding Photography
- Buy a DIY album – options like BrideBox Wedding Albums can save you up to $1000. It allows you more freedom to determine the pictures you choose and the placement of them in the album. Not to mention, you get to decide the timeframe in which you receive your album rather than waiting months for your photographer to deliver it to you.
- Determine a time frame – as stated above, focus on what means the most to you. Our favorite option is coming toward the end of the “getting ready” scene and leaving toward the beginning of the dance floor. Let’s be honest, the dancing pictures aren’t going to be the highlight of your album for years to come anyway.
- Choose an off-season wedding date – this is the easiest option. When you choose a month outside of April-October, your wedding prices will drop significantly. These photographers rely heavily on getting most of their money during that time, so in the off-season, they’re more willing to strike a deal.
Photo Credit: Heather Waraksa
All in all, wedding photography, while expensive, is worth every dollar. Your children and your children’s children will thank you in the future for investing in quality work and creating a memorable keepsake. Let us know in the comments section below if you have any more questions while wedding photographer shopping!