This is probably the most controversial topic in the wedding industry. What is the average cost of a wedding photographer? Certain places, like The Knot, say that the average cost of a wedding photographer is one number while others say another.
Let me start this blog post off by saying this: The average cost of a wedding photographer varies greatly and it depends on many factors. Factors such as, but not limited to, the photographer’s experience level and education, her cost of living, and her cost of doing business.
An inexperienced wedding photographer will (and should) cost less than a photographer with years of experience under her belt. Not because she isn’t a quality photographer or that her potential is less. But rather, for the simple fact that she is inexperienced. Inexperience comes with inherently more risk on the buyer’s end. More could go wrong that could lead a client to be unhappy with their images.
What is the average cost of an inexperienced wedding photographer? On average, a wedding photographer with fewer than 2 years of wedding photography experience, will charge $3K or less. With that comes risk – a lot of risk. That said, we all started somewhere and needed someone to take a risk on us. If you plan to go this route for your own wedding photography, please do your research!
If you want to hire a moderately experienced wedding photographer, you will likely pay more than $4K. They will likely have a few more years of experience under their belt and may or may not be a full-time wedding photographer.
The average starting cost of a highly experienced wedding photographer is somewhere in the $6-7k+. They will have years of lead photography experience under their belt, are masters at finding great light, and are usually full-time photographers. Highly experienced wedding photographers invest heavily in their craft and often attend several master photography classes, workshops, and retreats each year.
And if you’re planning on having a luxury wedding, most luxury wedding photographers start around $10k+.
Wedding photography is an investment.
You’re investing in a professional artist who has spent years working, learning, and fine-tuning her craft. Your photographer has to cover her costs of doing business, pay taxes, save for retirement, pay her mortgage, pay for health and business insurance, put kids through school, and put food on the table.
An experienced wedding photographer has the same responsibilities adults with typical 9-5 jobs have…except they work for themselves so they’re probably working a lot more than 40 hours a week.
So, if you think, “Why should I pay someone that if all they do is click a button for 8-12 hours one day a week and slap a filter on some images?” let me kindly tell you that you are wrong.
These are just some of the things you’re paying your wedding photographer to do:
Essentially, you’re paying your wedding photographer to be excellent at everything before, during, and after the wedding day. And in contrast to portrait photographers who can redo their sessions if need be, wedding photographers only get one chance to get it right. Weddings aren’t something we can redo. All of that equates to one tall order.
The saying “You get what you pay for” is so true, especially when it comes to your wedding photographer. If you don’t have the budget for an experienced photographer, that’s ok. We all start somewhere and we all needed someone to take a risk on us. But set your expectations appropriately.
If you care deeply about your wedding photography, plan to work your wedding budget in a way so you can afford to hire an experienced wedding photographer.
How do we even start to say thank you for all the work and effort you put into our wedding day?
- Josie and Scott
Lauren played such a meaningful role in our wedding, capturing the day in photos that we'll look back on for the rest of our lives. She kept Scott and me calm and sane - Lauren is a miracle worker! She put in 100% effort and gave us her very best, and that means so much to me. Seeing our photographs makes me so excited and so happy that Lauren was with us on this journey.
Lauren made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable!
- Amy and Luke
We just wanted to say thank you again so much for your amazing work. You were seriously incredible to work with and we loved the locations you suggested for both our engagement shoot and the spots in Stillwater. We were very worried about getting professional photos done since we had never done it before, but you made the process so easy and made us feel so comfortable. Thank you!
Working with Lauren was easy breezy and FUN! She gave us our most treasured photos ever!
- GRACE AND NICK
There was a chunk of time in our wedding planning when we thought we'd go without a professional photographer to save on cost (terrible idea!) but once we met with Lauren, we knew we'd be in good hands. She checked in often and asked questions that got us thinking about other parts of the wedding that we probably would've missed. Lauren captured exactly who we are as a couple!
Lauren's enthusiasm and passion make the photo-taking process so fun – she made me feel like a star!
- Alisa AND Adam
Lauren and her team are so much fun to work with! She made us feel so comfortable on the day of our wedding, providing both silly and helpful cues to help us relax and be ourselves in our photos. Lauren’s background in dance is super helpful in recognizing simple posture changes that make a big difference, too. Oh, and the photos we got are just stunning!
Lauren was pivotal in making our wedding day perfect!
- Emma AND Erik
My husband and I looked FOR MONTHS to find the perfect photographer and after meeting Lauren we knew was the best fit for us. She made our day so much fun and easy. She found little opportunities to make the perfect photo all with a calm ease that comes from someone who has an artistic eye along with experience in understanding the flow of a wedding.
Not only is Lauren an amazing human being, but she is an awesome photographer!
- Haley AND Erick
I've been in several weddings and have worked with a multitude of photographers and I never felt as confident as I did with Lauren. I love how professional she is. She helped with the timeline way in advance and we stuck to that timeline the day of. She was also able to professionally and firmly keep unruly family members settled and focused and navigated family drama beautifully!