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Some wedding photographers cost only a few hundred dollars, while others can charge a small fortune to do essentially the same thing right? Why do wedding photography prices vary so much? We know you might think they're just "taking pictures" and with technology today almost anyone can do it. We're here to tell you... YOU ARE SO WRONG! And you shouldn't choose just anyone to shoot your wedding, it's time to do your research and find the right match.

You've been planning your wedding in your mind since you were just a child. You finally met the love of your life and you're engaged! Now you have to actually plan the big event. Everything from figuring out your budget, finding your dream venue, putting together your guest list... there are countless things that need to be done. A photographer is one of the most important parts of your wedding celebration because you will have the photographs as your wedding memories for the rest of your life.


Even though you may think the food is important (and of course it is... no one wants to pay for mediocre food!), when you are reminiscing about your wedding on your fiftieth wedding anniversary, the special moments captured by your photographer are what you will have to look back at. The delicious salmon you ate that evening fifty years ago will be forgotten. Your wedding photos will be there to help remind you of the emotions that you felt, the amazing details of your wedding gown, and the way your husband got teary-eyed when he saw you in your gown for the first time as you were walking down the aisle. Those are the special moments you want to remember... those moments that can only be captured by photographs.

Wedding Photography Prices Can Vary Widely

How do you figure out what is the best option for you? And with all of those different choices, what is the average price for a wedding photographer?!

We've created an infographic based on SnapKnot photographer members to give you an idea of average wedding photographer prices in major cities across the US:

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It really is hard to compare wedding photography prices because the numbers don't always tell the whole story. SnapKnot is a great place to start to search for photographers in your area to get a basic idea and start asking questions. There are many factors that go into the price so it is important to do your research and compare them all carefully before making your final choice.

There are many scenarios that can change up the cost of a wedding photographer and we want to help you to better understand the differences.

Here’s a real life scenario:

There are 2 photographers who both have a wedding photography package that cost $4,000.

For that $4,000, Photographer A will shoot for 8 hours on the day of your wedding, and that also includes an engagement photo session, a framed print, a second shooter and a 20 page 11x14 album.

For the same $4,000 the second, Photographer B, will only show up and shoot for 6 hours.

There are many variables involved in the costs. Maybe Photographer A is new to the business and wants to offer more for the money because they are trying to build up their wedding portfolio where Photographer B may have 20 years of wedding photographer experience. Also, make sure you do not forget that, just like any company, there are costs associated with running a wedding photography business. Some wedding photographers have a studio where others may simply work from their home. Some wedding photographers stay very busy and need an assistant or additional photographers working for them, while some prefer to work on their own. There are costs associated with the various cameras and equipment that is needed and if the photographer will be traveling to get to your wedding, travel costs and mileage may also be included.


A few other things photographers factor into their pricing is that they have to pay for (just like any other company out there!) marketing, equipment insurance, and of course taxes.

Remember also that a photographer does not just spend time with you when they are shooting your photos, they will most likely meet with you at least once to go over your wedding day, theme, and any specific photos or poses you hope to have. They will also spend a large amount of time after the wedding editing your photos. Learn more about what goes into the price range that wedding photographers charge and what exactly IS the average cost of wedding photography on our blog here .

With all these factors in mind, which of the two wedding photographer prices is the better deal? To make this decision, this is where you have to really use your judgement. Ask a lot of questions. Schedule a meeting with each one. Take a look at their past wedding photos, sample albums, and get a sense of their personality, because you need to remember that this will be someone who will be spending a large amount of time with you on one of your most important days of your life...they should be someone who you enjoy being around.

After meeting with both you feel that Photographer B will do an amazing job for his $4,000 wedding photographer rate. He has tons of experience, his images are stunning and the customer service is top notch. Photographer A has decent photos, but the albums you saw were not the best quality and their photos just do not show that "WOW" factor like Photographer B's did.

So, you choose Photographer B. Great choice! You might have to spend a bit more money to get beautiful album after the wedding, but at least you will be in love with all of your images and you’ll enjoy them for years to come. With your wedding photography being such an important momento to your wedding celebration, you really are getting the better deal because of the value Photographer B brings. If you are going to spend thousands of dollars no matter what, why not get the best quality you can?


Still feel like you'll never be able to afford the photographer of your dreams?

As the months pass that lead up to your wedding you're thinking there's a lot of money being spent already! There's so much to consider regarding wedding photography prices, and the overall wedding photographer cost as it relates to your overall budget with all of the other vendors you are using. Our best advice is even if you're on a tight budget, invest in the best wedding photographer you can afford. Best meaning someone like Photographer B, who might cost more and offer less, but you know you'll get the amazing photos you've always wanted. Then, after the wedding is over, you can always go back to them and order wedding photography packages, prints, albums or any other products you want.

Disclaimer: With all this said, just because one wedding photographer has higher prices, that does not mean that they are automatically better. It is still up to you to do that research, meet with each photographer you are considering so you can evaluate their skills.

Wedding Photography Checklist

To determine whether the wedding photography prices are a good value or not, keep in mind these things:

  • Quality of the Images - You will be spending a good amount of money on these photos, so the quality should be outstanding.

  • Photographer's Style - Remember that you will have these photos to reminisce about your wedding day with your grandchildren years and years from now; you need to be in LOVE with the photographers style. Do you love the more candid shots? Make sure the photographer you choose does amazing candid shots, and has a superb eye for capturing those special moments, otherwise you will be disappointed later on.

  • Photographer's Personality - You want to make sure you work with someone who you will be happy to share your wedding day with. Be sure to keep in mind how they present themselves and their reputation from other couple’s they have worked with. Do you think they have a horrible personality? That may not be someone who you want to spend that much time with.

  • Quality of Albums - If you want to purchase an album, parent book, or any other item within the wedding photography packages, make sure they are high quality.

  • Here are a few things you should do before you book the best wedding photographer for you:

  • Ask Around - Getting referrals from trusted friends and colleagues is a great place to start. You can also ask the photographer to provide testimonials from their past customers.

  • Do Your Homework - Browse wedding photographers to find those you like who also fit your budget. Research the wedding photographer cost of other professionals in your area. With SnapKnot , searching for photographers is FREE! SnapKnot can match you with photographers who meet your specific budget and wedding criteria or you can message photographers directly from their profile.

  • Meet Them In Person - You are stuck with your wedding photographer not only on your wedding day, but they're usually the only vendor you have to deal with after your wedding is over. It's important to hire someone you like and feel comfortable with.

  • All in all, you want to hire a photographer who is passionate about their job. Someone who shows passion will be dedicated to taking the best possible pictures on your day and give you a remarkable experience and photos you will be so proud to look back on for years to come. Make sure you invest your money in someone you trust, you enjoy being around and someone who has a portfolio that you are in love with.

    Because remember... the photography is the ONLY thing you are going to pay for to ensure that you have happy memories of your wedding day for the rest of your life.

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