Wedding photographer prices can vary depending on many factors including your wedding’s location (photographers in big cities tend to cost more than in other areas), the type of services and packages you’re looking for, and your chosen photographer’s experience and level of expertise. In general, wedding photographer prices in the U.S. tend to range between $2,000 and $4,500, with the average wedding photographer cost hovering around $3,250. Your wedding photographer will likely comprise about 15-20 percent of your overall wedding budget. Closer to home in the Annapolis-Baltimore-Washington DC metro region, good photographers will range between $3,000 and $5,500, more in some cases, with the average being $4,250. See the graph below:
When researching wedding photographers, be sure to read the information about their pricing and packages carefully—these tend to differ widely from photographer to photographer and can greatly affect wedding photography pricing. A few items and services to look for include:
There are other, less obvious parts of a wedding photographer’s business that may be included in their package pricing, which include equipment, employees, business expenses, marketing, liability insurance, subscription services, and more.
While tips aren’t included in a photographer’s package, they are certainly something you should factor into your wedding photography budget. Consider a $100 to $200 tip as a nice gesture before the photographer leaves the venue. You should also write an online review for your photographer as an added thank-you. I would love if you would take the time to complete a favorable review of your interactions with me on WeddingWire by click here.
Wedding photographers are usually among the first vendors couples book after they secure their venue. Of course exceptional and experienced photographers are booked first and become unavailable fairly quickly. I recommend starting booking your photographer (and hopefully that’s me!) about 12 to 16 months before your big day to ensure availability, give yourself time to do an engagement session, create “Save the Dates”, and so on.
As you start researching wedding photographers by checking out their work and reading their online reviews (read my reviews here), be sure to pinpoint the wedding photography style you like best. There are a few wedding photography styles to choose from, including:
Please check out this page for more information about the various photography styles and see what your may like!
When it comes to the great “one versus two wedding photographers” debate, the “right” answer tends to vary from photographer to photographer, and often depends on the size of your wedding. If you’re having a very intimate and small wedding, having just one photographer present may suffice. However, if you’re hosting a larger wedding with lots of guests, you will likely need a main photographer as well as a second photographer, and perhaps assistants to help with lighting and coordination. All but my starting “entry level” package (for the budget minded clients) have a 2nd photographer, unless we can both create a custom package that meets your specific needs.
Having a second shooter can be beneficial in capturing different perspectives and angles throughout the day—and can make your wedding-day timeline run even more smoothly. With two photographers on hand, both your and your future spouse’s getting-ready processes can be photographed at the same time. It’s best to discuss your specific wedding and needs with your photographer to determine the best staffing situation.
Check out this page for more information about your decision to hire a second photographer.
Many photographers do include an album in their wedding photography rates. However, Trans4mation Photography offers it as a separate line item, for an extra charge. There are indeed other services that allow you to create your own wedding photo album, but it can sometimes be more seamless to go through your own photographer, not to mention the professional grade quality albums you’ll likely get!
If your wedding photographer is based near your wedding location, you likely won’t have to pay any additional travel costs. However, if your photographer will be traveling a significant distance (often over 75 miles), you will likely incur additional travel costs. If your photographer is flying to your wedding destination, you will probably have to pay for his/her airfare and accommodations, as well as an additional travel fee. Again, these wedding photographer prices vary from pro to pro, so be sure to ask me for pricing details before booking.
For your wedding vendors who will be present during your actual wedding (your photographer, videographer, DJ, wedding planner, etc.) you will need to provide hot meals. Yes, this is indeed an added expense that you might not have expected to incur, but it’s an important one—vendors who are well-fed and happy will better be able to bring their A-game for your big day! Your wedding caterer is likely accustomed to providing these meals which should be identical to your guest meals, but an a reduce and discounted price, so be sure to discuss this with your caterer.
I definitely think doing an engagement shoot is worth it, as it helps you and your partner get comfortable in front of the camera and with your photographer before your big day. Oftentimes engagement photo sessions are included in the packages provided by photographers. However, some photographers list these shoots separately, and engagement shoot prices can range widely (and wildly!). These prices usually include a shoot at a location of your choice and an online gallery and/or USB of images. Some photographers allow you to make multiple outfit changes during your shoot, though that may cost extra for others.
I am happy to provide you with just an engagement photo session, which can range from anywhere between $300 to $800 depending on the complexity, location, duration, etc. Be sure to ask me for information about engagement sessions if you are not yet ready to purchase a wedding photography package. It is however advantageous if you package all of your photography together into one contract as you will enjoy a package deal, rather than a-la-carte pricing.
Couples usually take engagement photos about 6 to 9 months before their wedding date. You should work with your photographer to determine the best time for your needs. Some couples will adjust their timing to have a warm-weather engagement shoot, but don’t shy away from a winter photo session. We find winter engagement shoots to be among the most intimate, cozy and romantic!
For more information about How to Prepare for Your Engagement Photo Session, click here!
When meeting with a photographer for the first time, there are several questions you should be sure to ask pros before booking, including:
Be sure to check out my What to Expect During Your Consultation page here!
To get us started, click here for the pricing of my standard packages, options, and starting price. Once we meet in person for a consultation between all the stakeholders, I will share all my prices and explore custom packages and prices with you as well!