Do Wedding Photographers Get Paid Upfront?

With so much needed to be organized before the wedding, you are sure to venture into unknown territory when you need to budget and organize payment for all the services that you require for your big day.

This can be a daunting task.

Luckily, in this article, I will guide you through a wedding photographer’s payment schedule, and answer the question about whether or not a wedding photographer is paid upfront or not.

I will also take you through what you can expect to pay, and why wedding photographers charge what they charge.

Let’s get started.

Do Wedding Photographers Get Paid Upfront? Yes, wedding photographers usually require a deposit which is due when you sign a contract with them to secure your booking on the desired date. Depending on the photographer, the rest of the agreed-upon fee is due before the wedding. This can be paid in full before the wedding or split into 2 payments, with one payment a few months before the wedding and the last payment one month before the wedding.

How Much Should a Wedding Photography Deposit Be?

This will vary from photographer to photographer. Some wedding photographers will ask for a 25% deposit when you book them, and others will ask for a 50% deposit. A popular payment schedule that wedding photographers are adopting these days is a 3 payment schedule. This includes a 33% deposit, with the remaining fees split into 2 further payments of 33% each.

Why Do Wedding Photographers Ask For A Deposit?

Wedding photographers ask for a deposit mainly to cover the costs of any preparation they have done prior to the wedding, and for any potential bookings they might have lost should the wedding couple decide to terminate their agreement with the wedding photographer.

As mentioned earlier, wedding photographers can get very busy during the wedding season. When you pay them a deposit, they agree to forego scheduling other clients on the day and time that you booked them for.

If you decide to terminate your agreement with them, they can potentially lose out to other clients they could have scheduled on the day and time you booked them for.

How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost?

The cost of a wedding photographer can vary from $1,000 to $10,000 in the U.S., however, $2,000 will be enough to make sure your big day is beautifully captured by a professional photographer.

The price will vary depending on the wedding photographer, and of course, what you require from the wedding photographer.

Most wedding photographers have a base asking price for their services, and they charge an additional fee per hour should they be required to provide extended coverage of the wedding. This can include a pre-wedding shoot as well as a rehearsal dinner shoot.

They can also charge additional fees if you require them to get your photos printed and organized in a wedding album.

When Should You Hire A Wedding Photographer?

The earlier you hire a wedding photographer, the better. You should hire a wedding photographer at least 10 months before your wedding, especially if you have a specific photographer in mind.

Wedding photographers are often booked well in advance and can get very busy during wedding season, so the sooner you book your favorite wedding photographer the better. This will ensure that you can secure the services of your favorite wedding photographer for your big day.

When you hire a wedding photographer, he or she will ask you to sign a contract and pay the deposit that I talked about earlier.

Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive?

In order to produce professional photos, you need high-quality equipment. This includes expensive cameras, lights, and other equipment needed to capture all the candid moments during a wedding.

When the wedding photographer has completed shooting all the photos, he or she will head back to the office to edit the photos using expensive software and computer equipment.

Editing these photos takes a lot of skill and a lot of time, and wedding photographers factor in all of what I just mentioned when working out costs for their services.

Should You Tip Your Wedding Photographer?

You are not required to tip your wedding photographer, but it will certainly be appreciated. 50% of wedding couples end up tipping their wedding photographers, and a fee between $50 to $150 is usually given as a token of appreciation.


Hopefully, now you have a better idea of what to expect when it comes to paying your wedding photographer.

Not all wedding photographers have the same payment schedules, but in most cases, you can expect to pay a deposit when you book your favorite wedding photographer.

After that, you will be required to pay the rest of the fees in full before the wedding, or 2 payments with one payment a few months (usually 6 months) before the wedding and the last payment a month before the wedding.