How Much Does A Wedding Photographer Cost?

Weddings can be expensive, and it can be a stressful experience to plan them especially if you’re on a tight budget.

One of the things you might be wondering about is the wedding photos and how much it will cost to hire a wedding photographer. Luckily, I’m a wedding photographer so I will be able to tell you how much you can expect to pay, and what you can expect from your wedding photographer.

Let’s get started.

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. The price will vary depending on the wedding photographer and 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.

Wedding photographers can also offer add-ons like engagement photo sessions, albums, and prints, and the price for these items can vary from $300 to $1,000.

Who Pays For The Wedding Photographer?

There are no set rules when it comes to paying for the wedding photographer. The bride’s parents have traditionally been responsible for paying for the entire wedding, including the wedding photographer, but these days most people believe that the couple should bear the expenses of the wedding photographer especially if they have been living together for quite some time.

This is not set in stone though, and contributions from family members to the wedding expenses can be negotiated based on willingness and ability to cover the expenses.

Should You Negotiate These Costs With Your Wedding Photographer?

Talking about money is never easy, it is a sensitive subject. I’m not going to tell you that you should, or should not, negotiate the cost of hiring a wedding photographer. Instead, I will give you a breakdown of the work that a wedding photographer does, and this way, you can decide if you should negotiate the costs.

Many people are not aware of this, but photographers will spend hours editing and preparing these photos using expensive software and hardware, and they take this into consideration when putting together costs.

There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on when producing the final collection of photos to be delivered to the wedding couple.

Certain wedding photographers are willing to work with clients to accommodate their budget, but most of them have worked out a set price to cover their time and to make sure that they are not losing money by charging anything less.

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 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.

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.


Hopefully, now you have a better idea of how much it will cost to hire a wedding photographer for your big day.

Depending on your budget, you can decide for how long you want to have a wedding photographer present on the day, and if you want any extras like an engagement photo session.

While it can cost a pretty penny to hire a wedding photographer, he or she will make sure that your big day is professionally captured. You can look back at perfectly captured candid moments and relive the day whenever you want.