Average Cost of Wedding photography in 2024

Luxury Wedding photographer in St. Louis Missouri

How much should I invest in wedding photography?

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life, and you want to make sure that you have memories of it that you can cherish for years to come. One way to do this is by hiring a professional wedding photographer. However, the cost of a wedding photographer can vary greatly depending on various factors. In this article, we will explore the average price for a wedding photographer and what factors can affect this cost, but we will start by debunking a popular wedding budget myth.

Wedding at the Four Seasons in St. Louis Missouri

Debunking the 10% Rule

It has become popular among blogs and resources to suggest couples use the 10% rule with photography. This means that they will use 10% of their overall wedding budget on photography. Now, for some couples, this may be perfect, but the problem with this advice is that it’s one size fits all. And one thing I know from working in the wedding industry, is that no wedding is one size fits all. There are so many unique factors of each wedding, it’s impossible to say whether this is good advice for your particular wedding, and for this reason, I don’t suggest taking this broad advice. There is so much that goes into photography rates. We will discuss all of the factors that go into wedding photography cost to give you a better idea of why and how much to invest in your photos.

Wedding portraits at the Stone House of St. Charles in St. Charles Missouri

So the big question: how much does wedding photography cost?

The wedding industry is big business in the United States, and no detail is too small to be overlooked. From the dress to the flowers to the music, every aspect of a wedding is carefully planned and executed to create the perfect day. And when it comes to capturing those memories, the services of a wedding photographer are essential.

But let’s be honest, hiring a wedding photographer is not cheap. In fact, it’s a considered a luxury market. Now, some might balk at the idea of spending so much money on photography, but let’s put it into perspective. Your wedding day is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the photographs captured on that day will be cherished for generations to come. It’s an investment in your memories, and if you choose the right photographer, it’s an investment that will pay off over and over.

Let’s dive into what you are really wondering: how much can you or should you expect to pay for a wedding photographer? This answer will be different for everyone!

The Big question you should be asking yourself is not ““how much does wedding photography cost”, but more specifically, “how much does a wedding photographer cost, that also focuses on what I value most” because that is where the difference in what you and someone else might be willing to spend.

To help get started with answering that question, and help you figure out what YOUR photographer should cost, let’s break the average cost of wedding photographers into more specific groups:

Brand New:  $0-$500

This is someone who has never shot a wedding, and probably hasn’t owned their camera long. They are looking to just get their feet wet, and shoot anything and everything. They probably have very minimal and basic gear, and have no distinct editing style.

How they might make you feel: VERY risky. You will likely not feel confident, as you won’t know what to expect for the end result.

Beginner: $500-1,200

This is someone who may have shot a few weddings, whether by themselves or possibly as an assistant or second shooter. They are not in high demand, and probably do not have a consistent editing style yet. You may be able to see some of their work unlike a brand new photographer, but they may not possess good posing or lighting skills at this level.

How they will make you feel: You may see examples of their work, and feel like they could possibly pull it off, but they will likely not have the skills other higher level photographers possess.

Amateur: $1,200 – $2,000

This is someone who photographs weddings fairly regularly, but probably isn’t in high demand. Their style probably isn’t consistent yet, and they are not quite full-time.

How they will make you feel: They will probably provide a solid service

Growing Amateur: $2,000 – $3,000

This is someone who is improving their skills, and is starting to get to the “professional” category. Their style is consistent, and they are probably a bit higher in demand.

How they will make you feel: At this level they will be investing in education, gear, and backups. They will also have a consistent style, and a good portfolio for you to browse, so you can know exactly what to expect.

Professional: $3,500 – $5,000

This is someone who is a full-time professional. They are in demand because of their consistent style, knowledge, and expertise.

How they will make you feel: They have high quality photographs, and a solid style. They will make you feel very well taken care of.

Luxury: $6,000 – $10,000+

This is someone with luxury offerings who is highly sought after for their refined style and taste.

How they will make you feel: You will feel confident that they can handle any high profile event with such ease.

Luxury Wedding photography at Westwind hills in Pacific Missouri

Why do the costs differ so much?

So, what factors can affect the cost of a wedding photographer? Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Experience – Photographers with more experience will often charge more for their services.
  2. Location – The cost of living in your area can affect the cost of a wedding photographer.
  3. Time – Some Photographers charge by the hour, so the more time they spend at your wedding, the more it will cost.
  4. Services – Some photographers offer packages that include engagement photos, albums, or prints, which can increase the overall cost.
  5. Equipment – High-end cameras, lenses, and other equipment can be expensive, and photographers may charge more to cover these costs.
  6. Travel – If your wedding is in a remote location, or if you want a destination wedding, your photographer may charge more to cover travel expenses.
  7. Reputation – Photographers with a strong reputation may charge more for their services.

Missouri Wedding photographer

To conclude

So how much should you invest in a wedding photographer? Ultimately it’s a decision only you can make. Of course you want to find a photographer who fits the budget and skill that you are looking for, but it really comes down to how much you are willing to invest.

At the end of the day, hiring a wedding photographer is an investment in your memories. While it may be tempting to cut corners on this expense, the right photographer can make all the difference in capturing those special moments and ensuring they last a lifetime.

If you are interested in more information, I would love to chat and answer any questions! Click here to contact me!

January 1, 2024

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