When it comes to wedding photography cost, prices can vary wildly. You may wonder, why does one photographer charge $500 while another charges ten times as much? Isn’t it the same service?

Multiple factors affect how much a wedding photographer charges. In this article, we’ll cover what influences wedding photographer prices and what we charge at JC Riffo Photography.

What Factors Determine Wedding Photography Cost?

The cost of an event, as well as the quality of the services and the final product, depends on how long the event will last and the number of photographers required to cover it (one or two photographers, and perhaps a third person as an assistant), as well as whether professional or semi-professional equipment is used.

Normal costs range from $800 (think a few hours of coverage for an intimate elopement) to up to $3,200 (all day coverage for a “normal” sized wedding), but prices can go way beyond that for destination weddings, extremely large weddings, extra services like luxury photo albums, or to just to snag a highly sought after photographer. Short videos of the wedding ceremony and reception, filmed with gimbals and/or drones are a popular option right now too, which also comes with a separate cost.

Why is Wedding Photography So Expensive?

To achieve high quality photos and videos that will keep your special day fresh in your memory for years to come, a photographer generally needs to use professional-grade cameras and lighting, including strobe light flash equipment and continuous LED lights, tools that are valued at hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and have a limited life span. Also, photo and video editing software like Photoshop, Lightroom, CaptureOne, Premier, and Davinci are necessary to create images that are professional and contain true to life, vibrant colors. These programs also cost a photographer hundreds of dollars each year.

Quality Considerations

Pricing always depends, in part, on the skill and knowledge of the photographer producing the photos, regardless of their equipment. Of course, common sense dictates that someone using professional equipment will charge double or triple someone using semi-professional equipment, which can limit a photographer in what they can create when it comes to quality and variety. For example, to photograph small objects, like wedding rings, little details and textures, a macro lens or adapters are needed.

How Pricing Works

The following prices are by no means regulated photography prices (there aren’t any), but in my experience, they are rough estimates of wedding photography cost in the area where I live in northeast Florida and most of the U.S. It should also be noted that these prices can fluctuate depending on the size of your event and the number of guests expected to attend.

Semi-professional: $800 – $1,250

This price range will usually get you a photographer with semi-professional equipment with or without event lighting. At the higher end of the price range, you’ll likely get a photographer and an assistant along with a few studio flashes and softboxes of varying sizes.

Professional: $1,250 to $2,500

For this price, you can expect your photographer to show up with professional equipment and several lighting options including flashes and softboxes, plus an assistant or second photographer.

Premium: $2,500 to $3,200

Once you pass the 2.5k mark, you should expect your photographer to have professional cameras and lighting. A second photographer is usually included when you reach this price range too. You may receive a physical wedding album as part of a package deal as well.

Top: $3,200 to $5,500

Renowned photographers can charge within this price range or even (much) more. Often, they are equipped with medium format equipment and parabolic dishes, which are valued at thousands of dollars.

What Do You Get When You Hire a Wedding Photographer?

Wedding photographers usually document the following moments on your wedding day:

  • Getting ready photos of the bride and groom and any bridal party members. (Two photographers may be required for this.)
  • Photographs taken in the surrounding areas such as at a park, in a city, or on a beach.
  • Photographs of the ceremony.
  • Group pictures with family and friends.
  • Photographs of the rings and other important wedding details.
  • Reception and dinner photos.
  • Dancing or other festivities.

To provide you with all these photos, a photographer needs to be with you for about 4-8 hours.

Additional Expenses

Videography – Prepare to pay at least $700 if you want to add professional video coverage on your special day.

Albums, prints, and other physical products – Prices vary when it comes to physical products, with much depending on the quality of these. Not all photographers offer physical products. Some may refer you to a printery they recommend instead.

How Do You Measure the Value of Photography?

There’s no single way to measure the value of a photograph, but consider this example: A shampoo company may pay thousands of dollars for a single image of a woman with luscious golden hair to promote their product in a magazine or online ad. To get it, a professional photography studio shoot with a photographer and his staff can cost around $7,500, plus the fee for renting or using a studio. Professional lighting materials alone (not to mention cameras) like parabolic flashes, can cost more than $3,000 each. As you can see, the tools to create a professional image are costly and even a photograph with no sentimental value can be quite expensive.

With wedding photography of course, we are talking about documenting an extremely important life event that is personal, intimate, and filled with love. It’s an occasion that deserves to be documented with care. In our opinion, setting aside a decent amount of your wedding budget for photos is well worth it. Not only do these photos remind you of a most important day in your life, they’ll be cherished by your kids, grandkids and other relatives for many years to come.

How Much Do You Charge for Wedding Photography?

At JC Riffo Photography, we use professional equipment and can offer a second photographer should you desire one. That said, our prices are open and are negotiable depending on how many hours your event lasts, how many guests will attend, and what your expectations are for the resulting photos. Don’t forget to take into account the professional skills, the equipment, and the hours spent in post-processing editing images that are needed to create beautiful and lasting photos of your special day. Our advice? Don’t skimp on photography services. You get what you pay for and your wedding day is a once in a lifetime event.

My husband and I only take on a few weddings a year, so if you are interested in booking us for wedding photography, please get in touch with us via our contact form. We would be happy to discuss our schedule and offerings with you.