Someone asked me the other day, “What is a reasonable amount to spend on wedding photography?” If you ask Event Planners, many will say that most couples spend around 10-12% of their total wedding budget on photography. According to Wedding Wire, wedding photography across the United States ranges from $1,200 – $3,000 on average.With anything else it tends to be more expensive in bigger cities.
What I recommend is – Forget numbers, percentages and figures. Spend money where you place value. Ask yourself – how important are wedding photos to me?
Spend Money on What You Value
If you want to remember your wedding day as a turnt up PARTY, spend your money on alcohol and the best DJ/live band. However, if how you look is important, spend your money on the best hair and make-up team. And, if beautiful photos are important to you, spend you money on a photographer you like, and on lighting.
If you like a photographer but it is stretching your budget, where are areas you can save? Do you care to be talking about the kind of food you served 5 years after the wedding? If it’s simply important that your guests have good food but you don’t care how it gets to them, would you consider buffet or food stations versus a sit-down dinner? Will you want to be passing your wedding gown to your future children, or will it just sit in a box, eventually to be sold? Alternative – rent a dress.
These are a couple ideas. Think about what you’ll care about 5, 10, 20 years down the road.
Invest in What is Important to You
Once, I had a couple book me for their simple wedding. I was maybe 50% of their entire wedding budget, but pictures were the most important thing to them so they were willing to hire me even though it was outside their budget. To save money elsewhere, she took make-up and floral classes, and did make-up and flowers herself with the help of her friends (everything looked amazing!). She asked me what else she should consider to get great photos. I told her to plan the ceremony and portrait time just before sunset. In the end she was happy because she got what she wanted – photos she loved.
Choose A Photographer You Love
I’ve also had clients book me where I was maybe 3% of their budget. They didn’t choose me based on price (if they could afford to feed 300 guests mountains of Uni and Foie Gras, they probably could have afforded a more expensive wedding photographer). They hired me because they liked the photos in my portfolio, my work experience, and the content I write on my blog.
Here are some important questions to ask your photographer to get a feel for who they are and how they work.
Conclusion: Wedding Photographer Cost
One time I impulsively dropped $600 on a coat I didn’t need (pictured above). There are a million other things I could have done with that $600, but I loved the coat and it made me happy. I call it my Indiana Jones coat. To date, it’s one of my favorite things in my closet, and I wear it all the damn time.
The photographer you like may be $2,400 or $20,000. If wedding pictures are important to you and you really like someone particular (and of course, financially you could make it happen), you will not regret it. Choose a photographer whom you love their work and equally, their personality! You are going to be spending quite a bit of time with them – might as well be someone you like.