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Wedding Photography Prices

Wedding photography prices have definitely changed over the years but then again so has our living costs. In this post I will try and cover what photographers charge to photograph a wedding locally and for a destination wedding just add travel costs. Let’s start with the fact that many people seem to forget that wedding photographers are people too and just trying to make a living doing what they love. If you have met a photographer willing to photograph all the weddings they receive for free and that is really good, let them do it cause they’re already rich enough they don’t need to worry about bills like the rest of us, congrats you hit the jackpot lol. If not, then let’s talk about why us photographers charge what we charge. When I first started out back in 2011 I was working this sales job that I didn’t really love. I would sit and do my job all while thinking about my true purpose in life. I wanted to do something I loved to do that could make a difference, no matter how small. After I saw how unhappy my brother was with their experience they had with their wedding photographer I thought,that’s it, I can do that! I would take my skills and passion and mix it with business know how and really make a difference. I thought I would be making a living in no time,during an economy when people didn’t like to part ways with their hard earned money. I thought that’s ok, I can go out and buy new professional digital equipment,offer cheap pricing and give couples everything they want to make them happy. I tried charging $500 per day,which I found out that that wouldn’t work, I charged $1000 per day for as many hours as needed. I was working 18-20 hours a day at the wedding and another 60 hours a week JUST going through all the photos I took and editing. So, do the math, I had to spend$8000 on new equipment,pay for a car and expenses and of course I needed to get paid enough money to live as well. It worked out that I was paying to work as a photographer. Quickly, I needed to change my pricing up to $1500 per day and since I owned the equipment I figured it would start working out and people were going to hire me like crazy with such a low price and good portfolio.Right? Well, the answer is no. It turned out that I got hired for even less weddings the following year.So I bumped my price up again and put a cap of the amount of hours and poof I got triple the amount of weddings in Toronto.That’s when I figured out the hard way how important wedding photography prices were to selling a potential couple.My skills hadn’t changed, just the image I was giving people. It seems that an amateur photographer trying to break into the business of photographing weddings will charge close to nothing to photograph a wedding when starting out. Makes sense, that’s just what I did. Then after a few years the pricing will take a big jump in order to compete with the other photographers in the area for a certain bracket of couples. If you don’t about this, it goes like this, the kijiji brides we call them look for the cheapest price no matter what because they simply don’t have a budget for a photographer or photography just isn’t that important to them.These photographers typically are students or amateurs trying to become full time and need some experience and they charge around $500 for a day. Which is perfectly fine and there is nothing wrong if you are this type of bride or photographer. Then there is the bargain hunter bride that likes photography. Usually this bride can either be laid back or wants everything they see on Pinterest. Since these amateurs now full time photographers need to book more weddings to make a living, they’re price point is around the $1500-$2000 per day. This bride wants a good photographer at a reasonable price point. After shooting multiple years at this price point you start to bump your prices up and that’s when you find the photography first type of bride. This bride is looking for a photographer she falls in love with.Money is still a discussion but plays a smaller part in the decision process because what really matters most is what their wedding photos are going to look like at the end of the day. From a photographers point of view, I call this bride the trusting bride. She goes out and does her research and knows what she wants. She hires what she thinks will deliver their vision and then trusts the photographer from that point on. No micro managing or giving lists from Pinterest etc etc. Again, to each their own. Everyone is different and likes what they like. Typically, these photographers are established for many years and know exactly what they want and how they want to work. They usually charge $2500-$4000 just for the photography portion. You’ll find these photographers and couples like to take risks and don’t mind trying new things. For example, I had a couple eating their dinner and when I told them there was an amazing sunset outside, they dropped their forks and ran outside for a quick photo. Lastly, apart from celebrity status, we have the money is not an option bride. These brides just want the best of the best of everything. With more money being spent usually comes more demands and let’s be honest here, if you’re gonna spend $5000-$15,000 just on a wedding photographer, you deserve to have your demands met. If you’re a photographer charging these amounts, you’re not reading this blog so screw you lol jk. These photographers are very very good at what they do and they spend a lot of time making sure every demand is met, therefor taking more time to deliver photos. Hopefully some of this pricing should clear some things up while you’re shopping around. I will mention a few more things to help. Photographers are people in the service industry, so if you’re just gonna ask everyone what they charge for their packages you’re going to over spend regardless of which kind of bride you are. All photographers need to charge for their time because it’s their job to make money but that doesn’t mean they have to sell prints or books or anything else. It would be smart to think about what YOU want at the end of the day and ask for a price for those things only. For example, why spend an extra $1000 on a package just because the photographer included a book you don’t actually want? If all you want is an engagement session and photos of your wedding, then ask for just that. The hardest part about wedding photography prices are trying to put a generic package together for everyone when not everyone wants the same thing. Please keep in mind once a photographer is established and shooting full time that prices are based on the cost of equipment,time to not only shoot the wedding but time spent editing the photos,insurance and other expenses. It is not just a number picked out of a hat to charge everyone.If I could photograph a wedding everyday and not have to edit them AND get away with charging less, I would. I love being a part of weddings and I love meeting new friends. Of course I love taking photographs that will last a lifetime and be handed down generations after generations. It’s meaningful. The problem is all the crap I just wrote about pricing lol. What I can do, is to make sure I treat my couples like gold and share with them my artistic vision and just pray they love my work at the end of the day. All anyone can really do is be themselves and try to put in the effort. If you come this far, you can always reach out or follow me on social. I’d love to hear from ya!