Chanie
Dedicated April 2021

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

Chanie, on September 6, 2019 at 1:08 PM Posted in Planning 0 20
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So my wedding budget is about 8-10K. I live in LA which is a fairly expensive city. I have booked my venue which was a steal for 3500 for the ceremony and reception. However, they do not provide alcohol or food, so that is an extra cost. I am having 160-180 guests. I am trying to create a finalized budget and get quotes from vendors. I did not realize wedding photography is soooo expensive. My fiance say we should book them last because food/ drinks/ dress etc are more important but I feel like a good photographer is also need. All the quotes I have been receiving are 3k and up which seems crazy to me is this the going rate for wedding photography?

20 Comments

Latest activity by Kimberly, on September 10, 2019 at 11:11 AM
  • 2d Bride
    Champion October 2009
    2d Bride ·
    • Flag

    It seems to be pretty normal. But it may not be what you need. For example, it used to be that people had a professional photographer just at the ceremony and maybe some formals afterward. Do you really need someone there all day?

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  • LB
    Champion November 2016
    LB ·
    • Flag

    That's the going rate depending on how nice of a photographer you want. I would say average is from $2000 to $5000 for a professional.

    Honestly, to me you spent too much on a venue that doesn't supply food/alcohol for your given budget. What are you getting for that amount? Even if you get BBQ for food, you're looking at at least $3200 before booze. That's almost your entire budget and you haven't accounted for entertainment, decorations, officiant, etc.

    Are you locked into the venue?

    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag

    $3k is on the higher side of average in my area, but it can definitely go up in higher cost of living regions. I wouldn't make it your last priority. Once the caterer has packed up and left and you take that pretty dress off, the photos are all that you'll have left. It's easy to forget how much time, money, and effort photographers invest in their work. They don't just come to your wedding for 8 hours and take pictures, they spend countless hours afterward editing them.

    • Reply
  • Brae
    VIP September 2019
    Brae ·
    • Flag
    I'm getting married in the IE, but live in LA county. Even out east its pretty expensive. My photographer was 2600 after multiple discounts. Regularly she is 4k. I recommend similar to pp and ask for hourly rates, not full day. You can also try to find just starting out or student photographers that may have lower rates.
    • Reply
  • Chanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Chanie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    My MIL is providing decor as she is an event planner, FH uncle is a pastor and our officiant. In our area this was actually one of the most affordable venues we could find. We are also only providing beer and wine.

    • Reply
  • Chanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Chanie ·
    • Flag

    How many hours do you think I will need a photographer for ? Like should I only utilize them for ceremony being of reception ? Not sure what most people do. I was looking into having 5-6 hours instead of the 8-9 most are offering.

    • Reply
  • Lauren
    VIP September 2019
    Lauren ·
    • Flag

    There are so many photographers in LA! There is one to fit your budget. Keep asking for quotes, get hourly rates, cut down the hours to bare minimum. Unfortunately you are not going to get top of the line photographers with your budget. My photographer usually charges over $8,000 for a wedding. With a bundle discount with a videographer, a discount because of a special they were running, and paying in cash we are only spending $3,300 on 14 hours of photography, 2 hr engagement session, 3 large prints, 1 large album and 2 family albums, all digital photos.


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  • Kelly
    Champion October 2018
    Kelly ·
    • Flag
    I would try looking on thumbtack for a photographer that isn’t as experienced and maybe hire them for a few hours. I also agree with pps that your overall budget is going to be tough with that many guests and what you spent on a venue. I got married on the central coast and spent a little under $5k on a photographer which was on the lower end of all the quotes I received.
    • Reply
  • Amber
    Master February 2020
    Amber ·
    • Flag

    I do think 3k is pricier than average, at least in my area. But it also depends what your package includes; how many hours, engagement/bridal shoot, etc.

    • Reply
  • Chanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Chanie ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    Oh wow that is an amazing deal. Most photographers I have found was 3k and up for 4-5 hours and 5k and up for 5-6.

    • Reply
  • Lauren
    VIP September 2019
    Lauren ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment

    When I heard the number I was like, where do I sign? They are amazing! They have been in the industry for 30 years and are still very passionate about what they do!

    • Reply
  • R
    Devoted October 2019
    Roxana ·
    • Flag

    Check SMC for student photographers maybe (or any other local colleges).

    • Reply
  • Alma
    Devoted June 2022
    Alma ·
    • Flag

    I am in San Diego and I booked through Lily & Lime. They were the only company that I found for a little over 2k. They had a $400 discount and I could't let it pass. If you sign up to the website before booking they give you a $300 discount code by email. I've read a couple reviewed that say they are amazing.

    I'm taking a leap of faith hoping for the best. I just want to be able to have photos and video.

    • Reply
  • Kelsey
    Savvy September 2019
    Kelsey ·
    • Flag

    That's not expensive. At all. Let's say a photographer is doing really well and books every single Saturday during peak wedding season. That's 22 weddings. 22 times $3000 is only $66000 for their yearly income, which is barely middle class depending on where you live. They might have a few weddings here and there throughout the slow season, but probably not many more. Now that $66,000 has to be taxed, used to maintain equipment/editing program subscriptions/website hosting costs/professional email, etc. Then they still have to make sure they're somewhat fairly being compensated themselves for the dozens of hours spent editing the previous weekend's wedding photos, all while maintaining communication with future and current clients. If anything, good wedding photographers should be paid more.

    • Reply
  • Cristy
    Master May 2021
    Cristy ·
    • Flag

    That is a pretty normal rate, because you usually get a lot for that price. But I wouldn't book a photographer last. They book up really far in advance, from my own research. At the time we booked our photographer back in October of 2018, she had our date available (thank goodness!) but she was already booking in 2020! So, I would at least start checking with photographers to see if they have your date available.

    I was able to find mine here on WWs vendor search. If you haven't tried that, you should. Also, another place to sometimes find less expensive vendors is Thumbtack. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • Chanie
    Dedicated April 2021
    Chanie ·
    • Flag

    Found a few after posting on Facebook with packages for ****. Thanks everyone.

    • Reply
  • Kelsi
    Expert June 2020
    Kelsi ·
    • Flag
    It’s normal. If you’re looking to save, reach out to local arts colleges and see if professors know of students looking to build a portfolio for a lower cost.
    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    I paid $3,200 in Denver for photography. When looking, I'd skip engagement pictures & getting ready photos. Hire a newer photographer just for the ceremony and an hour or two of the reception.

    • Reply
  • Izzykern
    Super April 2021
    Izzykern ·
    • Flag
    Unfortunately that’s the going rate for a good photographer. The photographer was the first vendor we booked, actually. The photos are very important to me so I prioritized it. We are paying 3600 for 8 hours of wedding day photography, 2 shooters, full engagement shoot and a boudoir lingerie shoot (wedding present for him) so I’m happy with it!
    • Reply
  • Kimberly
    Expert October 2019
    Kimberly ·
    • Flag

    I think that's pretty normal. we are having a photographer/videographer, same company, for both it was just under $6000. i think **** is gonna be pretty average. it's crazy to think about but the time they put into that day and then editing after, it's worth the cost.

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