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Choosing a Wedding Photographer – How Much to Invest in Wedding Photography

When you get engaged, the months fly by and the day flies by even quicker! That’s why choosing a wedding photographer that is experienced and qualified is critical in preserving your memories for years to come!

So, here’s the real deal. Wedding photographers, especially experienced and reliable ones, do not come cheap. I want to share how to choose a wedding photography package, what’s a healthy budget, and what different budget ranges will get you for a wedding photographer, at least here in Ohio!

How much shouldI pay for a wedding photographer?

Wedding photography ranges in price from around $500 to upwards of $10,000 and higher. Lots of things determine a photographer’s pricing such as location, style, experience, and qualifications.

Let’s break down the ranges people tend to spend below:

$0-$1000 photographers

New, lack experience, are uninsured, or just do weddings on the side. They typically do not have a client experience for their couples and many do not require a contract.

$1000-$2000 photographers

New, lack experience, or just do weddings on the side. Photographers in this range do not often have much experience and lack the processes and guidance you’ll receive with more seasoned photographers. Still not full-time and have another income to supplement their photography.

$2000 – $3000 photographers

Mid-range photographers provide mid-range services. These photographers often take on 20-50 weddings a year and “turn and burn” them. They often do not have many systems in place, have a few years of experience, and lack the education and knowledge of higher-priced photographers. Many are still not full-time.

$3000 – $6000 photographers

Provide a high level of customer service, are full-time, educate themselves and take workshops, have many years of experience and have photographed many weddings to show for it, many take a limited amount of weddings per year to give their clients the best time and attention possible. Know all lighting scenarios and how to light them like a champ.

$6000+ photographers

Provide a luxury experience, are often also photography educators and have a large following online and offline, many only take a very limited amount of weddings per year (often 10 or less due to their other commitments), top of the line equipment and attention to detail, often very published, established, and travel worldwide for weddings. They educate themselves and attend workshops frequently while knowing all lighting situations.

I heard to spend 10% of my budget on a wedding photographer

I am not sure where the advice on spending 10% of your budget on wedding photography came from, but there is no such thing as a standard budget. Just like everything else in life, you make decisions on where your money goes and what you prioritize.

I have had couples with smaller days and smaller budgets spend over 50% of their wedding budgets with me. You can dictate how important investing in a photographer is for your legacy and there is no set amount on what that costs. It’s more about the connection you have with that photographer, appreciating and liking their style, and seeing yourself in their photos versus setting a specific budget.

What’s included in wedding photographer packages?

What’s standard in wedding photography packages is listing the amount of time they will be there, whether they include a second photographer, the digital files, the engagement session, any sort of print or album credit, and travel fees, if applicable. Videography is not included in most photographers’ collections since video is an entirely different entity.

How do I choose a wedding photographer?

After prioritizing a photographer based on how important to you and not a set percentage of your overall budget, start reaching out to photographers whose style and personalities intrigue you. You’re with your photographers longer or as long as you are with your partner on the wedding day, so you definitely want someone you mesh well with that your family and wedding party will also vibe with. There are so many styles: light and airy, dark and moody, very desaturated greens, vibrant and contrasty colors (that’s me!). Find a style you LOVE and pair personality with style and inquire as soon as you can. Which leads me to…

How soon should I reach out to wedding photographers?

As soon as you can! Photographers are one of the first vendors to book after a couple chooses a venue since many couples want to send out save the dates and include a photo or two with them. Plus, engagement photos are great when it comes to a wedding website. I typically book 9-12 months out, even longer when it comes to popular and cute dates (like 4/3/21, 12/31/23, etc). The longer you wait, the less options you will have for available photographers.

What’s an average Toledo wedding photographer cost?

An insured, experienced Toledo wedding photographer will start between $3000-$5000 for wedding photography coverage. Finding a photographer in that range will likely mean they have several years (or decades) of experience, are known in the industry by other vendors, are on preferred venue and vendor lists online, are listed on The Knot and Wedding Wire with great reviews, and have a social media presence. They don’t book themselves up too much and spread themselves too thin, so they stick to their turnaround times and really form a relationship with their couples.

Want to learn more about me?

I love this article written about me by Toledo makeup artist Lulu L’Amour by Liv.

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