Planning your wedding is an exciting journey filled with countless decisions. One of the most critical decisions you’ll make is selecting the right photographer to capture your special day. Navigating the world of wedding photographer pricing can be confusing so I thought it would be good to shed some light on this big investment to help you make an informed decision.

In this article, I’m going to share some insights from my years of experience photographing weddings in Seattle, the Pacific Northwest, and beyond. I wish I knew these tips when Kate and I were looking for a photographer for our wedding.

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Before we delve into wedding photography pricing, let’s cover some basics of what to consider when selecting a wedding photographer – choosing a wedding photographer is a whole another topic of its own.

Related Post: How to choose a wedding photographer

Balancing What You Value vs. Cost

The first step when price shopping is getting really clear about how much you value you place on wedding photos and how that is balanced with what you’re willing to pay.    

When you’re comparing wedding photography prices, you’re probably thinking about what you’ll get for your money. But here’s the thing about wedding photography: it’s not like buying something off the shelf where you know exactly what you’re getting. Spending a lot on a high-end photographer doesn’t always guarantee you’ll love the photos or the process. On the flip side, you might find a hidden gem of a photographer who delivers incredible results without breaking the bank.

That’s why finding the right photographer for you that meets your budget is more of an art than a science. Depending on how much you value wedding photos, it could be an emotional or a transactional decision. Some people just want “good enough photos” for their set budget while for others, it’s akin to finding a soulmate and they are willing to pay top dollar.

The Subjective Nature of Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is subjective. There is no doubt about that.  Every photographer has their own unique talent, style, and approach to their work. Some folks love that traditional, posed look, while others prefer a more candid, documentary style. It’s all about finding a photographer whose photographic style resonates with your personal preferences and captures the essence of your wedding day.

The Chemistry Between You and the Wedding Photographer

Beyond photographer style and pricing, the chemistry between you and your wedding photographer matters A LOT! The photographer’s temperament and personality can significantly influence your experience on the wedding day. Bad chemistry can lead to discomfort or awkwardness during the photo sessions and all that is revealed in your photos.

After all, you’re entrusting them with capturing the precious moments of one of the most significant days of your life. They’ll be stepping into your sacred space on a sacred day, playing a pivotal role in ensuring a stress-free timeline and interacting with your family and guests.

Factors Influencing Wedding Photography Pricing

OK! Now that we’ve got the basics of choosing a wedding photographer out of the way, let’s move onto understanding the pricing.

The first step is to understand the factors that can influence wedding photographer prices. These factors include:

  • Experience & Talent: Most wedding photographers are inherently talented people. You’re mainly paying for their time, talent, and experience. Seasoned photographers with years of experience may command higher prices due to their expertise and reputation. There are newer photographers who can also demand higher prices because they are super popular due of their incredible talent and/or killer marketing & social media skills.
  • Seasonal Demand: Popular wedding dates and the bustling summer wedding season in Seattle spike demand, which in turn affects prices.

Wedding Photography Pricing Structures

Wedding photographers typically offer various pricing structures to cater to different needs and budgets:

  • Hourly Rates: Some photographers charge by the hour, allowing couples to customize wedding day photography coverage based on their schedule and budget.
  • Package Pricing: Packages often bundle services like pre-wedding consultations, coverage hours, editing, and prints or albums for a fixed price (more on these services below).
  • À La Carte Options: Couples can also opt for à la carte pricing, choosing specific services or products to fit their requirements.

Average Wedding Photographer Cost in Seattle

So, you’ve read this far and here is what you came here to learn. Wedding photography package pricing in Seattle can vary widely depending on all factors I described earlier.  Here’s a rough estimate to give you an idea (prices based on 2024 prices):

  • Low-end: $500 – $2,500
  • Mid-level: $3,500 – $8,000
  • High-end: $8,000 and above (“above” can be as much as $50,000)

What is included in Wedding Photography Packages

Comparing different bundled packages may feel a bit overwhelming. Not all packages include the same things or offer the same level of quality and service. It’s kind of like buying a house – there are so many factors to weigh and compromises to consider. I know, it’s not as straightforward as I’d like it to be. As i described above, my recommendation is to always fall back on balancing the cost and what you value most.

Wedding photography packages typically Include a combination of the following:

  • Pre-Wedding Consultation: Discussion of the couple’s vision, preferences, and any specific shots they desire. The wedding photographer often helps with planning the day’s timeline.
  • Engagement Session: A separate photoshoot session before the wedding day. This is largely a dry run to get comfortable in front of the camera and get to know how your photographer operates.
  • Wedding Day Coverage Hours: Number of hours the photographer will be present on the wedding day, including preparations, ceremony, reception, and any other events.
  • Second Shooter: This is for a second photographer for additional coverage and perspectives. The need for a second photographer is a whole other topic that I will cover in future blog post.
  • Digital Images: High-resolution digital images delivered in a convenient format (USB drive, online gallery, etc.).
  • Editing and Retouching: Professional editing and retouching of selected images to enhance quality and aesthetics.
  • Prints and Albums: Options for printed photographs, albums, or other custom products showcasing your favorite images.
  • Online Gallery: Access to an online gallery where couples can view, share, and download their wedding photos.
  • Travel Fees: Additional charges for travel to locations outside the photographer’s standard coverage area.
  • Timeline Planning: Assistance in creating a photography timeline to ensure all important moments are captured.
  • Post-Production: Additional editing and enhancement of selected images beyond basic retouching.
  • Delivery Timeline: Estimated time frame for delivery of edited images and any other products included in the package.

My recommendation is to take a close look through these services and determine which are important to you. Every wedding photographer you interview should explain their services to educate without upselling so that you have all the information to make a decision.

The most basic wedding packages start with 4-6 hours of wedding day coverage plus an online gallery to view your photos. But everything else will be an add-on and the cost can add up really quick. These basic packages can range anywhere from $1200-$4000 depending on the factors effecting the pricing that I described above.

The price for larger package offering go up from there. Many of them can be customized to suit your needs. Most wedding photographers are willing to negotiate to earn your business.

Disclosure of Wedding Photography Prices

You probably have already seen that some wedding photographers post the pricing of their wedding packages on their website while others ask to inquire before they share their pricing. These two practices have been long a debate in the wedding photography industry. By disclosing pricing on the website, the photographers can weed out the price shoppers and not waste anyone’s time. On the other hand, by sharing pricing via inquiry, the photographer wants the opportunity to engage directly with you to close the sale.

Tony’s wedding photography Pricing Philosophy

Story Time: Kate and I booked our wedding photographer for a 6-hours of wedding day coverage. In the midst of our wedding reception around 7PM, the wedding photographer tapped me on the shoulder and said that they’d reached the end of their coverage, and any extra coverage time was going to be some outrageous hourly price. We ended up passing and missed some key tender moments that went uncaptured. I’m really blaming myself for that situation, but I didn’t know any better when planning our wedding. That experience left a poor taste in my mouth because I had to make a financial decision in the middle of our wedding AND we missed some precious moments that went undocumented.

So, when I decided to become a wedding photographer, I swore that the dreaded “tap on the shoulder” would never happen to my clients. Thus, my only wedding package includes a full day of coverage to provide my clients complete documentation of their wedding from start to finish.

My wedding package includes full wedding day package everything in one easy, flat-rate package, so you don’t have to worry about compromising what you want. I’ve found this pricing model to be the simplest for couples who are comparing options across wedding photographers. With full coverage on your wedding day, you will have peace of mind knowing I’ll be there all day to capture every special moment, without any set coverage hours and extra charges.

Of course, I’m more than happy to go over your timeline with you to figure out what suits your needs, and if you require any additional wedding photography services.

Final Thoughts

Whoa! I think I just wrote a term paper!

Finally, when budgeting for wedding photography, prioritize what matters most to you as a couple. Allocate funds accordingly and be open to compromises or adjustments to accommodate your overall vision and budget.

Navigating wedding photographer prices doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By understanding the factors influencing pricing, exploring different pricing structures, considering the subjective nature of wedding photography, and finding a photographer with the right chemistry, you can ensure a memorable and enjoyable experience on your special day. Remember, it’s not just about the cost – it’s about finding someone who you can trust and can beautifully capture the magic of your love story.

Happy planning!

Let’s connect and chat about the magic you wish to create on your wedding day. You can contact me here for more information. My pricing for Seattle wedding photography can be found here. You can also see more of my wedding here.

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I am a Seattle Wedding Photographer

Hello, Friend

I've been photographing weddings around Seattle and beyond since 2009. I do this because I truly love the art of photography and making people happy. Your reaction to seeing your photographs makes my day. My photography style is inspired by years of travel to faraway places with my camera in tow. I will bring the same curiosity and artistic approach to your wedding day.

If my work inspires you, I would love to have the opportunity to photograph your wedding. 

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Tony Asgari

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