With the rise of social media (especially Instagram) and high quality but affordable cameras, the barrier of entry into wedding photography is very low. Images on social media of posh couples in love, laughing and celebrating against stunning wedding backdrops idealizes the glamour of being a wedding photographer. Everyone from the weekend warrior looking for a creative side hustle to the 10 year wedding photographer veteran are in direct competition with each other and it is pretty overwhelming for clients to sort out who is worth their investment. The range of wedding photography costs has been widened drastically! Here is a breakdown of the types of studios you may come across in your research, the average cost, and what questions to ask in order to determine whether they are the right investment for you!
Average Cost: less than $2,000.00
When starting your search for wedding photographers, you are going to come across many corporate wedding studios and weekend photographers (especially on Instagram). Corporate studios hire freelance photographers as independent contractors. The liability is on the corporate studio and they will usually have staff editors to process your photos. The drawback with a corporate studio is you may not know who you will get for your wedding day. It may be a seasoned photographer or a newbie freelance photographer. Most likely, your photographer may not know much about you as a couple. This bulk style approach to weddings may be something you prefer if you are on a tight budget or just want basic documentary style photography. As for the weekend photographer, their main focus is not weddings but their 9 to 5 job during the week. Usually, they want to earn a side income during the weekend and do not have time to invest in continuing education, upgrading gear or developing a polished brand. For that reason, their expenses are lower and they can charge less per wedding. This category of photography may be right for you if you are more cost conscious . However, make sure that the weekend (freelance) photographer has business insurance or some accountability measures in place.
Average Cost: $4000- $5000 for a Full Day
Experienced full time wedding photographers are immersed in all aspects of their business. Since they are the ones wearing all the hats from marketing, sales, shooting, editing and accounting, they must account for all this time and expense into the cost of shooting a wedding. Full time wedding photographers usually spend a lot of time honing their craft, experimenting with new techniques and building a more consistent portfolio. They are also more focused on catering to the individual needs of their clients. Experienced full time photographers usually want to meet their clients right away and they are more accessible. They are the ones who will troubleshoot any issues and advise you on your wedding timeline. The main thing that should stand out to couples looking for a boutique wedding photographer is a large, consistent portfolio that exemplifies various shooting conditions, locations and situations. Without a doubt, they will also have business insurance, registration as a business in the state they are located, and a well-curated polished website. With boutique studios, wedding photographers will often times go above and beyond to satisfy their clients because customer service is a key goal in their business.
Like with most services, you get what you pay for. A photographer who has been years dedicating their time and education to the craft will naturally need to account for the time and expenses in their overall costs. Because there are a variety of styles and approaches to customer experience, we would highly recommend asking the following questions when short listing your ideal photographer.
Are you a full time or freelance photographer?
What is your education and experience shooting weddings and events?
Can we meet to discuss your portfolio and customer process?
Can we see full entire galleries of weddings similar to mine?
Who will be shooting my wedding and will it be stated in the contract?
Are you a registered and insured business?
Can I read any client online reviews?
How do you edit the photos and does it include any special services like skin retouching?
What happens if the designated photographer cannot show up for my event?
What is your cancellation policy?
Will we get the copyrights to the edited high resolution digital images? What are the final deliverables?
With over ten years of experience capturing sacred moments and an artful intuition for what it takes to get the perfect shot, time and time again, it’s our joy to create evocative, timeless photographs that are as one-of-a-kind as your story.
Maha Studios is a destination photography studio that delights in the vibrant traditions and rituals at the heart of South Asian and multicultural weddings.