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Researching vendors is an exciting early part of the wedding planning process. You get to compare online photos and meet for consults, but how do you know you’re getting a fair price? While you browse possible local vendors, read about the average cost of a wedding photographer so you’re confident that you’re paying for everything you need.
How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost?
The final cost of your wedding photographer depends on a few factors. You’ll pay more in bigger cities because it costs more for the photographer to stay open for business. You could also get a better deal if your preferred photographer offers smaller packages.
Most professional photographers split their total fee into two parts — your deposit and final payment. Recent research shows that newlywed couples pay up to $2,117 for a day’s worth of photos, but that also depends on what the photographer includes in each available package.
What’s Included in Their Fees?
Scheduling a wedding photographer is more complicated than a quick family photo session before the holidays. They have to work longer and produce photos that you’ll treasure forever. Photographers often include these features in their final fee to make sure you get everything you want with their services.
They Set an Hourly Schedule
Your big day is a special moment, but it’s just another workday for your photographer. They’ll outline a strict hourly schedule, like committing to 10-12 hours of wedding coverage. It helps them schedule their travel, editing and other clients, as well as any team members they’ll bring along.
Keep in mind that their initial schedule may not cover everything you’ve planned. Talk with them about extending their coverage if you also want them to be there while you get ready, have your first-look reveal or make your grand exit at the end of the night.
They Add a Backup Photographer
Your photographer will get many different angles during the most important parts of your wedding, which is easier with a backup photographer. The second shooter might also get extra photos while they capture you getting ready or having your first-look. They could capture pictures of your gift bags or the centerpieces on your reception tables. It’s always better to have an extra pair of eyes looking for the cutest moments that deserve a picture.
They Include Bridal Portraits
Some packages may also include a bridal portrait session. You’ll dress up in your wedding gown and with your hair and makeup done for this event. It normally takes place roughly a month before your wedding and gives you the chance to tweak your bridal look before your ceremony. If your photographer covers bridal portraits, budget for your hair trial so the extra trip to the salon doesn’t catch you by surprise.
They Offer a USB Photo Collection
There are a few ways to get your final photo album. Some photographers offer a USB that they’ll mail after finishing their editing. You could also get an exclusive link to your photos on a private website gallery. They’ll outline how they deliver photos in their contract and discuss it in your consultation.
They Might Print Photos
You could also receive printed photos after your wedding. The photographer likely won’t print all of them because wedding albums include hundreds of shots. Still, you might talk with them about picking out a few and having them deliver prints for immediate post-honeymoon framing. Discuss sizes and finishes to get the most out of your final payment.
What Will Cost Extra?
Brides might feel skeptical about signing a contract when they’re months out from their wedding. Could your photographer add extra fees before your final payment deadline? Here are a few ways that the average cost of a wedding photographer gets more expensive.
Paying for Their Dinner
Your vendors need food just like your guests. When you find your caterer, add a couple meals for your photographer and any backup crew included in your contract.
Postponing Your Date
Sometimes life gets complicated and brides have to push their wedding back. Your photographer may be able to make the new date work, but they could also charge an extra fee for canceling your original contract.
Moving to a New Venue
Another venue may include special location amenities that you’d prefer for your wedding experience. You could find an on-site honeymoon package included in the rental price at another venue. The photographer will charge more if they have to drive outside of their zip code, so keep that in mind if you’re curious about changing places after putting down your photography deposit.
Adding Additional Coverage
If you want more photo coverage for your rehearsal dinner or brunch, that could cost an extra fee. Your photographer may charge by the hour or negotiate a reduced fee if you already purchased a large package.
They’ll take photos while you make toasts at your rehearsal and say goodbye to guests after brunch. It could result in some of your favorite pictures from the more low-key moments surrounding your ceremony.
Determine the Cost of Your Wedding Photographer
The average cost of a wedding photographer is different for every bride. Other details regarding your ceremony, venue and wedding plans will change how much a photographer charges for their services. Meet with various vendors to discuss your plans and get quotes that narrow down your options according to your budget.
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