How Much Is a Wedding Photographer?

How Much Is a Wedding Photographer?

If you’re planning a wedding, one of the first questions that likely comes to mind is, “How much does a wedding photographer cost?” It’s a significant consideration, given the pivotal role the photographer plays in capturing and preserving memories of your special day.

You might also find yourself wondering about the other side of the coin, “How much do wedding photographers make?” Understanding both perspectives can help you make an informed decision about investing in wedding photography.

This post aims to answer these questions and offer an in-depth look at the pricing dynamics of wedding photography.

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Wedding Photographer Cost in Australia

The cost of a wedding photographer in Australia can vary widely. A lot depends on factors such as the photographer’s experience, the length of the wedding, the number of events, and even the location. On average, couples can expect to spend anywhere between AUD $3,000 to $6,000. However, for high-end wedding photographers, the cost can go up to $10,000 or more.

How much wedding photographers make also varies. A photographer just starting out may charge lower fees and make less. On the other hand, a well-established photographer with a strong reputation could earn significantly more. It’s also worth considering that photographers have business expenses, and the fee they charge also covers these costs. All these factors contribute to the final price of wedding photography.

What Is a Reasonable Budget for a Wedding Photographer?

When setting a budget for wedding photography, it’s essential to strike a balance between affordability and quality. Remember that these photos will serve as lasting memories of your special day, so it’s a worthwhile investment.

Divon Wedding Photography

Who says love has borders? Flavia and Mark break down cultural barriers with their Brazilian and Australian bond!

On average, couples usually allocate 10-15% of their total wedding budget for photography. However, what is considered ‘reasonable’ can vary greatly depending on personal preferences and circumstances.

For some, spending AUD $6,000 on a highly reputable wedding photographer might be reasonable, while others could view AUD $3,000 as their upper limit. The key is to understand the value of wedding photography to you and budget accordingly.

How Do Photographers for Weddings Decide on Their Rates?

Wedding photographers consider several factors when deciding their rates:

1. Experience:

As in any profession, more experience often equates to higher fees. A seasoned photographer likely has a portfolio that demonstrates a consistent, high-quality style and the ability to handle the unpredictability of a wedding day.

2. Operating Costs:

Owning and maintaining professional-grade equipment such as cameras, lenses, and lighting can be expensive. Additionally, other business costs like insurance, marketing, and website maintenance also factor into rates.

3. Post-Production Time:

A significant portion of a wedding photographer’s job happens after the big day. Sorting through hundreds or thousands of photos, editing, and presenting the final images incurs a lot of time and effort, which is reflected in their rates.

4. Travel and Location:

If a photographer needs to travel to your wedding venue, or if it’s an exotic, remote location, expect the cost to be higher to cover travel expenses and time.

Each photographer will weigh these factors differently, but understanding them can help you appreciate where your investment goes when you hire a wedding photographer.

What Do Wedding Photography Packages Include?

Wedding photography packages often include several key features designed to capture every significant moment of your special day. Here’s a breakdown of what you might expect:

1. Proposal Session:

This is normally organized by the groom and surprises the bride-to-be with the proposal, followed by a short photo session.

2. Initial Consultation

This is an initial meeting between you and your photographer to discuss your vision and expectations for the day. The photographer can provide guidance and answer any questions you may have.

3. Engagement Shoot

Many photographers include an engagement shoot in their package. This is a great opportunity to get accustomed to the camera before your big day and can result in some lovely photos for your save-the-date cards or wedding website.

4. Pre-Wedding meeting

This is the last meeting before the Big Day. The purpose of this meeting is to confirm important details such as addresses, contact numbers, arrival times, locations, preferences, and any other relevant matters that require discussion.

5. Wedding Day Coverage

This is the main event! The photographer will capture all the essential moments, from the bride getting ready to the final send-off. The duration of coverage varies and is typically specified in the package.

6. Digital or Printed Photos

Your photos will be delivered in a digital format, often through a secure online gallery. Some packages also include a select number of printed photos or a beautifully crafted wedding album.

7. Post-Production and Retouching

After the wedding, the photographer will sort through the images, select the best ones, and perform any necessary editing and retouching.

These are just a few examples of what a wedding photography package might include. Keep in mind, every photographer’s offering can be distinct, and some may offer customised packages to suit your specific needs.

Negotiating Your Wedding Photography Package

If the photographer you have your heart set on seems beyond your budget, bear in mind that prices can sometimes be negotiable. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Open Communication

Start by having an open conversation about your budget with your photographer. Honesty is key, as it allows the photographer to understand your constraints and offer solutions that may fit better with your budget.

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Becky + Nathan – Sydney Harbour Wedding with their 3 furie babies

2. Flexibility

Be flexible with your package. If a full day of coverage is not within your budget, consider asking for half a day or specific events. Similarly, if your package includes services or features that you don’t need, like an engagement shoot, ask if those can be omitted to reduce the cost.

3. Off-Peak Discounts

Wedding photographers might offer discounts for off-peak seasons or weekdays. If you’re flexible with your wedding date, this could be a great way to reduce costs.

Remember, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable with your photographer and love their work. It’s a significant investment, but hiring the right wedding photographer can ensure that every moment of your special day is beautifully captured and cherished for years to come.

How to Cut Costs on Wedding Photography

Cutting Costs on Wedding Photography: Practical Strategies

Reducing the cost of wedding photography doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. Below are a few practical strategies that can help you save without sacrificing the overall experience.

Consider a Photography Student or Newcomer

Emerging photographers or photography students might charge less than established professionals as they’re often looking to expand their portfolios. While they may lack experience, they could bring fresh, innovative perspectives to your wedding photography.

Bundle Services

Some photographers offer bundle services, like video and photography packages. This could be a cost-effective option if you’re planning to hire a videographer as well.

Limit Coverage Time

Hiring a photographer for fewer hours can significantly reduce costs. Key moments like the ceremony and the first dance can be prioritized over other segments of the event.

Opt for Digital Copies

Choosing digital copies over printed photos can also result in substantial savings. You can always decide to print specific photos at a later date.

Remember, while it’s important to set a budget, ensure that it’s realistic for what you want. After all, these photos will help you relive your special day for years to come.

Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive?

Unpacking the High Cost of Wedding Photography. Wedding photography, at first glance, may seem overly expensive. But when you start to understand the work that goes into it, the high price tag begins to make sense.

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Divon Wedding Photography

A Day’s Work, Weeks of Effort

A wedding photographer’s job isn’t just about the day of the wedding. In fact, the actual shooting is only a small fraction of their work. They spend countless hours on post-production, meticulously editing and retouching each photo to ensure it’s picture-perfect.

Business Essentials

Then there are the business costs. These include not only the equipment, which can run into thousands of dollars, but also things like insurance, advertising, and website upkeep. All these costs have to be covered by the fees they charge.

Customized Service

A wedding is a highly personal event and photographers have to tailor their service to each couple. This customization takes time and effort, which adds to the cost.

Skill and Expertise

Lastly, you’re not just paying for a service, you’re paying for skill and expertise. Professional photographers have spent years honing their craft and this expertise is reflected in their fees.

So, while wedding photography might seem expensive, remember that what you’re getting in return is more than just pictures. You’re receiving a high-quality, professional service that captures the memories of your special day.

The Common Misconception About Wedding Photographers

Common Misconceptions About Wedding Photographers

Misconception 1: It’s Just ‘Clicking a Button

Many people think that photography is as simple as pressing a button. However, it’s much more than that. Photographers need to understand lighting, composition, and how to capture the personalities and emotions of the subjects.

Misconception 2: The Job Ends After the Wedding

Another common misconception is that a photographer’s job ends when the wedding does. But, post-production work can often take longer than the event itself. This includes selecting the best shots, retouching images, and creating the final presentation.

Misconception 3: They Are Overpaid

People often feel that wedding photographers are overpaid for a day’s work. In reality, photographers invest a significant amount of time and money into their craft, including purchasing equipment, insurance, and marketing, all of which are factored into their pricing.

Misconception 4: All Wedding Photographers Are the Same

Just like any other profession, not all wedding photographers are the same. Each has a unique style and approach to capturing your special day. It’s important to research and choose a photographer whose style resonates with you.

Wedding photography is an art and a profession, requiring skill, dedication, and a significant investment of resources. Understanding this can help set realistic expectations when hiring a wedding photographer.

How Many hours does a wedding photographer spend on one wedding?

A wedding photographer’s job stretches far beyond the actual wedding day. The time invested in each wedding can greatly vary. However, a general breakdown of hours spent might look something like this:

Initial Consultations and Preparation: 5-10 Hours

These early meetings are all about understanding the client’s vision, planning for the shoot, and scouting locations. The photographer may also spend time preparing equipment and travel arrangements.


Ruth + Benjamin – Sydney Harbour wedding at Crown Sydney

The Wedding Day: 8-14 Hours

While the wedding itself might last 5-7 hours, photographers often arrive early to set up and stay late to capture departure shots.

Post-Production: 20-30 Hours

After the wedding, photographers carefully review all photos, selecting the best shots and retouching them. They might also design albums or prepare digital galleries during this time.

In total, a photographer might spend anywhere from 30 to 55 hours per wedding. This time commitment reflects the high value and cost of professional wedding photography.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you tip your wedding photographer?

Yes, it is customary to tip your wedding photographer. While not mandatory, it’s a thoughtful gesture to show your appreciation for their hard work. Generally, a tip of 10-20% of their total fee is considered generous.

However, the tip amount can vary depending on the level of service and quality of photos. Remember, if your photographer owns the studio, they might not expect a tip, but you could send a thank-you note or a positive review instead.

Does the bride or groom pay for the photographer?

Traditionally, the cost of the wedding photographer is often covered by the bride’s family as part of the overall wedding expenses.

However, modern practices vary significantly, and it’s not uncommon for the costs to be shared or even for the couple themselves to pay. Ultimately, who pays for the wedding photography depends on the agreement between the couple and their families.

Do you feed the photographer at a wedding?

Yes, it is generally expected to provide a meal for your wedding photographer. They are usually working long hours without a significant break, so supplying them with a meal ensures they have the energy to capture your entire event.

It’s best to discuss this with your photographer before the wedding day to understand their preferences and expectations.

How far in advance should I hire a wedding photographer?

The recommended time to hire a wedding photographer is typically between nine to twelve months before the wedding. This gives you ample time to research, consult, and book the photographer that best suits your style and needs.

Remember, popular wedding photographers can get booked up quickly, especially during peak wedding season.

How many wedding photos are usually delivered?

The number of wedding photos delivered can vary widely depending on the photographer’s style and the length of your wedding. That being said, typically a wedding photographer may deliver anywhere from 300 to 800 photos for a full-day wedding.


In summary, understanding the real value of a wedding photographer debunks common misconceptions and justifies the cost. Remember, each photographer carries a unique style and dedicates considerable time before, during, and after the wedding to ensure you receive your cherished memories in the form of high-quality images.

The process involves not just ‘clicking a button’, but a blend of artistry, skill, and meticulous post-production tasks. Therefore, it’s important to appreciate their effort, consider their needs, and plan well in advance to secure the best professional for your special day.