If you talk to anyone who has gotten married, they will likely say that their wedding day was “a blur.” Even those who go easy on the champagne still get swept away in the emotion of the day. They’ll remember a feeling of overwhelming happiness, but not the details. This is why having wedding photography is essential. Long after you’ve hung up your dress or tuxedo and eaten the last of the frozen cake, you will still have your pictures to help you remember the magic of the day. And like a good haircut or a comfy mattress, wedding photography packages are not inexpensive, but they are worth every penny.
Studies have shown that, on average, 12% of your wedding budget will go toward photography. The national average for a wedding photography package is right around $2000. Shutterfly conducted a survey of 1000 married women and they found that “the majority (78 percent) spent $1,000–$3,000 for their photography package, the remaining 6 percent spent above the $3,000 mark while 16% made it in under $1,000.”
It is recommended that you book your wedding photographer 9 months in advance. This is especially essential if you are getting married on a Saturday in peak season (May-October).
Before choosing your photographer, it’s important to know what is included in a typical wedding photography package. The average wedding package typically contains 6-8 hours of shooting, which depending on the package, may include getting ready photography or engagement photos. Wedding photographers’ charge for their editing, which is time-consuming and crucial for producing high-quality images. Typically photographers will use Photoshop to perfect the light and add vibrancy and balance into each image. You will also receive proofs of each image, and of course, prints of the images you select. Your package may contain a second or even third photographer, videography, and a wedding album if you decide not to make it yourself.
Keep in mind, it will be your responsibility to pay travel and lodging expenses if your photographer is traveling to your destination. You will also be responsible for feeding your photographers (definitely do not want them to be hangry). Be sure include them in your final headcount and plan to provide a meal for them, typically whatever your guests are eating. You also may want to tip your photographer ($50-$200 is standard.)
In addition to asking your potential wedding photographer what their package includes, other important questions include:
- Are you insured?
- Will I be able to see every image from the wedding?
- Are engagement photos included?
- How would you describe your photography style?
- How far in advance do you need the timeline and shot list?
- Have you ever shot before in my venue?
- Will you be working as a team with anyone else?
- How long will it take to receive proofs? (3-4 weeks is pretty standard.)
- Do you have a backup plan if you get sick or there is an emergency on the wedding day?
You may also want to consider speaking to other couples who have used the same photographer, as they will be able to give you a sense of how your photographer works under pressure and how their photos turned out.
Kahaia Condie is a Utah-based photographer specializing in weddings. She immerses herself in each wedding (getting down to the Cupid Shuffle, as she says on her website) in order to capture not just what the wedding looked like, but how it felt.
Kahaia (name rhymes with papaya, she says) wasn’t totally happy with how her own wedding photographs turned out. It wasn’t that they images weren’t pretty, but that they were lacking an authentic quality or perspective. Kahaia says on her website:
“I want to capture those moments for you that weren’t documented for me: the genuine, the messy, the goofy, the perfectly imperfect, the ones you’re there for and the ones you miss. Imagine showing up to your session saying, ‘We’re super awkward in pictures’ then leaving with cheeks that hurt from smiling so big, realizing you didn’t even notice the camera. You won’t be worrying about the way your eyes squint when you laugh or the wind that’s blowing your hair in your face because my focus is on feelings over perfectly posed shots. I strive to create an environment for those natural, candid moments to happen.”
Wedding photography packages start at $2250 and elopements start at $900. Kahaia will be based in Oxford, Connecticut, May through September 2018
Jacilyn M (Jackie) uses photography as a way to preserve memories forever. She lost her father when she was just 12 years old, and she turned to photographs of him to provide comfort. Her specialty is in capturing photos that you can feel, and remember how you felt in the moment. Even just glancing through her photography on Instagram (@jacilynm) you can see how much personality shines through her photographs; you can feel the excitement emanating from the couples. She says on her website:
“I don’t want to leave you with images you think are just beautiful. I want you to feel them. That when you reminisce and look at them you may not remember what happened, where you were, or what was said, but you’ll lose your breath for a split second as you can feel how that moment felt again. I’m not interested in creating images where every little piece of it is conducted. I just want to guide you in a way that gets you comfortable and lets you unfold so I can capture you, your love, your story, just as it is. All ‘flaws; included. That’s what actually makes you, this love, this story… perfect.“
Her wedding collections start at $4000, and she does offer a deal for “Elopements and Intimate Weddings” which must have less than 30 guests, and not be on a Saturday. This wedding photography package starts at $2000.
Colin Goodman is a “love and lifestyle” photographer in St. Augustine, Florida. He shoots couples, portraits, and weddings, and his work has been featured in St. Augustine Social Magazine, Forever 21, and Magnolia Supply. You can check out his work on Instagram @colingoodman.
He says on his website that “There’s nothing better than a rush of golden light and sand between our toes. If you’re down to run through a forest and crash through ocean waves, all for a photo, you’re my favorite kind of people. Always open to new ideas for creativity. Let’s create something magical.”
Goodman offers 3 wedding photography packages: Package 1 is $2000 for 8 hours of coverage and 2 photographers, package 2 is $1750 for 6 hours of coverage and 2 photographers, and Package 3 is $1500 for 4 hours and 1 photographer. There are also a la carte items to choose from including extra hours and an engagement session.
Dawn Thomson is a wedding photographer in New Zealand. She lives in the countryside of Glenorchy, 40 miles outside of Queenstown. A self-described observer, Thomson seeks to find beauty in the ordinary. She notices the details that many miss. Her gorgeous wedding photography captures personality and the spirit of the day. Much of it is set with a lush natural backdrop.
She says on her website, “As a photographer, I am compelled to put people amongst NZ’s wild landscapes and capture the result. When a wedding or elopement is set amongst such natural beauty you unlock the full range of raw emotions. I am inspired by love stories that throw convention to the wind and focus on what really matters “
Thomson offers “elopement packages,” and she co-founded The Lovers Elopement Co.
This service included a photographer (Thompson), a florist (Gypsy West), a stylist (Stacey Tulloch) and a hair a makeup artist. The team takes care of all the details of the day, so you can relax and enjoy.
Her half day wedding photography packages start at $3600 (including Goods and Service tax) and her elopement packages start at $2495.
Sara Carlson captures authentic, raw moments in her wedding photography. She forgoes stiffly-posed photos in favor of “honest, organic images unique to each individual person and couple.”
She explains on her website, “I feed off of people’s vibes, and I love seeing the quirky, messy, happy, sad, and difficult moments. Capturing pure emotion in photos creates a window in time that you can forever look back on. I love being able to share those moments with clients. I am not the type of photographer who likes stiffly posed photographs. If that is the type of photographer you are looking for, we might not be a good fit. But if you are looking for a photographer to capture the raw moments, the adventures and the in betweens, then lets chat!”
Her wedding photography packages start at $2400. Carlson takes time before the wedding to get to know the couple and make sure she knows each moment they would like captured. She also offers an engagement photography package for $400.
Colorado-based photography duo, Kenzie and Nick, care about creating genuine, candid moments. They seek to put their clients happiness and comfort above all else. They value “making art, equality, and bringing you dog to shoots.” What are they not about? Planned poses and cell phones at ceremonies.
Every person showcased in their portfolio looks calm and at ease. Kenzie and Nick work in a 2 person team, which means no aspect of your day goes unnoticed. Here is how they described themselves on their website:
“We are a two person team; this means no missed moments, all the good angles, and multiple perspectives from two big-hearted artists. We are documentarians. We are storytellers. We strive to capture all of the candid moments, the in-between, the good stuff. Our biggest priority throughout everything is honestly and truly — you. However you want the day to go, whatever timeline you want to follow, it’s all up to you and we’re just along for the ride.”
Their wedding packages start at $3000, elopement packages start at $2000, and engagement and couples sessions are $700. If you are more than two hours outside of the Denver/Boulder area, Kenzie and Nick ask that you reach out directly about travel expenses.
Emily Dekoster is a photographer located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She specializes in weddings, senior, family and couples photography. Her images capture the raw personality of her clients. The gorgeous, fun shots tell a story and come across as both intimate and approachable. You can check out more of her work on her Instagram account @emilydekoster.
For packages and pricing information, you can reach out through the contact form on her website, or email Emily directly at email@example.com.
Irma Ali values honesty and open communication with her clients. She makes sure that she understands what you want for your special day, and she works with you to capture your vision. Her goal is to find “real human connection and raw happiness.”
She says, “I hope you do think that I am the best fit for you to document the day you’ve been waiting for. I would consider myself a goofball and an all around enthusiastic human, especially at weddings. Weddings bring out the energy and outgoing side of me. I give my all when I have a camera strap on. Laugh with me. Show me all the love you have for your other half. Let’s become friends once the sun sets on your big day.”
She offers wedding and elopement packages and is open to working with her clients to make a custom package that fits their unique needs. Ali offers 4 wedding photography tiers to choose from. The “simple” package starts at $1600 and covers the ceremony through the reception. The Classic package is 8 hours and in addition to the ceremony and the reception, she will cover the getting ready period or the couples exit. The Premium package starts at $2500 and includes the entire day from getting ready through the exit. An engagement photo shoot can be added to any of these packages for a very reasonable price. You can check out here 3 elopement packages here.
Irma is passionate about her art, and she says on her website, “For the past decade since high school, life has included shooting hundreds of bands in Southeast venues and madly in love couples across the US. I love getting to snap quick moments as they happen, so that the people in them can look back and remember the feeling felt. Spending time with couples deep in love and musicians passionate about playing music makes me love what I do.”
Liz Rachel creates classic and timeless photographs that capture the beauty of your unique day. She says, “While I am a photojournalist at heart and let moments unfold naturally to capture them in their most candid form, there are also times when I will compose and direct to create something beautiful. I do not expect any of my couples to know how to pose themselves, and I understand how hard it can be in front of the camera, which is why I will guide and direct you to create moments that feel natural and do not look overly posed. I want to portray your relationship in its most genuine form. My goal is to make your silly, intimate, unique love story shine through your photographs.”
She creates custom photography packages catered to your specific wants and needs. For more information on package pricing, you can reach out to her directly here.
Liz Rachel also has what she calls a photography bucket list. If your destination is on the list (Iceland, Cannon Beach, Or, Tennessee, Horseshoe Bend, AZ, Scotland, Ireland and more) she will be happy to give you a discounted rate. Check out her beautiful work on Instagram @lizrachelphoto.
Lauren Dahlhauser has a degree in photojournalism, and she loves traveling for shoots. She specializes in natural light, portrait, and wedding photography. Her images tell a cohesive story and she works to capture the intricacy and detail of your wedding day.
At 20 years old, Madi Rogers has already been shooting wedding for 3 years and portraits for 5. She says, “I love being able to capture sweet moments and share them with others. I find inspiration from all my amazing friends, who are also photographers. They push me to be better at what I do everyday. I like to focus on capturing people’s emotion, personalities, and love in my images. My goal is to create genuine images of who you are.“
Jarrod has been a self-described creative for as long as he remember. His original passion was drawing, but once his family got a DLSR camera he turned his attention to photography. He says that “shooting weddings is not just a job but a passion.” His clients describe him as calm, reassuring, and talented and his website is filled with wonderful testimonials. He makes sure his clients feel at ease and that the photos look natural. His engagement packages costs $500 and his wedding photography package is $3200. Check out his Instagram at @jarrodjphoto, or reach out directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letura Aidigima works as a high school as a special education PARA and moonlights as a photographer. Her wedding photography packages are reasonably priced with the top tier costing $1500 for an 8 to 10 hour package. Aidigma says this package “includes 500 edited images, an online photo gallery, a complimentary engagement and anniversary shoot, a USB drive with the edited images and a custom wedding album.”
You can book a mini session for $50 to get a feel for Aidigima’s style, and contact her or check out her work here.
Corrie Mahr creates gorgeous photos that are “warm, authentic, and intimate.” She perfectly captures a couple’s love and unique personality. Her images are beautifully framed and fun to look at; the kind of photos you will be proud to show your friends and family.
Mahr strives for presence over perfection, and she explains this by saying, “I believe a good day is made when we fully embrace every wild, beautiful, messy, imperfect, and wonderful moment — the blurry-eyed tears while walking down the aisle, the dust on your dress after frolicking around with your boo, the belly-hurting laughs with your people on the wedding day, the champagne-chugging, the ear-to-ear grins & cheers while you run back down the aisle, and all the other in between sweetness that happens. Every story is unique, and a little unpredictable, but that’s what makes the ride so exciting! So, lean into the feelings and soak up every second to its fullest, and trust me to capture it!”
Her easy-going and professional demeanor makes each client feel valued, heard, and understood. Her elopement packages start at $1800 and her wedding photography packages are catered to each couples’ specific wishes and needs. To inquire, you can reach out to Mahr directly here and check her work out on Instagram @coreymahrphoto.
Duke Moose has 92,000 followers on Instagram. His photos are crisp and captivating and he uses various techniques including smoke bomb photography. His wedding packages start at $2500 and his engagement packages start at $450. He has a bucket list of places he would like to visit (or revisit), and if your wedding is located in any of the 9 places (Portland, San Francisco, Buffalo, NY, Alaska and more) you are eligible for a small discount.