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The average cost of Minnesota Wedding Photography
If you’re asking yourself, “How much should I spend on my wedding photography?” then this article is perfect for you. With so many options available at various price points, it can be difficult to determine the average cost of a wedding photographer. Many blogs suggest spending a specific amount or percentage of your overall wedding budget. However, we offer more flexible advice based on ensuring you receive the quality you desire. By reading this article on wedding photographer costs, you’ll gain insight into the following topics:
- The average cost of a wedding photographer in 2023
- The myth of spending 10% of your overall wedding budget on photography
- The factors that impact the cost of wedding photography and which ones are most important to consider
- Whether the wedding photography market is overpriced
- A detailed examination of wedding photography prices in the Twin Cities area (our local market)
Please read on as this post will help you have a full understanding of wedding photographer cost!
How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost
Determining the average cost of a wedding photographer can be highly speculative. Instead of focusing on a general idea of the cost, it is essential to consider what you value most in a photographer. By doing so, you can locate photographers that you adore, rather than merely adhering to what others are spending. This approach ensures a satisfactory experience while staying within your budget or even adjusting your budget to accommodate your photography preferences.
To assist you in determining the cost of your preferred photographer, it’s important to categorize the average cost of a wedding photographer into distinct groups:
Brand New: $0-$500 (Just starting, may have not shot a wedding yet)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: This is risky territory and there is a possibility that they may not be able to instill confidence in you regarding their ability to capture photographs that meet your expectations.
Beginner: $500-$1200 (May have shot some weddings, may not have high demand and/or may not have a style that demands a higher price tag)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: You might have observed some of their past work at other weddings, which could give you some assurance that they are capable of delivering the desired results. However, they may lack the expertise to execute more sophisticated skills, such as natural posing, that are typically found in more experienced photographers.
Amateur: $1200-$2000 (Probably photographs weddings fairly regularly, may not have a high demand due to style, may not be considered full time)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: At this level, the photographer might aim to offer a reliable service while maintaining a sustainable price point for investing in quality gear.
Growing Amateur: $2000-$3000 (Probably a bit higher demand for style, probably shoots a few less weddings while focusing on providing each client with more support, beginning to get into the “professional” category)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: Photographers at this level often invest in quality gear and backups, and may even pursue further education to develop their business. They typically have a portfolio that showcases their work and can provide a clear idea of the level of consistency they can deliver.
Professional: $4000-$5000 (typically considered full time professionals, have demand based on style, expertise, etc.)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: A highly established photographer with a distinct style, who has structured their business to ensure that you receive exceptional care and incredibly high-quality photographs.
Luxury: $5000- $6000 and beyond starting prices, e.g. may start at $8K, $10k, $20k, or higher (Typically more established, refined style and luxury offerings)
-How they’ll likely make you feel: Capable of handling high-profile events with ease, this photographer typically has a sought-after style within the industry and refined taste.
The myth of spending 10% of your overall wedding budget on photography
A while back, it became a trend to advise spending around 10-15% of your wedding budget on photographers. While not necessarily bad advice, it is somewhat generic. The problem with this approach is that if you highly value having lasting memories and photographs, you may want to invest more than just 10%. We have observed that some couples opt to cut costs in various areas, such as the guest list, before even considering reducing their photography budget.
An alternative philosophy is to first determine which photographer(s) you absolutely must have, and then create a budget around that decision. This approach involves making a list of your top priorities, determining the cost for each, and then adding up the total. If the total exceeds your budget, start trimming costs at the bottom of the list and work your way up only as necessary.
How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost?
If you’re anything like me, you’d prefer a quick and straightforward response to the question of how much one should spend on wedding photos. The truth is, the cost of wedding photographers can range anywhere from $0 to $20,000, or even higher!
While I realize that this is a wide range, I assure you that I’m not being ambiguous. Several factors determine how much a photographer charges, such as demand, experience, and quality. Therefore, it’s crucial to focus on the value you want and will cherish in the long term before determining your price range. This way, you can ensure that you get precisely what you desire!
Several factors influence the cost of wedding photographers, including their:
- Inclusions in basic packages (such as albums, engagement sessions, etc.).
Why Do Wedding Photographers Cost So Much (or So Little!)?
In most cases, you can expect to get what you pay for from a wedding photographer. Typically, a photographer’s demand and pricing structure reflect their level of excellence in a particular field.
This article will discuss how pricing structures vary and present themselves in different markets across the USA, while also exploring the factors that influence where a photographer falls on the pricing spectrum.
While it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer, you’ll gain a better understanding of the pricing trends in your area as you proceed with this critical decision.
The cost of hiring a photographer is heavily influenced by location. If you reside in an area with higher living expenses, it is probable that photographers in that location will charge more for their services. For instance, living in New York City, where the cost of living is double or more than in a place like Minneapolis, could result in paying an average starting price of $6,000, compared to $3,000 for a similarly-priced photographer in a more rural area. In general, standard prices for photographers tend to be higher in larger cities with higher median incomes.
In this post, we differentiate between expertise and experience when it comes to evaluating a photographer’s ability to shoot a wedding. While experience is often associated with expertise, it’s possible for a photographer with fewer years of experience to have more technical skill than one with over 10 years of experience.
Expertise, on the other hand, encompasses the following:
- Photography skills, including the ability to handle various lighting situations, such as low-light environments.
- Interpersonal skills, including the ability to facilitate communication and cooperation among multiple people, such as family members during formal portraits.
- Emotional and communication skills to create a comfortable atmosphere for the clients and other individuals involved.
- Business skills to ensure stability and consistent delivery of results.
Because expertise is directly related to a photographer’s desirability and demand, it can impact pricing. To determine a photographer’s expertise, reviews and full galleries are good resources to examine. It’s important to check reviews from multiple sources such as TheKnot or Google, and to look at their photos captured throughout the wedding day under different lighting conditions.
It’s important not to undervalue experience when choosing a wedding photographer. While experience and expertise are not always directly correlated, photographers who have shot numerous weddings are likely to have more experience handling difficult situations such as scheduling changes, timeline issues, and tensions between family members. If a photographer has shot at your wedding venue before, they may also be better prepared to direct photographs quickly and efficiently.
If an experienced photographer is shooting at a new venue, they would likely recognize the importance of visiting the venue beforehand and adapting to the new environment. It’s crucial to ensure that your photographer understands your venue or has a plan for selecting locations for first-look photos, portraits, and formal shots.
However, keep in mind that a photographer who offers this level of preparation is likely to charge more than average.
While style is often a matter of personal preference, it’s closely tied to a photographer’s philosophy and approach to capturing and editing photos. Photographers who charge a premium have typically developed a style that’s in high demand.
Style corresponds to demand by fulfilling a desire for either artistic manipulation or a unique philosophy that evokes a certain emotion or sense of originality. Some people prefer a natural and clean look, avoiding trends and capturing things as they truly are, while others prefer something more original, with a unique look that goes beyond reality. For example, some may prefer a bright and airy style, while others may prefer something darker and moodier.
The style you choose and the demand for photographers with that style in your area will ultimately impact the pricing of the photographer.
WHAT COMES STANDARD IN THEIR PACKAGE?
Different photographers have different approaches when it comes to pricing and packaging their services. Some may start with a higher price point, offering more value in their packages, while others may have a lower starting price but offer less in their basic package, allowing you to add on additional services at an additional cost.
Some examples of what to look for as being included or not are:
Do they include one shooter only, one shooter + second shooter, or two professional shooters
Do they include a heirloom quality album?
Do they include an engagement session?
Do they include any timeline review sessions and/or venue walk-thoughs?
Do Wedding Photographers Sneakily Over-Charge?
Each photographer has a unique approach, but a typical wedding day involves a significant amount of work, including:
•1-3 hours of initial meetings and communication with the clients
•2-3 hours for a local engagement session (including travel and photography time)
•1-3 hours for editing, exporting, and delivering the engagement session
•2-3 hours for preparing the timeline and planning before the wedding day
•10-20 hours for the actual wedding day, including set up, local travel, coverage, tear down, and photo backup
•7-30 hours for post-production work, including editing the photos
•1 hour for miscellaneous tasks and backup activities
This means that a photographer could potentially spend 60 or more hours working on a single wedding, not including expenses.
Furthermore, this estimate does not account for additional expenses such as hiring a second shooter, purchasing and maintaining equipment, continuing education and professional development, business insurance, software updates, and advertising.
Determining the cost of wedding photography ultimately depends on your budget and finding a photographer that is the right fit for you. The value of a wedding photographer is subjective and depends on factors such as their reputation, photography style, and personality. It’s important to choose a photographer who makes you feel comfortable and can capture the moments that matter to you.
While some couples may be willing to pay $500 for a photographer, others may be willing to pay $5k, $10k, or even $20k+. Higher-priced photographers often have more demand due to their skills and style, but it’s possible to find cheaper photographers who are still “worth” more than their current price range.
What’s most important is finding a wedding photographer who can help preserve your precious memories for generations to come. Keep in mind that photographers work hard under a lot of pressure, so it’s important to value and cherish them as they do for you.