If you’re looking for the average amount couples spend on their photographers, you’ll find that average is just that: average. Couples often underestimate the average cost of wedding photography, and “reasonable” prices don’t account for the details that matter to you. If you book based solely on what you feel is reasonable, you’re likely to end up a solo photographer with little experience, low-quality camera and equipment, and an end product that leaves you wanting.
When looking for a wedding or elopement photographer in North Carolina, you don’t want AVERAGE – you want the RIGHT one for you! Someone with years of experience, quality equipment and education, and endless reviews that make you feel confident before you even inquire. When looking for the right photographer, the question shifts to what you Value in wedding photography, not an abstract number based on the internet. With this question, you’ll switch from focusing on what others are spending to finding a wedding photographer you LOVE.
But how do you know the costs and their value versus what you can afford? This is where we break down different benchmarks of photography and their average costs.
These photographers are brand new. They have little to no photography experience and have possibly never shot a wedding or worked as a second shooter. You’ll save a bunch of money, but you’ll put yourself in a risky situation; you won’t know what to expect of your images, how they’ll interact with you on your special day, or if you’ll even receive your images!
These photographers have shot some weddings and maybe an elopement or two, but they likely don’t have the quality or demand to increase their prices. You will likely feel confident in your photographer’s ability to capture base-level coverage of your entire wedding. You probably won’t feel super comfortable in front of their camera and the final photos may feel like a letdown. The interactions will often feel posed since the photographer won’t have the skill to make you feel confident and relaxed for natural poses.
The Hustler ($1500-2000)
These photographers have shot a decent number of weddings, but they still lack the experience and stylizing to be in high demand. They likely aren’t full-time photographers, but they’ll be agreeable and make you feel perfectly fine. The quality of the product will match their price point, which is just enough to maintain their gear. They’re providing pretty solid services although they might feel inconsistent since they don’t have enough experience to streamline their processes and understand their clients’ needs.
Going Full-Time ($2000-3000)
These photographers are likely in higher demand than others, and they’ll start feeling more professional, taking steps toward being full-time business owners. They’re likely photographing fewer weddings to provide clients with more of a service and experience. You’ll likely feel pretty confident about what they can provide for you since they have a diverse portfolio and have invested in their gear.
The Professional ($3000-4000)
These photographers are in high demand. Their work displays artistry and consistency. You’ll likely feel very confident in their ability to produce and provide artistic, comprehensive coverage of your wedding day. Their business is more structured, allowing you to be sure you’ll receive high-quality photographs and consistent care throughout the process.
Luxury Experience ($4000+)
These photographers are very established, have refined styles and skills, and provide luxurious services or options. You’ll feel extremely confident and totally at ease with their ability to capture any event, including high-profile events, and in delivering artistic and cultivated stories with refined styles.
Want to learn more about booking a wedding or elopement photographer?
Check out our free resource, A Detailed Guide to Investing in Your Wedding Photographer!
Budget is KEY in life, and a wedding is no different. Everyone, from blogs to your friends, has an opinion on how much to spend on your wedding and what the budget should go toward, but it’s honestly a very personal question with a unique answer for each couple.
Regardless of what you choose to do or how much money you spend, it’s important to have your wedding or elopement day captured to keep the memories preserved. So how much should you spend on a wedding or elopement photographer?
This guide is to help you understand your priorities and assess what’s important in your photos before investing in your photographer. Through this article, we’re going to answer the following questions:
How much do wedding photographers cost?
What influences a wedding photographer’s prices?
Is “wedding tax” real?
Should you spend 10% of your wedding budget on a photographer?