This Is the Average Wedding Photographer Cost, Based on Data

Find out how much to budget for your day.
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
by
Chapelle Johnson
chapelle johnson the knot associate editor
Chapelle Johnson
Associate Editor
  • Chapelle writes articles for The Knot Worldwide. She covers all things wedding-related and has a personal interest in covering celebrity engagements and fashion.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Chapelle was an editorial intern for Subvrt Magazine.
  • Chapelle has a degree in English writing from Loyola University New Orleans.
Updated Feb 22, 2024

Regardless of where you stand on things like late-night reception snacks or tall floral centerpieces, most to-be-weds can agree: gorgeous wedding photos are a must. While the average wedding photographer cost is often on the higher end of the spectrum, it's one expense couples don't typically skip. Of course, how you divvy up your wedding budget depends on which aspects of your celebration (and therefore, which vendors) are most important to you. But since you probably want to relive your wedding memories for years to come, finding a great photographer is an important task. Wedding photography prices vary by vendor and services offered, so it's up to you to find a pro who fits your needs. (Wedding tools like The Knot Marketplace can help you connect with the best wedding photographers based on their services, price estimates and style of work.)

But if you're looking to get a general sense of how much a wedding photographer costs, we have the answer thanks to The Knot 2023 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 10,000 newlyweds. Read on to find out what real couples spend on average for wedding photography today.

In this article:

Average Wedding Photographer Cost

Based on The Knot Real Weddings Study, almost 90% of couples hired a photographer, making photographers the third most popular wedding vendor or service used. Of that percentage, married couples spent an average of $2,900 on their wedding photographer—this was the fourth most expensive vendor or service paid for by couples.

What Is Included in the Wedding Photographer Price?

74% of couples said the photographer's price was the most important factor when deciding what photographer to hire. This is why setting a budget before looking for a photographer is crucial to starting your journey on the right foot. But if you're wondering why every wedding photographer price you've seen varies so much, it's because their cost depends on numerous aspects.

Some photographers offer to take your engagement photos and capture your big day and other wedding-related events, like the rehearsal dinner. For big weddings with lots of activities, a photographer may want to bring a second shooter to your wedding venue to help cover all the action. They also work hard when they're not capturing events to keep their skills and equipment up to date and find out the latest wedding photography trends.

Wedding photography package prices can vary based on the additional hours of photos taken before and after the wedding, as well as the number of photos you receive at the end. Some photographers offer their clients digital sneak peek files once the wedding day is over, which is a great option for couples who want to send photos to their close family and friends as soon as possible. The wedding photography price can depend on the form you want your photos sent too, such as organized albums, online galleries or USB drives. Overall, many things can affect the average price for wedding photographers, so thorough research and comprehensive consultation with your desired photographer are necessary.

What to Do With Your Wedding Photos

No matter the price you pay, you'll get plenty of use out of your wedding and engagement photos for years to come. The timeline for receiving your photos is up to your vendor, but you'll typically get them three to 12 weeks after your wedding. So, while you should definitely go ahead and post your favorite shots taken by loved ones on Instagram, you can also start to think about how you want to use your wedding photos. Most newlyweds create a wedding photo album to display their favorite shots from their special day, but there are other options too. If you're receiving digital photo files, you can print them out to be framed, arrange them in a canvas print gallery wall or turn them into gifts for your family members. You can also use them as greeting cards for your first holiday season as a married couple. The sky's the limit when it comes to displaying your wedding photos—but since they're an investment, be thoughtful about how you present them after the wedding.

How Has the Cost of a Wedding Photographer Changed Over the Years?

The average price for a wedding photographer increased in 2023 compared to previous years. In The Knot 2022 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding photography cost was $2,600, which means there has been a $300 increase. There are several reasons for the extra cost. Namely, inflation and the rising cost of living over the past few years have driven price increases across the board, from planners and venues to photographers and catering professionals.

It's important to remember that this average represents the entire country and that prices will fluctuate based on region. For example, vendors in big cities like New York and San Francisco tend to cost more than ones in small towns. Things like add-ons and the photographer's traveling costs can be a part of the price too. You can choose to go all-out with your wedding photos and splurge on the most expensive package or limit the number of hours of coverage to save money. Ultimately, it's up to you to find a vendor that'll capture the memories you want in the way you want in the price range that best fits your budget. But no matter what you choose, your wedding photos are something you'll get to have, hold and cherish forever—and that's pretty priceless.

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