This Is What Real Couples Spend on Wedding Photography

Find out how much to budget for capturing your day.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
by
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated Feb 16, 2022

Regardless of where you stand on things like late-night reception snacks or extravagant 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 side, 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 particular needs. But if you're looking to get a general sense of how much a wedding photographer costs, we have the answer. Read on to find what real couples spend on wedding photography today.

Based on The Knot Real Weddings Study, an internal study of over 15,000 couples who got married in 2021, the average cost of a wedding photographer is $2,500. Almost 90 percent of couples hired a photographer, making them one of the most popular wedding vendors. Photography was also the most common area where couples were willing to spend more. Nearly half of all couples increased their original budget once they started wedding planning—of that, 47 percent admitted to spending more on their professional photographer.

Sixty percent of couples say that photography style (documentary, traditional, fine art, etc.) is the most important factor when deciding who to hire. This can potentially affect wedding photographer prices. When researching wedding vendors, it's important to ask about additional services that are offered. Some photographers may offer packages and capture other wedding-related events (like the rehearsal dinner), as well as an engagement session. They may also bring a second shooter to your wedding venue to help cover all the action. Wedding photography package prices can also vary based on additional hours of coverage before and after the wedding, as well as the amount of photos you receive at the end. Make note of what you'll receive with your potential package. Some photographers will give you raw digital files once the wedding day is over, or some prices will include edited images, organized albums, online galleries or USB drives. Plenty of factors affect the average price for wedding photographers, so thorough research is necessary. Tools like The Knot Marketplace will help you connect with the best wedding photographers based on their services, price estimates and style of work.

No matter the price you pay, you'll get plenty of use out of your wedding photos (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 on Instagram (and give a shout out to your pro!), you can also start to think about how you want to use your wedding photos. Most newlyweds create a wedding photo album to display your favorite shots from your special day. If you're receiving digital photo files, you can also 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 are an investment, be thoughtful about how you display them after the wedding.

The average wedding photographer cost has remained consistent since 2016 (the average wedding photography cost was $2,400 in 2019), but it's important to remember that this number represents the entire country. Prices will fluctuate based on region (big cities like New York and San Francisco tend to cost more than small towns) and the add-ons you opt-in for. You can choose to go all-out with your wedding photos and splurge on the most expensive package—or, you could limit the number of hours of coverage to save money. Ultimately, it's up to you to find a vendor in the price range that best fits your budget. No matter what you choose, your wedding album is something you'll get to have, hold and cherish forever—and that's pretty priceless.

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