On average, couples on Long Island pay a wedding photographer 10-15 % of their total budget. Does that sound like much? But finding the right wedding photographer for you can be one of the most critical wedding planning decisions you'll make. Although 10-15% of your total budget is a fair target, there are ways you can get in far below that. You can still get your dream wedding photographer without breaking the bank by knowing a few key questions to ask along with general price ranges and cost-saving steps (pictured below).
The estimated expense to a wedding photographer is $2,814 according to Snapknot.com. Nevertheless, rates for wedding portraits in cities such as San Francisco and New York are nearer to $4,000. Wedding photography rates can usually be expected to range from $2,500-$10,000 depending on the experience of the photographers and/or the offers.
The standard wedding photography kit typically offers 8-10 hour coverage. By adding more time this price will increase or decrease. There are occasions when interaction sessions can be included or run extra. For instance, I've seen engagement sessions run anywhere from $300-$1,200 depending on the shoot . Another factor for the cost of your wedding photography is whether or not you want a wedding album included with your kit. I've seen professional photographers charge between $1,000-$3,000 for a wedding album everywhere, and then give another discount depending on how much wedding coverage you're purchasing. Alternatively, for a wedding photo album design service from an external company [other than the less expensive kind you can do yourself using a service like Blurb], prices tend to start at around $500 and can go well over $1,000 depending on the number of pages / images you want. Keep in mind that when you pay your wedding photographer to create an album, you also pay for their expertise in putting together your "wedding story," for which they have been there all the time. You just have to decide how much that's worth to you, or if you'd rather save money on your own. (More on those tips to save money, below).
So, here's the takeaways to remember when it comes to figuring out how much a wedding photographer will cost you: The average cost to a wedding photographer is 10-15 percent of the total budget of a couple, which is currently around $2800 for the average couple on Long Island.
You can expect the cost of your wedding photographer running you anywhere between $2,500-$10,000 depending on your photographer's experience and what they include in your wedding package.
Packages for wedding photography usually cover 8 hours, on average. More or less time spent shooting will affect your cost.
It's important to ask a prospective wedding photographer how much extra they charge for a wedding album if they have bundled the cost into the price of their pack.
I know $2,500-$10,000 is a huge range, but at least it can give you some idea of what to expect when you're looking for and meeting photographers at wedding. Also, as mentioned above, always keep in mind that the prices of your wedding photography can be greatly influenced where you live. You might find that you can find a great photographer in your area for under $1,000, in which case, please, you need to stop reading and do a little joy dance right away!
How to Save: Be careful of wedding photographers who continue to try to upsell you. Decide what kind of package you want and stick with it from the get-go. Good wedding photographers are going to be very upfront on what they charge you. Read this feature about how some wedding photographers can get you to spend more (something I wrote about after running through a disturbing article before my wedding!).
If you're on a tight budget but only need to have a certain wedding photographer, see if they're going to shoot your wedding at a discount for less hours. I didn't really want photos of me getting ready, for example, so we were able to re-allocate some time which might have cost us more in the end otherwise. Also, being flexible about taking pictures of your wedding might also help with the cost! The same goes for additional items like a wedding album and/or wedding photo prints. Leaving one or all of those items out of your package (if your wedding photographer offers them) might ultimately save you thousands of dollars. See if you can photograph your wedding as part of a package, a la carte vs.
Do not be afraid to bargain. If you're finding a photographer you love but they're out of your budget ask what they might be able to offer in your price range is more. Also, see if they offer any discounts if you get married on an off-day (weekday or sunday).
Having a second shooter can heighten your costs. If your wedding photographer is not (and some are) part of a team, see how much of a discount they can offer for one shooter versus two. Just make sure they feel comfortable shooting by themselves and have in the past (and ask if they can show you pictures from those weddings).
Go local, go local. If you hire an out - of-town wedding photographer, you'll most likely have to pay for all their travel costs (airfare, meals, hotels, etc.). I really wanted a certain photographer for our wedding, but we decided otherwise (and I'm so happy we did!) after finding out how much transport / lodging alone would have cost us.
Photo details: Belle Terre Long Island New York
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