How Much Should Wedding Photos Cost?

Elopement Tips & Advice,
5 min read May 7, 2024
How Much Should Wedding Photos Cost

As you research wedding vendors and try to set a budget for your big day, you might question if your quotes are fair—how much should wedding photos cost in your area?

While wedding photography pricing varies based on many factors, there are average wedding photographer costs in specific regions that you can reference to assess your estimates. In this guide, we’re teaching you how to do just that.

We’ll touch on factors that affect wedding photo costs, average costs by region, and ways you can save—especially if you opt for a smaller event or an elopement.

Understanding Wedding Photography Pricing

So, how does wedding photography pricing work? Photographers often put together packages with varying elements, including:

  • Time – Some experienced photographers will specify how long they’ll work your event—they may even charge by the hour.
  • Stage – Since weddings typically include various “stages” (i.e., getting ready, ceremony, group photos, toasts, reception, and send-off), some photographers structure their pricing packages around the stages they’ll photograph on your special day.
  • Number of pros – Professional photographers typically charge more if they have to recruit a second shooter or assistant to wield a camera for greater wedding coverage.
  • Deliverables – Photography packages might include digital wedding albums of edited photos, full libraries of raw files (including outtakes), print products, and other items. If you need more clarity on the question, “how many wedding photos should I get?”, you can work with your photographer to find the appropriate number for your needs and budget.

As you browse wedding photographer packages, closely review what each package includes to make sure it meets your needs.

Let’s plan your stress-free elopement. Start today!

Factors That Affect Wedding Photo Costs

In addition to the above pricing structure, there are numerous elements that play a role in wedding photography prices.

Photographer Experience

Generally speaking, more experienced wedding photographers will charge higher fees than their less-experienced peers. It’s important to remember that a photographer’s experience can impact so much more than photo quality:

  • Delivery timing – Seasoned pros might be able to knock out your edits in short order, but this also depends on their overall workload.
  • Day-off efficiency – Professional photographers will know how to herd subjects and get the shots they need without delaying the proceedings.
  • Preparation – Photographers who have been working weddings know how to help you communicate your expectations ahead of time; they’ll help you prepare complete shot lists and create a wedding photography timeline, for example. Take a look at some of our must-do wedding photos to give yourself a better idea of where to set your expectations.

Location and Travel Expenses

Location plays a major role in photographer pricing—and we’ll touch on regional averages in a later section.

Your photographer may also take into account whether or not your venue is:

  • Easily accessible – Is getting to the event a matter of finding parking, or will they need to literally hike to the altar with you?
  • Close to home – Will your photographer need to book a hotel room or a flight to get to your big day? A destination wedding will factor into their estimate.
  • Ideal for photographing – Are you trying to get married near a crowded national monument or opting for privacy? The easier it is for your artist to get quality shots at your chosen venue, the better.

Duration of Coverage

We mentioned this above, but wedding packages are very dependent on how long your photographer spends snapping shots at your event.

Of course, the longer their stay, the higher the price—if you want a pro to take photos until your sparkler send-off, you’ll pay more than you would if they left after the toasts.

Average Cost of Wedding Photos in Different Regions

Here are some average prices across various regions in the US1,2:

  • West Coast – $2,500 – $4,000
    • Northwest – $1,200 – $4,500
    • Southwest – $1,000 – $4,300
  • Midwest – $1,800 – $4,000
  • Northeast – $1,800 – $5,000
  • Southeast – $1,000 – $4,200

It’s also important to note that photography is generally more expensive in big cities—here are some average prices in some of the United States’ metro areas:

  • New York – $1,800 – $5,000
  • Chicago – $1,300 – $4,900
  • Miami – $900 – $4,500
  • Washington, D.C. – $1,300 – $5,000
  • Dallas – $1,000 – $4,300
  • Los Angeles – $1,500 – $5,000
  • Seattle – $1,200 – $4,500

Tips to Save on Wedding Photography

Couples can save on their wedding photography package by:

  • Shortening their service – Consider hiring a pro for the ceremony and early reception only—skip getting ready and send off photos.
  • Changing their locale – Hosting the wedding day in an area with a lower cost of living could help you save on all of your wedding vendors.
  • Choosing an industry newcomer – Less experience doesn’t always mean lower quality—consider entrusting a newcomer with your nuptial photos to save on photography costs.

How Much Should Wedding Photos Cost

Comparing Wedding vs. Elopement Photography Costs

Another way to save on wedding photos—elope instead.

Think about it: Wedding photographers are tasked with capturing the couple, the wedding party, and as many guests as possible on the special day. This is part of the reason why their services are so valuable.

By cutting back on your guest list, you can both:

  • Save money – Elopement photographers generally charge less—they have significantly fewer people to photograph, and elopements are typically shorter than traditional weddings. It also won’t be as necessary to have multiple photographers present at the event, so you will have more in your wedding budget for other expenses.
  • Get more bang for your buck – When you elope, your photographer can focus on you and your soon-to-be spouse. You’ll be the focus of all of the work—and, in the end, you’ll end up with professional-grade photos for your wedding album that you can cherish forever.

Learn More About Our Elopement Photography Services

Considering eloping and looking for a photographer? You’re in luck—Simply Eloped, the wedding industry’s top micro wedding and elopement planning service, now offers elopement photography packages starting at just $900.

That’s significantly lower than the national average; and, like all of our partner vendors, Simply Eloped’s experienced wedding photographers are bona fide, vetted experts who will deliver unmatched photos of your special event.

How Much Should Wedding Photos Cost

Simply Eloped: Stress-Free Elopements and Magical Moments

Even if you’re planning a small ceremony or eloping, wedding planning comes with headaches and logistical nightmares that can keep you up at night—when you go it alone, that is.

Simplify your wedding planning and focus on the moment by partnering with Simply Eloped, the industry’s premiere micro wedding and elopement planner. With our all-inclusive elopement packages, we can help you pull off your dream celebration without a hitch, no matter your destination.

Reach out to Simply Eloped and embrace a hands-off, stress-free wedding planning approach.



  1. Brides. The Complete Guide to Wedding Photography Prices.
  2. Wedding Wire. Wedding Photographer Cost Guide.
Elopement Tips & Advice
Written by Karen Norian

Karen Norian is an elopement photographer and has photographed over a hundred elopements. Karen has also worked as an elopement planner for Simply Eloped. She's been quoted in the New York Times, Brides, Hello Giggles, Bustle, Yahoo, and more.