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What Should You Pay For A Wedding Photographer?


Hey there! My name is David Gass of Dgass Photography and I am a full time elopement and wedding photographer in Denver, Colorado. When I don’t have a camera in hand, I love spending my time providing value to my couples through blog posts and The Colorado Wedding Collective.

Today I’d love to chat you about the standard cost of wedding photography.

If you're recently engaged (congrats!), you’re probably a little overwhelmed with researching average wedding costs and pricing ratios. When it comes to photography, there are national averages, but they vary quite a bit depending on state, and there are different variables, like what if you have an elopement and don’t need a full day of coverage?

So you’re probably wondering, “What do most couples really spend on their wedding photography?” Well, I’m going to tell you. At the end of this pricing guide, you should hopefully be less overwhelmed and more informed so that when it comes time to searching for your photographer, you’ve already nailed down how important it is to you and your partner and what you realistically should spend on one. Let’s get started!

Average Colorado Wedding Costs

First things first, let’s look at wedding costs as a whole. The Knot recently released their 2016 Real Weddings study and in it, they found that the average wedding costs $35,329 (not including honeymoon). This is up from 2015’s average of $32,641. But like I mentioned above, this cost varies by state. For example, the most expensive place to get married in 2016 was Manhattan, NY at a whopping $78,464 and the least expensive place was Arkansas at $19,522.

According to that same study by The Knot, Colorado comes in with an average cost of $30,262. CostofWeddings.com gets a little more specific saying that,

“ Denver, CO $20,931 and $34,885

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Colorado Wedding Photography

So just as there are many variables in average wedding costs, this is also true of wedding photography pricing. My goal for this post is to provide facts and education for you so that you are well informed before allocating your budget and are spending your money the way that YOU want to.

During your planning, you’ve probably heard that wedding photography should be roughly 10% of your wedding budget. Well, that’s definitely a good place to start, but with anything else, there are variables. If your whole budget is $7,000, a $700 photography budget really isn’t much and will most likely get you substandard photos with no album or USB drive. Based on the average cost for weddings in Denver, a 10% ratio puts you between $2,093 and $3,488.

According to that same study done by The Knot, the 2016 national average spend for wedding photography professionals was $2,783 (coverage only). Now in Colorado, this average changes a bit. Custom Weddings of Colorado says couples can expect to pay on the low end $1,200 and high end $10,000 with the average couple spending around $4,000 for their wedding photography. The reasons for this big range, in my opinion, are couples choosing to elope and have intimate weddings where they only need 3-4 hours of coverage as well as add on costs, such as a USB drive with images, an album, prints, and engagement session that are factored into that $4,000 average.

Add On Costs

Here are some average costs for add ons to photography coverage. Keep in mind that these prices can vary greatly based on location and professional vendor.

Album: $700-900

USB Drive/DVD: $500-650 Prints: $200-350

Engagement Session: $675-875