Investing in Wedding Photography

Compare More than Price When Choosing A Photographer

A wedding is the biggest event in any bride and groom's life, yet not everyone sees clearly the value of investing in a top-notch photographer to document the day.

It’s not intentional on the part of the happy couple. The truth is photography, in general, can be a peculiar business. Cameras are everywhere these days, in pockets and purses, and even on cell phones. Digital photography makes documentation of life an instant success, it might seem. But what sort of documentation? What sort of success?

Professional photographers are good at what they do, not because they put the thousands of dollars into their professional-grade equipment, but because of their vision to see life’s happenings in ways the non-pro doesn’t – and then to use their high-tech gear to capture the moments that matter.

Getting great photographs, especially the documentary sort familiar to photojournalists is practiced skill. That’s what brides, grooms and their families need to consider when deciding how they want the Big Day to be recorded forever more – and how they want to invest in that process.

Comparing Styles of Wedding Photography

The traditional portraiture of years past is fading as a style of wedding photography. In its place is the popular, dynamic, creative style of photojournalists.

Advantages of wedding photojournalism over traditional portraiture:

Photojournalists document life as it unfolds. Wedding photojournalists offer story/event coverage spanning as many hours as the wedding couple wants. From getting hair done and dress on to the final dance of the night. Six hours…10 hours…even longer.

The result is a visual story that relates the full day’s activities as individual moments of joy, tears, love, family, friends, happiness.

"When real life goes out of style, we’re all in trouble. When is that ever going to go out of style? Real moments – you can’t fake them," said Kansas wedding photographer Peggy Bair, in a Wedding Photojournalist Association article that posed the question: Is wedding photojournalism a fad?

Comparing Wedding Photography Packages

For a bride and groom to choose the right style of photography for them, it’s essential to compare apples to apples.

Wedding photographers often propose wedding packages to prospective bride-groom clients. Those packages can greatly vary from photographer to photographer, or even within one photographer’s list of options.

When comparing photographers, it can be easy to get caught up in the numbers. But looking only at price can result in choosing the wrong wedding photographer.

An example:

Photographer A says her packages start at $2,000 and Photographer B says his begin at $6,000. If price is the most important factor in choosing a photographer, then it must be a no-brainer to hire Photographer A, right? Wrong.

What is Photographer A offering for $2,000? Does it include everything that is necessary? Does that include 4 hours of shooting or 12? Does it include a DVD of high-resolution digital files, which you can take anywhere to have prints made? Does it include online print ordering for family and friends? Does it include an album – if so, a cheap one or a high-quality one? Does it include an assistant photographer?

Don’t just look at the numbers; look at what those numbers include. It may be that Photographer B’s $6,000 package already takes all of that into account. It also may be that Photographer B is that much better a photographer. Does that matter? It should.

What Is A Wedding Photographer Worth?

Prices for wedding photographers run the gamut from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands, as can be noted by comparing and contrasting the information provided at numerous wedding photographers' Web sites.

Common ranges on wedding photography elements:


  • Fee for photographer: $500-20,000
  • Custom-designed albums: $200-3,000
  • DVDs with high-resolution image files: $200-1,000
  • Prints from 4x6 (inches) to 16x20: $10-200
  • Additional/assistant photographers: $300-3,000


A wedding is the most important event in a couple’s life. It’s an investment that deserves careful consideration.

Decide which photographer provides the desired visionary style, skills, personality, customer service and quality end products. Then figure out how to afford that unique professional.

Otherwise, this adage will do little to sooth the frustration of having hired the wrong photographer: You get what you pay for.

Adam Williams is writer and photographer based in St. Louis, MO. His website is:
This article is copyrighted by Adam Williams. Contact the author to obtain permission for republication.

I love shooting weddings and capturing those special, celebratory, and unforgettable moments


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