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Wedding photography pricing

Pricing Wedding Photography as an Independent Photographer


Weddings are one of the most common events that book professional photographers. If you’re just entering the freelance photography business then some of your first gigs will most likely be weddings. Professional photographers can make upwards of $7500 for a single wedding depending on their experience, but how do you price your services if you’re new to photography?

This post is going to go over exactly how up and coming photographers should price a wedding. When you’re done reading you should feel more confident about pricing your next wedding photography gig.

What does a wedding photoshoot require?

wedding photographer taking pictures of couple

If you’re asked to do a wedding as an amateur independent photographer then it will almost certainly be a friend or family member that will approach you about doing the gig. It’s a big responsibility, but you can handle it. As long as you have some halfway decent equipment and an understanding of the basics, you should be fine.

Weddings are complex affairs, so the first thing you should do is contact the wedding planner and find out exactly how the event will progress. It’s also a good idea to attend the rehearsal so you can get a feel for how to set up certain shots.

Even though they might be family members, you will still need to treat the betrothed like customers. Pricing your services in a situation like this can be difficult. If you get your pricing right then everyone will walk away happy and you will have yourself a nice referral as well as an addition to your portfolio.

Pricing your wedding photography

wedding photography of couple with pricing

Pricing a wedding can get complicated. No wedding will be the same as any other. You have to develop a pricing strategy that allows you to adjust your bids based on the size and scope of the particular scenario. You should break down the way you price a job based on several factors:

Experience/Market: Obviously, the more experience you have, the more you can charge. The other thing that you need to consider here is the market that you’re in. A small town in the Midwest will pay less to a wedding photographer than in Miami, Fl. You have to be reasonable with your prices so you don’t push clients away, some business is better than no business.

Hourly Rate: Your hourly rate is here to make sure that you’re paid for your time. The standard rate for professional photographers is around $100 an hour, but you will probably need to half that if you’re just starting out. The hourly rate is not meant to cover all of your expensive, only your time. Think of it like this, you own a business that does wedding photography and you need to pay someone to take the actual pictures. In a sole proprietorship, you’re the person that’s taking the pictures, but that doesn’t mean that your time is free.  

Equipment costs: This charge is based on how much specialty equipment you used on the job. The more expensive the equipment, the more you can charge. In the beginning, you probably won’t need to charge a lot here, but as you buy more equipment this will need to be increased.

Photos/rights: After you have completed the project the last thing that you will need to charge for are the actual photos that you took. Depending on how you deliver them this can be one of the more lucrative parts of the project. You might just be handing them an SD stick, or you may be getting prints made. Whatever the case, delivering the photos and signing the rights over to your clients is the last chance you’re going to have to add value to your product.  

Studio wedding portraits

One thing that your clients might ask for is studio wedding portraits. Studio portraits are great for wedding couples because they can control exactly how they want to look.

Your subjects will also have multiple chances to get their facial expressions just the way they want them in the studio. These are the photos that you see on people’s mantel places and couples are willing to pay a pretty penny for them. Always make sure that the prices for your services are agreed upon before you start working.

If you’re an independent photographer then you most likely don’t have a studio to do wedding portraits in which means you’ll need to rent one. Luckily, finding and renting photography studios online has never been easier. Simply work the cost of the studio rental right into the price that you’re offering.

In Closing

If you want to sell your wedding photography services, you’re going to have to position the price so that it fits the market that you’re in. This is not something that should be rushed or taken lightly. Getting your pricing structure right allows you to sell more services and grow your business without worrying about losing money.