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Why are Wedding Photographers so Expensive?

It’s frustrating isn’t it? You’ve found the love of your life. You’re getting ready for your big day.

Now you’re looking for the best wedding photographer you can find who’ll take some amazing photos.

And it hits you: a wedding photographer costs thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars.

Why are wedding photographers so expensive? Anybody can just grab out a camera and snap a few pics! Surely, this can’t be right!

In this article, I’ll explain all reasons why.

And let me assure you (speaking as a professional wedding photographer) – there’s a tonne of work that goes into taking inspiring and, frankly, miraculously candid wedding photos.

The high prices you’re seeing make complete sense when you see the full ‘picture’ (pun not intended).

Why are wedding photographers so expensive?

It’s a question I get asked all the time, and I get it – weddings are already expensive.

But get this: the most expensive wedding photographer that I’ve ever seen is a man named Jose Villa, based in Santa Barbara, California. His charges start at USD $6,000-$7,000 and it only goes up from there.

Couples around the world spend thousands of dollars to ensure they get the perfect shot.

This is why.


It takes a lot of time for a wedding photographer to do their job correctly. No, it’s not just rocking up on the day and taking some snaps. Let’s break it down into 4 parts:

  1. Meeting with clients
  2. Pre-wedding prep
  3. The actual wedding day
  4. Editing the photos afterwards

Meetings with our clients

Before a wedding, you should always ensure you meet with your photographer. This is so that you can confirm they’ll be the right fit for you, and that – ultimately – you gel with them.

If you don’t gel with your photographer, there’s no point having them at your wedding at all. They’ll be sharing an extremely intimate moment with you, so it’s critical to get this right.

But it’s not just one meeting. Other meetings will include:

  • Discussions over the wedding timeline as it changes
  • Discussing updates on plans
  • The photographer checking in with you and asking the important questions

A wedding photographer may even have to travel to meet you, if you live in a remote location.

Pre-wedding prep

Before the big day, the photographer has a lot of work to do. This includes a whole list of tasks.

Preparing to shoot your pre wedding (engagement) photos is a big one. This involves scouting locations to find the perfect places for the best shots.

It might include a dress rehearsal – in which case the photographer need to prepare and pack their gear twice. First for the rehearsal, and then for the actual shoot.

They’ll need to think about what angles to take. How much lighting is required. What travel is needed to get to the shooting location.

It could take your photographer anywhere between 7-10 hours, depending on how long the engagement shoot is.

Actual wedding day

A wedding day could take anywhere up to 12 hours (and time flies when you’re having fun).

The photographer may have to commute long distances to get there. They may even have to fly around the world.

If you’ve booked your wedding day on an extremely popular day (such as Valentine’s Day), that may also influence the price you’re charged.


Editing is by far the most labrious, time-consuming (and not fun) part of being a wedding photographer.

Just check out my post on how wedding photographers edit their photos, and you’ll see why.

A photographer might take 3,000 photos during a 12 hour wedding day, starting from doing makeup in the morning to the after-party at night.

They’ll take so many photos because they don’t want to miss a particular moment that might end up being gold.

Now the photos need to be, for the better word, “culled”. They’ll trudge through each and every photo, so you only get the best ones. This is all manual work.

After that, they’ll actually go through their handpicked photos and edit each incividual shot. They may apply different filters or factors to the photo, to ensure the magic is truly captured.

All of this could take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.

Equipment (and insurance)

A photographer will normally have at least two cameras, different lenses, flashes, batteries, spare batteries, lens filters, memory cards and maybe a tripod. Altogether, this equipment can sore into the tens of thousands.

Most professional wedding photographers out there will have some form of insurance.

This could include, for instance, professional indemnity insurance, or insurance in case some of their equipment is damaged.

You’re paying for talent

At the end of the day, you’re not just paying for a commodity. You’re paying for raw, human talent.

It can take months, even years, for a professional photographer to perfect their craft, master their technique and refine their editing to truly capture the magic of one of the most memorable days of a person’s life.

The photographer needs to engage with guests to prompt the best reactions from them, so they give the perfect expression for a photo.

Someone who knows what they’re doing is also constantly researching new photo poses and different methods in order for them to achieve the best results.

How much does a wedding photographer cost?

The average cost of a wedding photographer is really between $2,500 all the way up to $15,000.

It will all depend on the factors I’ve outlined above, so it’s really important to have an honest conversation up front with your photographer, and figure out exactly what you’re paying for, before you pull out your wallet.

Wedding photography prices in Melbourne: are they too expensive?

If you’re in Melbourne, you’re probably wondering why the wedding photographers are so expensive.

I recommend reading my comprehensive guide on choosing the perfect wedding photographer.

It’s important not to pay too much.

It’ll give you all the tips you should know, including figuring out your budget and pinpointing exactly how much your photographer will charge you.

I’m also completely up front about my wedding photography prices and packages, so you can be sure you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Hopefully, this blog’s given you some insight into why wedding photographers cost so much.

I assure you, there is logic to the lunacy!

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Why are Wedding Photographers so Expensive?



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