Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive? (11 Reasons Why)

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Isabelle O'Gallagher

Isabelle O'Gallagher is a personal development and relationship expert who has consulted for some of the biggest companies in America.

A wedding photographer is one of the first things people look for when planning their wedding. After all, such a special day must be captured and documented well.

If you have already reached out to wedding photographers, however, you already know that their rates are far from affordable. Why is that? I looked into it, and here is what I found!

Why Are Wedding Photographers So Expensive?

Wedding photographers are expensive because they have to recoup the investments they make on their equipment. Besides cameras and lenses, photographers also have to use costly software and editing tools. Additional expenses like travel costs, package add-ons, and pre-wedding shoots make wedding photography packages pricey. You’re paying wedding photographers for their skills and expertise.

If you are interested in learning more about the factors that make wedding photographers expensive, such as popularity and the specifics of their services, keep on reading!

1. Wedding Photographers Invest In Quality Cameras & Accessories

Wedding photographers invest a lot in the quality of the materials they use. These materials include cameras, lenses, lights, and accessories like memory cards and tripods.

Anything less than the most reliable materials can significantly affect a wedding photographer’s work.

Therefore, to recoup their investment, wedding photographers have to secure a profit by charging more for their work.

2. Wedding Photographers Charge Based On Their Skill Level

Wedding photographers that have been formally trained and have an impressive clientele will naturally charge more for their work.

After all, what you are paying for are the years of education and hard work that allow wedding photographers to perform at an elite level.

So, when you choose wedding photographers with longer tenure and better output, you can expect their rates to be higher.

3. Wedding Photos Are Always Edited

There is more to wedding photography than simply capturing stunning photos. Before these photos can be published, they must first be edited to correct lighting and other details.

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Additionally, some wedding photographers offer editing packages that range from minimal to extensive retouching.

Depending on your preference, your package can include removing spots on clothes and zits, making people look slimmer, head swapping, or fixing wardrobe malfunctions.

Of course, performing these types of edits requires a lot of skill and time, making a wedding photographer’s fees more expensive.

4. Wedding Photographers Cover Other Operating Costs

To edit photos, wedding photographers need to make purchases and maintain subscriptions to give them access to the tools they need.

More than just Photoshop, wedding photographers have to use and maintain heavy-duty laptops that can accommodate the software that will be running.

What happens when computers break, lenses shatter, and lights stop working? Replacing these items will fall under a wedding photographer’s operating costs.

Consequently, covering these costs requires increasing a wedding photographer’s fees. Otherwise, they won’t be able to keep their business running.

5. Wedding Photographers Charge For Travel Expenses

5. Wedding Photographers Charge For Travel Expenses

Unless the client offers to shoulder the wedding photographer’s entire travel, lodging, and food expenses, wedding photographers have to factor these into their fees.

If wedding photographers did not, their profit would be compromised, which is especially true for wedding photographers that work with assistants or teams.

So, to protect and maximize their profit, wedding photographers always have to consider travel expenses for each job, which can significantly increase their fees.

6. Wedding Photos Are Delivered In Various Formats

Wedding photos can be given to clients in various formats. Often, clients will want a soft copy of their wedding photos, which are provided through flash drives.

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Other formats are print, including photo albums in various styles such as coffee table, ring binder, and scrapbook.

Regardless of format, handing over the wedding photographs costs money, and the clients are made to shoulder that through the wedding photographer’s fees.

7. Wedding Photography Is Difficult & Tiring

Wedding photography is a challenging craft. Different clients have different requirements, and the wedding venue and setup can add to the taxing nature of the job.

Additionally, wedding photographers must capture photos not only of the couple but also of the families, friends, and other attendees.

Finding the right angle, snapping shots at the right moment, and handling heavy equipment as they roam the venue requires stamina and great instinct.

Therefore, to get compensated for the work done on the wedding day itself, wedding photographers have to charge hefty fees.

8. Weddings Can Last For Several Hours

It is extremely rare and unusual for wedding photographers to cover two weddings on the same day, mainly because weddings can last for seven to ten hours.

Also, wedding photographers are some of the first to arrive at the venue to capture photos of the bride and groom with their entourage.

Therefore, it is reasonable to say that wedding photographers work more hours than the average employee and can fetch higher rates.

9. Pre-Wedding Day Preparations Are Also Taxing

Before the wedding day, wedding photographers may be involved in engagement shoots, which are expected to drive up the overall cost of a wedding photographer.

However, what clients tend to overlook are wedding photographers’ other efforts, like scouting the venue for the best shooting locations.

Other times, wedding photographers may be asked to attend rehearsals, especially if the wedding is high-profile, large-scale, or the client is extremely particular.

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Wedding photographers incur costs during these pre-wedding day preparations and exert a lot of effort too. As such, wedding photographers are expensive to hire.

10. Wedding Photography Is Considered A Luxury

Wedding photography is not necessary to get married. In fact, a full-blown wedding is not even required to be considered married by the law.

So, much like anything else in weddings that make it expensive, wedding photography is a luxury that costs a lot to enjoy.

11. Popular Wedding Dates Can Impact Costs

Wedding dates can also influence the rates of wedding photographers. Generally, popular wedding dates make wedding photographers more in demand.

In fact, wedding photography rates can increase by as much as 30% during the wedding season, typically in the fall.

Therefore, since wedding photographers are in demand, they can fetch higher prices and have their picks of clients willing to pay more for their services.

To know more, you can also read our posts on why wedding venues are so expensive, why Ancestry is so expensive, and why strollers are so expensive.


Wedding photography is a job that requires skill and plenty of high-quality equipment to pull off, which is especially true for known wedding photographers covering big weddings.

Additionally, wedding photographers have to charge for the pre and post-wedding work, like scouting venues and retouching photos.

Furthermore, the more in-demand wedding photographers are in a season, the more likely that wedding photographers will increase their fees and become expensive.


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