average cost of a wedding photographer

in Hawaii

Finding the perfect photographer for your big day is one of the most exciting adventures! Not only do you get to relive the memories through their lens, but finding the right fit in style and personality makes all the difference in the world.

My suggestion while looking for average costs for wedding photographers is to find a photographer who gets you, who makes you feel like a friend, and who has the power to ease all your wedding day jitters. I've put together a handy guide on the things to consider when choosing your photographer. The average cost of a wedding photographer depends on many factors- but it's not the only thing you should focus on. The most important thing is finding someone who can document your love story, you're way! That's priceless! So, let's get started.

Planning an elopement or wedding involves many decisions, including how much to allocate for each vendor. As with any professional service, the fee charged by a photographer can vary depending on a range of factors, such as their experience, value, location and expertise.

It's important to keep in mind that being a wedding photographer is a time-intensive process, requiring an average of 60 hours just for one event - and that's just the photography! With additional time dedicated to planning, traveling, equipment maintenance, and continuing education, it's easy to see why a photographer's fees reflect the value they bring to the table.

When making a decision about your elopement photographer, it's important to keep in mind a few key points:

  • Focus on the value / vibe match of what you really want for your wedding day
  • Try to avoid trendy edits. Timeline jump 10 years from now, will you still love the way your photos were edited?
  • The level of experience and expertise of the photographer can impact their fee.
  • The location of the wedding can also play a role in determining the cost of photography services.
  • Don't forget to consider the cost of living in the area - this can impact the prices quoted by photographers.

Remember, the average cost of a photographer for wedding is just that - an average. To find the right photographer for your big day, you'll want to look beyond the price tag and consider their style, approach, and alignment with your values and priorities. This way, you'll be sure to find someone who can help you create memories that will last a lifetime.

Now Let's talk numbers, exactly How much should a wedding photographer cost?!
approximate range of prices

Beginner/ Starting Out: These are the photographers just beginning their journey and may still be figuring out their style and perfecting their craft. They may charge anywhere from nothing to $500, and may be eager to build up their portfolio. Booking one of these photographers could be a fun and exciting adventure, but be prepared to be a little patient while they find their footing.

Amateurs: If you're looking for someone with a little bit of experience under their belt, these photographers may be your best bet. They've likely shot a few weddings, and may be able to deliver a decent set of images. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1,500 for their services.

Intermediate Photogs: If you're looking for a photographer with a bit more confidence and experience, these are your guys and gals. They may have shot a number of weddings and are starting to find their footing. They'll likely deliver consistent images and be able to give you some guidance along the way. You can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500-$2,500 for their services.

Proficient Pros: This group of photographers are starting to establish themselves and have a good bit of experience and knowledge under their belts. They may not be full-time wedding photographers, but they can definitely deliver some great images. They may have invested a little bit more into their business, but still offer good value for the price. You can expect to pay anywhere from $2,600-$3,200 for their services.

Professional: These photographers have likely been in business for many years and have a wealth of knowledge and experience. They're comfortable, professional, and know exactly what they're doing. They may offer additional services and a personalized experience for their clients. Prices for these photographers may range anywhere from $3,500-$6,000 or more, and can vary depending on the location.

Luxury Photographers: These photographers cater to clients planning grand, luxurious elopements and weddings and they bring their A-game. With years of experience and a history of serving high-end clients, they'll deliver top-notch images and a unique, exquisite experience. If you're looking for the best of the best, be prepared to pay anywhere from $6,000 or more.


Experience is also a valuable consideration when choosing a photographer. A photographer who has shot hundreds of weddings will have had more opportunities to work out tough situations, and if they have shot at your location or venue before, they will likely be more prepared to direct photographs smoothly. An experienced photographer will also know the value of visiting a new location (trail or venue) beforehand to familiarize themselves with the environment. You should be able to expect that the photographer will understand the location and have a plan for things like first-look portraits, and formals. However, it's important to keep in mind that a photographer with this level of experience may come with a higher cost.


When it comes to choosing a photographer, expertise is just as important as experience. Expertise refers to the photographer's technical and interpersonal skills, as well as their emotional and communication skills, and their ability to run a successful business. Photographers who possess these skills are in high demand, and their services will typically come with a premium.


The price of a wedding photographer can vary greatly based on their location. In places where the cost of living is high, such as Hawaii & California, photographers may charge more to compensate for the added expenses. This means that if you live in a city like San Francisco, you might expect to pay an average starting price of $6,000, while a similar priced photographer in a rural area might only charge $3,000. As a general rule, larger cities with a higher median income tend to have higher standard prices for photographers.


Some may begin at a higher price point but include a more comprehensive range of services, while others may start at a lower price and offer limited services that you can choose to add on for an additional fee.

Here are a few things to look for when considering a photographer's package:

Do they help you find the perfect ceremony spot?

Do they include a custom timeline and permits for your location(s)?

Do they offer an engagement session as part of the package?

Do they provide any assistance with vendors?

So, how much should you expect to spend on elopement photography?

At the end of the day, it comes down to what you're comfortable with and what fits your budget. It's important to remember that a good photographer is worth the investment. If they've got a solid portfolio, you dig their vibe, and they make you feel at ease, it's worth booking them even if they're a bit pricier.

For some folks, $500 is the sweet spot. For others, it's $5k, $10k, or even more! Typically, photographers who charge more have a higher demand for their services, be it for their skills, style, or both. Sure, you could take a chance on an inexpensive photographer and end up with amazing memories. Ultimately, what really matters is having a photographer who'll preserve your memories for you and your family for years to come. Whomever you choose will work their butts off, so show them some love and gratitude. They should do the same for you!

Now that you know how much is wedding photography, here is some Extra information to consider:
  • Importance of Booking a Photographer for Your Elopement:
  • Booking early is highly encouraged! Photographers often get booked one or more years in advance.
  • Take advantage of the perspective of married friends who have hired a photographer for their own elopement.
  • Ask questions about what they would change or do differently in regards to hiring a photographer.
  • Factors to Consider When Selecting an Elopement/ Intimate Wedding Photographer:
  • Type of Photos You Want, Gorgeous detail shots
  • Fun photos with bridal party and family
  • Candid moments on the dance floor
  • Fine art posed photos or editorial-style captures.
  • Consider Editing style, Mood and tone (dark, light, moody, colorful, natural, airy, film-y)
  • Emotions depicted in images (serious, joyful, soft)
  • Hybrid Editing Style:
  • Combines true to color images with posed and natural interactions
  • Aims to get a few smiling-at-the-camera shots (posed photos)
  • Directs and prompts to get natural smiles and laughter flowing
  • Emphasizes genuine and natural moments over posed photos.