How much does a wedding photographer cost

June 6, 2023

I’m Dana.
I take destination wedding photography seriously. If I’m going to book a flight and travel across the ocean for you, I should probably show you that I know what I’m talking about.

It’s the most common question I see on bridal and wedding facebook pages: How much does a wedding photographer cost?

Truth is, this can vary for so many reasons. It’s 2023 and prices for the wedding industry are not what they were when I got married back in 2015 in Pennsylvania. There are always so many questions about why photographers charge what they do. Hopefully, this blog post will help you!

How much does a wedding photographer cost

How much does a wedding photographer cost

In short, it is based on many things. Where they live, their experience, the cost of their business, and their personal expenses (debts, bills, etc) and I am happy to go into detail about it.


We all know the term ‘location location location’ and it goes hand-in-hand with wedding photography. It’s common sense that the cost of living in a suburban town in Virginia will cost less than living in a community in Southern California. Food, gas, rent/mortgage, etc. The difference is clear in pricing and it’s one reason why photographers adjust their pricing. While my rent in Virginia was $2,500, it was almost $4,000 a month in California. So, it’s only fair I adjust my rates based on where I am living. This is how I will be able to survive.

Personal Debt

Many photographers will have thousands in debt from buying business gear, paying college fees, paying for their credit cards, childcare, etc. Again, those are all fees that need to be considered when they price their work. In order for them to be able to pay their bills, they know they have to make at least a certain amount per month. So, they break it up into their packages and other sources of income.


The third thing on why a photographer charges for what they do is based on experience. I believe in the saying “You get what you pay for”. More than likely, a photographer starting off might only charge $1,000 or so for a full wedding day. A photographer with 3+ years of experience will charge as little as $3,000, depending on location and how many weddings they shot.

On top of this, the photographer might have invested hundreds of thousands to be a better photographer for you! This means they hired coaches, educational courses, attended luxury workshops, etc. Like any other job, you get reimbursed for that. So, photographers will include this experience in their pricing as well to get back what they worked so hard on.

How much does a wedding photographer cost

When you are hiring a wedding photographer or any vendor, please consider the above when you are looking at pricing. Remember that they have to survive and make money as well, so they have to charge what they do in order to continue business and live a decent lifestyle.

Destinations with Dana

Hey, there! My name is Dana and I am a wedding photographer based out of California. Since 2018, I have photographed weddings all over the country and have traveled all through Europe and Asia exploring the world and doing what I love best; photographing weddings! If you are getting married in The Bay Area of California, I would love to offer my photography services to you. You can learn more here.

Now, if you are getting married in Europe, you can learn more about my packages here! I love traveling and serving wonderful, kind, and loving couples who want to enrich different cultures and give their traveling-loving guests an exceptional experience. In fact, when the very own Destination I Do offered me to be one of their preferred photographers, I was so excited! You can learn more about this amazing destination wedding website here.

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Follow along on my journey as a international wedding photographer, traveler, and military wife