I get asked often by friends and family members planning their wedding: how much should I expect to pay for a wedding photographer? I have written this blog post to provide genuine expectations for your wedding planning process, and hope that this helps you in your planning journey!
Wedding photographers in Chicago start at anywhere between $3000-$5000. You can find less experienced, weekend photographers as well as larger studios under the $3000 range. If you want an experienced, expert photographer in Chicago, expect to pay between $4000-$10,000. I know that this is a huge range, but it really depends on what you are going for! The top film photographers in Chicago cost anywhere from $7500-$10,000 for an 8 hour day. Digital photographers who are experts in the wedding industry cost between $4000-$7500 for an 8 hour day. A hybrid film and digital photographer charges more to cover their overhead costs of buying, mailing, and processing film, as well as providing an excellent experience for you and your partner 🙂
You may wonder: why is wedding photography so expensive? The answer is that wedding photography is an expensive field to get into and stay in, and we also have to cover the costs of our time spent planning your photos, taking them, and countless hours spent editing. When you factor in buying top notch gear, education to make your photos amazing, website hosting, storage, file delivery, studio space, advertising, and client gifts, many photographers’ overhead expenses alone exceed 30-40k per year! Add in film, and those costs rise quickly. Also, photographers need to pay themselves, taxes, and their second shooters in order to provide a quality service for you and a quality of life for themselves. Many photographers often do not have a second source of income, so clients’ weddings are their livelihoods, and we want to ensure that you are taken care of properly, as well as going above and beyond to create a wonderfully memorable experience for you.
You may ask: what should I look for when choosing a photographer? When choosing a photographer, always check to see if the quality of their work is consistent throughout their portfolio. Is the editing style consistent throughout their work on their website? Do they specialize in weddings? Is the lighting flattering and consistent throughout their work? Do the couples look their best in the poses that the photographer has put them in? These are all important factors to consider when choosing the right photographer. When your photographer’s work is consistent, it is easier to envision what your wedding photos will look like!
I hope that this post was helpful in your booking process! You can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. I would absolutely love to hear from you, and help to plan your photographic experience for your wedding!