The Average Cost of Wedding Photography
If you’ve been wondering “How much should I spend on my wedding photography?” or about the average cost of wedding photography in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Wedding planning can be exciting yet challenging. Especially when it comes to budgeting for one of the most important aspects of your big day; capturing those once-in-a-lifetime memories.
There’s a ton of mixed and very generalized information out there from wedding blogs on this topic. But as a seasoned wedding photographer in Dallas, I have a slightly different view and approach when it comes to wedding planning in general. I believe your wedding day should be uniquely YOU. It should reflect your personality, values, wants and needs. Weddings are a celebration of your unique love story and therefore should be a reflection of that.
So, instead of just telling you to pick some random percent of your budget to allocate towards your perfect photographer – let’s dive a little deeper into the world of wedding photography costs, shall we?
Average Cost of Wedding Photography in Dallas – Fort Worth Texas
Average Wedding Photographer Cost in 2023
Before we get into the specifics, I want to emphasize that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Your perfect photographer should align with your unique vision and priorities. So, it’s not just about asking “How much does an average wedding photographer cost?” but more about “How much does a wedding photographer cost that aligns with what I value most?”
With that in mind, let’s break down the average cost ranges for wedding photographers in the DFW Metroplex:
- Brand New: $0-$500 (These photographers are just starting out and may not have much wedding experience yet.)
- What you might expect: Booking a brand new photographer can feel risky because they likely won’t have a portfolio to vet. Nor the experience and expertise yet to ensure you’ll get the photographs you’ve been dreaming of.
- Beginner: $500-$1200 (Photographers in this range should have some wedding photography experience. But are likely still working on honing their skills and developing their style.)
- What you might expect: You might feel more comfortable because you’ve seen some examples of their work, but they may lack consistency and more advanced skills (for example: natural and effortless posing/guidance, a good understanding of light and a consistent feel and style across their portfolio.)
- Amateur: $1200-$2500 (These photographers might be working more regularly – but likely isn’t their full-time job yet.)
- What you might expect: They offer a solid service that allows them to keep funding photography as a part-time job and affords them higher quality gear than your previous two categories.
- Growing Amateur: $2500-$4000 (Photographers in this category are transitioning into the “professional” realm; investing in both industry-standard quality gear and continuous education.)
- What you might expect: At this stage, photographers often invest in top-notch equipment, backups, and furthering their education to take their skills and business to a professional level. They likely have an evolving portfolio that showcases their growing expertise, offering you a clear picture of the consistency they can deliver.
- Professional: $4000-$6000 (Typically full-time professionals in in higher demand due to their style and expertise.)
- What you might expect: These photographers have established themselves with a strong style and high-quality work. They deliver very consistent high-quality photographs and offer top-of-the-line printed artwork (albums, canvases, etc.). You can expect a higher level of customer service and overall client experience as well.
- Luxury: $6000 and beyond starting prices (May start at $6k, $10k, $20k. These are highly sought-after and very established photographers with refined style and luxury offerings.)
- What you might expect: They handle high-profile events with ease and offer sought-after styles. These professionals tend to offer the most luxury of services and products across the board.
The 10% Myth and Prioritizing Vendors
You might have heard about the 10% rule. Where some blogs were advising that brides spend 10-15% of their wedding budget on photography. While it’s not necessarily bad advice, remember that you and your wedding day are unique. So, really, your personal values and priorities should be the key factor in what dictates your budget all around. Not some arbitrary percent of your wedding budget.
If photography simply isn’t important to you, then maybe just 5% towards someone who can take a few photos is plenty.
On the other hand, if photography is a top priority for you, you might consider allocating a much higher percentage of funds to have those precious memories captured by the perfect photographer for you. It is a very personal decision to make.
Tip: Consider listing out all your vendors in order of importance – based on your specific priorities. Then build your budget from most important down to least important. If you need extra for your priority vendors, you can start pulling from the very bottom of your list first. This way, you ensure you’re getting what you want and value the absolute most. And there won’t be any regrets in the long run!
Factors Affecting Wedding Photography Costs
Remember, we do typically get what we pay for. A photographer’s pricing often reflects their demand, expertise, and style. Curious about the other factors that influence wedding photography costs? Let’s explore a few key ones:
- Lifestyle: A photographer’s lifestyle can impact their pricing. Someone with fewer expenses might charge differently than someone with a studio or a family of 5 to support. Any professional who doesn’t strike a healthy balance between their personal life and the work they create, along with the necessary income to sustain their livelihood, is bound to face some serious challenges. Therefore, when you invest in a photographer, you’re not just paying for their artistic skills. But also for the lifestyle and stability they bring to their profession.
- Location: Photography costs can vary greatly based on location. In DFW, with its diverse areas, you’ll likely find different price ranges throughout the metroplex. The average cost of wedding photography in Dallas and urban areas often have higher standard prices due to increased living expenses.
- Expertise: A photographer’s skill level (aka: how well the photographer is able to shoot any given wedding) will play a crucial role. Photographers can vary greatly in how well they excel in handling various lighting scenarios (eg: bright light, low light, indoors, outdoors, using the sun vs artificial light, etc). Their interpersonal situations (eg: strong and confident communicator, easy to communicate and work/collaborate with – puts you at ease). And their level of business skills (eg: client experience, customer service, consistency, dependability, product offers, etc.)
- Experience: Experienced photographers tend to bring a wealth of knowledge, making them adept at handling challenging situations. Or simply being able to avoid those potentially challenging/negative situations altogether. Many years of trial and error combined with expertise can be invaluable when it comes to a once-in-a-lifetime event like a wedding day.
- Style: Style is very subjective, but it does tend to influence pricing. Different styles cater to different preferences, from bright and airy, to true-to-life and dark and moody. Generally speaking, the style with the highest demand in your area will come with a higher price tag as well. It’s important to find a style that resonates most with you.
- Collection Inclusions: Photographer collections can vary widely. Some may include 8 hours of coverage, 2 photographers, an engagement session, heirloom albums, and a timeline review session in their standard collection. While others may offer a more minimal base collection to start and work with you to custom-create a collection based on your specific values, wants and needs. Not to mention, other photographers may not even include specific services or products in their offer at all. (Be sure to ask your photographer if and what types of products they do offer, if albums and/or wall-art are important to you!) Collections are going to vary drastically from photographer to photographer. To help make sure you’re getting all the information you need at your next consultation, check out my blog on Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer!
So, what’s the average cost of wedding photography in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas? The short answer is that wedding photography can range from $0 to $20,000 or more. But in reality, your ideal photographer is worth what you’re willing to invest.
Start by deciding on your overall wedding budget, listing your vendors in order of importance then allocating your budget accordingly. Find someone whose work, personality, and style resonate with you. Invest in a photographer who aligns with your vision, values and offers the quality and experience you desire.
And here’s the heart of it… your wedding photographer plays a vital role in preserving those beautiful memories. Not just for you, but for your kids and grandkids too. They’re on a mission to capture every special moment, working tirelessly under the pressure of the big day. So, don’t forget to shower them with love and appreciation. In return, they’ll do their absolute best to make sure your memories are preserved with the utmost care and dedication. It’s a beautiful partnership worth cherishing!
If you have more questions or need help finding the perfect photographer for your DFW wedding, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to connect and help ensure you have a fantastic wedding photography experience!