Wedding Tips & Advice

How Much Should You Spend on a Wedding Photographer

How much should you spend on a wedding photographer? Tips from Kyle Goldie at Luma Weddings

Now that you are engaged and you’re thinking about wedding planning, you are wondering how much should you spend on a wedding photographer. Of course, you are! When my wife, Haley, and I got engaged in 2015, photography was obviously at the forefront of my mind. (I’m a photographer, so this was especially crucial to me.)

That said, I am not the heir to Bill Gates’ fortune, nor have I won any lottery tickets (yet).

So, how much should you spend on a wedding photographer? It depends.

It depends on a lot of things, but let’s quickly go through a few things first:

  • How much money do you have in the bank? Obviously, this is a serious personal question, but it’s also a super obvious one. If you don’t have a lot of cash in the bank, maybe you can’t have that cake and eat it, too. (okay, you can eat the cake, just don’t spend a fortune on it).  And if you DO have a stack of cash in the bank, then, by all means, please do buy that fancy 6-tier cake.
  • Now, let’s look at what you value. What are the most important things for you on your wedding day? Seriously. Get brutal with this. Figure it out. What helped my wife and I when we were planning our own wedding day and what we could afford and where we wanted to tell our money to go, we created lists. We put down the things we wanted, then put a number by them in the order of their importance to us. Very quickly, we realized that we wanted to have an amazing time with our closest friends and family. That was our #1.  Our #2 was photography. So, we knew we needed to allocate a good portion of our budget to that. We didn’t really care about our food, and we didn’t want to have an indoor wedding.
  • Now that we knew what our priorities were, we then chatted about our goals in life. What did we want in the next couple years? Did we want to take an epic honeymoon? Did we want to buy a house? Did we want to simply not spend a lot and save some? 100%. We wanted all of those things. So, instead of spending all of our money on our wedding day, we decided to take some of that money we had and put it towards all the other things we really wanted to do as well. All of a sudden, we now have a better idea about our financial plans for the next 24 months and where we want our money to go.
  • Once we figured that out, we wanted to book a venue and a photographer ASAP since we needed to lock that in. We booked our photographer about 12 months in advance. And we booked a venue that would cater well to photography and give us that privacy that we wanted (Wandering Waters near Mount Baker, WA).

There is no set dollar number as to how much should you spend on a wedding photographer.

But if you value photography, I highly recommend that you invest a solid portion of your wedding budget to it.

After all, spending $5,000-10,000 or even $20,000+ on a wedding venue and then only $1,500 on a wedding photographer doesn’t really make a lot of sense, if you do. Especially when your $10,000 wedding venue also then has to add another $10,000+ for catering.

$10,000 just for food! For us, that’s a big no. (Maybe that’s a big yes for you, and that’s totally okay).

All of a sudden, spending $5,000 on photography doesn’t seem like very much. Especially when you consider that photography is one of the very few things that will last an entire lifetime and beyond, and catering will last you for quite literally the amount of time that you eat (and experience) it.

But that’s just me. And that’s why I mentioned earlier that we don’t really value food. We care more about documenting our most important lifes memories in the best way possible – with an immensely talented wedding photographer.

Personally, I will tell you how much we spent on our wedding photographer as a percentage of our wedding budget. By no way am I telling you how much should you spend on a wedding photographer. This is only an example to help you get brainstorming.

Haley and I spent 25% of our entire wedding budget on our wedding photographer. 20% was our videographer. 20% was to our wedding venue. 15% was for food. 5% was my suit. 10% was her dress. The rest is all the little details.

Our budget (this will greatly vary person-to-person, wedding-to-wedding):

25% – Photography (Our super-important, most-valued decision)
20% – Venue (our venue wasn’t very expensive)
20% – Videography (so glad we did this)
15% – Food & drink (we didn’t really care about high-end food)
10% – Haley’s dress (stunning)
5% – My suit (Nordstrom)
5% – The rest

Photo of Haley’s stunning bridesmaids just because:

How much should you spend on a wedding photographer? Tips from Kyle Goldie at Luma Weddings

I hope that helps figure out how much should you spend on a wedding photographer.

I know there is no simple answer, but it might help you to see what we did. As always, let me know if you have any questions about anything at all. We are here to help with anything we can. I want to be your photographer local, global, you name it. Let’s chat!!

And if you want to learn more about Haley and I, please do! Check out these blog posts here: