New York City Wedding Photographer Costs: The Ultimate Pricing Guide
New York City Wedding Photography Cost
Wedding photography is one of the most important investments on your big day. After all, your wedding photos will be cherished memories you’ll look back on for years. Stunning photos come with a price; you may be surprised at how that could impact your wedding budget.
Hiring wedding photographers in New York City will cost you between $8500 – $50,000.
NYC is a prime location for weddings, with various venues and many talented and accomplished photographers. Still, several factors will determine the final price since the wedding industry isn’t regulated. This article will outline some of the most important factors affecting your wedding photographer’s pricing.
What Does a New York Wedding Photographer Cost?
Because NYC is overflowing with photographers of all experience levels, fees can vary widely. Have you heard the term “You get what you pay for!!” Avoid going the low-budget route, where photographers will take three years to edit your photos.
The average price for wedding photographers in New York City is between $8,500-$50,000. Compared to the median price of wedding photography in the United States of $5500, there is a bit of difference.
The most important thing to remember is that your wedding photographer’s fee is an investment. While choosing the cheapest photographer may be tempting, they could outsource it to someone random! So keep in mind that your wedding photos will be cherished memories. It’s worth spending extra to make sure those memories are captured beautifully.
What Affects the Costs of NYC Wedding Photography?
When budgeting for your photographer, it’s important to understand all the elements affecting their price. This way, you can make an informed decision when reviewing the photography collection.
Some of the most significant elements that affect the cost of hiring an NYC wedding photographer include:
- Travel costs
- Length of the session
- Marketing & administrative costs
- Photography assistants
- Additional photographers and more.
Because these elements can affect a photographer’s bottom line, it’s important to understand how they might impact your wedding photography budget.
One of the biggest factors that affect a photographer’s price is their location. Photographers in or near major cities tend to charge more than those in smaller towns or rural areas. They have higher overhead costs and may travel further to reach your wedding venue.
2. Travel Costs
If your wedding occurs outside the city, your photographer may charge a travel fee to cover their expenses. This fee will typically be a few hundred dollars, but it can range from $1000 – $5,000 depending on the distance they travel. Consider flights and accommodations in certain circumstances when estimating this fee.
3. Length of time
Another factor that will affect your photographer’s price is the time they’ll photograph on your wedding day. The average wedding photography collection includes 8 – 10 hours of coverage, but some photographers offer longer collections for an additional fee.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to wedding photography. Photographers who have been in the business for many years and have shot hundreds of weddings tend to charge more than those just starting. This is because they have the experience and expertise to capture your day flawlessly.
5. Marketing & Administrative Costs
Photographers must spend money on marketing and advertising to attract new clients. They also have administrative costs like website hosting fees, business insurance, and equipment maintenance. These factors will affect their bottom line and, ultimately, the price they charge for their services.
6. Photography Assistants
Some photographers work with one or more wedding assistants to help them capture all the important details. If your photographer has an assistant, their fee will be included in your price.
7. Additional Photographers
If you have a large wedding or want to ensure every moment is captured, you may want to hire a second photographer. This will increase your total photography costs, but it’s worth it to have peace of mind knowing that every detail will be documented.
While your lead photographer may choose to contract out an assistant or have a second photographer on staff, be sure to ask about this in advance so you can budget accordingly.
8. First Look or Getting Ready Photos
Getting-Ready and First-Look photos are a great way to complete the wedding day collection. These sessions typically occur before the ceremony and last 1 – 2 hours. An experienced wedding photographer will know how to include the timeline without being intrusive.
9. Engagement Photos
Engagement photos are a great way to get to know your photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera! Many couples choose an engagement photo session to help with knowing what to expect on their wedding day. It’s a great way to connect; most photographers even include this in their collection.
10. Albums & Prints
While digital files are included in most photography collections, you may want to upgrade to an album or purchase prints. Custom heirloom albums start at $1000-$4500, and prints start at $25. These additional services may require third-party vendors, which means an additional fee.
Photography should take up at least 20-30% of your wedding budget for just the basics. For more creative or editorial-style photos, you can expect to spend 30-50% of your wedding budget on photography. Spending most of your budget in other areas without prioritizing photography isn’t realistic. It will likely result in disappointment in some way or another.
When estimating your New York City wedding photography budget, always overestimate to avoid later financial surprises. This is one area of your wedding where it’s better to be safe than sorry! When deciding how much to spend on a photographer, it’s important to determine what kind of photography style you prefer. Take a closer look at the services you’d like to have included.
What Services Come With Wedding Photography?
The wedding industry is unique and customizable to every style and budget. When it comes to wedding photography, you can have as little or as much service as you want. The most important factor to consider is what you want your final product to look like.
Some of the most common services that are included in wedding photography collection are:
- Printed Photos
- Engagement Photos
- Getting Ready Photos
- Bridal Boudoir Sessions
- Engagement Party & Rehearsal Dinner Coverage, and more.
Cinematography is one of the most popular services that can be added to the wedding photography collection. This service is important to consider if you want your day captured in motion and stills.
Often, a photographer will have a team of cinematographers they work with regularly and can refer you to. If you love the photographer’s work but don’t offer cinematography services, they can recommend someone.
2. Printed Photos
Another service that is often included in a wedding photography collection is printed photos. This is a great way to get high-quality prints of your favorite photos from the day. Photographers often have a printing service that they use or recommend to you.
3. Engagement Photos
As mentioned, engagement photos are a great outlet for getting to know your photographer before the big day. This service is typically an add-on and not included in the base photography collection price, though a more elaborate collection will.
4. Getting Ready Photos
Getting-ready photos are a great way to capture the moments leading up to the ceremony before the first look. This service is often included in wedding photography collections but can also be an add-on.
5.Bridal Boudoir Sessions
Bridal boudoir sessions are a great way to capture intimate photos of you as a gift to your partner. These sessions typically take place a few months before the wedding and allow your photographer to capture some beauty. Bridal boudoir photos make a stellar gift for your partner too!
6. Engagement Party & Rehearsal Dinner Coverage
If you have an engagement party or rehearsal dinner, you may want to consider adding coverage of these events to your wedding photography collections. This service is often an add-on, but it’s a great way to capture more memories from your wedding journey.
7. Post-Wedding Photography Sessions
Post-wedding photography sessions can capture you and your partner in post-wedding (and post-honeymoon) bliss. This service is an add-on, but it’s worth considering if you want to have some beautiful photos of you and your spouse after the wedding.
8. Online Gallery/Cloud Hosting
An online gallery of high-resolution images is a great way to view, share, and download your favorite wedding photos. This service is typically included in the wedding photography collection, but double-checking is always good. Some photographers will also include hosting of all the final wedding photos as part of the collection so you have a backup and can easily print them yourself.
While these are some of the most common services with wedding photography collections, many other options are available. When meeting with photographers, ask about their services and what is included in their base collection price. This way, you can get an accurate estimate of your total costs.
What Are Popular Add-On Services Offered By NYC Photographers?
While most photography collections will include everything to meet your basic wedding day needs, there are always additional services (or add-ons) that you can purchase to enhance your experience.
Some of the most popular add-on services offered by New York City photographers:
- Additional wedding coverage per hour
- Digital photo booth
- Heirloom albums
- Framed prints
- Travel fees outside of NYC
Additional Hours of Wedding Coverage
If you need more time with your photographer on your wedding day, you can always add additional hours of coverage. This is a great option if your wedding day is longer than average or you plan many events.
Digital Photo Booths
A digital photo booth is a great way to entertain guests at your wedding. These booths are typically manned by a photographer or photo booth attendant and come with various props and backdrops. Guests can step in, take photos, and print them out on the spot.
Custom Heirloom Albums
Coffee table heirloom albums are a beautiful way to display your favorite wedding photos. These albums are usually made from high-quality materials and can be customized with your name, wedding date, and other details.
Framed prints are a classic way to display your wedding photos. You can choose to frame your favorite photo or a selection of photos, and these make great gifts for parents, grandparents, and other family members.
Travel fees outside of NYC
Finding a photographer you connect with is important, but if they’re based outside New York City, you may have to pay a travel fee. This fee covers the cost of the photographer’s travel and accommodations. Be sure to ask about this fee upfront, so there are no surprises later.
On the opposite side, If your wedding is taking place outside New York City, you may need to pay a travel fee for your NYC-based photographer. This fee covers the cost of transportation, lodging, and other expenses associated with traveling to your wedding location.
These special additions can help to make your wedding photos even more meaningful, personal, and memorable. When meeting with potential photographers, ask about their available add-on services to understand the full range of options and pricing.
How Should NYC Wedding Photography Fit Into My Budget?
Because wedding photography is a big investment, it’s important to figure out how it fits your budget. According to The Knot, the average wedding cost in Manhattan is $96,910, but how much of that should be spent on photography?
Between 20% and 30% of your wedding budget should be spent on photography. Depending on the services you need and the add-ons you want, your actual costs may be on the higher or lower end of that range.
When creating your wedding budget, allocating at least 30% of your total budget to photography will get you the basic services you need. From there, you can add services or products to create a collection that fits your needs and budget.
So, if your wedding costs you $30,000, you should be looking to spend at least $9,000 on photography for an excellent photographer. Weddings are a once-in-a-lifetime event, so a professional, experienced photographer is worth the investment.
Creating your wedding day photography budget early on will help you make informed decisions about your photography services and ensure you’re getting the most out of your experience. Photography budgets will vary depending on the service you’re having, for instance:
NYC Elopement Photography Collection
If you’re eloping in New York City, you can still have beautiful, professional photos to remember
your special day. Many photographers offer elopement photography collection that includes a set number of hours, typically between two and four hours of coverage and a certain number of digital files or prints. These collections typically start at around $2,500 and cost up to $9,000.
Intimate Wedding Photography Collections
Intimate weddings are becoming increasingly popular, so many photographers offer intimate collections. These collections are typically customized to fit the needs of smaller weddings and can include a shorter coverage time, fewer digital files or prints, and a smaller album.
Destination weddings can be a bit more complicated to plan and budget for, as you have to factor in the cost of travel for both you and your photographer. Established photographers will require a travel fee to cover their expenses, which can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the location of your wedding.
You should also remember that established photographers are typically booked well in advance, so if you’re planning a destination wedding, it’s important to start your search early and give yourself plenty of time to find the right photographer.
While destination wedding photography collections can vary widely in price, you can typically expect to spend $15,000 and up on a photographer.
Creating your wedding photography budget is an important first step in planning your wedding. By taking the time to understand the average costs and what’s included in different photography collections, you can make sure you’re getting the services you want and staying within your budget.
Tips For Hiring a New York City Wedding Photographer
Hiring your dream wedding photographer can require a ton of planning, but seeing the beautiful photos they capture of your special day is worth it. Here are a few tips to help you through the process:
- Start your search early: The best photographers book up quickly, so it’s important to start your search as soon as you have a date set for your wedding.
- Create a budget: Wedding photography collections can range widely in price, so it’s important to have a budget before you start your search. This will help you narrow your options and find a photographer that fits your needs and budget.
- Read reviews: When looking at different photographers, read reviews from past clients to get an idea of their work and customer service.
- Look at portfolios: A photographer’s portfolio will give you a good idea of their style and the type of photos they take. Be sure to look at various portfolios to find a photographer whose style you love.
- Please schedule a consultation: Once you’ve found a few photographers you like, schedule a consultation to meet with them in person and chat about your wedding day. This is a great opportunity to know them better and see if they fit you well.
- Ask about curating collections and pricing: Ask about different photography collections and get an idea of what’s included in each. This will help you compare prices and find a collection that fits your budget.
- Get everything in writing: Once you’ve decided on a photographer, get all the details before signing a contract. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings or surprises down the road.
The logistics of hiring an NYC wedding photographer can be daunting, but following these tips will help you find the right photographer for your big day. Budget carefully and be resourceful in your search; you’ll be sure to find a photographer that perfectly captures your wedding day.
Wedding Photographer FAQs
Because the process of finding and hiring a photographer can be stressful, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you through the process.
When Should You Hire Your Photographer?
The appropriate time to hire your photographer is typically 8-10 months before your wedding date. However, if you are planning a destination wedding, it is recommended that you start your search early, as established photographers tend to book up quickly.
How Can You Find the Right Photographer?
Finding the right photographer for your wedding can be a process, but finding someone whose work you love is worth finding. Start by looking at reviews and portfolios online, then schedule consultations with a few photographers to get to know them better.
What Questions Should You Ask Your Photographer?
When meeting with potential photographers, ask about their experience, style, and pricing. You should also ask for examples of their work to understand their style.
Before hiring a photographer, you should ask several questions, including:
- How long have you been photographing weddings?
- How many weddings do you photograph in a year?
- What if an emergency comes up and you’re unavailable on my wedding day?
- When will I receive the images?
- What is your photography style?
Additional, more specific questions that can help you ensure a particular photographer is right for you include:
- Have you photographed a wedding in my venue before?
- Do you have a portfolio of previous work that I can see?
- Do you have a full wedding album I can see?
- Do you offer discounts for off-peak wedding dates or large weddings?
- How can my friends and family members order prints?
- Can I see a contract?
When meeting with potential photographers, these questions will give you a good starting point. Be sure to take the time to find someone whose work you feel comfortable with, as they will be capturing one of the most important days of your life.
What Should You Look For in a Portfolio?
Photography portfolios are a great way to understand a photographer’s style. Be sure to look at various portfolios to find someone whose style you truly connect with.
When looking at a photographer’s portfolio, look for various styles. You should also make sure that the photos are well-composed and well-lit. A good photographer can capture a wide range of emotions in their photos, from the happiness of a wedding day to the intimacy of a couple’s first dance.
Should You Negotiate With a Wedding Photographer?
When you’re presented with a wedding photographer’s pricing structure, ask about different collections and pricing options to find a curated collection that fits your budget. It’s also important to get all the details before signing a contract.
You should not negotiate with a wedding photographer; however, being open and honest about your budget is important. This will help the photographer understand what you are looking for and how much they can work with you.
How Much Should You Tip a Wedding Photographer?
With any industry professional, it is always appreciated if you show your gratitude with a tip. A standard tip for a wedding photographer is not required but is a wonderful way to show appreciation and gratitude.
Tipping is customary for wedding photography, but the amount you should tip is entirely up to you. While there is no set rule, a good rule of thumb is to tip 10-15% of the total cost of the photography collections.
What Are the Different Wedding Photography Styles?
There are many different wedding photography styles, and finding a photographer whose style you connect with is important.
Some of the most popular styles include:
- Fine art,
- Black & white
Posed photos and formal shots characterize traditional wedding photography.
The photographer often directs the couple and their wedding party to create specific shots. These photos are often taken at eye level and are formal, staged shots. Consider photographs of family or wedding parties you’d want to keep in a photo album.
Photojournalistic wedding photography, also referred to as documentary, is one of the most popular wedding photography styles. This style is more candid and natural; the photographer will capture moments as they happen.
Fine art wedding photography utilizes creative composition and lighting to create works of art. Using light and composition, the photographer will create photos often inspired by classic paintings or art movements.
Editorial wedding photography takes a more fashion approach, focusing on creating photos that look like they belong in a magazine. These photos are often more stylized and posed, emphasizing the style details of the wedding day. Think Vanity Fair, Vogue, or Harper’s Bazaar.
This style is characterized by its rich, deep colors and shadows. These photos often have a more dramatic feel and can be perfect for couples who want their wedding photos to have an editorial edge.
Black & White
Black and white wedding photography is timeless and classic. This style can create a sense of elegance and sophistication in your photos.
Vintage wedding photography often takes cues from specific eras, like the roaring 20s or the 1950s. These photos often feel nostalgic, focusing on capturing a particular era’s style.
Aerial wedding photography is taken from above, typically using a drone. This unique perspective can add a wow factor to your photos and be perfect for couples who want to capture the beauty of their wedding venue from above.
Do I Have to Pay for my Wedding Photographer’s Meals?
Wedding photographers will often be present for long hours on your wedding day, so it’s important to ensure they are treated well.
You should take care of your photographer’s meals, especially if they work through mealtimes. Meals should be provided for your photographer(s) and their assistant(s).
New York City wedding photographers are some of the best in the business, but their services come at a price. When budgeting for your wedding photography, be sure to factor in the cost of the photographer’s collection and any additional costs like travel fees, meals, and tips. With this pricing guide, you’ll better understand what to expect regarding how much your wedding photographer will cost.
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- Susan Shek: 101 NYC Engagement Photo Locations
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- Business Insider: How Much Does a New York Wedding Cost?
- Wedding Mag: Elopement Photography
- Wedding Wire: Wedding Photography Timeline
- Susan Shek: 5 Reasons Why You Need Engagement Photos With Your Dog
- Susan Shek: How to Find the Perfect Wedding Photographer in New York
- Susan Shek: How to Elope in New York City
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- The Knot: 6 Wedding Photography Styles You Need to Know
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