I’m getting married, what should I expect to pay for a wedding photographer?
Like anything, you get what you pay for when it comes to wedding photography. For example, if your brother’s wife’s cousin does your photos for free, your photos will look like your brother’s wife’s cousin did them for free.
Couples planning a Pinterest-level wedding will want Pinterest-level photography to remember it by. And that, my friend, is likely how you found this post… let’s talk about what wedding photography packages typically cost in our Muskoka area.
What is the average cost of wedding photography in Muskoka?
The average cost of a wedding photographer in Muskoka for a standard day is between $3,000 and $5,000 for 8 hours to 10 hours coverage. Pricing for wedding packages start with the amount of coverage time required and often include features such as wedding albums, engagement session, digital images and a second photographer.
Wedding Photography Packages
Have the money-talk, and have it early. Telling you that the average photography package falls in the range above doesn’t help you all that much because you don’t have enough context as to what you get for that kind of money. Comparing apples to apples when it comes to any type of creative service is difficult. Before products, consider these two things first: a) Quality of Work and b) Experience.
- Quality of Work:
This one’s easy, do the photos stand out to you? Does the style of their photography feel like they match your style? A quick word of caution… avoid trends. Like any industry, photography is constantly riding the waves of the latest trends whether it’s editing, filters, techniques etc. There are few things more cringey than looking back at someone’s wedding photos and rather than remembering the feels of the moment – the viewer is distracted by the once-trendy-now-dated photography style. Instead, let the cringey-ness of the poofy-shoulder dresses or baby-blue suits jog memories of Grandma and Grandpa’s amazing wedding day. Photography should tell the story, not be the story.
This is a two-parter, first is the wedding photographer’s experience. It goes without saying that weddings leave no opportunity for do-overs. A photographer with experience has seen it all and can react appropriately in the moment to any situation that may arise.Second is the human factor. A great photographer provides a wonderful experience for their couple on their wedding day. When reading reviews of prospective photographers keep a keen eye for couples who include comments about their experience. A photographer can bring professional lighting and mind-bending techniques but if they’re an asshole then every time you look at that amazing sunset photo – can you really help it but remember that asshole?
The Long and Short of it
Weddings fall primarily into two categories here in Muskoka, elopements and then the more standard full day coverage.
Full Day Weddings (8-10 Hours):
The key pricing criteria of any wedding photographer’s pricing is how much time you need them for. In cities like Toronto, distances between homes/hotels, ceremony and reception often require additional time for travel (not to mention traffic). However, in Muskoka – weddings often take place at resorts or cottages where little additional travel is needed. As a result, 8 hours of coverage is typically sufficient to cover getting ready photos through to the first dances later in the evening.
Secondary considerations in wedding photography pricing would be add-ons like engagement sessions as well as albums and prints. Packages often include one or more of these options.
Elopements (2-3 Hours):
Elopements and smaller micro-weddings have become very popular the past few years. The costs of weddings can get out of hand quickly and I see couples more and more opting for a significantly scaled down affair with just their closest family and friends in attendance. The financial benefit is obvious… less money on a wedding leaves more for future home and family plans. Elopement coverage tends to be 2-3 hours and for mirco-weddings, 3-5 hours of photography seems to be the sweet-spot.
The End Product
In past, your photographer would have delivered your photos to you on CDs or USBs however nowadays digital downloads are the norm. As soon as your photos are ready, your photographer will upload and send your gallery to you. No mail delays or studio pick-ups.
What you need to ask when it comes to the photos you’ll receive:
- Are photos edited before you receive them? Some photographers will ask you to choose which ones you want to order and they’ll only touch those particular ones up. Others will edit all the photos before delivering them to you.
- Are the photos full resolution (meaning they’re large and ready to be printed) or web-sized which are smaller files for online enjoyment (not suitable for print).
- Are the photos watermarked? This isn’t really a thing anymore however there may be some hold-outs who charge you for unwatermarked images.
- Ask the average turn-around time for photos. The average is 3-4 weeks however some are faster than that while others actually take several months before giving you your photos.
Not all albums are made the same. Don’t be taken in by believing the album your friend received from her photographer will be the same as the one you get from your photographer. Albums can range from basic photobooks (yikes!) to luxurious, thick paged beasts that require two hands to lift.
We want our wedding albums to stand the test of time so that our children’s children can step back in time and see how cool their Grandparents looked on their wedding day – and tease us about our fashion choices. This means we want hand-crafted albums made from archival inks and paper. These come with a cost naturally with average luxury album standalone pricing starting anywhere from $500 to $1,200. Pricing depends primarily on its physical size, number of pages and cover material. Wedding albums are often packaged in with a photographer’s more popular packages.
Do I need a Second Photographer?
Short answer, nope. While a second shooter is helpful with being in two places at once – in Muskoka, traveling between wedding venues is usually not needed as mentioned earlier. An experienced photographer can handle a wedding day on their own with no problems. Some will bring an assistant at no cost to you to help manage the day however even an assistant is not really needed for most weddings. The cost for a second photographer is typically in the $500-$700 range depending on how long they’re required.
Travel is one of the easier things to understand from a consumer’s standpoint. Typically, the further the photographer is from the venue the more they charge for their travel and potentially, their accommodations. Couples generally search for local photographers who know the area thus removing the additional travel costs.
Food for Thought
Feed your photographer. When dinner time rolls around, your photographer will be as hungry as you are. Nobody wants their photo taken while they’re stuffing their face so this is the perfect time for your photographer to put the camera down, fuel up, reset their gear, set up their reception lighting and get ready to dive into the evening festivities.
Let’s Wrap it up with this Thought
Wedding photography can be expensive. I’m a wedding photographer however not that long ago I was also a groom – I get it.
Any professional photographer has expenses from the usual supplies, education, gear… and their time which is the big one. If you hire a photographer based on cheap pricing – ask yourself if they’re making enough money to support themselves while also keeping up to date with professional gear and maintenance, liability insurance etc. Are they able to stay in business and also provide high level work and experience by the time your wedding rolls around?