How Much Do Wedding Photographers Make in 2023

A wedding ceremony in the mountains in colorado.
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Ever wondered how much money wedding photographers really make?

It’s a surprisingly complex question, given that the answer can fluctuate wildly depending on various factors.

This article is here to guide you through the intricate web of earnings in the world of wedding photography and explore everything from experience level to location affecting income.

Dive in with us as we uncover what truly influences a photographer’s wallet!

Key Takeaways

  • The earnings of wedding photographers can vary depending on factors such as location, experience level, and the types of weddings they photograph.
  • Location plays a significant role in determining a photographer’s income, with prime wedding destinations typically charging premium rates.
  • Experience level also influences earnings, with beginner photographers earning less compared to experienced professionals who can command higher rates.
  • Diversifying the types of weddings captured and offering different photography packages and services can impact a photographer’s earnings.

The Role of a Wedding Photographer

A wedding photographer holds an essential role in preserving treasured memories. They capture the charm, love, and joy of a couple’s grand celebration. These professionals skillfully navigate through bustling reception halls and quiet chapels, ensuring every precious moment is beautifully recorded for posterity.

Furthermore, they’re tasked with creating an atmosphere where couples feel comfortable to express their emotions candidly. This often involves direct interaction, such as guiding poses or encouraging genuine reactions during photo shoots.

Additionally, they are responsible for image processing and editing tasks post event – refining each captured shot into a stunning wedding photograph worthy of display. Their work extends beyond mere shooting day duties; it is meticulous labor that demands creativity, technical prowess and exceptional interpersonal skills.

Factors Influencing a Wedding Photographer’s Earnings

A bride and groom at their wedding ceremony in sydney.

Several factors can influence a wedding photographer’s earnings, including their location, experience level, types of weddings photographed, and the photography packages and services offered.


Location significantly impacts a wedding photographer’s earnings. The market demand and the cost of weddings in each region dictate how much photographers can charge for their services.

For instance, photographers based in prime wedding destinations like California earn an average salary of $58,468 per year. On the contrary, those operating within the Roanoke-Lynchburg marketplace in Virginia might expect to make around $1,800 per wedding.

This stark contrast reveals how location plays a crucial role in determining income. In high-end markets where couples are willing to splurge on their special day, wedding photography is typically priced at premium rates.

Such venues often require expert skills and additional gear such as full-frame cameras or medium-format cameras that add value to clients’ experiences during their big day. Conversely, less affluent areas may have budget-conscious couples looking for more affordable photography packages.

Experience Level

Experience level greatly impacts how much wedding photographers make. Beginner photographers typically charge less, often under $500 per wedding, which results in a lower annual income.

On the other hand, experienced and professional wedding photographers with years of experience can command higher rates due to their expansive portfolio and refined skills. Over time, as they gain more exposure and recognition in the competitive wedding industry, their earnings potential significantly increases.

It’s not unheard of for top-rated professionals to earn around $100,000 per year after accounting for taxes and business overheads like gear maintenance or software costs.

Types of Weddings Photographed

Diversifying the type of weddings captured can significantly impact a photographer’s earnings. For instance, photographers who specialize in lavish and extravagant ceremonies often charge higher rates compared to those covering simple, low-key nuptials.

Destination weddings provide an opportunity for increased income but may also entail additional costs such as travel and accommodation expenses. Moreover, photographers catering to culturally diverse clients might photograph unique ceremonies with specific rituals and traditions that require extra time and attention.

Photography Packages and Services Offered

Wedding photographers offer a range of photography packages and services to meet the needs of their clients. These may include:

  1. Full-day coverage: This package includes photography from the pre-wedding preparations all the way through to the reception. It ensures that every moment of the wedding day is captured.
  2. Partial coverage: For couples who only want certain parts of their wedding day photographed, photographers offer partial coverage packages. This typically includes a set number of hours of photography.
  3. Engagement sessions: Many wedding photographers also offer engagement sessions as part of their packages. These sessions allow couples to get comfortable in front of the camera and capture some beautiful photos before their big day.
  4. Second shooter: Some photographers offer the option to add a second shooter to their package. This provides additional coverage and allows for different perspectives and angles to be captured throughout the day.
  5. Prints and albums: In addition to digital photos, many photographers offer prints, albums, and other physical products as part of their packages. This allows couples to have tangible keepsakes from their wedding day.
  6. Photo editing and retouching: After capturing the photos, photographers will edit and retouch them to ensure they are professionally finished. This includes adjustments such as color correction, cropping, and enhancing details.
  7. Online galleries or USB delivery: Wedding photographers provide a convenient way for couples to access and share their photos. This may include online galleries where friends and family can view and download images or USB delivery with all the digital files.
  8. Customizable options: To accommodate various preferences and budgets, some photographers offer customizable packages where clients can choose specific services or add-ons based on their needs.

Average Earnings of Wedding Photographers

Wedding photographers can earn varying amounts depending on factors such as their location, experience level, and the types of weddings they photograph. In the Roanoke-Lynchburg marketplace in Virginia, the average price for a wedding photographer is around $1,800.

By shooting about 20 weddings a year at this rate, photographers in this area can make an annual income of approximately $36,000. However, it’s important to note that beginner photographers often start by undercharging around $500 per wedding, resulting in a lower annual income of only $10,000.

On the other hand, professional photographers who invest in high-quality equipment like camera bodies ranging from $1,500 to over $5,000 and medium format cameras up to $45.

The Business Side of Wedding Photography

Wedding photographers not only have to capture beautiful moments, but they also have to manage the business side of their profession. This includes handling workload, setting pricing rates, and taking care of various business expenses.


Wedding photography can be demanding, with photographers often having to work long hours on the wedding day. They need to capture every important moment and ensure that they document the entire event.

This includes not only taking photos of the couple and their families but also capturing candid shots of the guests and details of the venue. In addition to shooting, wedding photographers have a significant workload when it comes to editing and delivering the final images.

It takes time and attention to detail to carefully edit each photo, ensuring that they are perfect for the client’s expectations. Overall, being a wedding photographer requires dedication and hard work to meet the demands of this fast-paced industry.

Pricing Rates

Setting the right pricing for wedding photography services is essential for the success of the business. The following table shows a general breakdown of the pricing rates in the wedding photography industry.

Experience LevelAverage Price per WeddingEstimated Annual Income (20 weddings/year)

This breakdown offers a general idea of how much wedding photographers can earn, depending on their experience level and the number of weddings they shoot per year. Note that location, types of weddings photographed, and the specific photography packages and services offered can significantly affect these rates.

Business Expenses

Wedding photographers have several business expenses to consider. One of the significant costs is the gear, including camera bodies and lenses. They also need additional equipment like batteries, memory cards, flashes, tripods, and monopods which can add up to a few hundred dollars or more.

On top of that, there are overhead expenses such as rent, utilities, software for editing photos, insurance, advertising their services, and taxes. In factually speaking terms based on averages in the industry; a wedding photography company can spend over $20,400 per year on these various business expenses.

These costs must be taken into account when pricing their services and determining their profits.

Tips for Wedding Photographers on Setting Prices

Setting the right prices as a wedding photographer can be crucial for your success in the industry. Here are some tips to help you determine your pricing:

  1. Research the market: Understand what other photographers in your area are charging and what services they offer. This will give you an idea of the average rates and help you position yourself competitively.
  2. Consider your experience and skills: If you’re just starting out, it may be necessary to charge lower rates initially to build your portfolio and gain experience. As you develop your skills and reputation, you can gradually increase your prices.
  3. Determine your target market: Consider the type of weddings you want to photograph and the budget of your ideal clients. High-end weddings may require higher prices, while budget-conscious couples may be looking for more affordable options.
  4. Calculate your costs: Take into account all your business expenses, including gear, insurance, advertising, software, taxes, and overhead costs like rent and utilities. Factor these expenses into your pricing structure to ensure you’re covering all costs and making a profit.
  5. Offer different packages: Provide a range of packages that cater to different budgets and needs. Offering options with varying levels of coverage and extras allows clients to choose what suits them best while still providing opportunities for upselling.
  6. Consider value perception: Highlight the value that clients will receive from hiring you as their wedding photographer. Emphasize factors such as experience, reputation, quality of work, attention to detail, and personalized service that justify higher pricing.


Wedding photographers’ earnings can vary greatly depending on factors like location, experience level, and the types of weddings they photograph. While some highly successful photographers can earn over $100,000 per year, the majority earn less than that.

It’s important for wedding photographers to consider their pricing strategy carefully and take into account their business expenses in order to achieve a sustainable income.

FAQs: Wedding Photographers

How much do wedding photographers make?

The income of wedding photographers can vary depending on several factors, such as their experience, reputation, location, and the number of weddings they photograph. On average, wedding photographers can make anywhere from $30,000 to $100,000 per year.

Does experience affect how much a wedding photographer makes?

Yes, years of experience often enable photographers to command higher rates because their skill set has developed over time.

Can you make a good living as a freelance wedding photographer?

Freelance wedding photographers have potential for high earnings if they balance their photography package pricing with business expenses such as professional gear, camera lenses and photo editing overhead costs effectively

How many weddings does an average photographer shoot in 2023 per year?

The number of bookings will greatly determine your income as each couple pays separately for the services on their big day.

Is there any impact on earnings during the peak “wedding season”?

Indeed! Wedding season sees an increase in job openings, which allows photographers to photograph more weddings and increase their earnings.

What factors should I consider when determining my pay rate as a new wedding photographer?

Take into account factors like the cost of your equipment (full frame camera or prime lens), expected hourly workload (including image delivery and client communication), competition level within your market area, other related costs and how much you realistically want to earn per year.

How much do wedding photographers charge?

The pricing for wedding photographers can vary greatly. Some photographers charge a flat fee for their services, while others offer packages that include different levels of coverage, prints, and albums. On average, wedding photographers charge around $2,000 to $5,000 per wedding.

How much can I make as a wedding photographer?

The amount you can make as a wedding photographer varies greatly depending on your skill level, experience, location, market demand, and the number of weddings you book. While some wedding photographers can make a comfortable living, others may earn less if they are just starting out or working in a less affluent area.

About The Author

Matteo Martignago

Matteo Martignago

Matteo Martignago is a cinematographer, entrepreneur, and founder of the learning platform ArtisticHive. With over 8 years of experience as a director of photography on independent films, documentaries, and commercials, Matteo brings his creative vision and deep knowledge of camerawork, visual storytelling and lighting to educating aspiring artists.

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