How much does a wedding photographer cost?

November 23, 2022  |  Ladman Studios  |  Guides

husband and wife looking into each others eyes with a sunset behind them
Photo by: Ladman Studios

Chances are you are trying to figure out how much to spend on your wedding photography. Let me come right out of the gate and say this, you get what you pay for. WOW…rude! I know, but it’s 100% true. The only thing that matters most when it comes down to wedding photography, is what the value of photography means to you and it’s role it will be playing at your wedding.

There is no one size fits all when it comes to wedding photography, which is why when you start to Google things like “what is the average price for wedding photography?”, but it’s not that cut and dry. Those averages do not take into account factors like collections, locations, and more importantly, what each one of those couples valued from their wedding photography.

So, how much does wedding photographer cost? With all that said, let’s dive right in and discuss this further.

Bride and Groom sharing a kiss after cutting their wedding cake at the Pond House West Hartford Connecticut wedding venue by Ladman Studios
Photo by: Ladman Studios

The 10% myth

You might have heard of the “10% myth”. In wedding photography, it refers to the belief that couples should budget 10% of their wedding expenses towards photography. However, like the pirate code, is more of a guideline than a law. It restrictive, vague, and lacks the expertise and knowledge from actual wedding industry professionals.

Here is the thing, as of 2022 the average cost of a wedding was about $30,000. If you used 10% of that ( $3000 ), that might get you in the door with a wedding photographer, but that said, this is usually the most basic collection they offer and usually only comes with the wedding photography coverage and maybe some digitals.

Now there is nothing wrong with that whatsoever. Plenty of couples just want coverage and are not interested in prints, albums, or other benefits that may be included in a wedding photographers collections. Again, this is all about you and what you want and value when it come to your wedding photography. We will hit on collections later on.

Doesn’t your story deserve to be more than just “basic” or “average”. Finding a CT wedding photographer that will work with you, take into account your needs, wants, and values, while building trust and connecting with you is what you deserve. I’d love to see if I am the right photographer for you.

What does a wedding photographer cost in CT?

Husband and Wife full day wedding coverage with extras
Photo by: Ladman Studios

As of 2022, the average cost of a wedding photographer in Connecticut is around $2,500 – $3,500. Still, it can range anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 or more, depending on the photographer’s experience, reputation, the type of collections and services offered, and hours of coverage. CT wedding photographers can be grouped into the following price ranges.

$0-$500 – Newbie. They likely have just started out or got a new camera for Christmas.
$500 – $1500 – Entry-level. They likely have assisted on other weddings and are building a portfolio.
$1500 – $3000 – Enthusiast. Probably offers several types of photography services outside of weddings.
$3000 – $5000 – Professional. This is a full-time photographer with 20+ weddings under their belt.
$5000+ starting prices – Luxury. Usually very established, with a set style and luxury level offerings.

$0 – $500: The Newbie

What to expect: Short story…not much and it’s way too risky. They probably got a camera for a present our out of pure interest. Like, you can still smell the box the camera came in when they use it still. They don’t have any experience. If you go this route, you are destined for disappointment.

Pros: Cheap
Cons: you are destined for disappointment

$500 – $1500: Entry-level

What to expect:  See if they have a past wedding gallery or two to look at and some reviews, so you can get at least a little piece of mind. Probably still learning their posing techniques and style. They also might be very inexperienced with lighting and other essential problem solving skills for your wedding day. This could also be a photography company that uses affiliate shooters and does 60+ weddings a year by outsourcing shooters.

BONUS TIP: Be weary of websites like Snapr, ThumbTack, Craigslist, Fiverr, and others. They are loaded with Newbie and Entry-level photographers.

Pros: Cheap
Cons: Quality, process, still has a lot to learn.

$1500 – $3000: The Enthusiast

What to expect: The photographer probably started to invest in good gear, backups and furthering education. They should have some sort of portfolio but it will likely not be focused on weddings and will give you some insight as to what to expect. , but isn’t booking out years in advance & usually has not found their niche yet. Probably offers several types of photography services outside of weddings.

Pros: Some experience.
Cons: Not set on a specific niche such as weddings.

$3000 – $5000: The Professional

What to expect: They are known for what they do and have an established style and online presence. They will learn about your needs, make you feel cared for and will deliver incredibly high quality photographs. They have a registered business with insurance, contracts, etc. You might find them on recommended vendor / venue lists.

Pros: 20+ weddings under their belt, experienced, consistent.
Cons: High budget.

$5000+ starting prices: Luxury

What to expect: Super consistent work and will be able to can handle any type of wedding while making you feel very at ease about your photographs. They are taking a limited number of weddings and take the time to get to know you, and offer museum-grade heirloom albums and artwork. You will have zero worries about your photographs. They are the best, of the best, of the best sir…with honors

Pros: Very established, with a set style and luxury level offerings.
Cons: High budget.

Something to keep in the back of your mind with all this is that the wedding industry is constantly changing, as many things do. It’s really all up to you to figure out what you truly value when it come to wedding photography. Whether you believe your uncle Bob and his new camera is the extent of what you value in wedding photography or you need to have 100% piece of mind knowing that you are good from A-Z by a professional, that’s ok too!

Don’t make the mistake of sacrificing your peace of mind and legacy for a few extra saved bucks. Invest in a professional wedding photographer who will capture the essence of your story and create memories that will last a lifetime. Click below to see if I am the perfect CT wedding photographer for you.

What aspects drive price?

Interracial couple celebrating as they walk back down the aisle from their wedding ceremony at the Marlot on the Water Connecticut wedding venue.
Photo by: Ladman Studios

There are several components that create the price for a wedding photographer. Experience, hours of coverage, albums, number of photographers, travel, locations, lifestyle, and not to mention all the business expenses. How much risk are you willing to take on when it comes to your wedding photography?

RISK? What do you mean risk?

When you are looking for a wedding photographer, you are trusting them to capture this once in a lifetime gathering of people at a celebration that will never again exist. If you happen to have a bad wedding photography experience, and you have your wedding photos re-taken ( odiously staged ), you can never again experience that feeling of the FIRST for those moments. Not to mention the bad memories you have now accrewed when thinking about or lookin at the redone photos.

Some things to consider:

  • Location
  • Experience
  • Products
  • Lifestyle
  • Style, both approach and aesthetic
  • People skills


Location is incredibly important in relation to price. The cost of living is different everywhere. If you live in an area like New York, it’s not completely out the window of to pay well over $20,000 for a wedding photographer because the cost of living is so incredibly high ( 137.8% above U.S. average ). If you compare that to a low cost of living state like Mississippi, you can likely get a luxury photographer for half that or less. Typically the larger the city and the higher the medium level of income, the higher the average price for a photographer will be.


Experience is worth it weight in gold, though not always directly related to the expertise of the photographer. A photographer with a decent backlog of weddings has learned from tough situations like timeline troubles, tense situations, lighting changes, location changes, or inclement weather. An experienced photographer will understand your plan, review your venue, and has likely chosen places for sections of the day like the first-look before hand, and if not, they can quickly adapt. This photographer will be above average cost, but what the value you get in return is peace of mind that knowing that the photographers has your best interest at top priority always.

Expertise includes but is not limited to:

  • Actual photography skills (handling different lighting situations such as direct sun vs a low-light reception and everything in between.)
  • Communications with other vendors and teammates.
  • Emotional & communication skills to help put you at ease and evoke emotions in a photograph.
  • Adaptability as things change and a photographers ability to think on the spot and still create great results is one of their most valuable skills.
  • Business skills that profit ( if your wedding photographer goes out of business, you are both SOL ), and high end services to put you at ease & consistently deliver.

Expertise will always raise the cost of a wedding photographer due to their market demand and desirability to future clients. Reviews and wedding portfolios are great ways to check. Be sure to check for your photographers reviews, look through their portfolio and social media to see how they handle different lighting & moments of the wedding day.


When a wedding photographer decides to include any product as a delivery, whether printed or digital, that bears a cost. Many wedding photographers typically deliver a range of products to their clients. These can include high-resolution digital images, typically provided via an online gallery for easy sharing and downloading. Wedding photographers may also offer printed options, such as albums, prints, and canvases, to help couples display their memories in their homes. A full-service wedding photographer will include digital and print, giving you the best of both worlds.


Lifestyle factors can impact a wedding photographer’s pricing. For example, a wedding photographer who holds a full-time job in addition to their photography business may charge less than a full-time, professional wedding photographer. This is because they may view photography as a way to earn extra income on the weekends rather than as a primary source of income. It’s important to note that running a photography business, like any other business, incurs expenses such as payroll, rent, equipment, advertising, and more. Additionally, if the photographer operates out of a studio, this will add additional expenses. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that the cost of running a business will be reflected in the pricing of the services offered.


Style, just like all art, is subjective, and no one style better over another. There are two aspects of style, both aesthetic and approach, meaning how it looks and how it was taken. More experienced photographers will be able to adjust their style or lighting in a way that compliments the situation at hand. A photographer who can stick to their style and adapt it for various lighting scenarios will be in more demand because they are displaying a level of competence and expertise. One thing to note here is some styles my take extra production time to produce. For example, if you are looking for a more editorial / magazine style, expect a lot more time in your wedding timeline dedicated to this extra creative production time.


A wedding photographer with good people skills is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. They’ll make you feel comfortable in front of the camera, guide you and connect with your guests to capture genuine moments. They’ll understand your vision, communicate effectively with you and your wedding party, and ensure you have beautiful, authentic, and meaningful photographs. They’ll make the entire photography experience less stressful for you as a couple and ensure you end up with photographs you’ll treasure forever.

What is included in a wedding photographers collections?

Photo by: Ladman Studios

Some photographers will offer a base package with more value but beginning at a higher price point, while others may include almost nothing and start low, typically an A La Carte route. As for luxury photographers, they may have a base collection that includes the minimum level of time, experience, and customer care to deliver something consistent with their brand values. Everything after that point is custom to the couples needs, wants, and values since every couple is unique. At a minimum I belive you need at least 4 hours of coverage for an elopement and 6 hours at minimum for a wedding.

What to look for in a wedding collection

At a minimum a wedding collection should include

  • Hours of coverage
  • Number of photographers
  • Online gallery
  • Print release

Again, every wedding photographer is different. Each one having specific values that contribute to the level of photography they deliver that is consistent with their brand. Here are some additional aspects you could see in wedding photography collections.

  • Albums & prints
  • Reveal celebration
  • Additional travel & lodging
  • Engagement session
  • Bridal session
  • Honeymoon session
  • Advanced editing & retouching
  • Wedding guide
  • Timeline assistance
  • USB for digitals

Do wedding photographers over charge?

Married couple after their ceremony walking back down while the bride looks over to the groom laughing
Photo by: Ladman Studios

Truthfully…no. Weddings are not like other events, they are like Ogre’s…they have layers.

Some things that make weddings unique over other events

  • Weddings are once in a lifetime events for each couple. You are only married for the first time once.
  • There are hours of pre-event and post event labor – timeline planning, learning about you, scheduling travel, building the team, editing the images, designing an album, meeting with you to show off the design and photos, maintaining gallery backups, etc.
  • Often weddings are multi-location – meaning gear and everything else must be picked up and taken to wherever the next thing on the timeline is going to be.
  • Including drive time and everything else most weddings can be so much more than the hours in the timeline.
  • Risk removal such as lock myself down 24 hrs prior to a wedding. I don’t go anywhere to do anything. Then i show up 1hr early minimum to the wedding. This does not include perhaps staying at a hotel close by. Again this is all risk removal to make sure I AM THERE no matter what.

Wedding Photography FAQs

Married couple portrait of them walking away toward a lighthouse in the background
Photo by: Ladman Studios

When should you hire a wedding photographer?

Traditionally speaking 12 months is what it normally should take you to plan your wedding. So as soon as you have decided on a date I would start to look at wedding photographers as popular date fill up quickly on their calendar. I have an entire blog dedicated to this topic. You can check that out here.

Should I get a second shooter for my wedding?

Most will tell you that a second shooter depends on how long your wedding is going to be and the size of your guest list. While that may be a valid reason, because your photographer can’t be in several places at once, i take a different approach. To me, it’s also about having risk removal. What happens if gear breaks, your lead is stuck in traffic between venues. Then there is also the creative aspect. You get different angles, more areas covered, and more photographs! Some wedding photographers such as myself, utilize a second photographer as apart of their creative approach to help tell more of the story.

Do I have to cover my wedding photographer’s travel costs?

If your photographer is local to your wedding location, travel is often factored in. But if they come outside their coverage zone, IE, state, or large city, be prepared to have this additional cost added in. Usually, this is up to $2 a mile or more. And if they’re flying out, you’ll be paying for their airfare, a place to crash, and an extra travel fee. Every photographer is different, so make sure to ask them on your consultation.

Do I have to pay for my wedding photographer’s meals?

Feeding the fantastic photographer(s) who will be with you all day is an extra expense, but it’s common practice. They are also human and need to eat. Therefore, a well-fed photographer equals a happy and on-point photographer. It should also be noted that when the photographer is eating among your guests, it’s best to have them eat first so that they are ready to dive right back in when they are done. During this time, they are usually backing up the footage thus far from your day.

Do I need to tip my wedding photographer?

While it’s not required or included in their collection, it’s a nice gesture to show your appreciation. Think of it as a bonus for all their hard work on your wedding day. It’s suggested setting aside around $100 to $200 for a tip, if you are feeling inclined to do so. And, as an extra thank-you, don’t forget to leave a glowing review online for your photographer. They’ll appreciate it!

What to do if it rains on your wedding day?

If it rains on your wedding day, don’t panic! Instead, embrace the weather and have fun with it. In moments like this, you want a professional and confident wedding photographer by your side. They will know how to take advantage of and make the most of the situation. Be flexible, adjust your plans and go with the flow. Focus on the good – remember that rain is considered good luck on a wedding day. It rained on my wife and I’s wedding 17 years ago – we’re still going strong!

What is an associate photographer?

An associate photographer, commonly found in the wedding industry, is a part of a team of photographers that work for a specific studio. These photographers may be friends or individuals with whom the lead photographer has networked in the industry. It’s important to note that not all associate photographers are created equal. Still, a reputable studio will have a strong team of shooters with a consistent style.

Is having an engagement session worth it?

Having an engagement session, even if it’s not a top priority, is an excellent way to do two things. One, it’s a much needed date night for the two of you. You get to have some fun and blow off that wedding planning stress. Two, you get to know your photographer and build a working relationship before your wedding day.

Wrapping it up

Just like the pirate code, this is more of a guideline than rules. Depending on what your photographer offers that aligns with your needs, wants, and values, you can definitely spend $10k+ with photographers whos starting price is at $4k. But hey, you might get lucky and find a deal from a lower priced photographer. In those cases you will be trading peace of mind and assuming tons of risk, but you just you never know…you just might find that diamond in the rough.

If you are looking to see just how many hours of coverage you might need, head over to my blog below.


Connecticut Wedding Photographer

Connecticut-based wedding photographer TJ Ladzinski is your adventure catalyst. With infectious enthusiasm and an easygoing spirit, he transforms every moment into cherished memories. A storyteller at heart, TJ's work has been awarded and featured in several wedding publications. His dedication to capturing authentic moments and creating a joyful atmosphere for his couples is evident in the photographs and experience he produces.

You deserve a photographer who gets you and is as invested in your story as you are.

I take on a limited number of weddings each year to ensure every couples story gets the dedication it deserves.

I'd love to learn about your story and hear all about what you are cooking up for your wedding.

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ct Wedding photography Resources

Finding your ideal wedding photographer in CT can be a time. There are so many to choose from and things to consider. Listed below are helpful resources I have created to get you started. I can also answer any questions you might have, by simply contacting me.

the expert guide to finding your ideal wedding photographer

how much does a wedding photographer cost?


5 simple Tips when Planning your wedding

how many hours of wedding photography do you
really need?