(Closed) More than 25% of budget on Photographer. Good idea?

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
1571 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it’s risky to blow 25% of your budget on one vendor before you know all of your other costs. I wish I knew of a vendor in the area to recommend, I have to imagine there are good photographers in the area for half of what that photographer is charging.

Post # 4
2457 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Madelin:  This is really up to you. For me, that’s a RIDICULOUS amount to spend on a photographer. I can wrap my head around $3000 maybe, but not that much. Do you have a link to their work?

Our photographer cost us $650. (He’s based in Riverside, CA) 🙂

Post # 5
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

I’m dropping just over $3k on our photographer.  The original photographer I was interested in started his packages at $6k, but we just couldn’t afford.  So I kept looking and found another photographer I really liked for half the price.  If you can swing it, I say go for it! The cake, food, transportation, etc are all going to be gone  the next day, but the photos will be around for a long time!

My photographer also follows me on Pinterest to see the photos I like so he can attempt to replicate. Just make sure you meet with the photographer and feel comfortable around them as you will be with them ALL day.

Post # 6
11163 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

That is a huge chunk for one expense. Have you booked or decided on any other details for your wedding?

Some brides find one area to splurge in. For us it was flowers and we went way overboard. I have a friend that had a meager budget but got a designer dress (VW). They made it work by cutting costs significantly for everything else and in our case we ended up tripling our budget. If you can make room for the photographer or increase your budget then by all means. If you don’t have any wiggle room and are set with other expenses I say find someone else within your price range.

Post # 7
345 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Photography is a VERY personal decision.  Everyone has a different style and different taste.  What’s AMAZING to one person, might be unimpressive to someone else.  

I personally think photography is the most important thing because one I LOVE photography and wedding photography (I never dreamed about my wedding–only my wedding pictures!) and plus it’s the only thing you get to keep from the wedding.

In my region there was a marked difference to me in the quality of $2000-3000 photographers and the $7000 – 10,000 photographers. 

Some photographers can and do charge upwards of $10k.  These are the award winning photographers that travel the world.  Going rate for the world’s best wedding photographers is high.  I could not afford to pay this much for it either but I would LOVE to have been able to.  

If you can afford to splurge on a super good photographer and that’s important to you, you should.  That may mean: cutting back elsewhere (keep in mind caterering is often 50%) or increasing your budget.  These may or may not be feasible though, but only you can figure that out.

I don’t think at $6000 is crazy to spend on a photographer is you feel that (s)he is WORTH that much.  Do you think that the ones that are less are as good?  Would you be equally happy with their pictures?  Will you regret not getting this photographer?  The typical photographer advice is to hire the BEST that you can afford.  You just need to figure out if 1) this is the BEST for you and 2) if you can make it work so you can afford it.

Good luck!  🙂

Post # 8
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Wow, $6k is HIGH and I’m in SoCal. We had several really nice photographers and they were in the $4k range, without albums. If you like photojournalistic candid photos, I would check out our photographer: Brett Butterstein. He lets you build your packages so you won’t be dropping $6k right off the bat unless you want to put in your orders for canvas prints and albums at the start. He’s also won several awards in the industry and people apparently like him enough to fly him out to do destination weddings.

To be honest, having a wedding here in SoCal gets expensive very quickly so I would be hesitant about dropping more than 25% of your budget on a photographer right off the bat, before pricing out caterers, DJs, rentals, florals, gratuity/tip, etc. I get that you are going to DIY it, but there’s still the cost of materials.

Post # 9
115 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

Do you have a friend who photographs as a hobby?  If so and they don’t have a fancy camera, even if you buy a new $500.00, you’d save a ton of money.


Have you contacted the local universities?  There may be a bulletin board near the photography department/classes where you could advertise.  Surely he or she would be cheap and eager for the job. 

Post # 10
192 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2013 - ceremony at a gazebo outside, reception at neighboring restaurant on a lake


That is a lot of money to me.  My max photography amount I was willing to spend was $2000 and I ended up spending $300 on a friend who is new but excellent in photography.  Our budget was $7500.  So $2000 on photography would’ve made us go, well, 1700 over on our budget!!  We put our extra money that we couldv’e spent on a wedding in an account for a down payment on a house.  

If photography is really important to you then do what you want.  But I would first consider what is most important to you in life (financial security being one of them probably!)


Also, I searched for photographers for a while and I had found someone I loved for $3000 and then found someone for $1650!!!  (Yes, I ended up going with my friend for $300, but the point is, is that if you look around longer, you may find a deal).

Look at neighboring cities and see if you can find someone you love that is cheaper with not too expensive travel costs.  

Good luck!!






Post # 11
2552 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Madelin:  I think it all depends on you budget really. If you have a 100k budget, no thats a bad idea to spend so much, but if you have a 10k budget then yes, I would say go for it because thats what we are doing (well our budget is 12k, but you get the point.) Photography is completely worth it up to a certain point. I feel that if you care about your photos, you shouldnt skimp out.

ETA omg 6k, no!!! Are you ordering albums and extras too? Or just the photography and retouching!

Post # 12
692 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

I think you can get an excellent photographer under 6k if you look really hard. You have plenty of time to do that. Have you tried looking outside of SoCal for a photographer that will travel? Also keep in mind that those 6k photographers show/select the BEST pictures out of thousands to put up on their sites. While they may bring you to tears in all reality not all of your wedding photos will be like that. 

Why don’t you contact Star O’Bryan at Noteworthy Photography dot com? They were originally in LA and are now based in Portland, OR. I’m pretty sure they will be able to travel for less than 6k. 

I don’t recommend buying a $500 cam. and giving it to a friend to shoot (unless you are on a VERY tight budget). Aside from the risk of having tons of over exposed images, strange angles, and shadows all over, it’s important to have a back up cam. I am familiar with photo quality and the cam quality I personally am comfortable with for a wedding cost $1k-2k plus lenses.  Aside from a ton of other questions, I asked all my potential photographers what cam they shoot with and what lenses they have. 


Post # 13
1601 posts
Bumble bee

We are in Canada and paid a ridiculous amount for our photography and SDE. We were fortunate as I had two bridal showers and my husband had a stag and we used those funds. Their work is amazing, but I still am amazed that we spent as much as we did when we have other expenses now. However, quality is quality. It is a personal decision but ask yourself, how often will you realistically be taking out your album and photos in 10, 20, 30 years? My parents albums are collecting dust and I’ve only seen them a few times. I wonder in 30 years if we will be pulling out our albums all that frequently. I think it is easy to get caught in the moment in the planning process. A tough decision but you will make the right one. 

Post # 14
9802 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

Do you have your venue yet?  I would try to get that figured out first before booking anything else because that can determine a very large percentage of your budget. 

I’m spending 16% of my budget on a photographer…so it is lower than 25% but still a decent amount.  It really depends on where you can save a few thousand. 

How much do you have budgeted for your dress and your flowers/decor?  Those are easy areas to save some money.

I think you should be able to find a good photographer for $4,000.  What does that $6k include?  It’s always possible to drop some hours or options on the packages to reduce what you pay.

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