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

posted 7 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 17
7058 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@chilecorona:  If she’s considering a $6,000 photographer, a friend with a camera or a photography student is in NO WAY going to even come close to meeting her expectations.


OP, I’ll be honest with you. As a photographer myself, and photos were the most important thing to me, even I couldn’t swing $6k on photography for my wedding (and I wanted to, as that’s how much my first choice photographer was). In the end, we spent around $3500 and had a fantastic photographer. It was a little cheaper for me, because as a photographer myself I didn’t have to order the extras through mine. 


What is your ideal budget? If you are seriuosly considering a 6k photographer, I would suggest dialing back even to around 4k and you can certainly find a fantastic photographer for that price.


Post # 18
3823 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@Madelin:  I splurged on two things – my dress and my photographer. 

1. I have to look fabulous since me and Fiance are the stars of the show. 


2. My photos must reflect the emotion of the day and be presented in a durable but quality format. 

So far, our budget is around $35k for 75ish guests, and includes rings and honeymoon. We are paying the photographer $3900 for 7 hours, engagement photos, a disc, a website, and two quality albums.

For my area $4k for a photographer is the starting point for high quality photography. For SoCal, I’m sure you will pay a lot more. 


I say all of this to say, find out what’s most important to you. Is it food? Photos? Your guests (inviting any and everyone you want to see there)? Your dress? Etc… then splurge on what matters most.

Post # 19
3625 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

@Madelin:  I totally get wanted amazing photos; I have a marketing/design background and I asked for many of my colleagues’ opinions on my photographer choices. We were super picky with photographers too. In fact, that’s why we ended up having to let go of our first one (post-engagement photos) and hiring our second one (the one I recommended). So I get what you are saying about the difference between $2k vs $4+k. However, I think many SoCal photographers are right around the $4k mark without albums/prints so I think $6k is quite high, even though s/he is including engagement photos. It’s amazing how quickly all these little things can add up in SoCal, from hair and makeup to catering costs to DJs. Since you mentioned food is very important to you, I can say 100% that you truly get what you pay for with catering so be prepared for that.

Post # 20
9134 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL

@Madelin:  I spent about 20% of my budget from my first wedding on my photographer and I felt like it was money well spent BUT I got an amazing deal on the photographer.  For me pictures are in the top 3 most important aspects of the wedding because when the day is over all you have left are memories and pictures.  (Other 2 for me are the venue and the food/drink.)

Post # 21
739 posts
Busy bee

The two questions you need to ask yourself

  1. How much value do you put on your photography
  2. If you don’t go with dream photographer do you think that it will affect your relationship with whomever you do go with, knowing they might not live up to dream photographer.

Photography in general is pretty expensive to produce in your area you are going to look at paying at least $4000 starting out for really good quality. Anything above that you are paying for better equipment, better educated photographer and someone who has the reputation to be able to charge that much. That goes along way. I would love to see who you are considering if you want to PM me.

Post # 22
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I think 25% is a bit much but it really depends on what is most important to you.

Post # 23
853 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We spent about that for our photographer – maybe even about 30-35%. Our whole wedding wasn’t too expensive, though, and we wanted great pictures.

Post # 24
387 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

It depends on your priorities! Photography was one of my biggest priorties in beginning the planning process. Our photographer is about 23% of our entire budget, but I was able to get a great deal with someone I trusted (and artistry I really admired) that doesn’t typically do weddings in my price point. We have their base a la carte package with a couple of extras thrown in b/c we were referred by a friend and will not have a 2nd shooter.

I say if you really want them, see if you can negotiate a little. Cut down extra hours or the engagement session, or whatever other extras that are thrown in there to make it work in your budget more comfortably. Say that you admire their work and would love to have them, and then what your budget is and see what they can do. When it is all said and done, all you have (besides your loving new husband) is the rings, the photos, and those memories and for me that is worth the 23%.

Post # 25
560 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I agree with everyone above.  25% of the entire budget for pics is a lot of money.  I’m sure you can find a photographer in the LA area that is under $6K.  Ever thought about expanding your search to other locations in SoCal?

Post # 26
2747 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

We had a Destination Wedding so I was able to splurge on my photographer(s). They were about 40% of my budget! Don’t regret it one bit!!

Post # 27
495 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Personally, I think it is worth it to splurge on photography. Pictures are basically all you will have left of the day, and if you have high standards it is always going to bug you if the pictures aren’t good enough. Photography is definitely going to be the biggest cost in our wedding.

Post # 28
13702 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think that’s a big chunk of your budget for just one aspect, but if it’s what you really want, you’ll be the one to decide.  You will likely end up skimping or skipping other vendors so you can afford your whole wedding now!

FWIW, we spent about 10% of our budget on our photographer and it she was amazing.

Post # 29
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2015

Mi and my Fiance are both photogs. So naturally this is going to take up a HUGE chunk of our budget. In fact we’ve been trying to lower the costs of everything except photography. Some one said it best up top when they mentioned that its all about what YOU want.

To us, photography is very important. In the end, when the flowers die, the food is eaten, and the guest go home, the only thing you have left are the memories captured in your photographs (or video). That to me is precious. 

That being said, there are wonderful photogs in soCal that range much hire than $6g and a lot that range for less. 

My advice to you, is to choose a photog who’s images are not only amazing, but who’s personality you like. This is the vendor you’ll see the most (other than a wedding planner) and that’ll you’ll be with all day. 

I wish you the best of luck on your search!!! 🙂 

Post # 30
1309 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

OP it depends – calculating it out, I guess we spent 20% of our budget on our photographer – equal to the cost of our reception. To us it wasn’t too much. Although we had a >13,000 wedding (including rings and honeymoon).

But I wanted to add, it’s an industry line that “all you’ll have left after the wedding are the photos.” This is pure marketing nonsense, in fact, you’ll have your dress, veil, shoes, invitations, jewelry, presents, bouquet (if you dry it) champagne flutes, extra favors, the top layer of your wedding cake, the cake knife set, copies of your wedding program, cards from well-wishers, your guest book, your wedding rings, and oh yes your husband, the list goes on and on.

In fact you will have so many mementos post-wedding that you will probably struggle with how to store it/whether to keep it. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured on that score.

I’ve been married a year and a half and I really don’t look at my wedding photos anymore. Do I regret spending a lot? No. But I would not have regretted spending less, either.

Post # 31
893 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2012

@Madelin:  terrible idea! i wore a 14 000 k dress I am a

big spender….my photographer cost 250!!! And the pictures are


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