If you haven’t already asked yourself this question in wedding planning, we know you will; how much does a wedding photographer cost in Australia? To find out, we sat down with five different wedding photographers from around America to demystify how much a wedding photographer really costs, and what you can expect for the price tag.
Meet our Australia-based photographers;
GIVE US A ONE-LINER. WHO ARE YOU, AND WHAT DO YOU DO?
Benjamin: What’s good! I’m Ben, photographer of humans in love.
Shannon & Jayde: We’re Shannon and Jayde Stent, a husband and wife team of adventurous wedding photographers!
Morgane: I’m Morgane – a wedding video & photographer for rad couples based in VIC. Australia
Tanya: Not your run-of-the-mill girl with a camera. Photographing rule breakers and effortless romantics worldwide (but mostly in Melbourne).
Adriana: I’m a Brazilian girl who loves to connect with people. I document peoples lives.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE. I’M A PROFESSIONAL…
Benjamin: ..against the grain-er.
Shannon & Jayde: …at third wheeling your wedding day, but I promise it’ll be fun!
Morgane: …third wheel at weddings!
Tanya: …wedding and music photographer by day, a queer dog mum by night.
Adriana: …wedding and portrait photographer.
WHAT’S ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU THINK COUPLES HAVE THAT YOU WANT TO DEMYSTIFY?
Benjamin: That we simply rock up on the day and shoot a few photos. Uh-uh. You’re worth more than that.
As photographers, we’re in the legacy business. We are guardians of the image. A decent wedding photographer will have you and your partner first in mind, and in heart, putting you before all else. We want you to have the best-damned wedding photos this lifetime has to offer, and you’re simply not going to get that with a photographer who prioritizes anything else over you, the ways you love, and the art they create.
Wedding photography goes further than just documenting the day. It’s bigger than cheesy poses, trendy editing and boho styling. A powerfully captured frame, one that is visually compelling and emotionally connecting, will last longer and have more impact than whatever’s trending right now. Our ultimate goal is for you, in fifty years, to look back at your wedding photos and feel what it was like on the day. Transporting, nostalgic, and moving. And I’ll bet that your kids, and theirs, and so on, will feel it too.
Shannon & Jayde: The whole thing about being dragged around for hours of photos, it’s not a thing! We like to get our job done quick smart so you have more time to partayyyyy!
Morgane: Now, that is something I am quite passionate about: demystifying having to follow traditions. There are literally only two sentences during the ceremony that have to be said, and all the rest (having bridesmaids, cutting the cake, having a cake!, walking down the aisle, having flowers…), everything else is optional/changeable to make a wedding your own! There is nothing that you HAVE TO do for your wedding. You do whatever you like, as long as those two little legal sentences are said, your wedding is legit!
Tanya: A few years ago, the biggest myth was that all photographers came in with a shot list, a giant lighting kit and a bunch of tacky poses. Nowadays, I and a bunch of others, practice documentary-style wedding photography which is the total opposite of that. Thankfully it’s becoming a lot more common.
Now, I’d say the biggest misconception is how many hours people think they need a wedding photographer on the day. I’m noticing more and more couples are wanting me there for six hours or less. Whilst it does cover most of the highlights, you’d be hard pressed to squeeze the essence of the biggest day of your life into six hours.
Adriana: I think the number one is the conception that all we do is pressing that shutter button for however long we are working on the wedding day. Our work starts from the moment we reply to that very first enquiry. There are tonnes of emails back and forth, meetings, location scout, shoot prep, shoot day, one week or so of post-production, packaging and album design, which can take a few weeks to be finished. What we do is much more than is seeing on the wedding day.
THEY SAY ‘YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR’, DO YOU THINK THERE IS ANY TRUTH TO THAT QUOTE?
Benjamin: Yes. I think photography is one of the most valuable purchases you’ll ever make, especially for your wedding. It’s worth the investment.
I know for that for me, you’re not just paying for my time on the day. It’s everything in the lead-up and everything that comes after. I’m going to make every effort to hang out before your big day and talk about anything other than your wedding, getting to know each other on another level. We’re gonna be best friends by the end of it, and you’ll have the richest, most emotionally hard-hitting photos to show for it.
When you pay for an expensive photographer, you’re not just paying for quality photography and a pro who knows how to capture truly powerful frames, but you’ll also get a next-level experience throughout, including insight and wedding planning help when you need it.
Shannon & Jayde: ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. But always do your research and go with someone whose work you absolutely love. It’s also important that you get good vibes with their personality too.
Morgane: Well, actually yes I do. There are plenty of professionals in the wedding industry out there. A lot of choice, for a lot of budgets. But the price tag is usually a good indication of the experience and customer standards of a vendor.
Speaking from a photographer point of view, your might find a cheaper photographer because they might only have 3 weddings under their belts, or find a more expensive photographer who will have lots of experience and also include extra services in their fee such as a wedding album, second shooter, personalised online gallery etc. … Now, it just depends what is important for you, and what standards you have in mind.
Tanya: YES .
If you’re paying less than $3k for a full wedding package, chances are your photographer is either just starting out or they’re shooting so many weddings to turn a profit that you’re another forgettable face on a production line. When you pay for somebody above that mark, they are experienced, they value your individuality and they are willing to put in the emotional labour to make their work unique to your day.
Adriana: Absolutely! Would you trust a friend of a friend to build your first home because he has watched a Youtube tutorial and got some nice tools? There are many variants that justify the dollars you might be spending on a photographer.
Skills, experience, good gear, insurance, quality portfolio, the photographer’s ability to connect with their clients, and a solid clientele that can vouch for them. That’s what you are paying for. You can hire a photographer that can take some good photos but without all the rest you are playing Russian roulette. I get it, weddings are expensive, but how much are your memories worth?
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
Benjamin: At this time, we charge around $5000 for full day wedding photography. But every wedding is different. Some folk want 90-minute quickie elopements (around a grand), and others want multi-day coverage ($10K+). Money is secondary to us, and yes, it’s important to run a sustainable business so that we can keep doing what we do in the ways we do it, but when you distill it, we want to serve and love the humans in front of our lens. So we often do custom packages that better suit what some couples are looking for.
Shannon & Jayde: Our packages are around 4k for 2 photographers, and we are super flexible since every wedding is different.
Morgane: I charge between $2,490 and $3,900 (photo and video).
Tanya: $3990 for eight hours, $1995 for elopements.
Adriana: My packages range from $2700 to $5500.
WHAT’S YOUR RESPONSE TO PEOPLE WHO THINK “YOU CHARGE HOW MUCH?!”
Shannon & Jayde: We don’t really ever hear that, we find most of our couples are happy to invest appropriately in their photographer.
Tanya: Yeah, it happens a lot. My website is completely transparent about my rates so couples always know what they’re getting without having to jump through hoops to know what I charge.
As for people wanting to cut corners on costs – at the end of the day, flowers wilt, food is eaten and wedding dresses collect dust. Photos are the only things (besides your marriage, hopefully!) that truly last.
I’m in the midst of planning my own wedding, so I know how expensive they can get. Our aim is to call in favors and go the cheaper option wherever we can, except for when it comes to our wedding photography.
Adriana: I try to educate them on what they are paying for, the value of what I do and what I deliver.
Recently I had a client who had just started looking around for a photographer, the client had allocated $1000 for the wedding photos. After a good “educational” chat she booked me, the package booked is 4 times more than what she thought it would cost at first.
A lot of people have no idea, which is understandable, but I think education is the key.