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A Guide to Wedding Photography Pricing

Jennifer G Photography shares valuable advice

All photography courtesy of Jennifer G Photography

Long after the last of the wedding cake has been eaten and the thank-you notes written, you can relive your big day by turning the pages in your wedding album.

“It’s super important to invest in your photography because photos are the only tangible thing you have to look back on, the only aspect of the day that you have forever,” said Jennifer Garcia, a photographer and owner of Jennifer G Photography.

A photographer is a highly important wedding-day vendor and one of the most pricey. Garcia said couples often are not aware of the factors that affect pricing.

While couples witness the hard work photographers put in on their wedding day — coaching couples, making everyone in front of the camera feel comfortable, organizing groups and pulling out all the stops to get the best shots — what they don’t witness are the hours spent in front of a computer doing editing work.

“The six hours spent shooting a wedding are the easiest part, the part that’s the most fun,” Garcia said. “A lot of people, through no fault of their own, don’t realize the majority of the work happens later.”

On average, Garcia takes about 3,000 photos per wedding. She combs through them, culling  many and editing the best. A final round of tweaking and perfecting is completed and photos are then uploaded to a shareable gallery. This process takes about two weeks.

From initial consultation to having photos in hand, couples spend considerable time with their photographer. Garcia encourages couples to seek out a photographer who is professional, experienced and makes people feel confident in front of the lens.

“It’s important to both look at their professional portfolio and make sure your personalities mesh well,” Garcia said. “There are thousands of photographers out there, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. The more expensive the photographer, the more experience they have, the better equipment they have and the better they are at their job.”

When hiring a photographer, couples pay for experience levels and other factors that enter into pricing. The photographer works to recoup his investment in hardware and software including cameras and lenses, flashes, lighting, memory cards, hard drives, computers, editing programs, photo storage sites, website fees and more.

With expensive equipment comes the need for insurance, and since most photographers run their own business, they also purchase liability and health insurance.

Transporting that equipment to multiples locations takes time and effort. Every photographer’s charges differ, but Garcia does not charge for travel within a 60-mile radius. As a destination photographer who often travels throughout the United States, she factors plane fare, rental cars, hotel stays, meals and travel time into pricing.

Garcia’s packages are based on the amount of time spent shooting on the wedding day — four, six or eight hours. Those times relate to the length of time couples have access to their gallery — four hours equates to one year, six hours to five years and eight hours to 10 years.

The online gallery allows couples to download and print photos and provides access to a professional print-making lab. Garcia recommends using a professional lab especially for large portraits of couples and family groupings.

The eight-hour package also includes a free 30-minute engagement shoot.

No matter what package you select, Garcia is highly involved in getting to know each couple —setting up Zoom meetings, checking in via email and sending over questionnaires.

“Typically, couples book their venue, and the next step is booking their photographer. Because I get involved so early on in the process, I often act as an unofficial wedding coordinator, connecting couples with vendors I’ve met throughout the years,” Garcia said.

When considering the price of wedding photography, view it as an investment. What might seem pricey today will translate to priceless joy over many years to come.

The content of the piece is guided by the sponsor.

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