Creating a budget for your wedding is uncharted territory for most people. Understanding what a wedding photographer will cost is a great place to start. Most photographers in Seattle average $2500- $10,000. Packages are usually based on an hourly rate and include a variety of options. Some of the most popular items include:

  • A second photographer
  • A wedding album
  • Digital files
  • Engagement session
  • Guest book
  • Slide show
  • Online ordering

Three Factors

When you start planning your budget for wedding photography you’ll need to consider three things:

  • What level of priority is wedding photography to me?
  • What photos are must haves and what can I live without?
  • How will I use my photos after the wedding?

How Important are Wedding Photos to me?

For most people getting great photos is a top priority. In fact, for most of my clients they say it comes second only to having a great dress/suit. This makes perfect sense. Your wedding photos are the most valuable keepsake you take away from your wedding when everything is finished. With wonderful wedding photos you can relive the best moments over and over again. And with time, those photos will only become more valuable.

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Yet, there is a balance. If spending $10,000 on your wedding photos can seem like a great idea you might want to reconside. What if your whole wedding budget is $15,000? (The average for Seattle is $38,000 but most people spend just over $10,000.) Try to keep your wedding photography cost at no more than 40% of your total wedding budget. That means if your wedding budget is $15,000 you could spend up to $6000 on wedding photos IF that is your #1 priority without going overboard. But keep in mind that most people spend around 25-35% of their total budget on the cost of a wedding photographer.

What Photos are the most important?

It’s good to have a must have list just in case your dreams and your budget don’t match. My suggested must have photos include: details during getting ready, walking down the aisle, exchange of rings, a laugh during the ceremony, the first kiss, the couple alone, the couple with the wedding party, the couple with their immediate families, cutting the cake, first dance, and candids with guests. (My complete wedding photo list can be found here.)

When you create your must have list you’ll be able to see what you don’t need. This will help you know if you need two photographers or one, how many hours you should book, and if you need an album to hold all of those great shots!

Physical Album or Digital Only?

Knowing what you want to do with the photos when they are completed will be a huge help to deciding how much your wedding photographer will cost. If you just want digital copies of your photos you will save on the initial package price. Adding an album is something that I let my customers do up to a year after the wedding because I firmly believe that a physical copy of your photos will help you get the most enjoyment out of them. For those that value wedding photography as a top priority, an album is of huge importance.

Ask your photographer about options for adding an album later, or payment plans if this add-on brakes the bank. Most photographers are willing to work with clients and will be flexible. After all, we just want you to love your photos for years to come!

Wedding Photographer Cost

So the long-short answer is, your wedding photographer cost will vary based on what you need and who you hire. Don’t forget to consider the features from a photographer you can’t put a price. These include artistry, customer service, and personality. Make sure that whatever the final price tag, you love their work, the way they treat you, and who they are.


If you are wondering what past couples think of me you can check out some of my reviews from real people on WeddingWire. You can also check out my work on for the most recent portfolio.

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