If you just got engaged (congrats!), you’re probably a little overwhelmed with researching average wedding costs and pricing ratios. When it comes to photography, there are national averages, but they vary quite a bit depending on state, and there are different variables, like what if you have an elopement and don’t need a full day of coverage?
So you’re probably wondering, “What do most couples really spend on their wedding photography?” Well, I’m going to tell you. At the end of this pricing guide, you should hopefully be less overwhelmed and more informed so that when it comes time to searching for your photographer, you’ve already nailed down how important it is to you and your partner and what you realistically should spend on one. Let’s get started!
Average Colorado Wedding Costs
First things first, let’s look at wedding costs as a whole. The Knot recently released their 2016 Real Weddings study and in it, they found that the average wedding costs $35,329 (not including honeymoon). This is up from 2015’s average of $32,641. But like I mentioned above, this cost varies by state. For example, the most expensive place to get married in 2016 was Manhattan, NY at a whopping $78,464 and the least expensive place was Arkansas at $19,522.
According to that same study by The Knot, Colorado comes in with an average cost of $30,262. CostofWeddings.com gets a little more specific saying that, “Couples that live in Denver, CO spend between $20,931 and $34,885 on average for their wedding.” As you can imagine, these costs are also subjective based on elopements, number of guests, informal vs. formal weddings, etc. However, you might be surprised to find out that 40% of couples who married in 2014 spent less than $10,000 (USA Today).
Colorado Wedding Photography
So just as there are many variables in average wedding costs, this is also true of wedding photography pricing. My goal for this post is to provide facts and education for you so that you are well informed before allocating your budget and are spending your money the way that YOU want to.
During your planning, you’ve probably heard that wedding photography should be roughly 10% of your wedding budget. Well, that’s definitely a good place to start, but with anything else, there are variables. If your whole budget is $7,000, a $700 photography budget really isn’t much and will most likely get you substandard photos with no album or USB drive. Based on the average cost for weddings in Denver, a 10% ratio puts you between $2,093 and $3,488.
According to that same study done by The Knot, the 2016 national average spend for wedding photography professionals was $2,783 (coverage only). Now in Colorado, this average changes a bit. Custom Weddings of Colorado says couples can expect to pay on the low end $1,200 and high end $10,000 with the average couple spending around $4,000 for their wedding photography. The reasons for this big range, in my opinion, are couples choosing to elope and have intimate weddings where they only need 3-4 hours of coverage as well as add on costs, such as a USB drive with images, an album, prints, and engagement session that are factored into that $4,000 average.
Add On Costs
Here are some average costs for add ons to photography coverage. Keep in mind that these prices can vary greatly based on location and professional vendor.
USB Drive/DVD: $500-650
Engagement Session: $675-875
Now you might be thinking, “$4,000 for wedding photography?! How can someone afford that?” Well, the truth is that how much you spend directly correlates to what you need, what you value, and how much you value it. If you are eloping and having a very small and intimate ceremony and quick reception, you won’t need the typical 8 hours of coverage that most photography averages are based on. You will most likely pay a photographer by the hour and add on any extras you would like. On the flip side, if you really value your photography, but don’t care about having a physical album or even a USB drive, you would be satisfied with digital copies and won’t need the most expensive photography package.
I know that this is a lot of information to take in and I hope I’m not making you more overwhelmed. I think these charts* are a good visual aid in first asking yourself how much you value your wedding photography and then what is realistic to pay for that value.
https://xogroupinc.com/press-releases/theknot2016realweddings_costofweddingsus/?_ _hstc=131446032.507af22048f17a9e60c044e2244c19c7.1513027994411.1515466123 613.1518032445144.5&__hssc=131446032.1.1518032445144&__hsfp=1638801797 https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2015/10/06/40-of-couples-spend-10000-or-less-on-their-wedding/72738222/
https://www.theknot.com/content/average-wedding-cost-2016 https://www.costofwedding.com/index.cfm/action/search.weddingcost/zipcode/80202/ite m/81/item_name/Wedding_Photographer
http://www.customweddingsofcolorado.com/f/Colo_wedding_prices.pdf https://www.raynamcginnisphotography.com/colorado-wedding-photography-pricing-gui de/
I spend most of my time in the midwest, meeting passionate couples, and helping tell their stories. Since you've made it this far, I'd love the opportunity to do the same for you and your partner.
Every couple we work with has the same list of concerns and I want you to know you’re not alone.
Often having little to no experience in front of a camera, they’re simply looking for a photographer that can capture the candid moments and guide them through the most special day of their lives.
As wedding photographers, our top priority is connecting with our couples and creating a sense of comfort from start to finish. Just bring your best looking threads and a great attitude. We’ll get the photos you've been looking for.