How Much Should You Spend on Photography for a Wedding?

Break Down of Photography for a Wedding

You may have come here looking for a little guidance on the dollar amount to spend on photography for a wedding. We actually get a little deeper into that in our other blog How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost? Here, we’re going to talk about how much of your overall wedding budget should be spent on wedding photography. We’ll also go over everything you should cover in that budget. 

Wedding planners, like our friends over at Erie Wedding & Event Services suggest that you set aside at least 20% of your overall wedding budget for photography for a wedding. So, the amount you have for your photograpy will vary by person. It is really a good idea to know what the average price is for a wedding photographer in your area before you set a budget, however. And you should also research about what kind of photographer you want. We all come in different shapes and sizes! Some are moody photographers, some are classic and traditional, and some even shoot a more editorial style. Find out about Wedding Photography Styles!

And let’s move onto what items you should include in your photography budget.

how much should you spend on wedding photography

Engagement Session

This one should kind of be a no brainer. Of course you’ll want engagement photos to share the wonderful news with everyone you know. There are also lots of other really great reasons to have an Engagement Session. Find out Why You Need an Engagement Photo Session. So, knowing that, how much of your overall photography for a wedding budget should go to an engagement photography session? Only 1%! I know that seems like a small amount, but with most wedding photographers including a complimentary session it’s not hard to do.

Your Wedding Day

Next is the big one. The reason your here. Photography for a wedding!! So, what percentage of your total wedding photography budget should go towards the actual wedding day? 10% of your total wedding budget. That’s it. That seems like a small portion. But it’s only meant to cover the photographers cost of shooting your day. Prints, digitals, and any other items are budgeted separately. That’s because professionals don’t usually give away every photo they take. They price a la carte or create packages.

how much should you spend on wedding photography
Wedding Photographers in Erie PA - Silver & Sage Studios - Wedding Photography


You may not have considered videography to be part of photography for a wedding, but SURPRISE!! More and more couples are realizing how much they regret not hiring a wedding videographer. And luckily, many wedding photographers either have one on staff or stay close friends with professionals they trust so they can refer you to the best videography for your wedding day. Having a wedding film just adds to the overall experience of your day. And the suggested budget amount? Only 5% of your overall budget.

Your Wedding Photos

Confused? I know you are. Wait? I thought I already budgetted 10% for my wedding photos. But, you didn’t. You budgetted for the wedding photographer. Professional level wedding photographers invest a lot into themselves and they consider themselves to be artists. Because of that most will either build you a custom collection a la carte based on the lab they use or they have pre-created collections. I know we will in a digital world and most people just want digital files, but really? A digital file doesn’t look stunning on your wall. Budget at least .5% of your total wedding budget on prints and canvases.

how much to spend on wedding photography
how much to spend on wedding photography

Thank You & Save the Date Cards

If you’re a smart cookie (and super sweet and communicate with your photographer) you’ll be able to order both Save the Dates and Thank You cards with your photos. It just takes a little communication for both. Let your photographer know ahead of time what your plans are and ask nicely for a quick teaser photo for your Thank You’s. Most will be more than happy to design a card with their favorite image of the two of you to send out. How much should you budget out of your photography for a wedding? About .5% for these items.

Your Wedding Album

Prints and canvases are nice. But you know what’s nicer? 50 of your favorite images custom printed on the finest photo paper and bound in leather or faux leather with your names and wedding date embossed on the front cover! Wedding Albums can be expensive. I know some photographers selling them for up to $2,000. (Ours are more reasonable and closer to $350) So, that’s why wedding planners suggest budgeting up to 2% of your total day on a wedding album.

Wedding Photographers in Erie PA - Silver & Sage Studios - Wedding Photography
Wedding Photographers in Erie PA - Silver & Sage Studios - Wedding Photography

Parent Albums

Once again, being a smart cookie means thinking ahead and budgeting more than just photography for a wedding. It means setting aside some of that money for parent albums! Mom, dad, grandma, auntie, whoever helped you become who you are today wants to brag on you! No better way to do that then by gifting them their own smaller version of your wedding album. Many photographers sell these for around $500-$800. Ours are closer to $200. Let ma and pops enjoy! Suggested budget is 1% of your day or about as much as you spend on your engagement session.

In Conclusion

This Article discusses how much should be spent on photography for a wedding. The blog suggests setting aside at least 20% of the overall wedding budget for wedding photography. It breaks down the budget allocation for different photography-related items. It recommends allocating 1% of the budget for engagement sessions, 10% for photography on the wedding day, 5% for videography, 0.5% for prints and canvases, 0.5% for thank you and save the date cards, 2% for a wedding album, and 1% for parent albums. This blog also provides information on other wedding photography-related topics and offers contact information for the photography services.