How to explain the cost of good wedding photographers

A groom commented to me one time, “I noticed when searching for a wedding photographer that all the GOOD wedding photographers were around $3K and up.”

In the age of digital cameras you no longer need a degree or official training to take a decent picture so why do good wedding photographers cost $3K or more? And how do you explain it to the person with the checkbook who expected it to cost WAY less?

Rather than listing out the cost of doing business, here is an excerpt from a blog post I came across by Photography Business Coach Bernie Griffiths that covers a few of the points. (along with a few notes from me)


A sparkler exit like this one at the Inn at Warner Hall produces tricky and often unpredictable lighting so if you have one planned ask to see examples taken by the photographer to ensure they know how to capture it.

Just because someone owns a camera doesn’t mean they know how to use it.

In the digital age, where anyone with an iPhone and a Facebook page can market himself or herself as a photographer, it is important to find a photographer that you can trust to capture your memories. After all, those precious moments disappear in a flash. (and cannot be re-created)

When considering a photographer, it is a good idea for you to find out about the photographer, their experience, reputation, and business policies.

More Than Point and Shoot

Good Professional wedding photographers do a lot more than point and shoot, hoping to get a great image.

If you are looking for experts in the field of photography, they have the knowledge, expertise and equipment to produce high-quality images that produce creative, perfectly printed portraits. (And backup equipment and staff to ensure a successful session every time)

Professional cameras produce images of much higher resolution than standard cameras. And professional lighting techniques, and understanding of light, can make the difference between a so-so image and an image that can “pop” off your wall.

Using more flattering angles and unique perspectives and settings clearly separate “real” photographers apart from their amateur or part time counterparts. Along with refined editing techniques to clear up imperfections and provide controlled contrast and color balance. (amateurs typically rely on filters to “fix” their photos)

And don’t be surprised if your prints from a discount store fade over a short period of time. Only a professional photographer will supply you with your photographs on lifetime archival paper.


The first dance at this beautiful barn wedding reception at East Lynn Farm was made even more dramatic with a little help from an off-camera light, and is an effect only made possible by a photographer that knows how to control and use lighting.

The Hidden Risk You Take

Good professional wedding photographers have strong reputations, since what they do is both personal and creative, and image-based. Their work is easy to check out on their website or Facebook page, and look for a photographer that specializes in the particular genre that you want photographed.

Here are a few tips to help –

– Do your research to find a professional who works in the style you want for a price that you are willing to pay.

– Set up a consultation appointment with those whose work seems to be what you like.

– Use this initial meeting/ call to find out more about the photography experience, products and pricing.

– When looking at the work, take note of the style and variety of images, and how that matches your personal preferences. Pay attention to poses, angles, lighting and other techniques.

– Check a photographer’s Facebook reviews, references, and written testimonials. (like or

Being a member of a professional organization (or having a photography degree) shows a level of commitment to grow a photography business and keep skills current. These organizations certify photographers, which involves submitting photos and reaching a certain high standard and bounds them by a set of professional rules of practice, a code of ethics, and adequate liability insurance.

Connecting Is The Key

You should definitely shop around and find wedding photographers whose work you really like, rather than simply making your decision based on the cheapest price. If you do go with a lower rate, make sure the wedding photographer you hire has the skills and experience you are seeking and produces a reasonable quality of work. There is a price to be paid for a good professional wedding photographer, and as the old saying goes you almost always “get what you pay for”.

Beautiful lasting memories on your wall don’t happen by chance, they happen with intent and vision.

Meeting or calling the photographer and having a 2 minute chat is the quickest way to have all of your questions answered and to find out if they are the right “mix” to preserve your priceless memories. (And that’s what you’re paying for, consistency and artistic vision!)

Article by Photography Business Coach Bernie Griffiths.
Copyright 2017

-Note from Heather-

Good wedding photographers are not just vendors.

We are sources for advice, support, and sometimes part family psychiatrist. We have been in most situations and know how to prepare, anticipate, or react which creates a less stressful day for everyone (despite what happens). Price is part quality products, part quality experience, and part a photographer’s experience.

The wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. Don’t make my mistake – I skimped to save a few bucks and it’s one of my biggest regrets.

Contact Us today to experience the photojournalism difference for yourself!


Professional photographers know how to use creative devices like framing that make the difference between a so-so image and an image that will really “pop” off your wall, like it does for this portrait at Chippokes State Park in Smithfield, VA.

Voted the Knot’s “Best of Wedding Photographers” | WeddingWire’s “Couples Choice” Award 2008 - 2019 | Virginia Living Magazine's "Top Wedding Vendor" 2016- 2019 | VA Small Newspaper Photographer of the Year | Wedding Photojournalist Assoc. Blue Medallion Award