Welcome to wedding planning newly engaged couples!
When beginning to plan your wedding, it can be overwhelming to balance vendors, budgets, and plans. Especially after falling down a Pinterest rabbit hole!
One of the most important vendors to book first is your photographer. Many couples are often stumped during this critical part of the process. And we get it! It can be difficult to navigate all the styles available while also figuring out what you want and need for your own wedding.
While every wedding and photographer is different, that doesn’t mean you need to navigate it alone. That’s why we’ve put together this in-depth guide to give you insight into everything that impacts the final cost of your photography!
Memories Fade, Photos Don’t
Why and How the Photographer You Choose Matters
While the flowers may fade, the guests may go home, and your gown goes into the closet….your photos are the one thing from your wedding that holds its value. It’s not just about having someone with a professional camera to come and simply document your wedding.
You don’t want to scroll back through your photos and think “Yup, that’s what the day looked like.”
You want to hold your photos in your hands and say, “This is what the day felt like.”
Investing in a photographer that can truly capture the ambience and love in your day. From the in-between candid moments between you and your partner to the laughs of your college best friends during the cocktail hour, every moment matters.
A photographer who can not only capture these memories but also make you feel at ease and comfortable is the best investment you can make.
Here at KM Weddings, you’re booking a photographer with over 200 weddings and 5 years of experience under their belt. Someone who has the accolade of photographing celebrities, past presidents, and other icons of our generation. But even more importantly, a photographer who is well experienced in working with couples who are nervous about being in front of the camera, parents with high photography expectations, and worked in every kind of real-life wedding situation imaginable. That’s true peace of mind.
Key Factors that Influence the Cost of Your Wedding Photography
1. When the Party is Going Down: Save the Date
One of the most important factors influencing the cost of your wedding photography is one that many couples often don’t expect – the date of your wedding.
The best way to think of it is like airline tickets or hotels. During the holidays or peak season, there is an increased demand for a limited number of supply available, so prices go up. That’s why we always like to book our tickets to your destination wedding early 😉
It’s exactly the same with weddings. The wedding season in New York runs from May-October, and the most popular day is Saturday. That means there are a limited number of dates available for most photographers with many couples inquiring for those popular dates. So getting married on a Saturday in peak season means you may have a higher photography cost.
If you’re looking to save money on your wedding, getting married on a less popular date like a Friday or Sunday, choosing the off-season, or even having a weekday wedding. Relatives and friends often won’t mind, and that means you can often get better pricing with your dream photographer.
2. Location, Location, Location: Why Where Matters
Whether you are getting married in the heart of the city, having a weekend celebration in the mountains, or eloping to a destination – the location of your wedding matters when considering photography costs.
With a destination wedding, you may have to consider additional expenses like travel, accommodation, and boarding if you are bringing in a photographer. Some photographers charge flat fees for travel while others calculate it on a personalized basis.
Here at KM Weddings, we do not charge any additional fees for weddings in New York, the Hudson Valley, Catskill Mountains, and Florida. We’ve photographed weddings from Hong Kong to Italy to England and charge a flat travel fee for destinations so you don’t have to worry about any additional or extra costs. We provide an upfront quote with your proposal.
3. It’s All in the Details: Your Plan for the Day Of
One of the biggest questions we hear from couples is, “How many hours do I need?”
At the beginning of wedding planner, you usually only know the ceremony start time and the time you need to be done with the reception from your venue. Everything else can be a question mark! And that’s why we here at KM Weddings work with you to get an understanding of your day and what’s most important to you so we can give you the most accurate pricing quote.
The details of your day are one of the most important factors to consider. Here’s how different factors on your wedding day can affect your photography cost:
- Guest Count – The number of people in attendance is a great way to determine if you need one or two photographers. One photographer is recommended for weddings of 60 guests or less. It’s best to have a second photographer for larger weddings to ensure your guests are fully captured and there is more flexibility in the timeline. For weddings of 250 guests or more, it is recommended to book two photographers and an assistant.
- Number of Locations – The number of locations you’ll be in on your wedding day can affect logistics and hours of coverage. For example, if you are getting ready at a hotel, having your ceremony at a church, and your reception at a separate venue you will need more hours of coverage compared to a couple having everything on-site in one place.
- Travel + Accommodation – If your wedding is a destination for your guests, that also means it may be a destination for your photographer unless they are local. Many couples worry that travel fees can stack up very high, but usually it’s not as pricey as you may expect. Booking a photographer that you jive with and whose style you love is a much higher return on your investment versus settling for a local photographer that you don’t love as much.
- Special Events – One of the biggest trends right now with weddings are send-offs at the end of the reception with sparklers or a getaway car. If you’re thinking of having a unique event at the end of your wedding, definitely mention it to your photographer! Weddings like these usually require at least 10 hours of coverage so this can affect your cost.
4. Extra Guac Please: Photography Add-Ons
There are many options besides just hours of coverage to elevate your photography experience. Because we all love to add that extra guac, right?
Add-ons can affect your overall photography budget so be sure to discuss with your partner and your families what is most important for you to have when calculating your photography budget.
- Engagement Session
Why It’s a Must: An engagement session is a must-have for many reasons. If you’re uncomfortable about being in front of the camera, an engagement session is amazing practice to warm up before the big day and get to know your photographer better.
The KM Weddings Touch: We even ask you to favorite your most loved photos in your engagement gallery so we can get a feel for what angles and styles of you that you most love.
- Rehearsal Dinner / Welcome Party Coverage
Why It’s a Must: If you’re having a larger wedding, coverage of the rehearsal dinner or welcome party is an excellent chance to get photos of your most loved people. There’s something special about being with friends and family the night before such a big day, and leads to so many wonderful photos. And if your sister is making a speech at the wedding but your best friends is leading toasts at the rehearsal dinner, the moment of your fiancé wiping away a tear deserves to be captured too.
The KM Weddings Touch: We do a complimentary mini portrait session with the couple before the welcome festivities begin! This is an amazing opportunity to have a little warmup in front of the camera before the big day, and capture you both in a completely real and candid environment…which makes for great portraits.
- Albums and Prints
Why It’s a Must: Your photos deserve to live off the screen. Because let’s be real, we won’t be handing down our old iPhones to our kids will we? Prints and physical albums make such a difference in reliving your memories, and transform the investment in your photography not only something to have but tangibles to enjoy for years to come. Albums and prints also make a great gift for parents or family members.
The KM Weddings Touch: We collaborate with you to custom design your wedding album with our personalized process that balances your favorite images with our storytelling expertise so the story of your day unfolds just as naturally as it did in real life. When you include an album in your photography package, you’ll receive three design revisions so you can make comments and adjustments to ensure your album becomes an heirloom piece that your family will treasure for generations to come.
- A Photo Booth
Why It’s a Must: Photo booths are always a great hit with guests, no matter the size of your wedding. Having one of these at your wedding is a great way to get fun and candid with your people, as well as extended documentation of everyone who was in attendance. Styles range from a backdrop with props to a sleek modern setup, so you can be sure it will blend in with the ambience of your wedding.
The KM Weddings Touch: We do not offer a photo booth as an add-on, but every couple will receive our exclusive vendor list of most beloved vendors that will take great care of you with options for a range of budgets and styles.
Our Top 5 Tips for Picking the Right Photographer in New York
With all these factors considered, the most important one comes down to this: who you choose as your wedding photographer.
1. Full Body of Work – Be sure to ask your photographer to see full galleries of weddings with a similar vibe to your venue. You may see lots of beautiful shots of sunset portraits on their Instagram, but how they capture an industrial space or ballroom may be very different than what you want aesthetically. Ensure that they capture a good mix of emotional, in-between moments with your best friends as well as more classically posed portraits of your families.
2. Editing Matters – Take a browse through Pinterest when beginning your wedding photography search and look at the different photography editing styles. What kinds of images are you most drawn to? Do you like warmer colors with a moodier feel, or bright with a crisp, classic aesthetic? We take a cinematic approach to our editing so your photos feel both modern and timeless so you can enjoy them for years to come. Trust us, the last thing you want is for your wedding photos to feel like that contrasty Lo-Fi filter feels now on your old Instagram posts.
3. Personality Match – Your photographer is essentially your honorary third wheel on your wedding day, so you want to be sure that you get along with them. It’s not just about how your photographer makes you look, but how they make you feel. Do you feel like you could sit down and have drinks with them for a few hours? Do they make you feel like an old friend while also like you’re in the most professional and adept hands? Having a phone call or meetup with your photographer before booking can give you a great feel of how they’ll make you feel on the day of. Be sure to check out reviews from past clients too!
4. Communication is Key – One of the biggest pet peeves when planning anything (let alone a giant party of over 100 people!) is waiting to hear back from people. You’ll be corresponding and working more with your photographer as the wedding approaches, and the last thing you want is to be waiting weeks for an email response. Pay attention to their communication style and speed during the booking process as this can also affect the turnaround time of your photos. We always respond within 24 hours or less (but usually sooner!) and deliver your wedding photos within 4 weeks.
5. Hear It For Yourself – Found your dream photographer? Amazing! Check out reviews from past couples on certified wedding websites like The Knot and WeddingWire. These are incredible resources to hear about real experiences from couples like yourself. Pay attention to the details, like the difference between a review that says “We love our photos!” versus “Our family. and friends couldn’t stop commenting on how professional and kind our photographer was” — this is the stuff that makes a difference.
The Price is Right: Calculating the Cost of your Wedding Photography
Wedding photography in the New York area can range anywhere from $2,500 to $15,000. That may feel like a big range…and that’s because it is! Every wedding is different and all of the factors above can affect your total cost for photography.
And we’ll be real with you for a moment. Your wedding photography is an investment. This is a huge day that you are pouring much time, money, energy (and usually blood, sweat, and tears!) into. There is a difference between having the day simply documented versus the day being truly captured.
One of our couples said it best themselves:
“On a whirlwind of a day, being able to preserve these moments means everything to us. I’m not just saying this to be kind, we have not stopped talking about the quality of your work since we got our very first look. The difference between good photography and stellar photography is very obvious to us both now.”
To receive a quote for pricing based on your individual needs, wants, and desires for the day from KM Weddings, just fill out the form below.