Photo Credit: Blume Photography
Once the rush of being newly engaged has worn off, it's time to think about your engagement photography session. This may be the first of many cost decisions you make together as an engaged couple -- don't let the wide range of prices and endless options zap your romance. Instead, we asked pro photographers from around the country to share their prices to help you navigate your options and find the engagement photographer that's right for you.
Pricing in Focus
Location, location. As you might guess, pricing tends to be higher in major metro and affluent areas. But, take heart, you should be able to find a wide range of pricing and levels in most locations.
After talking to many of our photographers, average prices generally range from $100-$500 at the lowest end, $600 - $2,000 in the midrange, and $3,000 to $12,000 at the highest end. Brace yourself because comparing prices between photographers isn't at all straight forward - some include it in their wedding packages, others allow you to apply the cost to a print credit at your wedding, and some offer discounts on e-sessions when you sign on for your wedding. Some include prints, others don't. You get the idea. So, find out specifically what's included in each photographer's cost.
Depth of Field
There's a world of difference between an engagement session that costs $500 and one that costs $10,000. And, like many things in life, paying more doesn't necessarily mean you'll be happier. The most important thing is finding a photographer that you and your fiance connect with and whose work you really love. Take the time to look through their photos before you talk with them. Then, when you're ready to talk, here are some questions to ask to get to know them better and to understand their services and costs:
- What do you like about photography? (This really gives you insight into their passion for photography and how they work with clients)
- How long have you been doing weddings and engagements, and what sort of training do you have? (Many of the best photographers are self-trained, so don't worry about what school they went to, but more on how they went about their training, apprenticeships, etc.)
- How many engagement sessions do you do a year? (The more doesn't mean the better. In fact the highest end photographers tend to do less sessions so they can spend more time with each client)
- What trends are you seeing in engagement photography?
- Does your rate include travel time if shots are done at multiple locations or is that billed separately?
- Will there be any other costs outside of the rate quoted? (Permits, props, rentals may be additional - so be sure to ask!)
- Does the rate include any photo editing, touch ups or printing?
- Does the rate include a CD of images?
- How have your past clients used their engagement photos?
- Is there a discount if the photographer also shoots the wedding?
- Will you be submitting the photos to blogs or magazines?
- Who owns the rights to our photos? Can we submit them to blogs or magazines?
If having your photos published is important to you, you may also want to ask your photographer for examples of blogs or magazines where his or her work has appeared.
Many photographers do not include actual prints in their rates; instead they have separate rates for packages of printed photos. When comparing the costs of two different photographers make sure to think about how many photos you are likely to order. It may be that a photographer who charges less per hour charges more for each photo or vice versa. You'll want to have a general idea of how much the entire bill (shoot plus photos) will be BEFORE signing that contract.
Hopefully, this has helped demystify the costs of engagement photography. Now you're ready to find your photographer!
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