When it comes to figuring out the average cost of wedding photography, the first thing to note is that photography is art, and that makes putting a universal dollar amount on it a bit difficult. This key fact is exactly what makes finding the average cost of a wedding photographer so exhausting. Because wedding photography is an art, the methods behind creating images, as well as the service that goes along with pre and post production of those images, is going to be very different for each wedding photographer.
Imagine going into an art gallery and being able to buy a Rembrandt for the same price as a painting by Rob Ross. Not going to happen. If you have ever seen Rob Ross's, The Joy of Painting, you’re likely aware that his paintings are completed in less than 30 minutes. They might be pretty, but they lack the intricate details you would find in a Rembrandt that took months to complete. On the surface, you can say they are both paintings, so why pay more for one over the other? If you just want something to hang on your wall to fill an empty space, choosing between the two, Rob Ross is the way to go. But if you're looking for something you can stand a foot away from and discover new details every time you look at it, something that touches you on a deeper level, then Rembrandt is definitely the way to go. Of course, you will end up paying Rembrandt money for it. And here lies the dilemma.
Since cost is dependent on the work that goes into creating images, as well as the pre and post service, such as wedding preparation, communication, professionalism, and image delivery, the creation process and cost is entirely up to the photographer. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it in your eyes. Just like you may be willing to pay 75k for a Tesla because you see the value, or 15k for a Smart Car because you only care about going from point A to Point B. They’re both vehicles, but one appeals to you more. The prices are based on what goes into developing them. Each meant to reach a specific audience, just like the two paintings.
There are of course many other factors that go into determining what a photographer will end up charging for their work. For instance, if a wedding photographer only books a few weddings a year but needs to make sure they can pay all their overhead and living expenses, each of those weddings will have to quite expensive. However, if a wedding photographer books much more per year, they may not need to charge as much. These factors all come together and may be obvious to see when looking through a portfolio. Is the work Rembrandt quality, or Rob Ross? Is the photographer new to the industry and yet to have an efficient workflow, causing them to overprice their work? Do they have high overhead and not enough work?
With all the above mentioned, the following is the national average cost of wedding photography. Though the margin for error is quite high as location, experience, guest count, and other factors attribute to pricing.
National average cost of wedding photography - $2,000
San Diego average cost of wedding photography - $2,150
Los Angeles average cost of wedding photography - $2,325