So How Much Does a Wedding Photographer in Orange County California Cost?
This is typically the first question couples ask when looking for a wedding photographer in Orange County. I'm going to walk you through the different price points for a professional wedding photography in Orange County. Southern California is a unique area and if you live here you know how expensive the cost of housing, gas, food and other living expenses are. Not to mention the awful traffic, crowded beaches in the summer and packed amusement parks. BUT we do live in one of the best places in the world. I don't know many places where you can surf in the morning, snowboard in the afternoon and ride dirt bikes or go boating in the evening. California offers four of my favorite National Parks including Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite, Sequoia National Park, and Death Valley. Each one offering a unique landscape. Now back to the cost of a wedding photographer!
I like comparing the price of wedding photography to the price of buying a car. I'm sure you all know or have heard this saying you get what you pay for. Like purchasing a car the prices of wedding photography vary greatly. A lot of wedding blogs or wedding planners will tell you that you should spend a specific amount or a percentage of your total budget on your wedding photographer. A percentage might work for a spreadsheet BUT choosing your wedding photographer is more than just a number. This is a personal decision on who you trust to document your love story and who you will feel comfortable with throughout your journey as a couple.
Let's briefly chat about the different levels of photographers.
- The Beginner: There are always a ton of these types of photographers and they can be young or old. As more and more people realize their passion for creating photographs more and more of them realize that they can make some extra money photographing sessions, weddings, etc. Typically they do not value their time, equipment and investment into photography so they charge very little money. Sometimes they will even work for FREE to gain experience or build a portfolio. Hiring a beginner photographer is risky. They typically do not have an established style, and their composition, editing skills, and customer service skills are lacking. You can expect to pay someone in this category $0-500. Believe it or not I was a beginner at one time and in 2010 I photographed my first wedding. I only charged my friends $1100 back then.
- The Amateur: This photographer is a step above the beginner. Maybe they have a full time career and just do photography on the side. We also call these folks weekend warriors because they only have time to do photography on the weekends. At this level you might get lucky and find someone who is very talented but not full time so doesn't have a ton of experience. Or you this photographer might be full time but only in their 2nd or 3rd year of business. Either way this photographer might make you feel good about your decision to hire them or they might drop the ball, making you regret your decision. Either way there is some risk involved with hiring this type of photographer. What you could expect to pay for someone in this category is $1200-2500
- The Professional: This photographer is a seasoned pro at what they do. They have well over 300+ weddings, have run their business for 5+ years and have an incredible trained eye for composition, lighting and know how to pose couples. A lot of pros went to school for photography or business, they are full time living and breathing photography. These photographers have a high demand and will book up their calendars a year or two in advanced. So some advice for you couples reading this, as soon as you have your wedding date, start looking for a professional photographer that you want to work with. Also pro tip, the sooner you book your photographer the most likely the more you will save. Professional photographers are constantly adjusting their pricing due to inflation, supply and demand, and personal financial goals. Hiring a professional photographer will make you feel great about your investment. They will typically have excellent communication with you throughout the process and will provide an excellent product. You can expect to pay $2500-5000 for a pro.
- The Luxury Photographer: This photographer is all about your experience. They bring everything the professional photographer brings to the table but this photographer goes above and beyond your expectations. Its just like the luxury car experience. Driving a luxury car brings you joy and excitement! The luxury wedding photographer will bring out the best in you and your family. They will ask you the right questions in order to get to know the most important things to you on the wedding day and they will deliver an incredible experience and product. Typically the luxury photographer is going to focus on creating artwork. They are going to focus on getting printed products into your hands and hanging on your walls. Digital photographs are great to have and convenient but the best experience is seeing your favorite wedding photographs hanging on your wall or printed in a beautiful handmade album. These photographers cost $5000 and up.
Thank you for reading this article! At Jason Berry Photography we are currently around the $4500 price point but would LOVE to give you a custom quote based on your unique wedding! Reach out to us and tell us something fun or unique about your wedding!