How much does a Hudson Valley wedding photographer cost?

Here's the quick answer for what a Hudson Valley wedding photographer will cost you - $3,500.

Here's the long answer and some nuances . . .

According to The Knot, the average cost of a wedding photographer in the U.S. is $2,400. Wedding Wire says $1,500 to $3,000. Brides is closer to the truth with $2,500 to $5,000.

A lot of couples when they first start searching for a photographer were thinking more like $1,000 to $2,000. Me, too. Ten years ago.

So, what's the deal? What are you paying for? How do you know you're getting photography that is worth it? Will you regret trying to go cheaper? What if you truly can't afford to spend a year of student loan payments on photography? Can you still get decent pictures?

We got ya. Let's explain.

Factors unique to Hudson Valley wedding photography

Upstate New York is near, guess what, New York City. A lot of people from NYC come to the Hudson Valley to get married. A lot of them aren't going to quibble over $3,000 to $5,000.

Also, the Hudson Valley is not that cheap to live in, and photographers have to eat.

And, third, people want good photography. This isn't podunk. Well, it is, but not entirely. Wedding photographers survive and thrive up here because there are tons of talented vendors, beautiful venues and stylish couples to bring them together. Why do Hudson Valley wedding photographers charge $3,000 or more? Because they can.

What are you getting with your wedding photography package?

Wedding photography pricing usually depends on how many hours of photography you need and whether or not you want to include keepsakes like a wedding album, prints and so forth. It may also depend on whether a second photographer is included.

Often wedding photographers will list a starting price. This is usually a lower number of hours, which can vary from 6 to 8, and usually does not include an album or prints. Usually it does include an online gallery of hi-resolution digital images you can print yourself. Some photographers will also allow you to share a low-resolution image gallery with family and friends. A base package may include one to four hours of travel time.

The $3,500 is a typical base package. Adding albums, prints and hours will put most at $5,000 or so.

What's behind the price range?

Price is generally based on years of experience.

  • The $2,000 to $3,000 range are newer photographers who are building portfolio and contacts. You may find some awkward posing and bad lighting. You can also find some real talent in this range.
  • The $3,000 range are usually photographers who have been around a few years, produce consistent work and are fine to work with.
  • $3,000 - $5,000 are photographers who've been around a little longer and have a striking style, great marketing or both.

And here's a little insider truth here. Sometimes photographers price themselves at a certain range just to be taken seriously by you.

Why is wedding photography so expensive?

Of course, "expensive" is subjective. Three grand might be peanuts to one person and delusional to another. But here's something to consider. Price is all about supply and demand. Every photographer is unique, and each can only photograph so many weddings. They are finite resource. And if they are very good, they are creating one-of-a-kind works of art - with you as the subject. Imagine the Mona Lisa rolling her eyes at what Da Vinci Studios charged for her portrait. I exaggerate, but you get it. What can be more precious than a beautiful product that features the people you love most in the world?

Related Post: What to expect from your photographer on the wedding day

The second thing is that a good wedding photographer is worth his or her weight in gold. She will keep the day running smoothly, will calm your fears, fix your dress, hide the crack in the cake, make your mom laugh. She will see that moment with your grandma and your niece, control your brother-in-law during the family photos and find your contact lens in the grass. A good wedding photographer is part artist, part wedding planner, and part therapist. And she's handing you the only tangible you get to keep after the wedding day, other than the person you married and your ring.

But I really truly can't afford it

Stay tuned. I'll have a future post to help you out.