Wedding Photography Package Prices Explained:
Options for couples planning their wedding
By Ben McMillen
Why would a photographer (me) give you advice?
What exactly is wedding photography (besides the obvious, taking pictures)
Options: What's available from most wedding photographers
- Albums: If it was up to me every client would get a professional wedding album. Yes, you can make your own album. But usually your photographer has access to professional archival quality albums that are built to withstand years of use and still look as good as the day you got it. Having something tangible like a wedding album to look back on, show family, and even show future generations should be on top of your "want" list.
- Framed Portraits: If you're getting married, maybe your buying you're first house or at the very least moving in together. One way to make the place you both live in a "home" is by putting some pictures on those bare walls! My suggestion is to choose professionally framed photos from your photographer or a professional frame shop for any print over 8x10. You will thank me in a few years. Not having your portrait professionally framed will result in faded prints and photos stuck to the glass. Larger prints will also develop wrinkles and sag in the frame if not done right. Add this to your "want" list.
- Canvas Prints: This is a tough one. Because I love photos on canvas. However, I look at wedding photography as something we are documenting for display so that you can enjoy it for the next 50 years! Canvas will not last that long. Even when coated. Professionally frame prints will. So my advice on this is stick to professional framed prints. Canvas is nice for family portraits that expect to switch out off the wall every 5-10 years. I'd skip canvas unless its a gift for a family member.
- Prints to hand out to family: This one is tough. Because McMillen Photography also owns its own professional print lab and I want you to buy from us. But i'm also all about saving my clients money when it's the right thing to do. So it depends on your budget. You probably already noticed the print prices from your photographer or even us are higher than that a budget lab like Walmart. There's good reason. Without debating the quality of budget labs and professional labs you need to decide which prints should be professionally printed and which ones can simply be printed at walmart. Sometimes buying the rights to the images off your photographer and making your own prints makes sense. Sometimes it doesn't. Keep in mind the quality may not be close to the same. Especially as your prints get larger. Which may not matter much to you if you're simply passing out small prints. My personal rule of thumb, If it's an 8x10 or bigger have it printed by a professional lab or your photographer. For smaller 4x6 and 5x7 prints you may be able to save a few bucks and do it yourself.
- Digital images on CD with reprint rights: Most photographers now offer digital images on a CD or flash-drive either included in their packages or as an add-on for a fee. As a side note, all packages from McMillen Photography come with a CD with full reprint rights. No extra costs involved. Being able to store and backup your own wedding photos digitally is pretty much a must. I do understand there are still some photographers that refuse to sell or giveaway the digital images. That is a whole different conversation. I personally think times have changed, technology has changed, and what couples expect has changed. So we include them in all our packages at all price levels. Some photographers would disagree with me but I would put this really high on your "want" list.
- Full day coverage vs timed packages: At McMillen Photography we have flexible packages that suit just about everyone. We have small 3 hour packages for those only having a small ceremony and just need it captured along with some family formals and of course portraits of the bride and groom. Then of course we have full day packages that cover everything from getting ready all the way through to the reception. Which is right for you? That's something you will need to decide. But if you're having a ceremony and a reception you should really consider a full day package.
- Parent albums: Parent albums are something you will want to talk to your parents about. Typically it's an exact copy although smaller version of your wedding album. My advice is if it's important to you then add your parent albums to the initial contract so it's not forgotten about. If you wait until after the wedding you or your parents may forget to order one. Remember think ahead and plan now.
- 2 Photographers: Can a wedding be captured by one photographer? Of course. I do it all the time. But it's so much better with two. Less stress on the photographer being in two places at once. Less chance of having to recreate something that one photographer missed because he or she was photographing something else. Is this a "need"? Absolutely not but put it in your "want" list and see if it's in your budget. You wont be disappointed.
- Engagement portrait sessions: Check and see if your wedding package includes an engagement session. If not consider adding one on. Either way this is a great way for the two of you to get use having your picture taken together. Plus Its fun! At McMillen Photography we include a free engagement session in most packages. This will also give you some images to display at your wedding!
- Online gallery of images: Your photographer MUST offer some type of online gallery so that your friends and family can view the images. This one is simple, put this in your "NEED" list.
- Photo Booth Rentals: Some photographers also offer Photo Booth Rentals. Check and see if you get a discount for booking both. Our Photo Booth rentals at McMillen Photography are $799. See more details on Photo Booth Rentals here.
- Wedding Video: Some photographers also offer Wedding Video services. Same thing check and see if you get a discount for booking more than one service. McMillen Photography has Wedding Video package prices starting at $1200.
So how much should you spend on wedding photography?
Wide range of prices from wedding photographers
At McMillen Photography we are pretty much priced middle of the road. We photograph a lot of weddings every year and we are able to keep our package prices affordable and within range of most wedding budgets from $887 to $3885 and a few in between.
I hope this helped
Ben McMiilen is Professional Photographer and owner of McMillen Photography. If you have any questions at all please contact us.