weddings by lee



DC, va, md and the world over




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I love photographing weddings and capturing the raw emotions of the day. I not only shoot in the D.C. area but love a good destination wedding. I hope my journal inspires you. 

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Average Cost Of A Wedding Photographer

Average Cost Of A Wedding Photographer

I’m so happy you stopped by for more information on the average cost of a wedding photographer.


The average cost of a wedding photographer is affected by so many factors. So, to help out, I have a wedding photographer calculator that will shed some light on this, oh so important decision.

After playing around with the calculator, please read through the blog, as I go into detail on the factors which will affect on how much you will spend on a wedding photographer.




Average Cost of A Wedding Photographer Calculator


*Note these are averages and don’t account for packages deals and location.


So let’s dive in. The 4 key categories that with affect the average cost for a wedding photographer are:

  1. Photographer’s Experience
  2. Engagement Session
  3. 2nd Photographer
  4. Album Quality

Photographer’s Experience

Weddings by Lee Photography studio

DC Wedding Photographer Lee Hickman


This is the category that will effect your cost the most.

Newbie: Well the name should say it all. These photographers are just starting out and should not be conducting a wedding on their own. As a result, they should be working under a “Professional Photographer” until they are comfortable enough to move up to “Amateur” status. (0-20 weddings)

Amateur: These photographers still have a full time job, usually not related to wedding photography. Nick name, Weekend Warrior. They also are just starting out, may have some photography education and still shooting as a second photographer while trying to grow their own studio. (20-75 weddings)

Professional: Now you are getting a photographer who has worked several years fine tuning their skills. They most likely went to college or a trade school for photography. Wedding photography is their only job and has a studio and the most up-to-date gear but most importantly, has insurance. They will offer a variety of products from albums, wall prints and gifts for family and friends. They will be in contact with you throughout the planning process and help you develop the perfect wedding day photo timeline. (100 plus weddings)

Luxury: Ok, now you are going to be pampered. They are everything listed as a “Professional” and then some. These photographers are creative. Use the best gear and can shoot in any situation . They usual have additional full time staff, including photographers. They will make any of your dreams come true, as long as you have an endless bank account. Want a hot-air-ballon ride for an engagement session with a champagne and cheese picnic, they will make it happen. (200 plus weddings)


Engagement Session


Washington, DC Engagement Session

This will affect the average cost of a wedding photographer from $100-$800, depending on the experience of your photographer. What was once, a single image of a couple in the announcement section of  a news paper. Has now, turned into a photo session of fun. Before your big day, engagement sessions are a great way to get comfortable with your photographer. Also if you are a little shy or think you never look good in a photo, engagement session are a great way to build up your confidence.

Basic: These are usually 1 hour with no outfit change and a limited number of images. Due to time restraints ,you will also be limited to 1 location .

Most Popular: Get ready for a day of fun. With a 2.5 hour session you will have plenty of time to get photos you are hoping for. You will also be able to shoot in multiple locations and outfit changes.

Luxury: Now, if you like to be pampered, this is the session for you. Here, the photographer plans for a truly  unique and personalized experience. A few things your photographer might offer are outfit consultation, snacks and drinks during the session, and an album to show off  your photos.


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2nd Photographer


Wedding With 2 Photographers


Not all 2nd photographers are equal. Some are just starting out, some are professional 2nd photographers and some are Amateur to Professional wedding photographers filling their calendar when they are not shooting their own weddings.  This is one of the biggest struggles I see my couples go through when choosing a photo package for their wedding day. There is no right or wrong answer but there are a few things to think about when trying to decide.

  1. Lots Of Candids: If you want most of your images to be candid moments you will need a second photographer. Although I do capture those moments, a lot of guest see me coming their way and recognize me as the photographer. As a result, they stop doing whatever they are doing.
  2. 2 Places At Once: Your photographer can’t be in two place at once. So if you are getting ready far apart you will need two. If you want cocktail hour photographed, you will need 2. As this is when your photographer is taking bridal party and family portraits.
  3. Procession: If you want your partners reaction seeing you for the 1st time as you walk down the aisle while photographing you walking down, you will need 2 photographers.
  4. Peace Of Mind: This is the biggest fear for my couples. Even after shooting over 300 weddings and never missing a date. No one can predict the future. Most couples like to know, that if I get hit by a truck on the way to their wedding, my 2nd photographer can step in and conduct it as their own. This gets back to, what kind of 2nd shooter does your photographer work with? A 2nd photographer that is Free or just starting out would not have to experience to take on that roll.

Album Quality


Album quality will play a big role on your average cost of a wedding photographer. Once the wedding is over and you are back from your honeymoon, it’s time to dive into your wedding album. Some photographers will encourage your input on image selection and design. While others will deliver you a finished product so you see the album for the 1st time as a finished product. With so many options it is easy to go down the proverbial rabbit hole.

  • Page Thickness
  • Cover Material (cloth, leather, glass, ect…)
  • Number Of Pages
  • Box (storage of album)
  • Design Elements (engraving, etching, branding, embossing, ect…)

“After all this make sure you see examples of albums the photographer offers, as they come in all shapes and sizes. Most photographers only work with a couple companies, so make sure you like the albums before you book your photographer”.


I only take on a limited number of weddings each year, in order to give my clients an unforgettable experience. I would love to chat with you about your wedding and  get to know you both. Listed below are a few more articles that can help in your planning.


21 Best Honeymoon Destinations for 2021…nations-for-2021/ ‎

How to prepare your skin for your wedding day

Do I really need a 2nd photographer?

Happy Planning!!!




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