How much does an engagement photographer cost?
The average cost for an engagement photographer ranges from under $200 to $275 or more nationally. Depending on a number of factors, the entire engagement photography package can cost as little as $100, and up to $500 or more. The price varies depending on:
- whether the photographer travels to meet you for the photoshoot
- the length of the photography session
- the style of the photos
- whether the shoot takes place in more than one location
- whether there's a second shooter or not
- how many times you change clothes
- the number of photos you get
- the format in which the photos are delivered
- whether you get printing rights for the engagement photos
If you plan to capture a shot of you actually proposing, engagement ring, bent knee and all, expect to spend as much as double the cost of a standard engagement. This is because a session like this is considered event photography. It requires more planning and has a limited window of time to get the perfect shot, so it's considered an add-on cost.
Overall though, engagement pictures are more informal and spontaneous than wedding photos. Not only do you get great shots to use on your save-the-dates, wedding website or decorations on your big day, it's also an affordable way to test out a potential wedding photographer before you commit to a wedding package.
But regardless of if you want a shot of you popping the question, or a personality-filled photoshoot of you and your love's excitement to share with your family and friends, this is a time to showcase your individual personalities, couple quirks and unique love story. So it's worth the effort to find a photographer you like and trust to capture your unique style.
What's in this cost guide?
- What's included in the engagement photo package cost?
- What are the most common styles of engagement photos?
- Where are engagement photos usually shot?
- How many outfit changes do you get in an engagement photo session?
- How many photos do you get in an engagement photo session?
- How will the engagement photographer deliver my photos?
- What are ways to save money on engagement photography?
Many photographers offer engagement photo packages for a set price, which include a number of photography services. These packages typically include a set number of hours and locations during the shot, and post-production services like photo touch-ups and an online gallery with a pre-determined number of photos.
Here are some engagement session pricing examples:
Cathy Quarles Photography in Kansas City: $199
- 30 minutes of shooting
- One location
- Online gallery of about 35 images with an in-person ordering session
- Ability to choose 10 high-resolution images to be delivered electronically with print release
Keira Davis Photography in Atlanta: $300
- 1 to 1.5 hours of shooting
- Multiple outfit changes if desired
- Online gallery of about 50-60 photos
- Image editing
Before you hire a photographer or business, you should be able to get a quote on your package so you know how much you'll expect to spend.
Engagement photos may be candid, a posed portrait or a combination of both. An engagement photographer usually will talk with the couple, try to make them comfortable and suggest ways for them to interact to create the desired photos.
Some photographers offer journalistic style engagement photos, where the couple do one or more activities while the he or she stands back and captures the shots as the couple interacts spontaneously.
After you have booked your photographer, they will usually ask you to pick between one and three locations with a special meaning in your relationship. The best spots will be personal to you. Some ideas on where to photograph you and your fiancé include:
- the street where you met
- the art museum you strolled through on your first date
- the bridge where your fiancé proposed
- the park where you go hiking together with your dog every weekend at sunset
Most engagement photographers offer between one and three locations, and you might have to pay extra if you want more changes of scenery. Also, engagement photos may cost extra if you want your photos done in a studio and not outdoors. For example, Cathy Quarles Photography adds a $25 fee for a studio shoot.
Engagement photographers may allow one or more outfit changes during the shoot, and some let you change clothes as many times as you want at no extra cost. For example, Alyssa Lisac Photography in Portland, Oregon, includes unlimited outfit changes with engagement packages.
Some photographers suggest couples wear one casual outfit and bring a dressier change of clothes, or vice versa, so you'll have options during your shoot.
Not sure what to wear for engagement photos? Most photographers recommend you leave the matching outfits at home and instead coordinate on color and style. Try to pick clothes that express each of your individual personalities and style, while still working together. But let's face it, we all already know you both look good together.
At the end of the session, the engagement photographer will give you a set number of photos, about 30 to 60 on average. If you want more, you'll end up paying more since you might need to schedule a longer photoshoot, and your photographer will need to spend more time photo-editing. If you're not happy with the number of photos included in your package, be sure to negotiate an additional cost ahead of time.
These days, most engagement photographers will deliver your photos as a digital album or file. Some photographers include printing rights for a limited number of photos from your album. Other photographers include a few prints as part of the total engagement photos pricing, or offer it as an add-on option.
It's a good idea to think ahead of time about how you plan to use the photos. If you're only going to share online, digital files may work fine. But if you plan to use the photos on your save-the-date cards or wedding invitations, you'll need printing rights and appropriately sized files.
Also be sure to ask how long it will take for your photographer to finish and send you the finalized images. You may not receive your shots until several weeks after your photoshoot -- after all, they have to retouch them and make sure you and your fiancé look amazing. If your photographer doesn't state a timeframe upfront, be sure to ask, especially if you're depending on them for another timely step in the wedding planning process.
What are ways to save money on engagement photography?
You can save money on your engagement photos by hiring the same photographer on your wedding day for a bundled cost. In fact, some photographers will add an engagement session at no extra charge if you hire them for your big day. For example, Alyssa Lisac Photography includes an engagement photo session as part of their wedding photography packages.