Engagement photography allows recently engaged couples to announce and memorialize their engagement. Engagement photography shoots typically take one or two hours and can be indoors, outdoors or in a studio. Couples often request a specific photo style such as traditional or classic, candid, artistic, natural or environmental, or high fashion. Photographers can usually deliver the final files on a CD or DVD, using an online gallery or as physical prints. Customers can purchase prints from an online gallery, a physical album or some combination thereof. Several factors affect the cost of engagement photography.
Many photographers set a specific amount of time for engagement photo shoots. Some photographers charge an additional fee if the shoot goes over the specified time period, while others don’t. For example, Pickle Pie Photo in Chappaqua, New York, does not charge extra as long as the shoot stays under two hours. The majority of the time and work for an engagement photo package is spent in post-production perfecting the photos, so a little extra time during the photo shoot doesn’t make a huge difference.
Most photographers charge a flat rate for engagement photo packages, which include a set amount of shoot time, a minimum number of retouched photos and sometimes a designated number of outfit changes or photo shoot locations. Here are two package pricing examples:
Pickle Pie Photo: $225
One- to two-hour photo shoot in one location and one outfit change, as time allows
30–60 high-resolution photos, depending on how many quality photos were captured
Retouching services to fine tune exposure and perform portrait touch-ups such as skin smoothing, whitening of teeth and brightening of eyes
- Full access to the image files, so clients can print and download as desired
One-hour photo shoot in one location with one outfit change
Approximately 30 high-resolution final photos, culled from 300–600 images taken during the shoot
Retouching services, including editing for color and white balance along with removing any light blemishes, etc.
Full access to image files, so clients can print and download as desired.
- Option to add another hour of shooting and approximately 30 additional final photos for $400 more.
Photographers in cities and areas with a higher cost of living generally charge more than those in smaller towns or regions with a lower cost of living.
The total cost of engagement photos can be affected by what kind of access the client has to the final photos. Many photographers include a set amount of photos in their flat rate to which the client has unrestricted online access. This means the client can download, print and share as desired. However, some photographers may stipulate that clients must pay a fee per photo for downloading. Some contracts require that the prints must be made by the photographer. Read contracts carefully to determine what is best for your needs.
Photographers with a famous brand or high-profile body of work often have higher rates than other photographers because there is more competition for their time.
Clients may be able to negotiate lower prices by compromising with their photographer on the final image deliverables. Typically, the most work for the photographer is in post-production when they are culling through and editing the images. Pickle Pie Photo will negotiate pricing somewhat if clients will accept fewer final images and limit shooting to under one hour.