Posts tagged Weddings
Ask A Pro: How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost in LA?

One of the most frequent questions I hear from couples, friends, and wedding industry professionals is “How much should I spend on a wedding photographer?”. Of course that’s a complicated question for just about anything. Just like if you were buying a car or a house or a phone, the answer depends on a few factors:

  • What are you looking to get?

  • How much does quality matter to you?

  • Are you willing to take risks?

  • Is the experience itself important?

And, maybe surprisingly, another key question:

  • Where do you live?

So I’m going to address all these questions, and then—I promise—give you a real number answer you can work with.

So let’s address that last factor first…

Why Where You Get Married Affects the Cost

If you’ve ever lived in a city, you may have looked at rent in the middle of farm country and thought: maybe I should pack up and get some chickens and move there! Because the difference in costs in unreal!

So how does this affect your wedding costs: unfortunately, the same way. Taxes, insurance rates, office expenses, business licenses, utilities, and advertising all can cost more in bigger cities. Not only is the cost of doing business greater, but there can be more competition and more demand, which can both affect a vendor’s costs.

For example, here are some big cities’ rates:

Depending on where you look, you may see higher or lower rates than these, but these were the ones I could find that appeared the most accurate.

So why not get married in the middle of nowhere? Well, big cities have a lot going for them: scenic locations, built-in infrastructure, accessible airports and transportation, available local hotels, more variety of vendor options. Cities also tend to have more convenient, ‘mid point’ locations for guests traveling to the wedding.

Why Different Photographers Have Different Prices

Okay, so you live in a big city and you’ve come to terms with that and are ready to start shopping around for photographers. But why is there still such a range?

Well…again, just like cars or cell phones, there are a lot of reasons why one may cost more than the other.

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The big factors in price tend to be…

EXPERIENCE

How long has the photographer been in business? Do they have a proven track record and portfolio? A more experienced photographer is usually a safer bet, will have more client reviews, and will tend to have a consistent style in their images. You can also expect an experienced photographer to be better at handling groups, sticking to schedules, and dealing with unexpected emergencies.

PRODUCTS

Are you looking for albums? Prints? These things will tend to cost more than a few digital files because they require up-front, physical costs.

SERVICES

Will you need two photographers? Do you want photo editing included? Will you need 6 hours or 8 hours? All of these things involve more time and expense on the photographer’s end. If you want your skin to look flawless or have to have getting ready photos, those will factor in to how much your package will be.

ARTISTRY

Some photographers specialize in a particular style or creative look. If a photographer is bringing their artistic vision to their photography, that will usually be reflected in a higher price. Less expensive photographers may have more of a ‘point and shoot’ approach, but creative photography tends to come with a price that fits the creative effort.

QUALITY

Higher prices tend to also reflect a higher level of quality all around. You’ll see this not just in photographic quality, but also in the quality of customer experience. More professional photographers tend to have a heavy emphasis on better communication, positive client experience, and a more polished approach from start to finish. You’ll also tend to see properly insured businesses and clear-cut written contracts at this level, which minimizes your risk.

↑ Prices = ↑ Value?

It’s important to note that while higher prices tend to reflect higher quality and lower prices tend to reflect lower quality, there will always be exceptions to the rule. Some expensive photographers produce sub-par photos and some cheap photographers can produce excellent work. Always look into reviews and a photographer’s portfolio, and meet with them if you can, before making any booking decisions. But just like you might question a $90 cell phone or a $1000 new car, it’s always best to assume if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

So How Much Should I Pay?

Okay, so here is my take (based on experience and my knowledge of the local market) for local LA prices. (Again…these will vary depending on where you live.)

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If you’re aiming for a typical photography package for an LA area wedding, you can expect to spend around $3500. For a wedding with under 100 guests, on an off-peak date, or under 6 hours, you can expect to spend less. For a wedding over 150 guests, on a holiday or holiday weekend, or over 10 hours, you can expect to spend more.

Luxury photographers in LA can charge $5,000 to $10,000, and even more. While their services may come with some incredible artistry and lots of added perks, you should know that these are luxury prices and you should expect a matching experience.

In Los Angeles I would be skeptical of any photographer charging under $2000 for a full wedding day. They should be willing to explain why their prices are too low.

The most important thing to remember: I believe in educating yourself on industry standards, because knowledge helps you make a good decision. But how you get along with a photographer and how much you like their work should be key factors in choosing one photographer over another. It’s important to set a realistic budget but once you’re looking at photographers in your range, make that final decision based on style and personality. Choose a photographer you feel comfortable with, whose photos you enjoy most, and you’ll thank yourself later.


PS. If you like my style and want to know my pricing, you can get my pricing guide by filling out this quick request form.

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HAVE A QUESTION THAT YOU’D LIKE ME TO ANSWER ON THE BLOG? EMAIL ME AT JADEELORAPHOTO+QA@GMAIL.COM .

Cat & Justin's Vibrant Murrieta Estate Wedding
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Cat and Justin had a gorgeous intimate wedding at a private estate in Murrieta, surrounded by local vineyards. Their red, black, and white color scheme worked perfectly with all the fresh greenery around.

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Isn’t this just perfect weather for a wedding? It was a pretty hot day but cooled a bit right around ceremony time. The bride’s brother served as their officiant. The guests and the bride and groom all made jokes and had a great sense of humor. At the end of the ceremony, they even gathered for a selfie at the altar.

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Since this was an earlier ceremony, there was a lot of intense sunlight, but it was a fun challenge to work with. The light hit my lens in such a way that many of the ceremony photos had rainbows in them! I could’ve edited them all out, but I kept some because I actually love the way they look!

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I love a good Southern California sunset! The pinks and purples were especially magical behind the poolside reception and string lights. An added SoCal bonus was that the comfortable weather lasted well into the evening!

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THEIR VENDOR TEAM

Photography: Jade Elora Photography
Venue: Casa de Companero, Murrieta, CA

The First 5 Things To Book When Planning a Wedding
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You’re ready to start wedding planning: Awesome! But now what?

Wedding planning can be a complicated web of to-dos, so here’s a basic list of where to get started and in what order.

1. Wedding Planner

Whether you’re looking for a full-service planner or a ‘day of coordinator’, you’re going to want to hire them first. Planners are key in providing recommendations and consulting on big decisions, and often can help you save money on the other vendors you hire. Most people start off planning thinking “I can do this myself” only to eventually realize (after a lot of unneeded stress and extra costs) that they really do need a planner. Make the smart call and hire the planner before anything else. You’ll get to truly take advantage of all the value a professional brings to the table.

2. Venue

For many couples the venue will be their biggest expense, so knowing what you’re spending is key to building an accurate budget. Details about the space will ultimately dictate other expenses, like whether or not you’ll need to account for furniture rentals, transportation, lighting, or portable restrooms. Venue availability will help narrow down your exact date, which most other vendors will require for booking. It also sets the tone for theme and décor decisions. Plus, since rental rates will likely increase over time, you’ll lock in the best rate by booking early.

3. Photographer

At this point, your next stop is the photographer. (Yay! Time to call me!) In-demand photographers can book up quickly, so if photography is important to you, you’ll want to book earlier over later. An added perk: If you’re planning on doing engagement photos, you can have them ready when you make your save the dates or set up your wedding website.

4. Caterer

Catering is usually the second biggest chunk of the wedding budget (next to venue), so it’s a good idea to start talking to caterers next. Knowing your budget for food is helpful because there are often unexpected costs in this category (ie.: kitchen and serving equipment, servers, generators, trash disposal, staff tips) Catering will help fill in some important logistics gaps (like whether or not you need a kitchen brought in to your venue).

5. Florist

It’s a good idea to consult your florist as you start envisioning theme, colors, and décor. Some flowers may be out of season or over budget, so if your vision centers on a particular look, you’ll want to know before you really commit. Knowing your floral plan will help you decide how to fill in the rest of the décor.

 
Wonder Woman–Themed Elopement in Santa Barbara
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This Wonder Woman themed elopement was a comic book lover's dream! Audrey and Cody are just the cutest couple and she totally rocked her Wonder Woman look. Everything from her dress to their color palette to the rings was breathtaking, and the setting amongst ruins deep in the hills of Santa Barbara just brought it to another level.

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I love how this ring is so reminiscent of the original Wonder Woman's crown.

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Their intimate couple's picnic was set like an elaborate feast fit for gods and goddesses.

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This cake featured a gold "crown" inspired by Wonder Woman's crown in the latest movie iteration.

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I am downright obsessed with this bouquet from The Flower Shop!

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The sun was coming through the clouds in the most gorgeous way, as though the heavens were shining down.

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A vintage gold headband and gold geometric cuffs gave a subtle nod to Wonder Woman's costume and famous bullet-proof armor. So of course we had to get a shot with her most well known pose! (Little secret: Her "powers" in this photo are actually an effect done in real life, not in Photoshop! Any guesses as to how I did it?)

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Seriously, how cute are these two?

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CREDITS

Photography: Jade Elora Photography
Styling / Planning: Fandom Affairs
Cake / Cupcakes: Sugar Studio
Florist: The Flower Shop
Hair / Makeup: Absolutely Fabulous Glamour Studio
Dress Store: Adina's Bridal
Groom's Suit: Friar Tux
Rings: Princess Jewelers
Couple: Audrey Gloger, Cody Gigold

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