Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing Guide – What to Expect to Spend

Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing Guide by Rayna McGinnis
Bride and Groom at the Church Ranch Event Center.

You’re engaged, planning a wedding and you find yourself in the same predicament as most couples do. You’re wondering what on earth Colorado Wedding Photography costs. You’ve probably heard the 10% of your total wedding budget argument, and that is a good place to start.

But to be honest, it depends on how important wedding photos are, how big (or little) your budget is and what you want included in your package. Which is why I’m writing this Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing Guide. It’ll help to give you a better idea of what your options will be and what you can expect to spend on them.

Colorado Wedding Pricing:

Let’s start with the cost of a wedding in Colorado. You’ll find numbers ranging everywhere from less than $10,000 to well over $30,000. One study showed that while 40% of couples spend below $10,000, 15% spend more than $30,000 and the other 50% are right between the two.  Depending on how the math is done, I’ve seen averages of $27,000 and $29,000, which are right on par with the national average of $28,671 in 2014

Colorado is kind of cool though, in that it is a huge elopement spot, and many bride and grooms who don’t want to elope are still opting for smaller, more intimate weddings. My husband and I had a wedding budget of just $5,000 and a guest list of 30 people.

Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing:

Now, about wedding photography, based on the standard 10% rule, that puts your wedding photography budget between $1,000 and $3,000. I can tell you right now that if you want 8 hours of coverage, or an album, that 10% just isn’t going to work.  In Denver, Colorado the average cost of wedding photography is $2,500.00. But that number includes elopement photography, which usually includes about two hours of coverage and costs significantly less than 8 hours of coverage.

According to costofwedding.com, in Colorado you can expect to pay between $2,423 and $3,230 for experienced professionals. That’s just for the coverage and doesn’t include things like digital files, an album or canvas prints. According to Custom Weddings of Colorado, you can expect to pay a minimum of $1200 and a high end of $10,000 with the average couple spending around $4000.00. That’s a little bit higher than the other states, but I think it’s more accurate.

Here’s a breakdown on what wedding add ons might cost (keep in mind these prices can vary widely depending on the vendor):

  • Engagement Session – $614-$818
  • DVD or USB drive of Images* – $474 – $632
  • Prints – $171-$285
  • Wedding Album ($656-$874)*

*I find these numbers to be very low compared to what I’ve seen in the industry. I believe that these prices were reported incorrectly because couples were not aware of the a la cart value of each item in their wedding package. They may assume that they paid $0.00 for a USB Drive because it was included in the package.

So if you’re looking for 8 hours of coverage, an engagement session and a USB drive with images, you should expect to spend $2800 on the photography, $700 on the engagement session and $550 on the USB Drive. That gives you a total of about $4050, which is closer to 15% of your total wedding budget.

Now, if you’re like me and you’re having a very small wedding, there is no reason for you to hire a photographer for 8 hours. I actually hired mine for three, for a total of $1500 and our session included a digital download. It’s important to keep in mind that if you have a smaller budget, and you value photos, then your photographer is going to be a significant part of your budget. For instance, my budget was $5000, had I spent 10% on my photographer, or even 15%, I would have paid a whooping $750 for my wedding photographer. That sounds great and all, but I can almost guarantee that the inexperienced wedding photographer who would have happily agreed to shoot my wedding for that price would have delivered sub par wedding photos. What is the point of investing $750 into crappy wedding photos? There isn’t one.

In the end, I spent 30% of my wedding budget on my photographer, and in return got my three hours of amazing coverage and 250 photos that I fall in love with every time I look through them. Worth it.

Anyways, back to wedding photography. Here’s a two charts to help you in your decision making processes.  I think they are reasonable estimates for what you should expect to pay. Keep in mind that the “Most important” category is just a minimum, as these couples truly want to find a photographer that they can connect with and their budget is not usually factor.

Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing Guide based on Budget:

This chart will give you an idea of what you should be expecting to pay, based on your budget and how  much you value wedding photography. I personally would take this chart and then compare it to the next chart, to get an idea of what you can afford based on that budget. This will give you more realistic expectations.

 

VALUE SCALE

Budget

Not That Important

Somewhat Important Very Important

Most Important

$5,000

<$500

$500-$750 $1000-$1250

$1250+

$10,000

<$1000

$1000-$1500 $2000-$2500

$2500+

$15,000

<$1500

$1500-$2250 $3000-$3750

$3750+

$20,000

<$2000

$2000-$3000 $4000-$5000

$5000+

$25,000

<$2500

$2500-$3750 $5000-$6250

$6250+

$30,000

<$3000

$3000-$4500 $6000-$7500

$7500+

$40,000

<$4000

$4000-$6000 $8000-$9000

$9000+

$50,000

<$5000

$5000-$7500 $10000-$12500

$12500+

$75,000

<$7500

$7500-$11250 $13500-$18750

$18750+

Colorado Wedding Photography Pricing Guide based on Value:

This chart will give you an idea of what you should be ready to pay, depending on what you want and how much you value wedding photography.

VALUE SCALE
Packages Not That Important Somewhat Important Very Important Most Important
Elopement w/ digitals $800-$900 $1000-$1200 $1200-$1500 $1500+
Elopement w/ with album $1000-$1200 $1200-$1500 $1500-$1800 $1800+
2-3 hours w/ digitals $1200-$1600 $1600-$1900 $1900-$2200 $2200+
2-3 hours w/ digitals and engagement $1600-$1800 $1800-$2100 $2100-$2400 $2400+
2-3 hours w/  album $1800-$2000 $2000-$2300 $2300-$2600 $2600+
2-3 hours w/ album and engagement $2300-$2500 $2500-$2800 $2800-$3100 $3100+
4-5 hours w/ digitals $1950-$2150 $2150-$2350 $2350-$2650 $2650+
4-5 hours w/ digital and engagement $2350-$2550 $2550-$2850 $2850-$3150 $3150+
4-5 hours w/ album $2550-$2750 $2750-$3050 $3050-$3350 $3350+
4-5 hours w/ album and engagement $3150-$3350 $3350-$3650 $3650-$3950 $3950+
6-7 hours w/ digitals $2650-$2850 $2850-$3150 $3150-$3450 $3450+
6-7 hours w/ digital and engagement $2950-$3150 $3150-$3450 $3450-$3750 $3750+
6-7 hours w/ album $3150-$3350 $3350-$3650 $3650-$3950 $3950+
6-7 hours w/ album and engagement $3650-$3950 $3950-$4250 $4250-$4550 $4550+
8+ hours w/ digitals $3300-$3500 $3500-$3800 $3800-$4100 $4100+
8+ hours w/ digital and engagement $3700-$3900 $3900-$4200 $4200-$4500 $4500+
8+ hours w/ album $3900-$4100 $4100-$4400 $4400-$4700 $4700+
8+ hours w/ album and engagement $4400-$4600 $4600-$4900 $4900-$5300 $5300+

 

Colorado-Wedding-Photography-Pricing-Guide-Steph-Cassell
Couple’s photos at the Lionsgate Event Center

Sources:

http://archive.9news.com/news/article/364048/188/QUESTION-How-should-wedding-costs-be-cut

http://www.weddingstats.org/average-cost-of-a-wedding.html

http://www.costofwedding.com/index.cfm/action/search.weddingcost/zipcode/80202/item/81/item_name/Wedding_Photographer

http://www.customweddingsofcolorado.com/f/Colo_wedding_prices.pdf