What do I need to know before booking a photographer?— A Q&A with yours truly

by Tonya Wright

Grab your favorite snack and buckle up. It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and answer all your most asked photography questions, so that you know what to expect when looking for a photographer for your wedding or elopement!

💰 What’s the damage to my wallet?

Let’s cut to the chase, weddings and elopement shoots usually average between $2000 and $3000. That’s including the 4-6 hours your photographer will spend onsite, plus all the work that goes into the editing process. A solid rule of thumb? Allocate between 10%- 15% of your total budget towards a photographer. Your future self will thank you for investing in something more lasting than that fleeting bouquet toss.

Want to know more? check out my Wedding Investment Guide.

🔒 When should I lock it in?

I recommend booking anywhere between 6 and 9 months ahead so you can for sure get your date. Don’t forget to have a rough plan for your big day figured out before you book! You know, like your venue, a date, and some sense of how the day is going to roll.

☎️ Should I ask for references?

 Don’t be shy, always ask your photographer for references and dive into their experience. This simple step can save you from headaches and future hassle. If you don’t know where to start, check out my guide for finding the perfect photographer.

⏳ How long should it take to get my photos?

Patience is a virtue, my friends. Expect a link in about 3-4 weeks on average. Peak wedding season can lengthen that time frame, but most photographers, myself included, offer Rush Editing (3 day rush editing, whaattt?) and Sneak Peeks for an additional fee. 

📸 Quantity vs. Quality- How many pictures will I receive?

Image count isn’t fixed and varies based on factors like weather, lighting, distractions (busy locations), and client involvement. Who needs 800 files clogging up their storage anyways? Quality over quantity, always. Plan for around 50 images per hour of shooting. 

📦 How do I get my files?

Final edited files are provided digitally via an online proof gallery. When your photos are ready, you’ll be sent access instructions and be able to download or order prints

🥩 Why don’t I get RAW files?

Sorry, but RAW files are a no-go. It’s like asking a chef for raw ingredients instead of a gourmet meal. Let’s stick to the delicious end product, shall we?

💐 What should I expect to be included in wedding packages?

Expect 4-6 Hours of wedding bliss, capturing everything from the ‘getting ready’ moments to the dance floor specials. Your photographer or wedding planner will usually pull you and your immediate family aside for some sweet family photos. Some photographers (myself included) will offer to do shots of the bride and groom with extended family for an additional fee.

I also offer a content creation add-on for all you insta-baddies. Meaning we can get you a second photographer, skilled in making badass reels and/or tik toks for your following, to either be posted throughout your special day or to be saved for whatever your content creation schedule may be.

Click here to see all of my available packages from simple to sublime.

💸 What if I love your work but you’re out of my budget?

I’m always willing to talk about how we can work together to make your dreams a reality. Sometimes that can be as simple as booking for a partial package or shaking up the wedding day calendar. Let’s find a groove that leaves us both grinning.

There you have it, unfiltered and straight from the lens. Always double check with your photographer on their package specifics. Mine can be found in my investment guide. Don’t be afraid to drop me a line if you have any more questions on my availability or work scope. Let’s transform your special day into a visual symphony!

Meet the Author

Tonya Wright is a wedding and elopement photographer based in the greater Portland Oregon area – and wherever her passion for photography takes her.

Her photography focuses on authenticity and genuine emotion, steering clear of clichés and awkward poses. To her, when you’re grooving in your comfort zone, with the people you love, doing what you love, everything clicks.

You can follow Tonya on Instagram at @nestandlove