Recently, I was searching Google for “wedding photographer Ottawa” and Google prompted me with suggested questions after the first few results. You know the suggestions I’m talking about? They’re usually really helpful. The ones that it suggested for me were:
“How much does a wedding photographer cost Ottawa?” and “What is a reasonable amount to spend on a wedding photographer?” and a few other questions related to the cost of a wedding photographer.
These suggestions were not surprising to me since there are very few couples out there planning a wedding and looking for a photographer for whom cost is no factor at all. Of course you want to know how much is typical to spend on your wedding photography so you know you’re not getting played and you can recognize a red flag when you see one.
So it wasn’t the questions themselves that surprised me, it was the answers I was finding. One said that you could find a 12 hour package for anywhere from $1200-$3000. Another said the average cost is $2000. As a wedding photographer, I do not believe these numbers paint an accurate picture. I’m writing this article in hopes that couples who make that same wedding photographer Ottawa search find this answer instead of the others. This way they can avoid being blindsided upon reaching out to their favourite photographers.
I have done plenty of pricing research since I started photographing weddings over 10 years ago, and this year when I was maid of honour for my sister in law’s wedding, I did even more research to find her a photographer for their budget.
Let me tell you, $1200 for 12 hours of coverage is not typical. Even $3000 for 12 hours is low, but the answers are insinuating that number to be on the higher end of things. Now, you can probably find these prices somewhere and you are more than welcome to look. I want to caution you, though, that if a photographer is charging less then $5000 for a 12 hour day, you will be compromising something.
That might be very slow or poor customer service. Maybe that’s getting your images months late or never at all. It might be the lack of quality and professionalism of their service on the day of, or worse yet, poor quality of product. It could be that they don’t have any experience, or perhaps never invested in a backup system. Consider the peace of mind that comes with hiring a professional and what value that would have on your wedding day.
How Much Does a Wedding Photographer Cost Ottawa
To get back to the question at hand — how much does a wedding photographer cost in Ottawa? A reasonable average for a good quality wedding photographer in Ottawa is anywhere between $4000 and $10,000 for a typical 8-10 hour day of coverage. In a year or two, inflation will likely force this number to increase, so take that in mind if you’re reading this post later than 2023.
Before you throw your hands up and ask a friend to take photos at your wedding instead of hiring a professional to save costs, I want to encourage you to consider the value they bring. Why do we charge as much as we charge?
Peace of Mind
I mentioned before that hiring a professional you know you can trust brings peace of mind. On a day that you are hosting likely the biggest event of your life, you will want to off-load as many logistics to others as possible. You don’t want to be spending every other minute putting out a fire or answering a question and unable to be present with and celebrate with your friends and family.
Knowing the day will be documented by a professional who knows what to look for and who will guide and direct you when you need it takes a large burden off your shoulders. (Also, the value of hiring a wedding planner to help with this cannot be overstated.)
Time & Experience
Consider the amount of time and experience that a professional wedding photographer puts into their job. A good photographer will have several years of experience behind them, likely some kind of training that they have paid for, and a lot of expenses that come along with running a business. It’s also important to keep in mind that when they charge you $5000, their take-home pay after taxes and expenses will likely be around $3000.
I purchased a home last year and we hired a lawyer to write up the agreement of sale for us and make the sale official. For just a few minutes of her time, it cost us $750. I didn’t bat an eye at that price because I knew it didn’t only take her a few minutes to do that for me. It took her many years of training, experience, and getting qualified. It is the same for your photographer. They have trained and studied to be able to do what they do with ease and professionalism and there is no question in my mind that they deserve to charge what they do.
Now that you understand the average cost of a wedding photographer in Ottawa, I suggest considering the style of photographer you would like to have capture your wedding. There are a lot of different styles out there — both when it comes to the way they shoot on the wedding day as well as the style of editing they apply to the images afterwards. If you’d like to learn about my two favourite approaches to photographing the wedding day (editorial and documentary), you can find them below: