Toronto Wedding Photography Prices
What is the average price of wedding photography in Toronto? What is the average photography package couples buy in Toronto and in Canada? Find the answer to this question and more below.
Table 1: How Much do Wedding Photographers Charge in Toronto?
|All This Happiness||$4,600||http://www.allthishappiness.com/|
|Beautiful Life Studios||$3,000||https://beautifullifestudios.com/|
|Captivate Photo Cinema||$2,600||https://captivatephotocinema.ca/|
|Just Klik Production||$2,400||https://www.justklikproductions.com/|
|Photography by Calin||$2,999||https://www.bycalin.com/|
|Sage and Sea Co.||$4,000||https://www.sageandseaco.com/|
|Samantha Ong Photography||$3,499||https://samanthaongphoto.com/|
|John and Samantha||$4,875||http://johnandsamantha.ca/|
|Brandon James Gordon||$2,800||https://brandonjamesgordon.com/|
Chart1: Distribution of Wedding Photography Prices in the Greater Toronto Area
How Did We Calculate the Average?
In Toronto, everyone is a wedding photographer! As the industry is not regulated, if you have $1,000 you can go to Costco, buy a camera and you are in business! However, it is not that type of photographers we looked at.
We looked at the Top Toronto studios or individual professional photographers to determine their average fees and their distribution. The chart below clearly shows that 33% of the studios researched in Toronto charge around $4,000.
Please note that destination wedding photographers will build custom packages or offer a la carte options based on the travel and shooting time.
We only looked at wedding photography pricing not at photo booth or wedding videography services. If any bride and groom desire such services, please let us know and we will prepare an analysis.
Factors Impacting Pricing
If you analyse pricing quotes from different photographers, you will notice huge pricing differences. Why such a wide range of price points? What variables impact the average photography price?
The most important factors that influence wedding photography costs are: coverage length (time), number of shooters, products included in the collection. In addition, brand name, experience and marketing skills play a crucial role in the amount charged.
Number of Hours of Photography
Time is a direct cost for the artist and the more time a bride requires, the more expensive it gets. If a couple needs coverage after midnight or the event is outside the photographer's area, chances are the she can not book another gig the following day, so the couple might have to pay extra.
On average, packages include 8-10 hours of photography. Do you want a lot of reception images? You might have to buy extra hours and that doesn't come cheap.
Preferably, you could schedule the main events (cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss) immediately after dinner and let your photographers go one hour into the dances. Most dancing shots are repetitive so you won't miss much.
Number of Photographers
Having multiple shooters document your big day has its advantages: you will get a large diversity of shots captured from various angles, you will have multiple artists with different interpretations of your wedding day, etc.
However, additional shooters cost extra. A second photographer will cost you another $500 but gives you a good ROI and in my opinion is worth the money.
Skills, Experience and Brand Name
Experience and skill, fame and brand name go hand in hand. It is almost self explanatory that well-known artists are in high demand so they charge above market rates for their services. Newbies often shoot for free so if you have a small budget, you might want to explore that option.
Please note that the results might vary.
The artist who is established has a solid customer and referral base and built a network of industry professionals will definitely charge more than the newbie. He will most definitely receive more inquiries than a new entrant in this industry.
Newbies do not have a portfolio to show. As such, they receive a very limited number of inquiries so they have to compete on price to convince the potential clients to book them. After all, the price is determined by the supply and demand. As the demand for a beginner artist is almost non-existent, the price is also low.
Marketing and Branding Acumen
One of the factors that influences fees is the marketing abilities of a studio. The better an artist is at marketing her business, the higher the fees she can command.
If the artist is able to build a distinct brand, that will allow her to charge a premium price. Truth be told, it is very hard for a photographer to develop a distinct style as most cameras take the same photos and everyone has access to the same post-processing techniques. In the age of the internet, one can emulate a look in minutes by buying a preset.
Here is why Marketing is extremely important. Being active on social media, advertising on the channels with the highest impact is crucial for the photographer to be able to raise prices.
This applies mostly to artists who bundle their travel costs into the packages offered. Please note that some companies do not charge travel fees, especially if your reception takes place in a place on their bucket list.
Your wedding's geographical location will affect the cash amount you will spend on your portraits. Getting married in a remote town? You can find an affordable local photographer who will give you a great deal.
Tying the knot in downtown Toronto? You will spend more on photography. For money saving tips, check our Best Wedding Budget Tips.
Photographers' locations. You can find more affordable photographers outside of Toronto downtown core where rents are prohibitive. A photographer operating from home incurs lower costs so you will save money and get a better deal.
Additional photo albums and engagement sessions will increase the amount spent on photography. An album sells for over $500-$1000 and represents a large percentage of your average photography package.
An engagement session will set you back over $500-$1,000. Also, canvases, metallic prints, etc are unique products created for you and they are not cheap.
Do you want large prints? Professional photo labs are quite pricey. If your wedding pictures are a big deal for you, pay for professional prints. Couples on a budget can try inexpensive labs like Shutterfly.
Is editing and retouching of wedding pics included or you have to pay extra? How much more?
Most photographers process wedding pictures themselves while others outsource to cheap shops abroad. The cost of processing is an important driver in the total price brides pay.
Printed products are expensive and if you love that Italian leather bound album, you will have to pay a premium. As the traditional printing industry is in a rapid decline, there are more modern products available but they come at a higher price tag. Nowadays the brides and grooms can opt for canvases, large prints or even metallic prints that will cost a few hundred dollars for a 20"x30" print.
Advertising on print media is extremely costly and that cost is built in the packages. Even online blogs and magazines are not cheap.
Do you see a studio's ads in luxury wedding magazines or met them at premium wedding shows? Their packages are probably overpriced.
Each studio's cost structure is one of the main factors that impact the price tag. Rent is prohibitive in downtown Toronto, so if you chose to book one of the downtown studios, you need to realize that you and the other clients pay that $10,000 studio rent.
If you have the budget, by all means, hire one of the prestigious studios in the Greater Toronto Area. However, if you are on a tight budget, you might want to book an independent artist working in her basement who will deliver the same high-quality photographs at a fraction of the cost.
Another variable driving photographers costs is the equipment used. Some photographers use very expensive equipment and charge for it.
Affordable Wedding Photography
Despite the raising costs, the competition in the GTA is so intense that prices have remained flat for the last 3-4 years since we started tracking them. Besides the full time photographers you can find "weekend warriors" who charge even less than a full timer.
Calculating the Average Price of Wedding Photography in Toronto
As of 2017, according to WeddingBells, the average wedding in Canada costs $26,000.
According to this Financial Post article, in Toronto, it is common for couples to spend, on average, over $40,000 on their
wedding. Interestingly, most couples surveyed by BMO, underestimated their wedding budget by 50%.
The amount couples are spending these days on their wedding is significantly higher than $11,000, the amount paid in the '80s adjusted for inflation.
Even more important, the more couples spend on their wedding, the less happy they are afterwards. They can not afford a house in good neighbourhoods, so their children attend low-quality schools, which impacts their future.
Today, the recommended amount clients are expected to pay for photography is about 10% of the wedding budget. It follows that in 2018, the average wedding photography price in Toronto is $4,500 (including HST).
That is consistent with our Prices Survey of over 50 studios in the GTA. In Canada, wedding photographers charge on average $2,500 and $3500.
Generally, packages include a photo album, two wedding photographers and 8-10 hours of photography. That would provide coverage for the bride preparation, ceremony and wedding reception.
Some brides may spend a higher amount on their wedding images if photography is a big deal for them and are looking for famous photographers to document their wedding day.
Couples who want to spend less on photography will choose more budget friendly packages that include less time or no wedding albums.
Finally, clients on a budget could only hire a professional photographer to document the bride and groom's preparation and wedding ceremony then ask guests to snap some pictures during the reception.
Distribution of Prices in the GTA
There is more to the picture than the average price. The distribution of prices gives you a clearer picture of the amount you can expect to pay.
As per Table 1 below, in Toronto, 66% of studios researched charge between $3,000 and $4,000 for a package that includes 10 hours of photography and a photo album.
That is consistent with the average cost calculated as a 10% of the average wedding budget.
Table1: Average Cost of a 10 hour package including two photographers and one album.
|Cost||Number of Studios||% of Studios|
Average Toronto Wedding Packages
The price intervals are calculated considering a 10h coverage, 2 photographers and 1 album.
Upscale photographers (top 3% of the market): Do you have the money to hire a famous photographer who charges $8,000+? For a high budget wedding, that is a reasonable target.
Still, you need to make sure you are getting a good return on investment (ROI) and it is not just the marketing hype increasing the average cost.
You must love your photographer's wedding pictures and personality or you might not be getting the best deal.
Premium photographers are talented and experienced, yet not famous artists who charge anywhere between $4,000s and $8,000s.
Affordable wedding photographers in Toronto charge between $3000s-$4,000s for their packages. This is what 66% of GTA photographers charge.
Budget friendly photographers charge $2000-$3000 and represent 10% of the market.
Last, you have the cheap photographers whose services you can buy for a song. Sure, they shoot cameras from the last century but they charge under $2000 and that sounds like a great deal!
Unless it is a friend-of-the-family rate, in this price range, clients are taking risks and need to do serious homework. If you intend to spend under $2,000 you are gambling your wedding photos.
Calculating the Best Return on Investment (ROI)
Find three photographers whose wedding photos you really like and whose pricing and packages fit your budget. Assess the value of their packages including extra fees such as the cost of photo albums, travel fees and cost of digital files.
In Table 2 below, Package 3 ($2,500) has the lowest price, but it is not the best investment because you will need to pay extra for extra time, the second shooter, high resolution digital images and a wedding album.
Table2: Packages from 3 photographers
|Cost Item||Package 1||Package 2||Package 3|
|Photo Album||included||not included||not included|
|Second Shooter||included||not included||not included|
|Digital Images||included||included||not included|
Table3: Additional Fees charged by the three photographers. Photographer 1 offers best Return on Investment
|Additional Fees||Package 1||Package 2||Package 3|
|Total Cost = Package + Fees||$3,500||$4,900||$4,000|
Comparing the prices and packages above, Package 3 has the lowest price (Table 2).
Still, when calculating the total cost including the additional fees (please see Table 3 above), Package 1 gives you the highest return on investment, despite the highest price.
Be Aware of the Following Pricing Techniques
Psychological Pricing a.k.a. Charm or Golden Pricing
This is a basic technique whereby the price of the product or service ends in an odd number just under the round amount. Instead of listing a package at $3,000, the common practice is to offer it at $2,999.
Why do we perceive the two offers so drastically different? Studies done by Thomas and Morwitz in 2005 show that because we are not able
to remember the whole price, we form a perception of low, medium and high based on the left digit of the number. As such, as long as the left digit does not change, we don't perceive the difference.
As consumers, we think the difference between $4,000 and $2,999 is closer to $2000 than to $1000. Also, which package is more affordable? $2,999 or $3,000?
Price Insensitivity Intervals
There are intervals where we are completely price insensitive. For example, when comparing two photographers offering the exact same services, one for $2,780 and the other one for $2,999, the two prices feel the same.
Presenting Packages in Descending Order
Our brain relies on the first piece of information to make decisions in a process called "anchoring." Many companies present 3 packages starting with the most expensive to sell you the next service which now feels way more attractive.
- The average price wedding photography in Toronto can run between $3,000 and $4,000 and sometimes can exceed $8,000. Packages usually include 8 to 10 hours of coverage and two photographers.
- In Canada (outside the GTA), couples pay between $2,500 and $3,500 for wedding photography services.