enter image description here

I am an amateur photographer. I was asked by one of the public to be their wedding photographer, after seeing a lot of my work online!

This would be my first wedding and not sure what to charge!

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ In addition to pricing, are you sure you know what you are getting into? Does the wedding couple also know? What happens if you have trouble getting the shots oti want? What if there is a technical problem? What if you are sick that day? What if you do everything great and they hate the results? Do you have this in writing? \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 16:07
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ What is the relation between your question and the image attached? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 16, 2018 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is the church that they will be getting married in \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ if you accept a single dime, you won't be an amateur anymore, just sayin'... \$\endgroup\$
    – dandavis
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 22:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Still, a great (but imperfect - I couldn't do it much better, but if I was to hire a pro I WOULD instantly notice the flaws if that was given to me as example work) urban nightscape shot! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


What to charge is the least of your worries. Although it is a little late for this now, the best preparation for shooting weddings is to shoot several weddings as a second shooter for an experienced wedding photographer. Although you probably won't do everything the same way as your mentor does, you will get some very good exposure to what to expect when shooting weddings, how each wedding can be different, and learn how experienced wedding photographers deal with the various "people" issues that shooting weddings presents.

If you're determined to go ahead and shoot a wedding as the primary photographer without any previous experience as a second shooter or assistant, then you should probably consider the following with regard to pricing and expectations:

  • Emphasize your lack of experience with actually shooting weddings to the customer well in advance. It's always better to beat low expectations instilled before the fact than it is to try and explain not hitting high expectations after the fact. If it is in writing, you're also less likely to lose if you get sued.¹
  • If you regularly shoot paid commercial jobs, discount your regular rate by a significant amount (25-50%). If you don't regularly do paid work for strangers, then either don't charge anything or, at the maximum, charge for your direct expenses to attend and shoot the wedding: transportation, meals, lodging (if applicable), any gear you might rent only for the wedding, etc. Again, this helps lower the expectations somewhat in advance. Emphasize that you are only pricing this way because it is your first wedding, and that their friends, relatives, and acquaintances should not expect similar pricing in the future should they like your work from this wedding.
  • Include language in the contract (yes, you need a contract even if you aren't charging anything) that limits your liability if the clients are not happy with the results.¹ Never, ever shoot a wedding without a contract!

With regard to pricing a "first" wedding, please see also:

I keep getting asked to do wedding photography - what is a fair price to ask?
How do you determine how much to ask for when someone wants you to photograph a wedding?
Portrait photographer asked to shoot a wedding — how should I respond?
What should I charge for photography as an amateur?
How much do I charge for the first time wedding photo shoot?
Wedding Photography Pricing

Also consider the following questions related to "Help! I'm shooting a wedding in two days/weeks/months with zero experience as a second shooter or shooting other similar types of events in similar settings."

What is the highest acceptable ISO to use for weddings with Canon 7D?
How do I prepare best for my first wedding photography event?
How do I prepare best for my first wedding photography event? (Duplicate question with different answers)
Portrait photographer asked to shoot a wedding — how should I respond?
Tips for photographing a wedding
What are some tips for shooting in low light?
Is there a trick to shooting large group portraits without blinkers?
How to pose and arrange people in a group shot?

Finally, please take a look at Roger Cicala's lensrentals.com blog entry: FWIGTEW and Other First Wedding Acronyms

¹ I know a wedding photographer who categorically refuses to shoot a wedding if either of the couple or any of their parents are lawyers. There are more than a few well known cases where lawyers have successfully sued photographers and won large damages, sometimes enough to pay for their entire wedding, by claiming the work was "substandard" and "beneath expectations." Of course the examples to which they compared their own wedding photos were often from either the world's pre-eminent wedding photographers with large staffs who would not consider shooting a wedding for less than somewhere between middle five figures to low six figures, or even shots from fashion magazines that were produced in days-long large commercial shoots that were not part of an actual wedding!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ "sometimes enough to pay for their entire wedding" ... also, never assume there are no douches in this world that won't have exactly that intent right from the start! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 12:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ In many of the well-known cases, it was fairly apparent they looked for a victim who did good work but who was green/naive enough on the business end of it to not cover themselves well in the contract. Some of them turned down other photographers who did have contracts that would have made it difficult to sue for more damages than the amount of the photographer's fee. It was pretty obvious it was their plan from the get-go to stiff the photographer or even collect enough damages to effectively make the photographer pay for an outlandish wedding. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 21, 2018 at 2:23

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.