Do You Pay A Photographer Before The Wedding? (Important)

Photographs play a crucial role in capturing the best moments in life; therefore, you would want the best person to handle your wedding pictures. One of the concerns among most couples is the payment terms since there are many things involved in wedding preparation. Knowing how to set these terms can help you plan your finances better to avoid last-minute inconveniences.

So, do you pay a photographer before the wedding? As a general rule, most photographers require payment before the wedding, and they can ask for it in one or more installments. Others distribute the cost before and after the wedding; such that they ask for a deposit payment first and then require the rest before handing over the photos.

Very few will let you pay after receiving the pictures as they want to avoid the hassle involved when asking for money after rendering the service. Therefore, out of convenience, most photographers would instead provide their services after payment. 

To help make your wedding planning more manageable, we aim to find out how various photographers charge their clients. We will also explain how many pictures you can receive and the timeframe you need. Read on as we find out more about this important aspect of your wedding.

How Do Wedding Photographers Get Paid?

Many hassles are involved when looking for the best people to handle your wedding services, especially photography. We investigated how professional wedding photographers charge their clients and the factors they consider when deciding on payment. Please take a look at what we gathered.

The photographers’ payment terms depend on the individual or the firm. Various people will charge you differently as long as it is convenient for both of you. You can find one that needs payment before the occasion, particularly during booking. However, most photographers prefer settlement in installments.

For one, some accept a three-part payment. They require the first amount during booking, before the wedding, and, at the wedding, or before delivering the photos. Another payment plan is where you will be required to pay half as a down payment and the final installment before the event.

It is essential to reach an amicable agreement with the photographers, and you can always judge their professionalism by how they charge you. Most first-timers and amateurs accept to do the job even without asking for a retainer or booking fee, and most would agree even without a signed contract. The only exception is when the photographer is a close friend or family member who is more flexible; but even the people close to you can be strict about their business.

When photographers charge you, they factor in their time and effort. They may also consider how many pictures you want, the number of guests in attendance, how long the ceremony will take, and the wedding venue. Therefore, it is crucial to discuss all the terms in advance and settle on the most convenient option.

Do Wedding Photographers Get Paid Upfront in Advance?

It is not easy being a service provider because you have to deal with different people in various circumstances. For instance, photographers are one of the most highly sought after people, but not all clients will be consistent in paying up, which is why they have to put in place measures to avoid such inconveniences.

Some photographers ask for full payment before the wedding, a lump sum, or two installments: one during date booking and another before or immediately after the wedding. Most draw contracts where they clearly state their terms of service before they render it. All this is to avoid the inconveniences that usually arise, such as payment delays, postponement, and cancellations.

Professional photographers deal with many invites from various events; therefore, they have to plan their time well. It also explains why some ask for booking payments while others for non-refundable retainers. 

It can be challenging to follow up with clients after successful completion of service before payment. Some people believe that it would be convenient for the couple if the photographer accepted payment in installments after the wedding. That way, you two can put the available resources to other aspects of the wedding.

On the contrary, it is advisable to pay in full before the wedding to give you peace of mind because you won’t have to worry about pending payments during the honeymoon or as you start your married life.

Similarly, it is convenient for the service provider to get full payment before the job because they invested their time and finances to deliver quality pictures. If you are skeptical about full payment in advance, you can always reach a fair agreement where you give an installment before the wedding and clear the balance as soon as you receive the pictures. However, it is crucial to find a legitimate photographer or ask for a referral to avoid being duped after paying in advance.

Is Four or Six Hours Enough for a Wedding Photographer?

If you are hiring a photographer for the first time, you may not know what to expect, especially regarding the time required. Generally, you two need to agree first on how many photos you need and the wedding timeframe. Since some weddings run for 4-6 hours, let’s determine whether that time will be enough to take the best shots.

Four or six hours may suffice to take pictures for your wedding ceremony, depending on your schedule. A well-organized wedding can take four hours, and the shots can cover the events from the procession to the reception. In contrast, other weddings go on for longer; hence, more hours.

If you have many guests, the photographer may spend more time capturing shots of your guests. Also, it may take longer if the wedding and reception are happening in two places.

Some photographers offer four-six hour packages depending on your schedule. If your wedding runs for more hours, some sessions will have to go without pictures. You can pick the most critical parts and forego the rest.

To cut on costs, you can skip taking photos during preparation and instead use a high-quality smartphone to take pictures. Secondly, you can leave out snapping pictures of you leaving the reception and relieve the photographer early. Lastly, you can do without photos of the celebrations happening after the reception.

With a four-hour time frame, you can have your vows in about twenty minutes, cake-cutting for an hour, then the rest of the photography at the reception. If you have a six-hour time limit, you have more time to take pictures throughout the various events, including getting ready. Like the four-hour package, the six-hour photo session is perfect for a small wedding, but you can still do away with other non-vital activities.

Ultimately, if you grab pictures for the first look, some bride-groom moments, the actual ceremony (ring exchange and vows), a few group pictures with the family and friends, then take more at the reception, you will have covered the entire event.

How Many Photos Do You Need for a Wedding Per Hour?

Another essential factor to consider when hiring a photographer is how many photos they will deliver. Typically, they capture a certain number of images but only hand you the best high-quality shots. Let’s take a look at how many photos you can expect from a professional photographer.

You can get anything between 50-100 pictures for an hour of photography. It means that if you hire one for a six-hour event, you can receive 300 to 600 photos with complete coverage of the various activities that took place.

The longer the wedding, the more pictures you will receive because there will be many moments to capture. The photographer may take more photos within a specific time frame, but they have to sort them out first to deliver the best of the bunch. Depending on several factors, they can select around two hundred pictures from a thousand raw shots.

The number of high-quality pictures you will receive is not specific. Everyone uses different methods in taking images to ensure that they cover all sessions. When discussing how many photos to expect, they may give you a lower figure, such that they don’t disappoint you, although they usually surpass the number.

However, the emphasis is always on the pictures’ quality and not quantity, and they understand that they have to deliver top-notch photos, given how important the day is. When selecting the best images, they eliminate low-quality and repetitive shots. Secondly, they consider the lighting and posture to sieve out the raw images before delivering the final ones.


The wedding photographer is one of the event’s most important service providers. You have to agree on the terms before engaging in business to ensure that you are both comfortable with the entire arrangement. It is such a serious matter that most photographers draw up contracts. They wouldn’t want to chase the clients down after delivering the photos without payment.

Some couples also prefer paying for the pictures in full because it reduces the stress involved in paying for services already rendered, considering how much has already gone into other aspects of the wedding. It gives you peace of mind that you have paid for everything, and you will have no worries when you go for your honeymoon.

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