What do the terms budget friendly, affordable and bargain all have in common? They are all totally and completely subjective! They mean different things to different people and open up a whole can of worms when discussing price compared to value. Truthfully, there is no standard of what defines ‘affordable’, ‘budget friendly’ or even ‘bargain’ – what one couple may consider a ‘bargain’ another couple may find too expensive. So why are these broad terms terms so popular and why are people always searching for affordable wedding photographers in Toronto?
It’s simple… everyone is on a budget.
I’ve never met a couple who didn’t have a budget for their wedding! Some couples have photography budgets of $1,500 and others have photography budgets of $5,000 and everyone uses the term “affordable”. So really… that term is meaningless.
So if ‘affordable’ is a subjective term, how do you find a wedding photographer when you’re on a budget? Well, you have to think about value first and then compare it to your budget. Value is when you’re getting the most bang for their buck – that your money is being well spent. Googling terms like “budget friendly wedding photography” or “affordable wedding photographer in Toronto” may deliver a few price-conscious results, but your chance of finding quality vendors that meet your standards may be much lower because let’s me honest…
Cheap prices mean something has been cut from somewhere.
Whether it’s not having adequate backup gear, not paying for insurance, not investing in gear maintenance or not keeping your file management system up to date, low prices mean that something has been cut from the back end. Photographers are not martyrs, none of us are surviving on boiled noodles just so we can pass savings onto our clients – the ‘savings’ are coming from somewhere and that somewhere can put your experience (and your photos!) in jeopardy!
If you’re struggling to find an affordable wedding photographer in Toronto and are looking for tips, here are my suggestions for finding a wedding photographer who brings a huge amount of value to your wedding day.
Finding an Affordable Wedding Photographers in Toronto
I’ve been there before; I’ve been the newly graduated gal, starting her career, looking at a massive amount of student debt and trying to plan a wedding (never mind thinking about getting into the housing market!) I know how overwhelming and all consuming it can be when you see prices that are higher than you expect, so here’s what you need to know.
#1 – Re-evaluate your ‘anchor’ price
How did you decide what was a ‘reasonable’ price for photography? Did you do research and compare or did you just pick a number randomly that felt right? Picking a number that feels right is called “anchoring”, it means you’re centering yourself around this number and will compare everything to it. Everyone anchors themselves on pricing all the time – the whole concept of shows like The Price is Right is based on anchoring, but when it comes to affordable wedding photographers, choosing an anchor price that isn’t realistic is going to set you up for disappointment.
The average cost of a wedding photography package in Toronto is going to be around $3,500-$4,000 and can be slightly more or less depending on how many hours of coverage, how many people are present and how experienced they are. If you’ve anchored yourself below this number, you’re going to think that everything is ‘too expensive’ or feel sticker shock.
Suggested Anchor Prices
- 6 hours coverage
- 1 photographer: $2,500
- 2 photographers: $3,200
- 8-10 hours coverage
- 1 photographer: $3,000
- 2 photographers: $4,000
- 12 hours coverage
- 1 photographer:$4,000
- 2 photographers: $5,000
#2 – Number of hours of coverage
The more coverage you’re requesting, the more your service is going to cost. A significant number of couples do not have optimized wedding day schedules. This means they have a lot of down time, travel time and extra time during the day where nothing is really happening and there isn’t much to photographer but you’re still paying your photographer to be there. It’s much more reasonable to work with a photographer who offers professional wedding day timeline help and can advise you on a shorter package length than someone who happily charges for 12 hours even though 20% of that will be spent waiting around.
#3 – Number of photographers present
The whole concept of 2nd photographers is, in my opinion, one of those wedding industry ‘upsell tactics’. The truth is, most 2nd photographers are either spending a significant amount of time assisting the primary (ie: not making images for YOU) or they are new photographers trying to build their portfolio (ie: not that experienced, willing to work for extra cheap and will be using your images on their website too). A lot of photographers include a second shooter because it looks like you’re getting a good deal but in reality, 95% of what you receive will be from the primary photographers camera anyways.
There are very few conditions where an experienced, strong, confident primary photographers actually needs a 2nd shooter so it’s best to work with someone who can price themselves without the need for a second photographer (and if the photographer needs an assistant, they pay for that – not you).
Let’s put it this way – for my own wedding, I only hired 1 really great photographer instead of 2 so-so ones.
#4 – Quality of print material included
Don’t be fooled by those that include albums for unreasonably low prices; there’s a good chance you’re just getting a Blurb album at a markup disguised as a ‘professional album’. If your photographer is not willing to disclose where they source their prints and albums, it’s a sign that they’re trying to inflate the value of their services by offering you things you could actually just buy yourself.
#5 – Skills + Experience
Experience is something that you literally pay for, but in a way – it also pays for itself. An experiences photographer needs less time with you to produce the same quality work as someone who isn’t as experienced. So yeah, maybe you’re paying more per hour for someone more experienced, but you also may need less hours because they’re just more efficient at what it is they do.
Experience is also important in regards to quality. An experienced photographer will be able to walk into any location under any lighting conditions and figure out how to make amazing images in just a few moments. There’s no lengthy setup times, no ‘testing’ periods and no need for building in buffer time. We’re able to hit the ground running and roll with whatever punches the day brings us.
#6 – Quality over Quantity
Most importantly, you need to ask yourself – “would I rather have 12 hours of coverage and 1,000 photos that are just okay…. or would I rather have 8 hours of coverage and have photos that I adorably adore?” Photos are
Affordable Wedding Photographers in Toronto: A Summary
If you’re looking for an affordable wedding photographer in Toronto you need to realize that on average people spend about $3,500-$4,000 on wedding photography so deviating too far from that is going to make things feel impossible. Always prioritize one amazing photographer over 2 mediocre photographers; having more photos isn’t meaningful if they’re just “so-so” quality. You can get creative with your schedule and minimize your hours of coverage that way you can opt for a smaller package which will reduce costs. Finally, don’t be fooled by ‘included prints/albums’ because more times than not, it’s a sales tactic where you’re being sold Costco prints at a super inflated price to make it look like a “deal”.