How much is a Wedding Photographer in Ottawa?

An Investment

Ceremonies weave themselves into the fabric of our lives, marking the moments that define us. These symbolic celebrations aid us in tracing our journey from one stage of life to another. Photographs documenting these events help keep these memories intact and allow us to share them with future generations to tell the story of our history. However important the day, budget is always a factor, so how much is a wedding photographer in Ottawa? Scroll down to the third heading for that answer, or read on if you’d like some context.

Your wedding is one of those significant life-changing events. It is usually a massive project with many moving parts, and things will often go awry, but nothing that can’t be resolved on the day. However, you may not know that you have a bad photographer until the event is over, and you’re surely not going to re-do this day because your photographer messed up. So when hiring a photographer to document your wedding, there are two critical things you should look for. The first is experience – you need to look for someone consistent and reliable. Secondly, you should look for a photographer with a vision that best matches yours. The result will be photographs you look at for years to come, so you want them to suit your style and tell your story.

The financial cost of hiring a professional wedding photographer in Ottawa varies significantly as the pricing structure of each photographer is different. A wedding photography package will range between $1,500 to $5,000 or more. However, I would argue that it could cost you more, in a material and immaterial way, to not hire someone with the skills, experience, and creative vision that you are looking for. Let’s look at what you get when hiring a skilled professional wedding photographer in Ottawa.

What Factors Influence the Cost of a Wedding Photographer in Ottawa?

  1. Experience and Reputation
    • A professional wedding photographer will usually start their career as an assistant for a few years to build their skills and experience. Some wedding photographers are also skilled in other photographic areas like portraiture, editorial, or journalism, which can be valuable as wedding photography requires so many different types of photographic skills. When looking for your photographer, ask about the number of weddings they’ve photographed and look for someone with a few years under their belt.
    • Take time to look through the Portfolio. You should see a similar style in each wedding but still get a sense of their individuality. Ask about seeing other examples of the photographer’s work. Some clients don’t want their photos online, so a photographer may have more wedding galleries to show you that are not on their website. A photographer may also not show all the images from a wedding so you should ask to see a couple of full weddings to verify that they didn’t only take 10 decent photos and the rest were terrible.
  2. Skill Level and Style
    • A skilled photographer will have a consistent artistic vision and style (e.g., photojournalistic, fine art). This should match what you are trying to achieve with your celebration, not only in the visual sense but also at a deeper level. For example, if you don’t like posed or contrived images and aren’t very traditional then you will probably want a photographer that will shoot in a more documentary or journalistic style. Or, if your celebration is high energy with a party atmosphere, you may want a photographer who matches that vibe.
    • Your photographer or a trained employee should be the one individually processing your images using professional software like Adobe Lightroom. Be wary of photographers who send your files to be mass-processed by a contractor.
  3. Equipment and Technology
    • You shouldn’t need to learn all about photography to decide who to hire, but seeing the resulting images should be sufficient evidence of the quality of a photographer’s equipment. But having said that, a professional photographer should normally be updating their equipment as technology advances to ensure they are giving their customers the best possible service. As I write this, a standard minimum kit will include two full-frame digital camera bodies with 3-5 professional lenses, a backup camera, and a flash. The kit will vary from photographer to photographer, but this would be a basic starting point.
    • The storage, processing, and presentation of your final images are important. Ask where and for how long the photographer will keep your images stored. They should have a backup of all files, or better yet, two backups at different physical locations.
  4. Package Inclusions
    • Hours of coverage: Some photographers offer an all-day rate with unlimited hours. Others offer a maximum of 10 hours, a half-day, or 2-3 hour elopement packages. Prices usually increase logically the more hours you require.
    • Number of photographers: For a smaller wedding, only one photographer may be required. Larger weddings will require two, three, or more photographers to cover the different angles and document your guests.
    • Additional services: An online gallery and digital files for download are usually standard. Packages may also include a one to two-hour engagement shoot, albums, and prints.

How much is a wedding photographer in Ottawa?

Price Breakdown

  • Budget-Friendly Packages ($1,500 – $3,000)
    • Typically includes 4-6 hours of coverage.
    • One photographer.
    • Basic editing and digital copies of photos.
    • May include an engagement session.
  • Mid-Range Packages ($3,000 – $5,000)
    • 8-10 hours of coverage.
    • One or two photographers.
    • Advanced editing and retouching.
    • Digital copies and a custom USB box.
    • Engagement session and possibly a small photo album.
  • Premium Packages ($5,000 – $10,000+)
    • Full-day coverage (10-12 hours or more).
    • Two photographers.
    • Comprehensive editing and retouching.
    • Digital copies, custom USB box, and prints.
    • Engagement session, large photo album, and possibly additional services like videography.

Examples of Wedding Package Inclusions

  • Budget-Friendly Packages
    • Basic coverage of key moments like the ceremony and reception.
    • Simple editing to enhance photos.
    • Digital delivery of images via an online gallery.
  • Mid-Range Packages
    • Extended coverage to include getting ready, ceremony, and part of the reception.
    • Enhanced editing and retouching for a polished look.
    • Digital delivery, custom USB box, and a small selection of prints.
    • Engagement session to capture pre-wedding moments.
  • Premium Packages
    • Comprehensive coverage from getting ready to the end of the reception.
    • High-end editing and retouching for all photos.
    • Digital delivery, custom USB box, and a large selection of prints.
    • Engagement session, large photo album, and additional services like videography or a second photographer for more angles and moments.

Tips for Choosing the Right Wedding Photographer

  1. Research and Reviews
    • Start with writing down what you want before you start searching. You may adjust this as you go depending on your budget and if the photographer you want is even available but start with your ideal. This will help you filter out choices as you go.
    • Use online tools like Google Maps to search for reviews. If a photographer has customer feedback on their website, you can ask for the contact details of some of the couples to reach out to them directly about their experience.
    • Look through all images on the photographer’s website and ask if they have full weddings that you can view also.
  2. Meet and Greet
    • It is critical to at least have a conversation over the phone with your photographer. Ideally, make sure that you can meet in person or do a video call. This will give you an idea of the personality of your photographer to gauge if you will get along on the day. You don’t want to have a photographer following you around all day that you find irritating.
    • Be sure to discuss your vision and expectations. I would expect a good photographer to ask you about this also. Both sides must be clear about what will happen on the day and what the end result should be.
  3. Compare Packages
    • Make a spreadsheet to help you categorize and compare the different packages and what they offer. This will help you to have an overview that lets you compare photographers based on your own specific requirements.
  4. What if a professional photographer is out of my price range?
    • Ask your photographer about payment plans. You could also purchase an album a few months after the wedding to spread out the cost.
    • If possible, plan your wedding in the off-season and on a weekday. Many suppliers offer cheaper rates then and you could put that money towards your photographer instead.

Investing in a Professional Wedding Photographer is Worth It

In all honesty, some photographers at the higher-priced end are just good at marketing and sales. They are usually ‘good’ and professional, but not necessarily better than others. I do think in most cases you get what you pay for, but as with any important purchase in your life, do your research. As I said at the beginning of this article, the two most important things you need to look out for in your wedding photographer are Experience and Vision. You are paying for a professional because they are skilled at their craft

This next statement may sound harsh, but I’ve heard of too many couples who have had bad experiences and regretted hiring a cheap and inexperienced photographer. If you don’t have the budget at all for a professional photographer for your wedding, then I would recommend that you not hire any photographer. Instead, I would ask all your friends and family to take photos with their phones and have them give you the pictures afterward to compile a gallery. Then later (or even before the wedding if you prefer), you can book a studio session and get some nice portraits done in your wedding outfits with a professional photographer. You’ll miss out on someone talented to capture those special moments with professional equipment, but I think this would still be a better option than taking the risk of wasting your money on hiring someone who will disappoint you and leave you with negative memories of this life-changing event.

How much do I charge? Take a look at my pricing page now. As a Professional Ottawa Wedding Photographer based in the capital of Canada, I would love to learn more about the wedding ceremony you are planning. Contact me to see if I’m available for your wedding today.