How to Become a

Wedding Photographer

The complete career guide to be a Wedding Photographer: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $40,280
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • 3.1%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook
  • Creativity Focused
    Career Attribute

Wedding photographers capture memories for brides and grooms, creating a photographic narrative of wedding ceremonies. They take action shots of pre-ceremony preparations, the marriage ceremony, and the reception. They also take posed shots of the bride, groom, wedding party, and family members.

Recommended Schools

What is a Wedding Photographer?

The following job responsibilities are common for individuals in wedding photographer roles:

  • Capture action shots of ceremony preparations, wedding ceremonies, and receptions
  • Capture posed photographs of the bride, groom, wedding party, and family members
  • Edit captured photos using editing programs like Photoshop
  • Prepare albums, files, and prints for clients
  • Market services, attract clients, negotiate fees, and maintain business records

A Day in the Life

Staying out of the spotlight and capturing moments on film that will last a lifetime—being a wedding photographer may be more difficult than it looks. However, the heavy responsibility of delivering flawless wedding pics to happily married couples and their guests comes with several trade-offs. Not only are wedding photographers relatively well-paid, but they’re able to work in a positive atmosphere where the vast majority of people are genuinely happy to be present.

On the appointed day, the wedding photographer is expected to be one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. During the course of the ceremonies and reception, the role of the photographer will be to use their talents to create a complete suite of images for those in attendance. Whether it’s photographing the groom in nuptial preparations or the bride while walking down the aisle, these collected pictures will construct a narrative for the event.

After taking photos at the wedding ceremony and surrounding events, wedding photographers prepare the photos for distribution to clients. They choose the best photos from those captured and perform edits in Photoshop or anther photo editing program. They may compile photos on a flash drive for delivery to clients, they may have photos printed for distribution, or they may develop photos themselves in a darkroom using specialized film processing equipment.

Typical Work Schedule

Wedding photographers may work part-time or full-time hours. Most work evenings and weekends as that’s when most weddings are scheduled. Additionally, they may have more work in spring, summer, and fall, and take fewer clients in winter during the off-season when fewer weddings are held.

Typical Employers

Many wedding photographers are self-employed and run their own businesses that offer wedding photography services. Others may be employed by hotels or other venues that host weddings, by wedding or event planning services, or by event photography service businesses.

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How To Become a Wedding Photographer

In theory, nearly anyone can become a wedding photographer, but becoming an excellent wedding photographer can be a completely different story. While many wedding photographers have only a high school diploma, some study photography in college and earn bachelor’s degrees in fine arts with a focus on photography. The best wedding photographers understand the principles of correct composition, how to get excellent lighting situations, and how to record still images that manage to tell a complete story, and these are skills you can learn studying photography in college.

If you’ve succeeded in honing your photography skills to an acceptable level, the next thing to think about is the cost of the equipment needed to take top-shelf photos. While solid digital cameras may be available for low prices, the DSLR and other high-end models are drastically better, but much more expensive. Extra lenses and lighting tools are also commonly required and additional expenses. Without this equipment, the quality of the wedding photos you produce will suffer.

With the right equipment and an eye for photos that evoke emotion, your path to wedding photography work should include putting together a portfolio to show off to potential clients. One good way to build a portfolio is to work with an established wedding photographer as an apprentice. Not only will you learn about the industry from a professional, but you’ll also gain the experience of shooting in a wedding setting and its specific challenges.

Wedding Photographer Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Wedding Photographer salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Wedding Photographer's can make an average annual salary of $40,280, or $19 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $22,600 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #522 Nationally for All Careers

Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Wedding Photographer. a is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Highest Education Among Wedding Photographers

  • 1.7%   Doctorate
  • 7%   Masters
  • 44.1%   Bachelors
  • 10.2%   Associates
  • 22.8%   College
  • 11.7%   High School
  • 2.4%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Wedding Photographer job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of 3,900 jobs for a total of 128,800 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a 3.1% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #515 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Wedding Photographers

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Self-employed workers 75,500 7,100 7%
Photographic services 29,700 -3,300 -3%
Television broadcasting 3,800 400 0%

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