What I find is that photographers break down into a couple of different budget categories: Discount, Median, and Luxury.
A discount photographer will typically be someone who’s either just starting out, or has other photographers working for them. They may not be guaranteed to have the proper experience needed to cover your event, nor will they probably be assigned to your wedding until closer to your date. They range anywhere from $1000 – $2500 with their starting packages. In order for these studios to remain in business, they’ll take on 30-50 weddings per year, sometimes more.
Median priced photographers have a wide swath of experience and pricing. Typically anywhere from $2500 to $4500 starting prices are expected when looking at their packages. They’ll more than likely take on less weddings and deliver a better experience than Discount studios, as well as deliver better end products. Both in image quality and printable deliveries.
Luxury Photographers are geared toward brides with much higher budgets and may only take on a handful up to 20 weddings per year. They’ll be more selective in who they take on as clients and conscious of what their brand excels in. They may describe themselves more as artists and their pricing will reflect that with starting packages in the $7000 – $10,000 range.
Within these categories, I could break them down further in terms of experience: Novice, Professional, and Artist.
Novice photographers are exactly that. Someone who won’t have a whole lot of experience in covering your event, but may take decent looking images.
Professional have the full working knowledge of their gear and how to cover your event forwards and backwards. Their image quality will be very good and have very few mistakes.
Artists cover events with a story in mind. Usually shooting for the end product and immersing their vision into yours for your wedding day.