Inside Wedding Photography 2016: Current Trends and Future Splurges

February 10, 2016

By RF Staff

According to recent stats from Thumbtack’s 2016 Wedding Trends Report, brides and grooms are expected to be readily opening their checkbooks and spending more on engagement shoots, high-production quality video with cinematic effects, and having photo booths at weddings (which includes a physical print for guests to bring home and cherish forever) over the next year.

Photo Booth - Thumbtack 2016 Wedding Trends ReportThe Thumbtack Wedding Trends report, which was released Feb 3, contains data from interviews with brides, grooms and vendors, as well as an analysis of more than 750,000 price quotes for the most popular wedding services, revealing how much consumers expect to pay.

The report shows promising news for videographers: With the proliferation of video in social media (and the falling prices of high-quality video recording devices and drones), more couples are requesting highlight videos for purposes of sharing glamorous and/or meaningful moments with their friends and followers. We imagine one or more of these 8 filmmaking add-ons and up-sells might come in handy here (who doesn't love a stop-motion video?).


A still from a stop-motion video. Photo © Bayly & Moore

That said, couples are also booking videographers for longer amounts of time, too (conceptual wedding films, anyone?). Over the next year, 68 percent of couples will hire a videographer for anywhere between 3 and 8 hours, and over 90 percent of couples expect videographers to be present for both the ceremony and reception. “To capture all the moments throughout the special day, couples often hire videographers for the entire wedding—from walking down the aisle to escaping in the getaway car,” the report says.

And your clients understand that these services don't come cheap. The average amount a couple says they will pay for videography at their wedding over the next year is $1,134. If you're just getting your filmmaking feet wet but are anxious to get a piece of the pie, meander over to our guide that demystifies the often-perplexing world of filmmaking processes, and these 5 steps to marrying music and motion.

And for still wedding images, Thumbtack also tracked the most popular wedding photo styles of 2016 and found that a majority of clients (83 percent) prefer candid shots. This, we imagine, is good news for most of you; from the editors' standpoint, we've noticed even more photojournalistic, documentarian-style photos from wedding photographers—check out our recurrent Weddings of the Week series to see what we mean.

Photography - Thumbtack 2016 Wedding Trends Report

Another 64 percent of wedding clients said they would favor traditional photos, 47 percent would prefer artistic photos, 39 percent would desire natural/environmental shoots and 11 percent will go for high-fashion wedding images. If you're looking for inspiration from photographers who've nailed each one of these styles, our gallery of this year's 30 Rising Stars of Wedding Photography will give you a taste.

Engagement photography is also a significant part of the wedding expense equation, one that clients are digging deeper into their pockets for in 2016; more than half of recently engaged couples surveyed in the report plan to spend over $250 for engagement shoots. This might mean you'll be able to talk your clients into a more outside-the-box session, like an engagement session taken at night with only ambient light (but daylight is nice too, if you can tackle the quirks of backlighting, but luckily natural light aficionado Ben Sasso helped us out with that one). As it were, couples most often (85 percent of the time, actually) opt to have their photos taken outdoors.

Just like the food, cake and flowers, photography is also expected to be a shared part of the wedding experience, the report finds. Photo booths for guests will continue to be popular throughout 2016, with 98 percent of couples saying they’d like their guests to leave with physical prints (we've found this to be increasingly important these days, and if you're in agreement, here are three steps to ensuring your clients walk away with prints in hand).

Not surprisingly, clients from different parts of the country will expect different price points for photography services on their big day (another important reason to associate your brand with a "hometown" destination, if you have one). In a metropolitan state like New York, you can expect to receive $1,244 for a wedding shoot, but in Georgia, clients are expecting to dish out less, an average of $986 to be exact.

While every client will have different tastes, preferences and budgets, perhaps the more consistent (and important) takeaway is that couples are continuing to place a high value on making their wedding memories last.

Related Stories:
6 Critical Habits Of Successful Wedding Photographers
Why It’s Worth Getting WPPI-Certified and What It Can Do For Business
Rangefinder Reveals the Coveted List and Full Online Gallery of 30 Rising Stars 2015!