If you’ve seen a candid engagement shot come up in your Facebook newsfeed, a single question probably springs to mind: Who took it?
The answer might be the bride-to-be’s sister … or it might be a paid photographer lurking in the proverbial (or literal) bushes, playing paparazzi to capture the moment.
In Pacific Standard, Rick Paulas examines the trend of engagement photography, writing the “super-niche industry” has been around for years, but recently exploded thanks to — you guessed it — social media.
And here’s the thing about hiring a professional photographer to capture your proposal: It isn’t cheap.
Of one photographer’s services, Paulas writes:
The standard Proposal Photography Package ($495) comes with a pre-consultation about the logistics of where everyone needs to be, and one hour on the day-of “to capture the build up, the proposal moment, and take portraits and ring shots after you pop the question.” There are bumps in cost if you want to make your friends jealous with a proposal in front of the Times Square big screen ($1,550) or on a San Francisco Cable Car ($1,360). Those aren’t cheap prices, even when you’re dealing with the money-to-burn, nothing’s-good-enough mindset of today’s wedding market.
The company, Paparazzi Proposals, captured nearly 700 of these moments in 2015.
The $1,000-plus packages on on the higher end, but on the whole, those prices aren’t an anomaly.
In its 2016 Wedding Report, Thumbtack, a site that connects consumers with skilled professionals — like engagement photographers — found that nearly half of couples plan to spend $250-$500 on engagement photography. The Knot, the go-to place for all things wedding, says you can expect to pay “a few hundred” for a session in a photographer’s studio, and for the trendier, candid (or “candid”) location shoots, you should plan to pay “several times that much.”
Some photographers include engagement shots in their wedding photography packages, which again, don’t run cheap. The Thumbtack report found 40% of couples plan to spend over $1,000 on pictures of their big day, and if you filter to include photographers who include engagement shots, the wedding photography search tool on the Knot includes packages that reach nearly $5,000.
Take note that neither of these sites explicitly say your $1,000 photographer is willing to hide in the bushes — in these cases, it might be more of a post-engagement session than an of-the-moment snap. If you do want someone kneeling in the rhododendron, though, rest assured: You can hire someone to do it.
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