The journey to find the perfect wedding photographer might seem a bit daunting amidst all the excitement and planning. But capturing the essence of your day in a way that feels genuinely you is what makes all the difference. Here’s a guide we’ve put together to help you navigate through, ensuring you find someone who not only clicks great photos but truly gets your vision.


Step 1: kickstart your search with key questions

Before you get lost in the sea of portfolios, take a moment to ponder a few essentials with your partner:

  • Date/Venue: Got a date or venue locked in? This can steer the ship when it comes to finding someone who's available and knows the lay of the land.
  • Budget: Knowing what you're comfortable spending helps keep the search within realistic bounds, because let's face it, we all have that budget to stick to.
  • Preferred Style: Are there certain photos you're drawn to? Pinning down what catches your eye can help find a photographer whose style feels like a match.
  • What Excites You About Your Wedding?: Sharing what lights you up about your day can give a photographer insight into what matters most to you.
"When it comes to the wedding industry, my advice would be to shop around for vendors who truly understand and appreciate your vision. It's important to find professionals who not only have experience but also share your creative ideas. Find people who are genuinely excited to collaborate. You want people that match your vibe and your vision."

— Sophia + Matt. Married at Sudbury. View their wedding.

Step 2: deep dive into their website

Portfolio review

Take a good look around. What stories are their photos telling? Is there a particular vibe that you're drawn to? This is your first peek into their world. Keep an eye out for:

  1. The Stories They Choose to Tell: Notice the balance they strike between photos of detail, the candid laughter, and those posed portraits. This tells you a lot about their priorities
  2. Their Artistic Touch: How do they frame their shots? What mood do they capture with light?
  3. The Final Look: Every photographer has their magic touch in editing. Do their images have a film-like quality, or do they lean towards bright and vibrant colors? The way they edit can really set the tone for your memories.

Pricing and coverage for Kiwi weddings

A little insight into what you can expect to get coverage of in a set time frame:

  • 4 Hours: Perfect for those intimate moments, focusing on the ceremony and a bit of the celebration after.
  • 6 Hours: Captures the essence of your day, from the I do’s to the reception’s early hours.
  • 8 Hours: For most, this is the sweet spot, catching everything from the prep to the first dance.
  • 10 Hours: When you want the full story told, from dawn till dusk.

Reading about them and reviews

Getting a sense of how they roll when things go sideways (hello, unexpected weather!) and the vibe past couples got can be super telling.

Step 3: time to reach out

Dropping them a line is your first real interaction, so take note of how they quickly and friendly they respond.

It’s also when you'll get a closer look at what they offer. Beyond the hours spent shooting, what else do they bring to the table? Albums, digital files, maybe a pre-wedding shoot? And keep an eye out for the fine print, like travel fees or extra hours, to ensure there are no surprises.

Step 4: meet your top picks

Now for the coffee chats (or virtual ones). It’s about more than just liking their work; it’s feeling good about working with them. You’re looking for that click, and a sense that they get you.

It is also a chance to discuss the what-ifs, your venue, and all those specifics like how you'll get your hands on your photos after.

Step 5: delve into their work

Ask to see a full day's story. It’s one thing to see the highlights; it’s another to see the day unfold from sunrise to sunset. This is where you get a feel for their consistency and knack for capturing moments.

Make sure to after for an example of a rainy wedding; you want to gauge how well they play under different conditions —after all, a bit of weather shouldn't dampen the spirit of your photos.

Step 6: making the decision

With everything laid out, it’s time to trust that gut feeling. It’s about finding someone who captures not just the look, but the feel of your day—the laughter, the tears, and everything in between.

"Our advice for couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together —do it! Our wedding truly was the greatest party we have ever thrown and the best day of our lives. There is nothing better than having all your favourite people around you as you make a commitment to love one another forever."

—— Matilda + Kandarp. Married at Pencarrow. View their wedding.

Post-wedding considerations

After the confetti settles, think about how you'll relive those moments.

  • Discover stylish ways to display your wedding photos, from classic frames to modern, creative alternatives. Whether it's a gallery wall in your living room or a bespoke photo book on your coffee table, let your favorite moments shine.
  • Learn the ins and outs of printing and framing your wedding photos to best suit your style and home decor. Whether you're leaning towards elegant frames or prefer something more rustic, find the perfect way to match your personal taste and celebrate your love.
  • For more inspiration and unique ideas on how to keep your wedding day alive through photography, check out our product page. From beautifully crafted albums to personalized gifts, there's a treasure trove of options to explore.


  • What should I consider when choosing a wedding photographer?

    Focus on style, connection, and clarity. Find a photographer whose portfolio resonates with you, ensure you feel comfortable with them (as they'll be part of your big day), and understand what their packages include.
  • How can I ensure the photographer matches our style?

    Review their portfolio for a sense of their shooting and editing style—look for the balance in their captures (details, candid, posed) and their approach to light and color. Share your vision and what excites you about your wedding during your meet-up to gauge their understanding and enthusiasm about aligning with your style.
  • What are some common wedding photography styles in New Zealand?

    In New Zealand, couples often gravitate towards a blend of photography styles. Popular choices include

    1. Documentary/Photojournalistic
    : Captures candid moments and the day's story naturally, focusing on genuine emotions and events without posed shots.
    2. Traditional/Classic
    : Emphasizes formal, posed photographs of the couple, their families, and the wedding party, capturing timeless moments.
    3. Adventure/Elopement
    : Showcases couples against New Zealand's epic landscapes, perfect for those seeking dramatic backdrops and an adventurous spirit.
    4. Editorial
    : Inspired by fashion magazines, this style focuses on stylish, posed shots with sophisticated lighting, showcasing venues and landscapes elegantly.
    5. Moody and Atmospheric
    : Uses dramatic contrasts of light and shadow to create emotional, intense images, suited to New Zealand's dynamic weather and landscapes.
    6. Retro Flash/Nostalgic
    : Mimics the look of disposable or film cameras with direct flash and blurry motion, capturing spontaneous, unfiltered moments with a vintage vibe.
  • How do I know if photography is good?

    Good photography should resonate with you emotionally and aesthetically. It will have a consistent quality, with well-composed images, and the editing style will be coherent throughout the portfolio. Look for a photographer who captures moments that speak to you, displaying expertise in handling various lighting and weather conditions. Ultimately, good photography is often subjective, so trust your instinct on what feels right for your wedding day.
  • How do we communicate our expectations with our wedding photographer?

    Clear communication is key. Share your vision, the moments most important to you, and any concerns you may have during your initial meetings. Provide examples of photos you like, and discuss how they work, their approach to capturing key moments, and how they might handle various situations. After sharing your expectations, let go, enjoy the day and trust your photographer's skill and experience to bring your vision to life.
  • How much does a wedding photographer cost in New Zealand?

    In New Zealand, the price for the average professional wedding photographer is typically between $3,500 to $5,000 for 8 hours of coverage (updated 2024). Prices vary by experience and package offerings, including extras like engagement shoots and custom albums.
  • What is the average cost of a wedding in New Zealand?

    The average cost of a wedding in New Zealand is around NZ$32,000 (source). This figure encompasses all aspects of the wedding, including venue, catering, attire, and of course, photography. Photography will be one of the significant components of your budget, so understanding the typical pricing structures for photography services can help you estimate the overall budget.
  • How far in advance should we book our wedding photographer?

    It’s recommended to book your wedding photographer as soon as you have your date and venue confirmed. This is typically 6 to 12 months in advance, but it can be earlier if you're looking at a photographer who is in high demand. This ensures you have the best chance of securing your first choice.
  • What should we do if our preferred photographer is unavailable on our wedding date?

    If your preferred photographer isn't available on your chosen date, first, see if there's flexibility with your date or their availability. Sometimes, a small adjustment can make all the difference. If not, ask them for recommendations. Many photographers are part of a broader network and can suggest colleagues who share a similar style and quality of work. This approach not only broadens your options but might introduce you to photographers you hadn't yet discovered.
  • How many photos should you get from a wedding photographer?

    The number of photos delivered can vary, typically ranging from 300 to 600 for a full day's coverage. However, it’s about quality over quantity. Ensure you discuss with your photographer how they curate the moments captured. Some photographers provide a set number, while others may choose the best images that tell the story of your day.
  • What's important to ask about photo delivery and rights?

    Ask about turnaround time for photos, how you'll receive them (digital, prints, albums), and your rights regarding the images. Knowing when you'll get your photos and how you can use them (sharing online, making prints) is crucial.

Final thoughts

Choosing your wedding photographer is a bit like finding the right partner—it's not just about the outer package, but connecting on a deeper level. It's about trust, feeling understood, and knowing they'll capture the essence of your day in a way that's true to you. Take your time, follow your heart, and you’ll find the one who'll make those memories last a lifetime.