When it comes to planning a wedding, one of the important decisions you face is choosing a wedding photographer. Wedding photographers are known for their expertise and creativity, but their services often come with a hefty price tag. Why are wedding photographers in New Zealand so expensive? Let's explore the factors behind the cost and understand why investing in a professional photographer is worth every penny.


Wedding photography prices in NZ.

We surveyed the largest facebook group of New Zealand wedding photographers, and found most professional wedding photographers cost between $3,500 to 5,000 for 8 hours coverage with 1 photographer (source: Facebook poll in a group with 504 NZ wedding photographers, Feb 2024).

Most photographers will have a few different packages to choose from. These typically vary based on the number of hours covered, the number of photos delivered, and may often include additional services such as engagement shoots, pre-wedding consultations, and custom-designed albums. It's important to consider these variations when comparing prices and choosing the right photographer for your special day.

Experienced photographers cost more on average, but cheaper photographers usually came with a trade-off in terms of experience; e.g. they might be starting out, or photography is a side-hustle.

How much do the best photographers cost?

The best wedding photographers will cost more than the average photographer. Pricing for the best New Zealand photographers can range from $5,000 to $10,000+. This depends on their experience and skill level as well as what is included in their packages.

What makes a good photographer expensive?

A great wedding photographer is not just someone who knows how to take photos; they are also able to capture emotions and moments that other photographers cannot see. They have a unique style that is often reflected in their work and sometimes it is worth investing a bit more because of this quality alone! The best wedding photographers know how to make you look beautiful without making you feel uncomfortable posing for hours on end during your shoot.

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Why are wedding photographers expensive?

The images you will get from your big day will be some of the most important photographs you'll ever have, so it makes sense that they should be taken by someone who has years of experience and knows what they're doing.

They Combine Artistry and Skill

Capturing beautiful and meaningful moments on your wedding day requires more than just technical skills and equipment. Wedding photography is an art that requires a unique vision and creativity. Just as a masterpiece is more than the paint and canvas, a skilled photographer uses their artistic eye to compose and capture moments that will be loved for a lifetime.

It is an Investment in Experience and Creativity

Experienced wedding photographers bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to every shoot. They have honed their skills over years of capturing weddings in different locations and under various conditions. Whether it's dealing with unpredictable weather, challenging lighting situations, or ensuring everything runs smoothly on the day, a professional photographer's experience can make a significant difference.

The best wedding photographers also have the experience to anticipate issues before they become major problems. Whether this is making on-the-fly location changes if the weather is about to turn, or noticing when the hair and makeup is running behind time and coordinating things behind the scenes so you arrive to the ceremony on time, An experience photographer can ensure that your wedding day is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Weddings are High Stakes with No Retakes

A wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and there are no retakes. This is why having confidence in your photographer is crucial.

Professional wedding photographers understand the significance of their role and the responsibility of capturing every precious moment. Their confidence and ability to navigate any unexpected situation can give you peace of mind, knowing that your memories are in capable hands.

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They Bring Fun and Joy to the Experience

It's not just about the final photographs, but also about the experience during the process.

No one wants awkward and stiff posed photos, but capturing natural and candid moments requires a special skill; A talented photographer has the ability to help you feel natural and comfortable in front of the camera, and knows how to anticipate those fleeting moments of laughter, tears, and joy. They have the expertise to compose and frame shots that not only capture the emotion but also look visually stunning.

On your wedding day, you'll likely be spending a significant amount of time with your photographer. Are they fun? Do you resonate with them? A great photographer is not only skilled but also brings a sense of fun and joy to the experience. They know how to create a relaxed atmosphere, allowing you to be yourself and capturing genuine moments of love and happiness.

You Can’t Put a Price on Peace of Mind

Delivering high-quality wedding photographs requires top-of-the-line equipment, including professional cameras, lenses, and lighting gear.

Additionally, professional photographers will have a backup equipment on hand to ensure that no unexpected issues hinder the capturing of your special day. This backup equipment isn’t cheap but it provides peace of mind to both the photographer and the couple.

It’s More Than One Day; The Hidden Work Behind the Scenes

The work of a wedding photographer goes well beyond the wedding day itself. What looks like a single day shooting can easily be more than a week's work

Before the big day, photographers invest time in preparing and planning to make the wedding day flow as smoothly as possible. They will often scout locations, gather important details, and consult with couples to share advice and to understand the details of your wedding day.

After the wedding, a photographer typically spends 3-4 hours editing for every hour of shooting. This includes curate the best images, removing any awkward shots, and meticulously editing each photograph to ensure the final result is stunning.

A Tailored Service to Fit Your Vision

Unlike mass-produced products, wedding photography is a personalized service. Professional photographers understand that each couple is unique, and they strive to capture their vision and tell their love story through photographs.

This tailored approach requires a lot of time; but the attention to detail, and deep understanding of your vision ensures that the photographs won’t be bland and generic, but a truly special and meaningful record of your day.

Those Pesky Business Costs

Running a successful photography business involves various expenses, including insurance, continuing education, image storage, backup systems, software, marketing, rent, and other overhead costs. These costs need to be factored into the overall pricing to ensure the photographer can provide a professional and sustainable service.

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How to save money on wedding photography

While wedding photography is an investment, there are ways to save money without compromising on quality. Consider the following tips:

  1. Hire a photographer for a shorter period of time, focusing on the essential moments. Do you need photos of the speeches, or hair + makeup? Or maybe a friend could cover those parts of the day for cheaper? Talk to your photographer about the parts of the day that are most important to you and if short coverage would work for you.
  2. Opt for digital-only packages, which exclude printed albums and additional physical products. Many professional photographers offer the option to purchase prints and albums separately after the wedding.
  3. Consider scheduling your wedding on a weekday or during the off-peak season when photographers may offer discounted rates. An added bonus is that weekday weddings often have more availability and flexibility in terms of venue options, allowing you to choose a location that truly reflects your style and personality.
  4. Discuss your budget and needs with the photographer, who may be able to customize a package that fits your requirements.


Choosing a wedding photographer is a decision that should not be taken lightly. The cost of their services reflects the expertise, creativity, and dedication they bring to capturing your special day. By investing in a professional photographer, you ensure that your memories are preserved in timeless and stunning photographs that will be cherished for generations to come.

So, when planning your wedding, remember that hiring a skilled wedding photographer is not only an expense but an investment in something that will last forever. Trust in their artistry, experience, and commitment to capturing your once-in-a-lifetime moments.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to explore more informative and inspiring content on our website. We provide valuable guides and tips to help you plan the perfect wedding.