How much does a wedding photographer cost and why are they so expensive?
January 10, 2023
A wedding is one of the most important days of your life, but it can also be expensive. That's why many couples are looking for ways to save money on everything from the venue to their dress. Since a wedding photographer is typically one of the biggest ticket items when planning a wedding, it's only natural to ask why is this so? What are you really paying for, and is it worth it? And are there any things you can do to save money on wedding photography? We’ll explore these questions and others below.
What is the average price for a wedding photographer in New Zealand?
We surveyed the largest facebook group of wedding photographers, and found the average cost of a professional wedding photographer in New Zealand is between $3,500 to 5,000 for 8 hours of wedding coverage with 1 photographer.
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, as well as other add-ons such as prints, albums.
Cheaper photographers usually come with a trade-off in terms of experience; e.g. they might be starting out, or photography is a side-hustle.
When everything goes well, you probably won’t notice the difference between a cheap photographer and a professional; but if anything expected happens, you will be glad you invested in a photographer with more experience.
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.
Why are wedding photographers so expensive?
Wedding photographers are expensive because they require a lot of skill and patience. 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.
We put a lot of care into your photos.
On average, we spend about 3-4 hours editing, for every hour shooting. So an 11 hour wedding day can quickly become a full week's work (not counting all the admin, emails and other tasks). We invest this level of care so that each image not only looks beautiful by itself, but so that a whole wedding works together visually across all the different times and lighting conditions of a wedding day.
We are always learning and upskilling.
The experience and skills that allow us to deal with any situation, or to help things flow smoothly even under pressure, have taken years to develop. But that doesn’t mean we are done!
We are always challenging ourselves to do better; how to work with mid-day laser sun, what does the perfect timeline and experience look like, how does our photography gear help or hinder us capture authentic moments, how can we better balance giving couples more time with their loved ones without sacrificing stunning photos that their grandchildren will treasure… and more!
From editing, to the enquiry process, to print lab partners, and dancefloor playlists; we spend our off-season investing in workshops and up-skilling, and re-thinking how we can make our experiences and processes even better.
Your day is the most important thing to us.
Nobody likes to think of what could go wrong, but it’s something you have to do when you are committed to photographing a once-in-a-life event. We’ve always maintained a healthy savings buffer ‘just-in-case’. This buffer quite possibly saved our business, when our house was broken into and $20,000 of cameras and gear was stolen just days before we had to fly to a destination wedding. Even though we had insurance, there were still a multitude of small and unrecoverable costs that meant we needed to dip into this buffer.
Not to mention the times we’ve picked-up from photographers who have cancelled on weddings, or helped out others that have struggled with their business while holding down a day-job to make ends meet –Going full-time allows us to be there whenever our couples need us, and to give them the assurance that nothing else is more important than this party of a lifetime. Your wedding deserves to be more than a side-hustle!
How to save money on wedding photography?
While it’s important to get a photographer who you feel comfortable with and love their work, there are ways to save money on wedding photography.
Look into booking your favourite photographer for a shorter period. 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.
Decide how much you really care about photography? If having a beautiful record of our wedding day is not something you (or your partner) values; then instead of going for a cheap photographer, why not consider not getting a photographer at all! Since having bad photos is no better than having no photos at all –you might as well save those thousands of dollars to put toward something you do value instead.
If your wedding is on a weekday, you may find that photographers offer a discount for weddings that take place during the week. This is especially true if they don’t have another booking that day. If your wedding date is flexible, consider setting it for a Saturday or Sunday so that you can negotiate down the cost of your photographer.
Hopefully, we’ve helped you understand a bit more about the cost of hiring a wedding photographer. It can be daunting to think about how much money you’ll need to spend on your big day, but it’s important to remember that this is an investment in something that will last forever.
While we believe the cost is worth it to have a photographer at the top of their game, and who will give you tonnes of great photo-memories of the greatest party you’ve ever thrown; we hope we have helped you think about what is important to you and giving you some ideas to help you book the right wedding photographer for you!