Wedding Photography Costs – Auckland Wedding Photography

"Why is wedding photography 'so expensive'?"

This is a really common question that many professional photographers get asked! The costs that make up a Wedding Photography package extend far deeper than just turning up on the day and taking the photos! So I thought I'd put it all down here and you'll see why the actual profit for many photographers is very little. Infact, for my first few years as a wedding photographer I earnt less than I did as a teacher, but with the added stresses that come with running a business such as taxes, insurances, finding work and of course very seasonal work.

Here are the main factors taken into account when putting together a photography package:


In terms of actual time spent, we are looking at anything from 
25-45  hours PER wedding.

PRE WEDDING HOURS: There are many hours of work done before the day to ensure things run smoothly for our couples.  Emailing back and forth with the client, setting up invoices, contracts and questionnaires,  site or location scouting at the venue or photo locations, rehearsals and pre wedding meetings with the couple. Easily 2-5 hours.
ON THE DAY:  Wedding days can be long and gruelling! We are often on our feet for most of the 9-14 hours, only taking a 20-30minute break to sit down and eat some dinner. 
POST WEDDING: This is where the hours start to add up. Immediately after the wedding we have to offload and make multiple backups of the photos. THEN there's the sorting, culling, editing, exporting and uploading, making slideshows, galleries, packaging, burning USBs etc... depending on the wedding this can easily clock up  15-25 hours 


Making sure we have the right equipment to capture a wedding day effectively is a huge part of our business. We need reliable, great quality gear which must always be well maintained and serviced regularly. Cameras, lenses and equipment can come to well over $30, 000 and because of this, insurance is super important!  Business and liability insurance are also a must for a wedding photographer.


After the wedding is over, the most important step is to make multiple copies of all the original photos. Raw files are HUGE and each wedding may yield THOUSANDS of images. Photographers spend a lot of money on online storage as well as massive external and portable hard drives for each seasons weddings to ensure images are backed up and stored safely to avoid disaster.


SO much money goes into editing software and programmes for the day to day running of our businesses.  Many of these programmes are subscription based, requiring ongoing monthly payments, even over the winter months when weddings are few and far between! Some of my subscriptions are; Studio Ninja, Pixieset, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pixell U, Photo Mechanic, Soundslides, Blogstomp and Queensberry to name a few. These equate to hundreds of dollars a month!

And now to the most important.... 


You  simply can't put a price on Experience when it comes to wedding photography. An inexperienced photographer or hobbyist COULD deliver the goods if the lighting conditions were perfect (flat, even, consistent light) but that is very seldom promised or guaranteed on a wedding day, so it begs the question, is it something worth gambling on?!  Some of the trickiest situations to deal with on a wedding day are light related. Harsh sun, patchy or dappled light through trees, dark shadows, dark or poorly lit venues or locations, snow, wind and of course RAIN... etc... An experienced photographer will know how to deal with all these situations and bring with them the tools, equipment, skills and experience to create beautiful images or at least some creative solutions. To see some images from rainy weddings on my Instagram page, Click Here


TAXES: If you cringe seeing the tax deductions from your monthly pay slip, imagine having to deduct double that! A good accountant once told me that I needed to put away 30% of each job to cover GST and Taxes... Which equates to $1000-$1500 off every wedding.

Couples receive  USBs, personalised boxes, complimentary prints, and more in their finished packages.

Internet & Office Expenses: In order to be found by future couples we need to maintain a good online presence it's important to have a good website, and with that comes maintenance, hosting, domain fees etc. 

Communication:  I love all my clients and it's really important to me to  responding to their emails or calls when they have queries or concerns. I will always help when I can and this takes a significant amount of time as there are a lot of couples I'm talking to and working with at any given time.

Petrol & Travel expenses: A wedding photographer does ALOT of driving!! Not only to and from weddings all over the country, but meetings, location scouting,  rehearsals etc... 

Branding & Promotion: From business cards, to flyers or anything printed to online advertising and promotion.

Workshops & Upskilling: Anything that make me better at my craft or allows me to provide a better experience for my couples is invaluable, and workshops are a huge part of this for my business. I truly believe that learning should NEVER stop. I gain so much from every workshop I attend, be it meeting new and inspiring people, learning from those excelling in the industry, pushing my creativity or finding out about new equipment or tools of the trade. A big expense for my business, but one that I know is worth it :)

That's all I can think of for now. Hopefully this helps demystify the price of photography, in particular Wedding Photography. I am sure that there is stuff I've missed, or that new things will pop up, so I will try and remember to add to this as they do :) 



If you`d like more information, or to chat with us about capturing your special day please drop us a message with your date, the location and a bit about you. We look forward to hearing from you!