5 reasons why wedding photography is expensive

If you are a bride or groom planning a wedding in New Zealand, you know how expensive it can get. From the wedding venue of your dreams to the wedding photography. Everyone knows that you can’t have a wedding and not have something to remember it by. Hiring a wedding photographer to document and capture every moment of your special day is something you would want.

Yes, hiring a wedding photographer can be costly, not just in New Zealand but all over the world, especially if you want to hire a professional that has a photography style that you prefer.

How expensive can wedding photography get? Let’s say if the average cost of a wedding in New Zealand is $30,000, the wedding photography will be about $3000. Yes, that is 10% of the total cost!

You may be one of the people who are wondering as to why wedding photography is expensive and you wanna understand the reason behind it so you can justify the expense!

Well, MKW is here to help you. Let’s break down the real reason why wedding photography is expensive and why it is so worth it!

Here are the REAL reasons of why wedding photography is expensive:

Supply vs. Demand

Although there are quite a lot of wedding photographers you can hire in New Zealand, every photographer can only cater one wedding per date. This immediately creates a scenario where the supply is restrictive and thus the demand would be high for that exclusivity. Also when you book a photographer and pay for the deposit, you want to have the piece of mind that you have secured that exclusivity of the photographer’s service. Exclusivity always attracts a premium in any given industry.

Remember that even though you have options of photographers you have a specific style that you want and not all wedding photographers have the same photography style. Personality also plays a big part in the bride decision. The ability to have fun and get along well with the photographer is a big must for most wedding couples. Once you have the right photography style, matching personality, it is next to impossible for the couples to want to choose another wedding photographer.

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Wedding photography by Binh Trinh, Picture Perfect Photography

The Photography Artistic Skill and Vision

Usually photographers decide they want to shoot photos for a living because it’s their passion and when you are passionate about something you want to do everything to be the best at it. They bring with them their own unique visions of how they see the world, and how they see your weddings and your love story. Through photography and their creative talent, they transfer and capture your wedding memories into images in a way that you have fell in love with and want to share.

No two photographers are the same, and you are paying for the connections that you feel when you have viewed and browsed through their work. It is the connections, the emotions, the storytelling elements that you want from your wedding day.


When you hire a photographer, you are not just hiring their skills and expertise but their time as well–from the time you inquire and do client meetings. That includes booking an entire day to shoot your wedding day and the time spent post processing your wedding photos to perfection!

For professional wedding photographers, wedding photography is their bread and butter. Their full-time gig. They charge accordingly and in order to have enough to survive–covering basic cost of living as well as make a good living.

If you want to get a glimpse of the hours, at the very minimum, a wedding photographer would typically spend 3-5 days of their time just for one wedding. Time is precious so they should be compensated well.


The first and obvious reason is the equipment that photographers use. Wedding photography uses specific equipment that costs more than the usual in order to achieve the quality photos you deserve.

Photographers invest in high-end cameras (yes, plural as they usually use 2 every event) that help capture moments on your wedding day that will yield high-quality results. Aside from the camera body, they also invest in several lenses that will allow them to capture portraits or landscapes beautifully.

They also need to buy tripods and other accessories for their photography like memory cards and external harddrive to store thousands of photos they have captured.

A computer is also an investment for photographers. They use it to post process (edit) your photos accordingly. So they need a computer that has high-powered specs to process and run softwares smoothly.

The equipment alone makes the cost of wedding photography justifiable!

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Photo Processing

The editing process is also the MOST time-consuming in wedding photography. Photographers have to go through thousands of photos and they need to sift through those photos to pick out the best ones to give to you.

They may use their premade preset and apply those to photos in bulk, but they also need to edit photos one-by-one for color corrections, cropping, scaling, and other imperfections.

Editing photos needs a keen eye for detail and photographers spend their time perfecting your photos because you deserve the best and photos are art so they make sure to give you something valuable and beautiful!

Taxes and Insurance

Wedding photography is a business for most photographers which means they make sure they have everything covered in the business aspect of things. This means paying taxes and insurance.

Almost all wedding vendors spend on insurance for their service. Photographers get equipment insurance as it is how they can provide you the service. It includes maintenance, calibration, and sensor cleaning. This is to ensure that in case their equipment or gear is damaged during your wedding day.

Liability insurance for the photographer’s and their wedding photography business, protecting you from potential claims of bodily injury, property damage, and more.

Additional shoots

Sometimes wedding photography packages would include pre-wedding or engagement shoots and that will also take up their time, travel expense, expertise, and another batch of post processing.

Sometimes engagement shoots can help you feel comfortable and build rapport with your photographer this way there wouldn’t be any awkwardness during the wedding day.

This service usually includes an online gallery, a USB for the images or you to keep, and the location (since some locations require a venue hire for you to be allowed to shoot).

Although this one isn’t mandatory, meaning you can opt for a wedding photography package that this is not included.


Some wedding photography packages include photo prints. These photos are processed and printed at professional photo labs.

Meaning, the photo paper being used are of higher quality than from regular photo labs and the prints are guaranteed to last long or stay true to the original image.

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Wedding Album

Wedding albums from any professional photographer are not CHEAP. They are luxury wedding albums that would last forever!

Some wedding photography packages include a physical wedding album that is printed out in the best quality.

Wedding photographers want to produce a product that you’ll be proud to share with your family and friends. So they source the BEST quality material that money can buy.

They are also the ones who design the albums for your wedding and make sure it is distinct from every wedding. Each album includes your choice of photos too.

The photographer would get your approval on the design draft. So if you prefer it a different way they can change it to suit your liking.

These albums are usually beautifully presented in a black leatherette box as standard. Oftentimes they are hand stitched or custom designed, and not mass produced simply unique for every couple.

Second Shooter

Some photographers would include a second shooter or an assistant to make shooting your wedding day a breeze and at the same time capture moments you wouldn’t want to miss–especially for big weddings!

This is something you can add on if the photographer has a separate charge for this option. Although 34% of wedding photographers include second shooters in their starting rates. It is up to them because they might want to capture as much and deliver you priceless moments of your wedding day.

Second shooters can be a great option if you want to see different perspectives and angles throughout the wedding day. For instance, during the time you and your groom or bride are getting ready, the photographers can photograph you both at the same time.

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In Conclusion

Now that you know the reason why wedding photography is expensive you know that it isn’t just a “quick and easy” service you hire. It is a profession back with experience and skill acquired over the years.

So the next time you look for photographers be understanding of how they price their service and do not cheapen them out. Although there are wedding photographers that offer bespoke options to cater to your budget.

Wedding photography is a luxury service for luxury occasions. The output is an investment of the memory of your special day.

You know what they say, you get what you pay for.

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