Affordable Wedding Photographers in Sydney

There are plenty of affordable wedding photographers in Sydney, if you know where to look. As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for.  But wedding photography is a competitive industry and with a little hunting around you can get beautiful wedding photos without the standard price tag.

Let’s talk about what cheap means when it comes to wedding photography.  The average cost of wedding photography in Sydney and Melbourne is around $3,200 for 6 to 8 hours coverage and usually comes with a set of digital images.  Cheap wedding photography packages range from $500 to $3,500.

When searching for cheap wedding photography it’s helpful to know your budget, but also to clarify what style of product and service inclusions you’re hoping to get with your budget.  No two packages are the same when it comes to wedding photography.  Every photographer has a different style of shooting and produces different results.  They all have different packages too, so trying to understand what constitutes a 'great deal' is a somewhat inexact science.

Affordable Wedding Photographers Sydney

The two most important elements to consider when booking a wedding photographer is the style of their work and the service they will provide on your wedding day.  You want to love your wedding photos when you get them back so it's important to choose a photographer who produces images in a style that speaks to you.  The other part of the decision is whether you will enjoy spending your wedding day with this person, and whether you feel relaxed and happy around them. Because this will show in your images!  If you don’t like your photographer, there’s nothing surer than you won’t like your photos.

Instead of searching for a great deal, we always recommend setting a budget and then be flexible on the package inclusions.  Start your search by browsing images and shortlist photographers whose work you love.  Use our search filters to compare images side by side.  Then meet the photographers & identify which one or two you connect with best.  You can scale your hours of coverage up or down according to that photographer’s package prices.

Some couples find it helpful to consider the value for money they’re getting in terms of an hourly rate.  A high end photographer may create a cheap package of $2,500 for a client that includes 4 hours coverage.  Others may define a good value package as more like $2,500 for 12 hours coverage.  Our list of affordable wedding photographers in Sydney provides a good range of options at both ends of the hourly rate scale.

What’s a cheap wedding photography package?

Cheap Wedding Photographers in Sydney
Image by Sydney photographer Mr Wigley

With a budget of $1,000, the cheapest packages will include 4 to 6 hours coverage.  With $2,000 to spend you’ll find packages that include 8 to 10 hours coverage.  And if you’re looking for affordable wedding photography that isn’t bottom basement you’ll find some excellent value packages in the $2,500 - $3,500 price bracket.

For weddings on a tight budget, an option to consider is booking a ceremony + portraits package including just a few hours coverage.  There are plenty of wedding photographers that offer minimum packages of only 2 or 3 hours and for small intimate weddings, this may be all you need.

Deciding on a smaller photography package gives you a great choice of quality photographers in a more budget friendly price bracket.  You get the best of both worlds. 

Great quality at affordable prices

We’re lucky in Australia to have access to many internationally acclaimed photographers.  The ACT, central & south coasts of NSW, Sydney and Melbourne are particular hot spots for incredible wedding photographers.  

If beautiful imagery is important to you, and you’ve found yourself with a preference for high end photography but have a lower end budget, another option is to try enquiring with the high end photographers who reside outside of the main cities.  Their packages are often a little cheaper.  Explain a little about yourself and your wedding plans when you enquire.  Many of the country’s top photographers are motivated by great stories that they will enjoy telling through their lens.  You might find you can strike a mutually agreeable arrangement.

Bear in mind that top wedding photographers usually have a minimum package of at least 6 hours and sometimes require that their images are delivered in print.  This means that while you do get the digital files, you’ll also be required to pay for an album.  If your heart is set on having absolutely stunning images, you’ll need a minimum budget of $1,500 for limited coverage and $3,000 for ceremony + reception.  A budget of $4,000 opens up more options.

How to get a good quality wedding photographer for under $1,000

Affordable Wedding Photographers Sydney

If you’re getting married in your backyard and the total wedding budget is $5,000, you’re probably not wanting to invest in a ‘cheap’ wedding photography package at the $3,000 end of the scale.  Instead, you’ll be looking for the highest quality wedding photographer you can find for under $1,000.  

Wedding photographers are good peoples.  Not to generalise, but they tend to love a good love story and in particular - couples who struggle to keep their hands off each other.  As artists they enjoy challenging themselves to create stunning imagery and having an awesome couple with great chemistry and big smiles to work with, is a great start towards an awesome artwork.  You may find you have a little negotiating power.

Unlike large corporate businesses with fixed policies and pricing structures, wedding photographers often work alone and have more flexibility with packages.  Keep in mind that your master artist still needs to eat.  

You’ll find a couple of budget packages around $1,000 in our list of affordable wedding photographers in Sydney

Where to find cheap wedding photography

Affordable wedding photographers are often newly started businesses.  In Sydney, there are more than 1,000 wedding photographers operating at any one time.  The market is highly saturated and extremely competitive.  For new entrants into the market it can be difficult to find couples willing to entrust their wedding to them.  If photography isn’t your number one wedding priority, this could present an opportunity for you. There are always photographers looking for wedding experience who will offer you cheap, or sometimes even free, wedding photos.

If you’re thinking about booking a start up business, choosing a photographer with proven capability in another people-oriented genre may improve your chances of getting some great shots.  Sports and news photographers for example, may be a better choice than someone whose photography work usually involves static shots like real estate. 

Weddings are a unique environment and require a lot of quick thinking and reactive shooting.  If reaction shots are important to you (of your family and friends during the ceremony for example), you may want to opt for an experienced wedding photographer.  Ceremonies can sometimes be as short as 6 minutes so photographers must know what will happen next, when to move and where to be standing in order to capture the moment perfectly.  This requires experience.

Because Sydney is such a competitive marketplace for wedding photographers you may find that long-time established businesses offer excellent value for money.  Especially during periods of growth in the industry.

As new entrants come into the market with their shiny new websites and fancy social media accounts, demand can drop for established players.  These businesses have survived many ebbs and flows in demand by offering a consistently good product and service at reasonable prices.  If you find yourself on the receiving end of an offer from one of these photographers, it’s likely to be a deal well worth consideration.

To make your search easy, download our list of recommended affordable wedding photographers in Sydney.  It includes links to photographers who offer wedding packages between $500 - $2,500. You can also search all photographers on our website.  Use the filters to compare images side by side to find your favourites.

Cover Image by Mr Wigley Photography in Sydney.

 

 

 

 

24 Amazing Places to Elope in Australia

Australia has many beautiful locations for an elopement wedding.  From white sand beaches to rolling green hills.  From bustling urban centres to iconic landmarks.  Whatever your vision is for your special day, you’ll find the perfect destination for your elopement in Australia.  

You’re spoilt for choice with places like these…

Awesome Places to Elope in NSW

1. Hunter Valley

Elopement Venue Hunter Valley

As one of Australia’s most popular winery regions, the Hunter Valley is somewhat of an international landmark.  Tourists flock here for the laid back country vibe, beautiful vineyard vistas and the many international events that are hosted among the vines.

There’s so much to do in the Hunter Valley that you can easily spend 5 days enjoying all that's on offer here.  Hire bikes and enjoy a leisurely ride along the well worn scenic route between wineries. Stop to say hello to the Kangaroos grazing in fields along the way.  And of course, enjoy some of the world’s finest food and wines at the many award winning restaurants in the area. 

Elopement Tip - Take a hot air balloon ride and get married high above the vineyard dotted countryside! 

2. Sydney Harbour

Sydney Harbour Elopement LocationSydney Harbour from Lavender Bay - Fiona + Bobby Photography

Sydney is home to many great landmarks and iconic locations. No more so, than Sydney Harbour.  And you can get married at just about all of them including; under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, at the Sydney Opera House, in front of or at one of the many venues inside Luna Park.  

There’s also many beautiful spots for wedding ceremonies and photos in the Rocks precinct. Hickson Road Reserve is a popular place for taking photos as it offers a plethora of backdrops from the iconic Sydney Ferries, to Circular Quay, the bridge and Opera House.  Expect to see multiple wedding parties jostling for spots in the Spring and Summer months - and a queue of Limos parked in the nearby narrow streets.  

Sydney harbour also offers many locations a little more off-the-beaten track including secluded beaches, corner cafes and local seaside swimming pools which are all perfect spots for small and intimate wedding ceremonies.

Best Elopement Celebrants in Australia 1

3. Leura

Around 100km from Sydney in the Blue Mountains National Park, you’ll find the sleepy town of Leura. Mount Solitary is a rocky peak just south of the town. The 360-degree view you have of the park from this vantage point, is truly sublime and quite possibly the single best place to elope in Australia. 

The area is perfect for hiking enthusiasts with many bushwalking tracks on offer.  Explore local waterfalls or bring your tent and head out overnight during spring and autumn.  (There’s a high risk of fires during summer) 

If shopping is more your thing, you’ll love the town’s quirky boutiques and cafes which offer cosy fires during the colder winter months.  Leura is the perfect destination for winter elopements because you can stay secluded in luxury for a week without seeing a single other soul.

4. Jervis Bay

Jervis Bay Elopement VenueSituated in the south-east of New South Wales, Jervis Bay makes for a picturesque getaway. The incredibly soft and pristine white sand, see-through turquoise water and the seclusion from larger civilisation, is perfect for a micro wedding. 

There’s hardly anyone around except for the occasional humpback whale, a few dolphins and a couple of cheeky wallabies. Just you, your lover, the wildlife and sun.

5. Tathra

Further south on the Sapphire Coast is the happening little holiday spot of Tathra. This is a great spot for families with affordable accommodation. The heritage listed Tathra Wharf is a beautiful spot for wedding photos and a great place to stop for coffee.

Right by the town of Tathra is the Mimosa Rocks National Park and for those who love adventure, the Bundadung tracks offer some of Australia’s best mountain biking. There’s plenty of places to elope here, including Moon Bay where you can swim after. Or along the Middle Lagoon walking track which is a brilliant spot for an intimate photo session and champagne picnic.

Awesome Places to Elope in VIC

6. Melbourne

Melbourne ElopementStreet Weddings in Melbourne - Gold and Grit Photography

If you want to have an elopement in a city that never sleeps, be dazzled by lights and incredible street murals, shop until you’re ready to drop, enjoy great coffee, have a cocktail in an underground bar and generally feast your senses, then Melbourne is the perfect secret wedding location for you.

Often described as Australia’s cultural epicenter, Melbourne has a great choice of clubs, pubs, wine bars, restaurants and event venues.  The Melbourne Cricket Ground in the centre of the city hosts many sporting events and there are plenty of theatres and concert venues for shows and music events. If there’s something happening right now, it’s happening in melbourne!

FYI, many of the best drinking and eating spots in town have no street signage so you’ll need to do a little investigative work to find out where to go. You can ask your wedding celebrant to point you in the right direction.  There's several groovin' Melbourne celebrants in our list of the 25 best elopement celebrants in Australia. They'll give you the run down on current happening places.

7. Geelong

Those of you that love to go sailing or boat riding, this public port is a great option for an elopement location. Quiet yet not too quiet, the shoreline offers some great spots for a low key reception dinner.  And for your ceremony, Geelong is a place for those that want to get married out on the water. It's also home to many classic car shows.

8. West Gippsland

For those that love adventure and the great outdoors, West Gippsland will top your list of perfect elopement locations. The area is an hour and 15 minutes drive from Melbourne and offers lots in the way of bushwalks, hidden waterfalls, secluded wooden walk bridges and seemingly unexplored forest.  There’s loads of places for completely private wedding ceremonies surrounded by some of nature’s best treasures.

West Gippsland Destination Elopements
Toorongo Falls Reserve by Bonnie Pix & Flix  

The Toorongo Falls Reserve is Jurrasic, lush with thick lime green vegetation and rocky flowing streams. Grand Ridge Rail Trail is a must do!  The mining town of Walhalla can be explored on foot, making it a great activity leading up to your ceremony.

9. Aire Valley

Slap bang in the center of the Olangolah Plantation lies the Aire Valley. The breathtaking waterfalls are surrounded by very dense foliage. There are hiking paths around the falls, but there’s no direct route to them. Those who want utter privacy coupled with a beautiful background, need not look any further.

One of the best experiences in the Aire Valley includes having breakfast with Australia’s friendliest Koalas at Lavers Hill.  (Fancy having your wedding ceremony witnessed by a Koala?)

10. King Valley

Excellent wineries, artisan food, gorgeous coastlines and a brilliant choice of accommodation. King Valley is located in Victoria, just north of the Gracebrook Vineyards. Bright green fields are left undisturbed, right by the vineyards, so you can have a small private elopement outside. Take a stroll by the bank of the King River for amazing wedding photographs.

Elopements Places in Tasmania

11. Launceston

Launceston Destination Elopements

The stunning country landscape surrounding Launceston provides a gorgeous backdrop for your elopement - Jonathan Wherrett Photography

The final stop of the River Tamar, this beautiful town and it’s gorgeous hillside suburbs are a treat for your weekend strolls. One of the city’s best places to get married is Cataract Gorge Reserve.  A unique basin with walking trails, a public swimming pool, beautifully maintained gardens and spectacular views of the gorge waterway from atop its own chairlift.

Have photos with the local barefoot kids playing at the waters edge, in the beautiful gardens and of course, while you experience a ride up the hillside.

Places to Elope in the ACT

12. Canberra

The nation’s capital city is actually a lot quieter and more spacious per person, than almost any other capital around the world. The Australian War Memorial is definitely one of the largest attractions and would make for a nice backdrop to your elopement.

Science and technology buffs will love a Questacon wedding while the more politically minded among us could venture to Parliament House.

13. Tidbinbilla

ACT Elopement VenuesAustralia's quintessential farming landscape just outside of Tidbinbilla - Translucent Photography

In the heart of the Australian Capital Territory, the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve lies silently in one of the most beautiful mountainous regions in the Australia. Take a hike through the jungle, out onto the plains, stand on the boulders and watch the sunrise together. With almost no one for hundreds of miles around, you couldn’t ask for a more secret wedding location.

Tidbinbilla gates open at 7.30am and close 6pm in winter and 8pm in summer.  The nearby Gibraltar Falls offers another stunning option.

Awesome Places to Elope in Queensland

14. Albany Island

Right at the most northern part of Queensland, is Albany Island. As if you weren’t already in paradise, you’ll find palm trees, soft golden sand, small wooden cottages and all the coconuts you could possibly eat. There’s plenty of privacy on the island, especially on the beaches as most of the coast is bare. 

Set up camp and bring your own hammock.  For the evening of your wedding, hire a wedding stylist & caterer to create a romantic dinner for two on the beach.  Imagine just the two of you and your very own stretch of the whitest sand and bluest water you’ve ever seen.  

There’s a restaurant on the island and organised fishing trips.

15. Brisbane

Brisbane ElopementsBrisbane River Weddings - Oakman Photography 

Brisbane is a great urban setting for a small wedding. Sitting pretty on a river, there are plenty of water activities to do with your short list of guests. You can go jet skiing, boating, parasailing, or snorkelling in Moreton Bay. At night, you can book a private table at one of the city’s skyline restaurants and watch the city lights from above.

16. Woodfordia

Just outside the Bellthorpe Forest Reserve 2, Woodfordia is a small town that holds one of Australia’s top arts and music festivals. Those that love folk music and dancing, should make this their elopement location. You’re right by the forest to hold your secluded ceremony but at night, you can sing and dance away with your small troop or newly made like-minded friends.

Elopement Destinations in Western Australia

Best Elopement Celebrants in Australia

17. Perth

Taking the title for the greatest coastal city in Australia is Perth. What a jewel, this place is. Unlike Melbourne or Brisbane, Perth doesn’t have a bay. Instead, it’s suburbs are open to the Indian Ocean. This means you can go surfing during the daytime and then have your ceremony on the beach at sunset.

Ride or walk along the flat cycle paths that follow the Swan River.  Experience the affluent suburbs and make plans for your retirement here.  The weather is perfect, the people are friendly and the pace of life is more country than urban.

18. Gibson Desert Nature Reserve

If you want a small wedding with absolute privacy and loads of open space, then the Gibson Nature Reserve in Western Australia is one of the top elopement locations for you. It is exactly as it is in the photos. Red sand, barren flatlands, in the middle of nowhere and with just a few termite mounds to keep your company. 

You might be the first couple to elope here!

19. Cape Le Grand

This isn’t just any old beach location. It's completely empty of people. Situated in the south of the Western Territory, you have an entire coastline to yourself. You can, of course, visit tourist hotspots such as Frenchman Peak, giving you a view for hundreds of miles around.

20. Pink Lake

Pink Lake Elopement DestinationPink Lake - WA

Standing in front of a biological marvel like Pink Lake will make your wedding unique. The pink water occurs to the algae that react to the light and heat on certain days. A large swell of water that is literally pink, could also be used to symbolise your love for one another.  

Hire a wedding photographer that offers drone photos to capture the best of your experience in this unique place.

21. Prince Regent National Park

In the northern part of Western Australia, this protected UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve can be surveyed from the air. Book yourself a plane guide that will whizz you and your lover around the skies, so you can observe the waterfalls, convergence of rivers and the incredible orange rock cliffs. 

Elopement Destinations in South Australia

22. Adelaide

Adelaide Elopement There's a growing number of murals appearing in Adelaide - Bridget Quain Photography 

If you want your elopement to be in an urban city without the hectic vibe, then Adelaide could be your first choice. It's a coastal city so you get the best of both worlds. The world-famous Adelaide Central Market is where you can buy exotic produce if you’re planning on cooking yourselves. It’s also a short drive away from the Cleland Conservation Park where you can walk among emus. 

23. Granite Island

Jump aboard the horse drawn tram and cross the wooden causeway from Victor Harbor to Granite Island.  Make friends with a penguin, get married on a huge granite boulder, walk the Kaiki track and spot a southern right right whale between June and October.  

Take a picnic and enjoy the spectacular views.  Watch out for sheep poo on the west side of the island!  

24. Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park

Take an adventure to an outback wedding destination in South Australia.  A stupendous example of ancient aboriginal art, this park is for those that want a backdrop that has stood the test of time. Surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, you have ultimate privacy but more than enough room to hold a small wedding.

Australia is truly blessed with many serene and empty spaces that could be the backdrop for your secret wedding ceremony. Elopements are special because they’re private, intimate and perhaps that little bit extra meaningful. Get our guide to the 25 most recommended elopement celebrants in Australia. They can help you find the perfect location for your elopement.

Cover Image: Cavanagh Photography

Tales from a Covid-Bride

I’ve always dreamt about what my wedding day would look like. From a young age, I’ve had my Pinterest board adorned with white lace dresses, moody floral arrangements and almost too-good-to-eat cakes.

When I got engaged in January 2019, the dream became a reality and instead of pinning to my wedding board, I was able to start making enquiries and booking wedding vendors.

I’m a very organised person and like to know what’s happening at all times. So it only took my fiance and I a few months to lock in everything from the venue to entertainment, our photographer, celebrant and even my dress.

Ovollo Wolloomooloo Weddings
Ovolo Woolloomooloo - Dom & Florian's wedding venue (image by Fiona & Bobby)

And because I’m organised, I’d also already thought of what could go wrong in the lead up to, and on my wedding day. There were backup plans to my backup plan! But it’s difficult to preempt a global pandemic.

We were to marry on March 28th 2020. My fiance and I resigned from our jobs with exciting plans to move to Paris after the wedding. We would have our first year as newlyweds in the most romantic city in the world.

But March came around, and time started to tick by in super slow motion.

News of a flu-like bug exploding in China had seemed so insignificant to our wedding plans. But every couple of days, there was Scott Morrison appearing before us on our TV’s with news that Australia was not immune to Covid-19. We were told to brace for a total lifestyle overhaul.

I never thought an invisible bug would impact my wedding. Yet here we were. Our
prospects of achieving a wedding and moving abroad were getting slimmer by the day. My well laid plans in disarray. Cue random bursts of crying at the drop of a hat.

On the 20th of March, 8 days before our wedding, the Australian borders were closed to all international travellers. The announcement was expected so we already knew that some guests coming from overseas would no longer be able to attend our wedding.

Due to the travel ban, we had to chop around 20 people from our guest list. This meant having to reshuffle the seating plan and work with our venue to reorganise the space and catering.

The following day restrictions were set to 100 people - including venue staff and vendors.

Ovollo Woolloomooloo Wedding Venue
The Piper Room at Ovolo Woolloomooloo where Florian & Dom were to have their wedding reception. Image by Fiona & Bobby

Excluding our international attendees, we were expecting a total of 150 local guests. Uninviting 60 people was one of the most stressful and difficult moments of the entire wedding planning process. I come from a huge Italian and Spanish family. Invitees on my side alone were close to 100, plus all my fiance’s family and our combined friends. It was heartbreaking having to send out that message.

Our seven-piece band was stripped to a duo and we had to send one of the photographers home early. So many guests were incredibly understanding and some even volunteered up their spot to make more room. However, we did have a couple who weren’t impressed and haven’t spoken to me since receiving the un-invitation.

I lost count of the times I cut our guestlist and redid the seating plan. Over and over again, to try to make it work. Some days my fiance would come home to find me crawled up in the foetal position in different rooms around the house.

I was so frustrated about the entire situation and how helpless I felt in the middle of it all. I had looked forward to this day for my entire life and each week that passed saw that dream slip further out of reach.

I was annoyed at so many things I couldn’t change. I was annoyed at seeing photos posted to social media of those friends who squeezed in their wedding in the months earlier. I didn’t think I was a very jealous person, but the green-eyed monster made an appearance from time to time, leaving a path of hysterical crying and scrunched up seating plans in her path.

The week before the wedding saw the restrictions become even stricter with each venue requiring the square-metre rules enforced. With seven days between this new requirement and the wedding day, we decided our wedding was no longer looking like the day we had originally hoped or the one I dreamt of since I was a little girl. I don’t think I could have coped with the uncertainty looming over my head for another week so we made the call to postpone the wedding.

We informed our wedding reception venue and asked for available dates they had in
September for Fridays and Sundays (we knew Saturdays would have been snapped up
months beforehand). Once we were able to find a suitable date, we emailed our amazing wedding planner, Janet from J Event Design, who coordinated with our incredible vendors to lock in the new date.

J Event Design Florals Blue Room
Styling, florals & wedding planning by J Event Design

We had decided to get an on-the-day coordinator to ensure everything ran smoothly and found Janet through Wedlockers. I honestly can’t recommend a wedding planner/coordinator more highly. Janet became our go-to person, taking care of all vendors throughout this process. In hindsight, I’m not sure how I would have coped without a planner.

We had no issues reorganising with our wedding vendors. We didn’t want a refund from any of them because we planned to use their services, just at a later date. In the end, we only lost about $400 in the process, which came from the florist as she wasn’t able to cancel an order of imported roses. We had the roses delivered to our house to brighten up the place.

From the day we made the decision to postpone, it felt as if a weight had been lifted and I could finally think about something other than the wedding.

It’s funny when you find another couple who had to also reschedule their wedding as you both have a mutual understanding of the pain endured in the past few months. I recently had a job interview where I bonded with the interviewer over our shared misfortune and the heartache that we’d endured having to reschedule our wedding. I ended up getting the job!

I laugh when I hear of how stressful people found planning their wedding pre-covid, thinking I would plan three weddings in place of what I went through. It’s cute you were worried about your welcome sign, I had to get a whole new one! Complaining about the cost of posting thank you notes? Try sending out invitations twice!

I guess the most important lesson I took from all of this is whilst the wedding day itself is something so many dream of, more focus should be put on why you’re getting married in the first place.

My fiance was so incredibly supportive and loving during this time, wiping away tears and sending emails all over the place. It was a great exercise of throwing a couple into a high-pressure situation and seeing how they perform.

A message to all those Brides and Grooms who have had to reschedule - hang in there! We’re all in this together. One day we’ll have the fairytale wedding we’ve always dreamt of.

And for those who have friends going through planning during Covid, reach out and let them know you’re there for them. Offer to help or lend an ear for a rant or cry. These are unprecedented times and some days are harder than others, so a quick message checking in goes a long way.

As for me, I’ll be sitting with fingers (and toes) crossed that I can finally get married at the end of September.

You can follow Dom & Florian's wedding journey at The Girl From Sydney.

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