Our History

Ronald Woolf Ronald Woolf

In 1934 Spencer Digby established what was to become one of New Zealand’s leading studios. Magnum Photographer Brian Brake gained his start through the studio as have many other nationally and internationally recognised photographers.


The business was sold to the Woolf family in 1960, and it thrived under the direction of Ronald and Inge Woolf.  A great teacher, Ronald lectured widely, and was renowned for his landscape, and people photography. Most of our files and negatives going back to 1934 remain intact, and have been archived  for the future. Te Papa holds a volume of files dating from 1934 and into the 1970s, as they are regarded as being in the national interest.


In 1986 Ronald Woolf and the Photography by Woolf team was commissioned to take the official NZ photographs of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. The photograph taken of the Queen is used on the NZ $20 note. In the same year we were commissioned to photograph His Holiness Pope John Paul II.


At the pinnacle of his career, in 1987, Ronald Woolf was killed in a tragic helicopter accident.


The Woolf family, supported by a highly trained team of professionals, carried on the business, with Simon Woolf  M PHOTOG leading the photographic team. Senior Photographer/ Digital experts Doug Mountain and Jessica Dewsnap handle many of the key assignments.  Photography by Woolf have a superb Sales and Service team led by Louise Veitch, and ably backed up by Toni Trainor.  Janet Lizardo is our Framer, who looks after our customers presentation requirements.


The photographic team are experienced in handling a variety of events and occasions, from family groups and portrait portfolios, to major events like The State Opening of Parliament, and other important occasions like conferences and events , where a team of photographers are essential in ensuring the assignment is superbly covered.


Photography by Woolf is now a very diverse photographic business, covering many aspects of photography, also specialising in hosting photographic workshops and seminars, both in New Zealand and overseas.


Photography by Woolf’s photographers are Multi Award Winning, having achieved awards and accolades both in New Zealand, and also internationally. The studio holds the record for the most Kodak Gold Awards, the most Kodak Gold Awards for Wedding Albums, and the most Kodak Gold Awards in a given year. In addition the studio’s photographers have won a host of Photographic Society of New Zealand Champion Image awards, and gold medals, and also have gained multiple successes in the Epson Iris Awards. Photography by Woolf have also produced more Photographic Society of New Zealand Youth Award Winners than any other studio, something that the studio is very proud of.


Photography by Woolf is very much a Family Business. Four out of the five Woolf’s have gained major photographic awards, while the fifth,   photographed hundreds of weddings, portraits, events, and occasions, and was regarded as an industry leader.  Inge, Deborah,  and Simon Woolf  have all led the management side of the business at various stages over the last 25 years, while Megan Woolf  has also had an involvement, winning a succession of Kodak Gold Awards, and also having imagery exhibited internationally in both China and Japan  The next generation has already picked up cameras, and have become involved with event photography, and have also assisted in post production areas.


On the international stage our photographers have gained significant  recognition through awards, accolades and qualifications in The USA, Great Britain and Australia. Simon Woolf became the first Zealander to score  90 plus score at Wedding and Portrait Photographers International in Las Vegas, and was also the first Kiwi to gain a number of top awards at WPPI.


The Photography by Woolf  Team are proud to have participated in a number of key events and assignments over many years. State Openings of Parliament, State Funerals, Royal and VIP Visits,  The Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference,  APEC Conference, The 1990 Commonwealth Games, and The Telstra Clear 2002 Golf Open,   The Visit of HRH Prince  William 2010 , and HRHPrince Charles and HRH Camilla The Duchess of Cornwall Diamond Jubille Visit in 2012, have been just a few of the major events we have had the honour, and responsibility of photographing.


In addition during the studios history, we have photographed a number of  key portraits, including HM Queen Elizabeth II,  His Holiness Pope John Paul II,  HRH Prince William, Nelson Mandela , most if not all New Zealand’s Governors General and Prime Ministers, Judiciary, Politicians and other prominent New Zealanders. Photography by Woolf photographers have also taken a number of photographs of other prominent personalities, including Louis Armstrong, Tiger Woods , Audrey Hepburn,  Elle McPherson, Michael Caine,  Mal Maninga,  Allan Border, and Imran Khan.


The Photography by Woolf  team have photographed a number of  professional business groups and boards including The New Zealand Governments Cabinet and Excecutive Council, The New Zealand Rugby Union Board, The Reserve Bank Board,  and The Westpac Board. Annual Report Photography has been an area where we have a huge amount of experience and expertise going back a number of years.


We have also photographed a number of prominent teams and groups over the years, including The All Blacks, The New Zealand Sevens Team, The All Whites, and a variety of top Wellington based sports teams. We are currently involved in photographing aspects of The Wellington Phoenix A League side for marketing and publicity purposes.


Most of  time we are involved in dealing with New Zealanders from all walks of life.  Whether it be a wedding, a family group, an individual portfolio,  or a corporate commercial shoot, we feel honoured to be recording important milestones, and memories in peoples lives.


Website Photography, and Corporate Identity Photography  are areas we are particularly strong in. Many clients choose to not only have their corporate profile and identity photographed, but also use images from our extensive stock library of photographs to support their brochures, reports, marketing and point of sale. We have also been focusing a lot of attention on  photography for Facebook, Linkedin and other community websites, an we always have  value packed, user friendly deals on offer for clients to take advantage of. Our own Facebook site is also active, and there is usually draws and promotions, where our customers can gain a few bonus items, in addition to the great products and services we already offer.


Our photography has also now extended to a few few other areas including Nature,  Conservation, and Landscape,  and we are also involved in facilitating photographic workshops and seminars in Wellington, around New Zealand,  and also overseas. As with everything we do, our workshops and seminars are “out there”, fun and are user friendly.