This is article is a little behind-the-scenes of what’s involved in successfully implementing a photography plan on a wedding day. Some people don’t care and some are curious. Read on if you want to know more…or skip to the next post if you don’t. 🙂 Much of a photographer’s work is unseen by his clients, from education and training, planning, and editing your images into art.
Some people think a photographer’s job is “just pressing a button,” that it’s easy or something anyone could do. But photography takes skill, talent, and a solid business mind. It requires starting your own company from scratch and building it up into something that can become your full-time career. Telling a photographer, “That is a beautiful image. You must have a nice camera!” is akin to telling a chef, “This food is really good. You must have great pots and pans.” 🙂
So, what does a wedding photographer do? So much more than just taking photos of your walk down the aisle! Let’s take a look at how a photographer prepares for and captures a wedding.
Before the Wedding
Long before I photograph a wedding, I start working with the couple. Most brides or couples contact me well in advance of their wedding date because my calendar can fill up quickly. I usually first hear from a potential wedding client via a phone call or email, after which we will set up a time to meet. During this meeting, we discuss their plans for their big day so far—how many people are in the wedding party, the venue (if chosen), what they want to capture about their big day.
After this first consultation, I’ll put together a contract and documents for the client to review and sign. I stay in touch with my clients after the contract is signed, getting more details about their wedding day as their planning progresses. We meet again (in-person when possible) to go over the timeline for the day or even to shoot an engagement and/or bridal portrait session. Each couple’s needs and wants are different, and it’s important to me to get to know my clients on an individual basis so I can better create the images they want of their wedding.
We also keep in touch via emails, phone calls, or other meetings depending on what is needed to best prepare and plan your wedding photography details.
This picture is a snapshot I took while pre-planning and location scouting for a couple’s wedding at Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, NC.
The Wedding Day
On the wedding day, I will constantly be around! From the first moments of getting ready to your exit from the reception, I’ll work hard to capture every memory and moment of your day. A wedding day is often anywhere from six to 10 hours of work for me, organizing and posing the wedding party, family, and the couple for portraits, as well as capturing candid moments as they happen.
After the Wedding
Once your wedding day is over, I get to the work of editing your images and building out your gallery. I predesign your wedding album. (Remember, I’ll build a bigger album than is in your package. It is your job to resist!). It will take several weeks to process and edit your images—a time-intensive process that means going through hundreds of photos and choosing the best ones to show off your wedding day.
Most clients don’t know much about this process, and they shouldn’t have to! This behind-the-scenes work is the hard work of photography. I love photographing weddings and spending time with clients. Much more time and effort goes into creating images that you’re sure to love and cherish for years to come. My goal is to make this process as easy and low-stress for my clients as possible. Clients “see” the six to ten hours I work on the wedding day. However, a typical wedding usually equates to 50 to 60 hours of work for me.
Once your album design is ready, we will meet for your ordering session. This is the bride and groom’s favorite part as you get to see and relive your wedding day for the first time.
I also offer separate ordering sessions for each set of parents. These sessions are shorter but just as intimate and give your parents an opportunity to order their parent albums if you have not pre-ordered them. You can also gift parent albums.
All the Other Details
In between weddings and sessions, there is so much other work that goes into maintaining a photography business, from accounting and creating invoices to keeping everything organized and running smoothly. I have to keep my images backed up to ensure that nothing ever gets lost and keep my gear well-maintained and replace or repair it when I need to. I take time to continue my education, attending workshops and training to stay on top of the latest trends and skills. There’s always more to learn and my education as a photographer is never complete.
In addition to the details of running and maintaining my business, I answer phone calls, text messages, emails, Facebook DMs—you name it. There are a variety of ways to contact me and potential clients use every single one. I go through initial inquiries and do my best to get back to everyone as quickly as possible.
Being a photographer is definitely a full-time job—and then some! But I wouldn’t trade this career for anything else. I love capturing the memories that matter most to my clients, providing them with photos to look back on for years to come.