Since you likely only see your photographer at your consultation and on your actual wedding day, it can be easy to think they don’t do a ton of work. In reality, however, most of a photographer’s work is unseen by their clients, from education and training to planning to editing your images into art.
Most photographers have been told that their 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.
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. If possible, we might even meet in person again to go over the timeline for the day or even to shoot an engagement 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.
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 seven to 12 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. We may be in contact occasionally as I prepare your gallery and any products you have ordered, such as albums or wall art. 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.
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 also 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 have to 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.