Your wedding photographer is one of the most important wedding vendors you will work with. But, aside from taking photos have you wondered what a wedding photographer does on the wedding day and beyond? We chatted with a handful of wedding photographers from around the world to ask them; what does a wedding photographer do on the wedding day? And, then what do they do after the day?
Meet our contributing photographers;
Adriana Watson, Adriana Watson Photography
Alex, Alexandria Monette Photography
Benjamin Urquhart, Kings & Thieves
Jenny Boyer, Jenny Boyer Photography
Jessica Manns, Jessica Manns Photography
Kelly Balch, Kelly Balch Photography
Morgane Cazaubon, Petite Visuals
Shannon & Jayde Stent, Shannon Stent Images
Suzy Goodrick, Suzy Goodrick Photography
Tanya Voltchanskaya, Tanya Volt Weddings
Tara Robertson, Tara Beth Photography
HOW LONG DO YOU USUALLY SPEND WITH COUPLES ON THE DAY OF THEIR WEDDING?
Kelly: On the day of their wedding I’m there for it all, from getting ready to usually the last dance. I am your best friend of the day that will be attached to your hip. The best friend who has your back and will take epic photos for you!
Tara: On a typical wedding day I’ll usually do about 8 hours of photography. However, I once did 14 hours! That was a marathon! I now have a 10-hour limit, because my body just can’t handle any more than that!
Jessica: I spend quite a lot of time with my couples before, during, and after the wedding day. I spend a lot of time before the wedding with them prepping for the day-of making a timeline together, shooting their engagement session, and just over-all prepping. It’s a lot of communication leading up to the wedding day. On the wedding day itself, I’m there for as long as they book me for (actually more, because I always arrive a little early) which ranges between 6, 8, and 10 hours.
Jenny: Usually between 7-9 hours. However, I tend to show up around an hour before I am schedule, and I never leave before the exit. Even if my 7 hours are up, I am not going to just leave my couples! An 8-hour day tends to be the sweet spot!
Adriana: It depends on what packages they are booking, anywhere from 5 to 10 hours. My most booked package is 8 hours.
Suzy: Both my second photographer and I typically take photos anywhere from 6 to 9 hours on a wedding day. This includes getting ready, ceremony, wedding party, couples, and family photos, plus a short break for dinner (ya girl’s gotta eat!) and coverage of the reception.
Benjamin: Typically around 12 hours, more or less. Plus anytime we can get together in the lead up to their wedding, just hanging out over beers/coffees/shooting together. That’s one of the best things about engagement shoots. Besides getting more photos from us, you’ll also see how I work, and we get a bunch of time to bond and establish a deeper trust before the big day, making for richer wedding photos.
YOUR JOB ISN’T OVER AFTER THE WEDDING DAY. HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND WORKING AFTER THE DAY, AND EDITING YOUR PHOTOS?
Kelly: My day after is literally what I’m doing right now. Body sore and tired, in bed checking emails! But then the rest of the day consists of unpacking gear, cleaning, recharging it. Uploading all the images, and beginning to edit them and I like to send out teasers to the couple before the afternoon the next day. For an 8 hour wedding, for one shooter on the day, there would be about roughly 1000 to 1500 images to edit. That would take me about roughly on and off 32 to 40 hours. If I had a second shooter that day, the images and time are nearly doubled.
Tara: After the wedding is over I deliver a “sneak peek” to the couple about two weeks post-wedding date! This is a collection of my top 100ish photographs from their wedding! The rest of their photographs (about 900 photographs) are delivered to the couple within 3 months after their wedding day.
Editing an entire wedding usually takes about 6 hours, and so it’s nice to do it slowly!
Jessica: My “after the wedding day” process looks like LOTS of hours in front of the computer. I shoot with both digital cameras and film cameras (not video, but old-school film negatives) so immediately after the wedding I go home, upload the digital photos to my computer, back them up on to at least 3 different locations, and the next day I cull the photos to remove all of the blinking/blurry/underexposed, etc., I mail my film to my film lab who will develop it and scan it to a computer for me and send me the files in 2 weeks, I send sneak peeks within a week of the wedding, and then once my film is back to me, I edit the digital files to match my beautiful gorgeous film scans, and then the final wedding gallery is delivered within 3 months of their wedding date.
Jenny: Oh my word the day after I am 100% exhausted!! So, the same night I uploaded all my images and cull, which means I sort through what I’m going to edit and what is out of focus etc. That usually takes an hour or two, and that’s after the wedding! The next day I edit some sneak peaks and get those out to my clients. I know how much people are dying for their pictures!
To edit a full wedding gallery I usually immerse myself for a few days. We are talking hours and hours, but I like the focus of just that day and that couple.
Alex: Once I get home from a wedding, I immediately upload & back up all the images from the day to multiple sources! SO important to do this to make sure the original files are secure before jumping into anything else.
The following Monday, I cull (narrow down to the best images), then choose about 60-80 to edit as a sneak peek! I LOVE SNEAK PEEKS! I’ll send this to the couple + vendors involved so we can all share our excitement from what we experience that weekend. After that, it takes about 5-7 working days to edit a full wedding for me because I’m a chronic over-deliverer and a slight perfectionist, haha. Mind you, editing isn’t *all* that we do, and it’s done in chunks, so that’s why most galleries are delivered within 4-6 weeks. 80% of my time is actually spent in marketing, advertising, client management, bookkeeping, and all the business side of things!
Benjamin: Go home, back up the gallery three times. Sleep a bit. I Curate a gallery preview to send to you within a day or two. It’s usually a dozen or so striking images for you to share with family and friends, and order prints.
Depending on how many photos were shot and what our backlog is like, it can take a few months to deliver the full gallery. Good things take time, and I want your images to be the best.
Shannon & Jayde: We usually deliver over 500 images, and can spend up to 25hrs editing a full set. We aim to deliver our finished product within 3 weeks.
Morgane: My ‘after the wedding day’ always starts by backing up all the files on 3 separate hard drives. After multiple coffees and teas, the editing is done and I create the online gallery that I send off to the couple online. Later, I send them a little parcel with a USB at their home address.
If the couple have ordered an album, they will be able to pick their favourite pics from the gallery so I can create a curated album and send it off with the parcel.
Tanya: Within 48 hours I send the couple the best photos from the day.
That way they something to send to friends/family, their Facebook profile picture and to spam on Insta.
In terms of the full gallery, I’m culling around 2500 photos and editing 500-600 of the best, which takes time. In peak wedding season this can take 6-8 weeks.
Adriana: The day after the wedding I send my couples a sneak peek on social media and 50 photos in a private gallery. A 10-hour wedding can take me approximately 3 to 4 solid 8 hours days culling, editing, creating slideshows, mobile app, uploading the gallery and packing the final product.
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