We know that a wedding photographer takes photos, but there’s a whole lot more to their job than you’d expect. We sat down with some wedding photographers from around the world and asked them to debunk some myths around what a wedding photographers job really entails.
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
WHAT’S ONE MISCONCEPTION ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY THAT YOU THINK COUPLES HAVE, THAT YOU WANT TO DEMYSTIFY?
Kelly: There are so many misconceptions, this would be a long paragraph if I were to write them all here.
The most famous one is I think that couples think wedding photography is interchangeable with a cell phone photo or anything but a legit professional. I’ve spent 10 years now in wedding photography and over the years it’s gotten better and better. True artists wanting to make your day look like a freaking vogue cover. I feel wedding photography molds the best photographers. You have to improvise when there’s rain, and nail down the portrait shot in five clicks before the torrential downpour.
Professional wedding photographers are a different breed of photographers. They can’t be replaced by the friend of a friend who’s dabbling in photography or Aunt Lynn who bought her camera.
Once in a lifetime moments happen at weddings. You want the best behind the camera to capture those moments.
Jessica: The most common misconception that I find couples have about wedding photography is the amount of hours they need for coverage. So often I have couples thinking they can fit a full wedding day of photography in 6 hours. Later they realize later that they really need 8 or 9. Because of this, I love being super hands-on with the wedding timeline. It ensures we have enough time to photograph everything that’s important to them.
Jenny: I think couples underestimate how present your wedding photographer is on their wedding day! You will spend more time with me than basically anyone else, including your partner! I’m not just a vendor. I’m not just providing a service. This is my whole heart, and I fall in love with you. I like to say- I’m basically your BFF and Harry under the invisibility cloak all at once! Pick someone you’ll forget is third wheeling on the most important date of your life.
Alex: There are two big things I’m always hearing… one is this obsession with the gear we have and thinking it’s as easy as having nice gear to be a great photographer. The second thing is when people think we charge TONS of money *just because* we want to.
My short answers are that it’s about knowing how to use the right gear, for the right situations, and knowing how to manipulate the gear to gain the desired end product. Yes, professional gear is necessary but that’s only a sliver of what makes us professionals! We do what we do because it’s intoxicating. We create emotional photographs and get the honor to be part of a wedding day.
That’s mostly why I started and why I continue to be a wedding photographer.
Suzy: There’s an incredible amount of pre and post work that goes into creating a seamless client experience. Before the wedding, we send emails with the couple and vendor team. We tour the venue, host consults and meetings, and create timelines and family photo list. Plus, after the wedding, we spend countless hours ensuring the photos are just right before sending the final gallery to the couple and their vendors to share.
As a photographer, I stay with my couples from early on in the wedding planning process, to weeks after when we get to relive the day by drooling over photos. It’s an entire experience.
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU WISH YOUR COUPLES KNEW ABOUT YOUR JOB AS A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Tara: As a wedding photographer we also almost always take on a ton of other roles on the day of your wedding. We become your coordinator (if you don’t already have one), cake cutter, bow tie person, drama diffuser, dance partner, and “all over it” human who is putting out fires left & right so that you, the couple, won’t have to. We handle so much stuff “behind the curtain!” Ask any one of us – we all have stories!
Jessica: One part of my job that I don’t think people realize is that shooting is the very smallest, shortest part of my job. Most of my job is sitting in front of a computer, usually, from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed.
It’s a miracle that I’m not blind!
Jenny: I think there is actually a lot! A photographer is a business owner- that means taxes and insurance and marketing all in-house. We are an artist- so much goes into editing, style, our point of view. Lastly, we are human! I care so much about my couples. I spend time dreaming and anticipating their moments just like I would my own.
Alex: Traveling for weddings isn’t as glamorous as Instagram makes it seem!
Suzy: As a wedding photographer, there’s an ongoing battle to create photos that my couples will love and cherish forever while also flexing my creative muscle to trying something new. They’re two sides of the same coin and work in unison together, but also have to be carefully managed in real time. For example, on a wedding day, I may be simultaneously focused on keeping to a schedule, maintaining a calm demeanor, and checking my camera settings, while also planning where I’d like my couple to stand for their next set of photos.
It can be hard to balance it all, but it’s all a part of the responsibility.
Benjamin: I don’t spend all my time editing photos (though it is a huge part of what I do). I also certainly don’t spend the whole week off with nothing to do until my next shoot. On any given day, especially with having kids and a flexible work schedule, I could be doing normal business stuff like marketing, following up on emails, accounts, client meetings, print orders, etc. Or, I could be feeding my inspiration and keeping my mental health in check by watching films, thinking, meditating, and journaling. I also spend a lot of time with my family and close friends, which is something I’ve wanted since quitting my last career.
Shannon & Jayde: That we are more than just photographers on the day. We are also wingmen, chauffeurs, friends, psychologists, and everything in between. Our sole purpose is to make sure that you don’t have to worry about anything while capturing all of the goodness of your special day.
Morgane: Carying a tons of bobby pins and wipes in my pockets – just in case! Also, being a wedding photographer isn’t only about taking photos, it’s about making people feel comfortable with you taking their photos in a way that they love.
Tanya: It’s an incredibly emotional job. Every weekend I am getting to know strangers intimately. I hear their love stories, seeing their family dramas unfold, getting up close and personal with their tears, their laughter, and the emotional whirlwind of committing to being with each other for the rest of their lives – all in the blink of an eye. Aaaand then I do it all again the next week.
Also, admin. So much admin.
Adriana: You can have the most expensive camera on the market but if you don’t know how to use it you might as well keep taking photos on a phone. I cringe every time I hear “Oh your camera takes really good photos”.
Need help finding a wedding photographer in your area?