One of the greatest things that we have realized wedding photography business needs is education. Education for the clients to understand why wedding photography is “expensive” and why it’s beyond just photos that they’re investing in. The resources to these answers need to be easily accessible for people to make wise decisions when purchasing wedding photography and that it’s not a mere price comparison or amazing photography. In this blog, we will be sharing 4 main things that makes a wedding photographer unique.
1. A wedding photographer must know how to photograph a wedding in any weather and lighting conditions.
When you book your wedding date, that’s it. You can’t change your mind about it. Changes to that happen only when emergencies arise, and when that has to be done, it’s costly, so you rarely see it happen. But, as you know, there are risks. It may rain, it may be sunny, stormy, dark, cloudy, etc…. You just don’t know. As much as you plan your wedding, there are things that are out of your control. If your ceremony is outdoors with just candle lights in the dark, will your photographer be able to capture your moments properly? Will he/she be able to capture anything at all? If it rains on your wedding day, will you be able to get any outdoor photos that are just as epic as a clear day photo? If your getting ready room is lit with the ugly fluorescent lights with tungsten lamps throughout the room, will your photographer be able to still deliver photos that doesn’t make you look like you just came out of a tanning bed? ;) If your portraits are scheduled at 2pm when it’s the brightest time of the day, will your photographer freak out or know exactly what to do? The key to photography is lighting, and a wedding photographer must know how to have off camera lighting skills when natural light just isn’t ideal. Unlike a studio photographer for example where their environment is totally controlled with perfect lighting and conditions, a wedding photographer has to know how to work with what’s given for that wedding (and every single wedding is different) and no matter what, consistently deliver images that are incredible, special and unique for each couple. Below is an image from Tika + Xavier\'s wedding day... It rained and the bride expressed her concerns, but when she saw her pictures, she was not one bit disappointed.
2. A wedding photographer must know how to endure the mental and physical stress of a wedding day.
What is the most precious thing for a wedding photographer on a wedding day? TIME! Time is crucial, but time is what lacks sometimes because of last minute changes, because of people running late, etc… If you planned to have something done on a wedding day in 30 mintues, trust me, it will take 45 minutes or an hour. It doesn't go exactly as planned, and it is the job of a wedding photographer to stay professional; to still have a smile on his/her face at all times and still be able come up with creative ideas. You have to be able to work under pressure while not looking or acting stressed and still wow your audience with photos that make them wonder, “how in the world did he/she do that?” Anytime we have an intern come experience a shoot with us, one thing that’s always a shock to them is how physically tiring it is. Trust me, weddings are a blast. We love it. We breathe in and out weddings not just on the weekends when we shoot, but during the week every single day. I’ve never ran a marathon, but I would imagine shooting a wedding is pretty close. ;) When you have to lug around numerous lenses, tripods, flashes, etc… for 12-16 hours while you’re shooting with a 5 pound camera that seem like it's 20 pounds at the end of the day, you’ll be surprised how much your muscles will ache the next day and the next and the next… You feel like your feet and fingers are pretty much broken. And if you have a double header or a triple header, you just have to mentally stay strong and endure and become a superhero. :) You have to still go home, take at least 2 hours to backup everything and pass out and sleep as much as you can until your kids come jumping on your bed chanting for breakfast. :) Please don't get me wrong… you guys all know that we love our job and have fun doing it, but this is a side that many don’t see or can’t imagine it existing. Many people think that a photographer’s job is glamorous and is “just taking pictures”. I beg the differ. One assistant once told me, “I believe wedding photographers are a rare breed of people”, and I agree. After that, he never signed up for another double header weekend again. :) At the beach when it's over 100 degrees, with sand in your shoes, dying of thirst, carrying around 50 pounds of gear in the sand, etc... The bride and groom were troopers too. That's the challenge, and we do whatever it takes, but the joy always outweighs all this... especially when I see that smile from the bride and the groom (sometimes happy tears) when they relive their wedding moments through our pictures. To us, that's worth it all...
When you feel like throwing up because your arms are literally about to fall off... But, you gotta do whatcha gotta do. :)
A wedding photographer’s job doesn’t begin and end with just the photos. Did you know that out of all people that you will see on your wedding day, you will see your wedding photographer more than anyone INCLUDING your future spouse? So, think if your wedding photographer is not very talkative or friendly for that matter? What kind of an experience will you have on your wedding day? Their social skill is crucial! So, when you’re interviewing your wedding photographer, yes, make sure you like them! Like a lot! I cannot emphasize how important this aspect is. So, if you're an aspiring wedding photographer and don’t have that skill, you either have to gain it somehow or honestly, this business isn’t for you. Know how to relate and become friends with your clients FAST! And relax... have fun! :)
4. A wedding photographer must have the skills to make "everyday people" look like "models".
Yes, most of the couples that you work with will either have very minimum experience as a model in front of the camera or none at all. You will quickly learn that directing is a big part of wedding photography. You have to QUICKLY know how to pose someone in a way that makes them look best. Cameras are not forgiving in some angles and it is your job to know what’s best for them. You have to know how to fight through the awkwardness that couples may feel. They may feel uncomfortable or just feel not so pretty, but you have to turn that around and know what to say and bring out their best and give them an unforgettable experience. It’s your job to make someone who hates taking photos to someone who acquires it as their new favorite thing. You have to be able to build up their confidence and make them see that they’re beautiful because they are… I love it when my clients seem unsure of what I\'m doing and then when I show the back of my camera, they react with, "wow!" Do a few at the beginning of your shoot, and just see their confidence boost!
Over time, these things will become what’s called, “experience”. With experience, all these things will become second nature and you won’t even have to think about what you have to do or how to do it while still being able to be creative. With experience, you will become a professional. Hope this has helped those who are thinking about coming into the business or a bride or groom to be in how to shop for your wedding photographer. Thanks so much for reading!