If you haven’t, please read Part I (we just point & shoot), Part II (weddings are easy) & Part III (we don’t need a meal) first as it’s a series!
This is a huge misconception, that with wedding photography, the bulk of the work is done on the wedding day. When actually, funnily, it’s the very opposite!! The 8ish hours of capturing photos, while not a breeze, but very fun comparatively, is waaaay shorter than the amount of time spent editing those photographs we take! As well as all the workflow that is involved with each client couple. The work for us professional wedding photographers, doesn’t start on the wedding day even, but before! From when the couple sends an inquiry about our photography (though one could say even before that, with all the work required to set up & keep a business going, blog & website updated, advertising, photography skills continually improving, etc), the time spent either emailing or chatting on the phone or in person, answering questions, getting to know the couple, helping lay out their wedding timeline & determine the package that is best for their needs, creating their contract, before being officially booked. A post office trip to mail them a created & specially packaged Welcome gift :) Continuing the email/chatting process throughout the wedding planning months, being available & answering questions, especially nailing down the timeline with them. A possible venue-walk-through, which involves driving back & forth however far it may be. Also likely, their engagement session, with about an hour taking the photos, and an hour driving back & forth to the location, usually on a weekday evening around sunset. Then the uploading, backing-up, culling (selecting) of photos, editing & blogging of certain photos, plus editing of many more photos, then uploading them to the online gallery & informing the clients that they are ready :)
Back to the wedding…nailing down any last-minute details the weeks before with the couple & final timeline, finding a second photographer that is available, and the week/night before, recharging all camera batteries, cleaning all lenses, organizing our camera bag once again, formatting memory cards, etc. The morning of, double-checking everything, fancy-ing ourselves up (we are going to a wedding after all!), and driving to the specified location early, to be sure in case of any delays that we still arrive on time. That all happens even before the intensity of capturing a wedding! I’ve read many other photographers facebook statuses about the morning after a long wedding, feeling like they got run over by a truck! (And they don’t drink at work). I’ve definitely had that feeling myself. Upon arriving home from the wedding, importing all memory cards & starting the backing-up-process before crashing in bed :)
Now, onto post-wedding!! :)
Then, in the next day or so (depending upon the photographer, if they post sneak peeks or blog the wedding a few days or two weeks later), going through & selecting all of the photos for the clients, then going through those & selecting the images that will be blogged. Importing them into Lightroom & starting the editing process. For every photographer this is different, no one edits exactly the same. Some images require more time than others, or even to be opened up in Photoshop as well for additional editing. There are tools to help a photographer make their editing more efficient, such as actions, additional keyboards with LR controls, etc. But a photographers editing workflow can take months & even years to really nail down, and is often being tweaked & changed in little ways still constantly. There is also the amount of photographs a photographer gives to their wedding clients…I know some who give 500 for an average wedding. Personally, I have a hard time not giving plenty of images to my clients, and don’t think I have ever given under a 1000 (including B&W’s) unless it was a very very short wedding. So there is no specific amount of time for editing that I can give for all wedding photographers, as it depends upon: the initial amount of hours the photographer was hired for, the average number of images per hour the photographer gives to their clients, and upon their editing & workflow. The range probably varies from (just editing time) five hours (very rare, I know of only a few photographers who can brag about that, awesome for them! Hopefully some day!) to fifty hours. I average near the middle, more towards more hours with the amount of images my clients receive :)
Now, that’s all just involving wedding clients, related to each wedding we’ve booked.
There is also a lot of behind-the-scenes keeping-up of the business going on, ALL THE TIME…updating website pictures & website in general, perhaps like me currently redesigning your whole brand/website (a TON of work & taking longer than I had hoped, even with the help of a logo & branding designer), preparing the blog, researching new possible companies to use for our online galleries & other photo-related companies, researching new possible photography techniques to incorporate, constantly learning more about photography through articles we read & through practice, submitting wedding photos & often writing paragraphs describing the wedding to wedding blogs, attempting to figure out how & where to spend our advertising budget in the hopes that it will lead to new clients (and not be a waste), packages created & cute thank-you notes written along with a trip to the post office, meetups & friendships with other photographer friends so we can at least feel like we have co-workers & have some social interactions other than our computer at home all day everyday, keeping up with social media business-wise & keeping a presence as another way to be found, filling out print orders, designing albums, looking into new equipment & maintaining our current equipment, keeping track of business expenses (I’m lucky my husband is a finance guy & created an awesome excel spreadsheet of income & expenses for me!), organizing & paying sales tax quarterly or monthly, keeping track of editing deadlines & all types of organization for our business, oh and perhaps…having somewhat of a personal life & time? Maybe like, with our families ;)
Here’s another visual example from this PetaPixel article:
If you read through all those listings above & made it this far, great job!! Wedding photography is definitely not easy & just a weekend job, but so so much more to keep a business running! Hug a wedding photographer next time you see one! :):)
Next up: Wedding Photographer Misconception V! (no title yet but it’s coming!)
PS: Picture above taken by my second shooter Nami at a fun wedding this past May :)
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