I often read brides to be comparing notes on their photographer’s packages, and wondering why it costs what it does for a wedding photographer. As a result, I thought it would be good to hear exactly what is involved.
And so, the talented Gary Bonar has written a post about what is typically involved in a normal working day;
A Day in the Life of a Wedding Photographer
“My day generally starts the night before, by making sure all my equipment is good to go. When I first started shooting digital I often made little time consuming mistakes like not wiping memory cards meaning that when I did need to change a card the last wedding that I shot would still be on there and I would have to wait until the camera done the formatting resulting in maybe missing one of the best images of the day.
Things have come a long way since those days and I’m far more fine tuned of late.
I always dress smartly for photographing weddings. I feel that if I dress like a guest then I can get those unobtrusive shots that loads of my clients are asking for these days. A comment I hear often is “I can’t remember that photo being taken” and “ how did you manage to get that photo”.
My passion is documentary photography though there are parts of the wedding day that have to be staged to a certain extent.
When I arrive at the location of where the bride will be getting ready in the morning the mood is always a little on edge and one thing people don’t want is to have their photos taken when they feel this way. I always try and lighten the mood whilst capturing the special moments like Dad seeing his daughter for the first time in her beautiful dress or mum wiping a tear away when she sees her daughter wait for the wedding car to arrive.
I like to get to the venue at least half an hour before the bride arrives. This gives me time to get some images of the groom and best man. This is usually when I’m really put to the test as the nerves can sometimes get to the boys and guys at the best of times aren’t fond of having their photos taken. This is another great time for me to capture some candid portraits of the guests arriving, usually I have a longer lens at this point so that guest won’t know that they are being photographed resulting in more genuine smiles.
As the bride arrives I get some photos of her in the car with her father and entering the venue. One of my favourite shots of a wedding day is the image of Dad giving his daughter a little kiss on the cheek just before they head on into the venue, there is a real moment here between the bride and her father and one that is close to me as I have a little 4 month old daughter whom one day I will hopefully share this experience with.
Whilst the bride walks down the aisle I’m at the front taking photos of her walking towards me, at the same time capturing both expressions of the bride and groom to be – which by the way are usually just brilliant!
Most ceremony’s take no longer than 45 minutes at best so in this space of time and with the proper permission I will float all around the venue capturing as many photos from as many different angles as I can. There are some fantastic venues in and around Glasgow, we are very blessed with some of the old buildings that we have here in Scotland so I feel it’s my duty to utilise these places.
After the ceremony is finished the bride and groom usually head out to the front of the venue where they are met and congratulated by all the guests, this is another great moment for me as I love capturing sincere hugs, the expression on a face whilst congratulating newly weds is really amazing. I usually wait for about 15 minutes whilst the bride and groom have a little glass of champagne and talk to their guests before I start photographing the group photos. I normally ask for the group photos to be kept down to about a dozen or so, this gives me more time with the bride and groom and to utilise the venue and the surrounding area. If I have enough time with the Bride and Groom then I usually love getting photos that are just that wee bit different, this is where I get creative. Sometimes I get really lucky depending on the venue and of course the couple themselves. Its all well and good having the creative ideas and the perfect venue but sometimes (usually the Groom) might take a bit of persuading so this is where the meetings with my couples before their wedding comes into place. I truly believe that having a one or two relaxed meetings with my couples lets me get them at their best and truly allows their guard to be dropped.
I’m always there for the speeches, some are fairly average and some are just brilliant resulting in me trying even harder to hold the camera still because I’d be laughing so much. Most speeches these days are before the meal which is great for me because as the wedding party and guest have their meal I can go into a little dark corner in the far reaches of the venue and take a breath, have a bite and look through some of the day’s images. I have to say that I’m well looked after by the catering staff at most venues, sometimes I get the full meal that all the guests are getting which is just awesome after a hard day’s work. When everyone has moved from the dining area whilst it’s being converted into the dance hall I am usually floating around again capturing some candid images and waiting for the first dance to take place. The first dance is great for me as I find it really challenging, I’m not the biggest fan of using on camera flash so this results in using available light whether it be from the D.J.’s lights, dimmed overhead lights or just the last of the evening light pouring through the windows. This is also where expensive equipment comes into its own. Only a year or 2 back I would really struggle to shoot in dark venues but today’s amazing technology lets me capture exactly what my mind’s eye wants to capture!
I usually stick around until about the 4th or 5th dance. With having a professional photographer around for the whole day I tend to find that my clients and their guests like to let their hair down without having to worry about having my camera again pointed in their direction. If asked I also would stay until the end of the night if there are any fireworks which is quite rare to be honest. After saying goodbye to my couples I head home where the big back up begins. I save all of my days work onto 4 different hard drives just to be on the safe side, 3 drives go to different places locally and the 4th goes offsite incase of fire. Sometimes I won’t get to bed until 3 or 4 am.
I usually ask my clients for 2 weeks before I have their proofs ready to be viewed on an online password protected gallery. After my clients have chosen their images for their wedding album it usually takes no longer than 3 to 4 weeks before they have their beautiful custom made album to pour over. I have an extensive range of albums on offer and also to compliment these albums I have mini albums and parents albums that are amazingly popular.
Wedding photography my passion, I just love the creative licence that I get with a couple on one of the biggest days of their life. When upon seeing the images from their wedding day the bride will sometimes shed a tear as will the groom though very rarely, then it’s right there in that moment that I know that I have done what I set out to do…..capture the moments, capture the emotion and capture the day.”
A big thanks to Gary for a very informative and insightful post!