Wedding photography is an incredible profession. It’s how many have began as photographers, as a result we can learn an incredible amount in a short timeframe, and you meet so many fantastic people and vendors. Believe me when I tell you it's not all sunshine and unicorns, there are many truly awesome things about being a wedding photographer. Here’s the top best things I think about being a professional wedding photographer.
1. It's Amazing to be a part of not only a highly Photogenic Event, but to be a part of someone's Life Event is Priceless!
Seriously, weddings to me are amazing events to have the opportunity to shoot. You will never get bored, since there is always something happening, and each wedding is completely different! Not only do they take place in beautiful locations, or destination resorts, but they are also extremely full of genuine energetic emotion. You get to spend your day capturing happiness, laughter, joy, anticipation, excitement, many times stress and maybe even some sadness. It’s so full of photographic opportunities your mind will absolutely spin and make you dizzy in creativeness, sometimes even overwhelmed. But ,personally for me I love the challenge and how special it is to be asked to create a lifetime of memories for a client. Even the speaking to a potential client is exciting, to see their anticipation and readiness to start planning the wedding of their dreams. It is truly a wonderful experience being surrounded by joy.
2. I learn a Wide Range Of Photographic Skills + Do's and Don'ts
As a wedding photographer you’ll find yourself shooting in a wide range of styles and especially weather conditions. There’s a lot time spent in the photojournalistic mindset, then when you switch to being a portrait, maternity or engagement photographer, directing and posing you clients more than what you do within a wedding. You will shoot lots of details, putting on your still life/commercial cap. You may do some shots of the location or venues, drawing on landscape and architectural skills., or join a photo walk in your town. Light-wise you’ll need to learn to shoot in sunlight, shade, rain, snow (if you’re lucky!!!), artificial light, and practically no light. You wind up becoming a very well-rounded shooter, able to adapt to ever-changing scenarios and lighting situations! This is why I am so thankful I started as a landscape photographer, because it is a tricky type of photography, especially with water.
3. I learned how To Work Under High Amounts of Stress
When you take photos, you have to make a lot of decisions. When you take photos during a wedding day, you have to make those decisions very quickly, and with sustained attention. Anticipating the moment or the shot can be sometimes overwhelmingly stressful. Sometimes you will have to be 100% focused for up to 14 hours straight., may times not even getting a break. If you haven’t had to do that before, it may sound impossible, but it is doable. It is what you put into it and how you handle stressful situations. The photography itself may not be stressful, but your client may be. But as experienced wedding shooters can tell you, you’ll eventually get used to it. You will soon be able to shoot a wedding in your sleep. After learning how to deal with stress, and you become familiar with the logistics of shooting a wedding you’ll become quite capable working under high amounts of stress. Quick decision making will become second nature, creativity will flow more easily, because you won't be overwhelmed with coming up with a creative idea + the overall stress, and most importantly you’ll learn to work, + shoot, with much more confidence.
4. I Tell their Story through my Photographs + my overall Attention to Detail
With a wedding you practically have a story built right in to your images. But you have to be up on your game of when to capture these images and emotions during your event. There are characters, scenes, action, emotion, and even wedding themes that are implemented into weddings. Having a story in your images helps to tie them together, and create interest and flow all along the gallery. It also helps when you go to design albums, they will flow flawlessly.
pictured/ Joy from A Zen Event - Weddings with Joy + Sarah from Hilton Head Vows
5. I Meet Amazing Clients + Vendors
Wedding photography is a people profession, and you get to meet some pretty incredible ones. There are, of course, your clients, who often can become more friends than clients, many for me have became family. (or flients, as I like to call them). Not only do you get to meet them, but you also get time to establish really solid relationships with them and get to know them on a personal level, which makes my job so much more enjoyable. I love to meet diverse individuals. You will also establish relationships with other vendors in the industry. Having good vendor relationships is definitely one avenue you want to keep on the straight and narrow, you want to build relationships, building relationships leads to referrals. If you don't care for a particular vendor, it's best to keep it to yourself. You have a reputation to uphold and you don't want to become known as "that girl" or "guy", because there is a high possibility that you will have another event with them in the future.
There is also even more people you’ll get to meet! There’s the bridal party, who you spend a fair amount of time with, the guests + family members at the wedding. You will create relationships with other vendors you work with, like florists, planners, decorators, etc. You will also get to connect with other local wedding photographers when doing your networking or participating in a styled shoot. They can be an amazing source of support, advice, and friendship and possibly a referral or two when they are booked for a certain day.
6. I am my own #GIRL BOSS + I CHOOSE my Schedule
Self-employment is no day at the pool folks, but it can be pretty damn enjoyable. You make all the decisions - although sometimes can be stressful within itself. By chance, if you are the faint hearted when it comes to stress. Wedding Photography may not be your calling. I also get to set my own hours. I get to decide whether I sit in my PJ's and edit all day, whether days off are Mondays or Fridays (or both!). And if I work really hard, and succeed, I will reap all the rewards. Extra bonus: you can even work from your own home! No need to have a brick and mortar business, or the expense. Pretty soon you’ll completely forget what “rush hour traffic” is, and I guarantee after not doing that commute every single day, you will one day go out into 5 pm traffic, for whatever reason, and say to yourself, "wow, I don't miss this - AT ALL"...
7. It allows me to be CREATIVE!
Wedding photography rewards creativity and gets others starting to look at your hard work. Doing something totally different will get your work noticed among the many other shooters and potential clients. Remember, doing the same old, same old doesn't get any attention. And since I am the one in charge, I can do whatever inspires me, just as you will. That sort of freedom is just what many creatives need to really let them explore and create something original, in some cases, many like myself have to have some sort of creative outlet.
8. Your Wanderlust is for FREE!
Weddings happen all around the world, and brides are becoming more and more willing to hire someone out of state or even across the globe if they really feel that they have connected with you. Being a wedding photographer means that you could be exploring the map while shooting amazing events! It certainly takes a lot of work to get your name out there enough to be hired for international or out of state weddings, but it’s completely possible, and many top shooters seem to be in a different resort, state or a different country every weekend! Can you imagine? Traveling for free?
9. You get to Photograph a client's Fairytale
People spend countless hours preparing and planning for their wedding day, and a lot of that effort goes into ensuring that they will look their absolute most beautiful. That makes it pretty darn fun to photograph them! They are wearing fantastic outfits, their accessories are carefully chosen, their hair is perfect, and their makeup enhances their features. It’s like they are models for a day, but you still get all the fantastic real emotions. Win-win!
10. Create Work to Add to my Portfolio + Increase my Sales Potential - Setting my own Business Goals
Many wedding photographers can not guarantee that the work they produce will be looked at in 50 years, although I personally would like to think that. The images + timeless albums that you create for your clients will instantly become treasured family heirlooms that will be passed down from generation to generation. Grandchildren love to look (and maybe giggle) at their grandparents in their wedding photos. I remember as a young girl looking at my parents wedding, and how vintage it looked to me. It was a different time and a different world. It was so enjoyable for me to share that to my children as well. It means that you get to impact clients and families for generations.
This value is becoming more and more recognized, as wedding photographer is evolving your focus on capturing the feeling of a wedding day, and the real personality of your clients. Many brides now say that the photographer is the most important purchase. That’s pretty rad, isn’t it? You are the most important vendor at their event. You are being counted on and cheered for - to do an amazing knockout job that they know they are going to love for a lifetime!
Good Luck and Happy Shooting! You got this! You can accomplish anything if you set your mind to it!