Ever wondered what goes on outside of the wedding day?? What do photographers do when we’re not out on a shoot?? Editing photos, that’s it… right?? Wrong.
There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and much more to our job than just editing photos. Every day looks different depending on what is on the schedule but overall the tasks are still the same.
If you’ve been curious about this, stick around! I’m about to give you an inside look into our jobs, everything that goes on that you don’t see, and what it’s like running your own business as a wedding photographer.
Let’s start off with the thing people think our days look like the most. Post-production is basically the term that encompasses everything we do to the images after they’ve been taken. That would be importing, culling, editing, image processing, renaming, and prep for delivery.
Once I get home from a shoot I immediately begin to import the photos onto multiple hard drives (backups are super important). The next day I come in and begin processing them by culling through hundreds(sometimes thousands) of images and selecting the ones that will be edited to go into your gallery. If you’re wondering how long it takes to edit a gallery, I would estimate that a session with about 200 images can take about 6 hours while a wedding with about 800 images usually takes about 10-12. A lot of careful consideration goes into every image and when you’ve got hundreds of them it definitely adds up.
Like I said, this is what people think of the most when it comes to what a photographer does all day. Many days that is our only task to get done. Unfortunately there’s a lot of other things to fit in between editing as well, which is why I only schedule 1-2 shoots a week.
Website + Social Media
As you can probably tell for yourself, Instagram is full of photographers who post every day and always let you know that they’re available for sessions or booking weddings in the fall. That’s because social media has allowed a huge platform for free advertising to emerge and for anyone who is looking to start their own business, it’s a great way to get the word out there. Truth is that 90% of all my bookings have come from Instagram, so it’s important that I devote some energy to making sure I am active and people can get to know me through there. Every day I like to spend time either posting a photo, posting on my stories, commenting on my couples’ photos, and interacting with other photographers. As annoying as it may be to some tool, social media is an amazing tool for new entrepreneurs.
However, if you chatted with me about social media before then you know how passionate I am about websites. Truth is that instagram should not be a photographer’s only space on the internet where people can see their portfolio and learn about their business. I don’t even think it’s an accurate representation of someone’s portfolio. This is where a website is crucial.
Having a website and keeping it up to date is important for any business to make sure the right information is out there for potential clients. I am continuously making edits; whether that’s updating the images, changing some text, or updating my availability calendar, it is always changing. I need to make sure that the most current information is available to anyone who visits my website and that requires making it a task on my weekly to do list.
Just like with my website, keeping my blog up to date is important to make sure the information remains current and useful. Blogging is important for multiple reasons. Blogs allow me to share my recent work so clients can accurately imagine what their images could look like. They allow me to post information that can help people plan their wedding and shows that I am a resource they can use and trust.
Currently I have been blogging every single day (yeah it’s a lot of work) but even when I’m not doing a crazy 4 week blog challenge, blogging is still an important part of the job. Depending on what the photographer’s preference is this can be a task they do every day, every week, or every month.
Education is an important part of any job and in the wedding industry it can cover a lot of different areas. For some people the education they’re looking for is how to properly work a camera. For me it is more about learning how to better run my business and provide my clients with an elevated experience. Any time we have a slow couples of week (or ya know… a pandemic hits and ruins your entire calendar) I like to take that time to learn more about an area that I know I can improve on. Some things I’ve worked on in the past have been SEO, workflow optimization, website design, and Leave No Trace. There’s way more information out there than one brain can handle at a time but I like to just take things in baby steps and incorporate it into my daily and weekly schedules.
As awesome as I think I may be, there’s always more I can learn. Making sure I keep photographing and practice when times are slow is super important. I want to give people the best experience possible, but that’s not going to happen if I don’t put the time and energy into it. Practice can look like any kind of model call, styled shoot, or even just experimenting with photographing different lighting situations. It’s crucial that we keep the oil running and make sure our skills are always on par with the experience we promise our clients.
Scouting is a lot more than just finding places that are pretty. When I go out to scout a location I am looking at where the sun sets and what the light will be like throughout the day. I want to know if there’s any wildlife living in the area or if we’re able to stay on trails to get the look I want. I want to know if it’s a more secluded area that is available anytime or if we should avoid it during busy times like a weekend. There’s a lot to consider when finding the perfect place for a session or wedding and it’s important we do to make sure we are giving our couples the best.
Client Meetings + Communication
Working with clients is not limited to their wedding day. I make a point to stay involved with their wedding planning from the beginning to the end, as much as they would like me to. This means I am always available for a phone call to discuss topics in depth or an email to answer any questions they have. Talking with my couples and dreaming about their wedding day is one of my favorite parts of my job but it definitely is time consuming. On top of talking with them, I always like to research things I know they are looking for and send them recommendations. Whether that’s for vendors, decor items on etsy, or possible locations for your elopement I can send you links to exactly what you’re looking for.
There’s a lot that goes into this job when you’re looking to be a seasoned professional wedding photographer. Just like any career, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication that most people don’t recognize behind the curtain. But I wouldn’t trade this for anything! I still wake up some mornings feeling shocked that somehow this is my life and how lucky I am to have found my dream job.