5 Reasons Why I Am Not A Wedding Photographer
Ha, Bring a big camera to enough events around where you live, or even just around, and eventually someone will ask, are you a professional photographer. I like to say, I try. In the next moment usually one of two things happens. The person who ask the first question proceeds to tell you about their second cousin Lulu who is an excellent photographer, and takes all of their family pics.... and on and on, Or you get the other one, "Do you do weddings". Seems like such an od question to ask a perfect stranger, simply because they have a fancy camera, but it has happened, several times. This is the point where I usually stumble around and say I have done a couple, but I really don't, just because I have this honesty complex that means I can't lie about taking wedding pictures because I have at sometime in the past. Confusing as it may be the truth is that I am not a wedding photographer, and there are many reasons why. I would not want to list them all, because it would take to long, so I will keep it to the top five.
1. It's harder then any job I have ever had. I have worked in all sorts of fun jobs, from sign painter, to computer lab monitor. I even had a week long stint in the telemarketing world...don't ask. One wedding has a person working from the early morning hours prepping equipment and shot list, all the way until the party ends. I know not every photographer is there for the whole shebang, but, depending on the happy couples wishes, you could be spending a 16 hour day taking pictures.
2. You don't get to take a real break. Not only is it a 16 hour day, you are on your feet for almost every second of that time. If you are not on your feet then you might be on your knees, your back your belly, probably in every contorted position accept sitting comfortably on your bottom. The last wedding I did (I don't do weddings) I was sore for 3 days afterwards. That incident told me two things about myself; one, I am out of shape, and the second is that I do not want to be doing this every Friday or Saturday.
3. Everyone around you is having fun and you are working you tail off. Yes, everyone is eating, drinking, and enjoying all sorts of merriment. There are exceptions, I am sure some of the people around you are not having a good time, but as a wedding photographer you are not paying any attention to those individuals, because you have to take pictures, pictures and more pictures. Part of the busyness means that you don't get to sit down and chat with your pals, you don't get to do that cha cha slide no matter how addicted you are to the musical rhythm, and you probably don't get to enjoy the buffet. Yes, that's right. You are not there to eat and fraternize. Your job is to capture the happy couple and all of their happy friends having a blast at one of the happiest days of their lives. Personally, I like to party, and I do enjoy a good buffet, and sitting, did I mention sitting, at least once a day for a few minutes.
4. You don't get to choose the people or the venue. Is the location for the wedding in an office building with white drywall, Kelly green carpet and horrible neon lights, too bad. Or perhaps the venue is a dark cave, only lit by candles and the spark of love felt by the bride and groom for one another, oh well. Because it is not your wedding you don't get to choose where the photos are taken. As a photographer that makes me cringe. I want the photos I take to be spectacular, amazing and beautiful, but the things I can't control can make that task very difficult. The people are the second issue. I am not talking about them being super models or not, that is not the issue. No, what I am referring to is their opinions about what shots they want, where they want to stand, and how your supposed to do your job. Yes, the horribly bad lighting will look better over there, don't ya think? or better yet, they bring their own "fancy" cameras and they try and take better pictures then you. Yes, that does happen.
5. It's not over yet! Once your incredibly long, physically challenging, didn't sit, didn't eat, didn't get a moment to yourself, day is done, the real work begins. If I go take photos of a person, I might take 30 or 40 pictures. If I go to a garden and take some photos of flowers or to a zoo and get some shots of animals at most I am looking at 40 or 50 photos for the day. I generally weed that down to my favorites in a matter of 30 min or so. For weddings this is not so! The last wedding I shot (I don't do weddings), was a fast one, it ended at 5:30, I took over 600 photos. that means I have to go through 600 photos, and see which ones to keep and which ones aren't worth it. Then I have to keep some I don't like because they were the best shot I could get in the worst circumstances. After all of that, the editing begins. Now there is no way I am editing 600 photos, but I have to edit a heck of a lot more photos then I would any other time. I have to make ordinary people look their best, and make sure that moment, that special memory from that once in a lifetime day is kept and cherished. Did I mention that I had to edit them. That can take a looooong time, and the phone calls waiting for the finished product start right away.
Next time you think wedding photographers have it easy, charge too much, or aren't worth all the fuss because they really only work one day, think about this list, and just a few of the reasons that many pro photographers will not do weddings, and be thankful, that there are those who will. Considering how much effort goes into it, many of their prices are quite reasonable.