A day in the Life of a Wedding Photographer

The purpose of this blog post is to showcase what the day looks like for a wedding photographer. The blog post seeks to help photographers know what to expect and how to execute a wedding session.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to shoot a wedding?

Weddings are a serious matter—the real deal—and you don’t get any second chances. That’s why you need to be prepared, organized and know your stuff!

The day before the Wedding

  1. Gather all your gear and make sure camera batteries are charging, flash batteries are charging, quickly clean my lenses, and clear all my cards.

Morning of the Wedding

  1. The gear is packed and in the car. Double-check that everything is there and batteries and cards are back in the camera bag and not still charging in the house!
  2. Snacks are packed.
  3. Dressed to impress, looking professional ready for a wedding. Imagine yourself as a guest; make sure you dress the part! In my company, no jeans, t-shirts, or anything else that looks sloppy. You’re representing yourself and your brand; make sure you look good!

Groom Coverage (1 Hour – 1.5 Hours)

Groom photos go by FAST. Grooms tend to get ready quickly and will often time be greeting guests as the bride gets ready.

  1. Pay attention to details.
  2. Boys getting ready
  3. Combos with groomsmen and individuals
  4. A ‘cheers’ serious with some beer, scotch, or whatever their poison!
  5. Family shots, all different combos

Bride Coverage (1 Hour – 1.5 Hours)

Bride photos are tricky, to say the least. Most bridesmaids are not fully ready, meaning they are getting glam too. It has been a rare sight to see bridesmaids ready and helping the bride with their actual outfits.

  1. Please take pictures of the accessories before the bride wears her dress.
  2. Details on the bride getting her makeup done.
  3. Photos of bridesmaids helping the bride get ready. The family and parents of the bride are welcome to join.
  4. Photos of the bridesmaids and the bride are more common at this time.
  5. Get some beautiful portraits of the bride near the window and on the bed.

Ceremony

  1. Bride walking in and, almost more importantly, the groom’s reaction!
  2. A nice wide-angle shot of the church/location from the back.
  3. Close up of each of them saying their vows.
  4. If you can get it, get a close up (with a long lens) of the rings going on the finger.
  5. Keep a close eye on the parents; if they shed a tear, make sure you get it!
  6. THE KISS! I tend to ask the couple to hold for the kiss; some will kiss sideways; some will kiss side to side. I, personally, cannot miss this shot.
  7. Get some shots of the family cheering; best if you know, get photos of them with their guest in the background.
  8. Lastly, I love walking out (backward) with the bride and groom taking shots as they walk through the cheering crowd.

Congratulations Shots

  1. General wide angle shots to show the atmosphere and size of the crowd
  2. Close ups of the couple being congratulated by their parents and siblings
  3. I make an effort to run around the crowd and get photos of people in groups as a family or a group of friends.

The Group Shots

Group photos can be formal or informal, depending of the guests. There fun to take, but do take a few as people tend to blink. I tend to look at the first photo carefully to determine who are my blinkers. If you can have them open their eyes at the count of 3, you guarantee not having to photoshop their eyes open from a previous shot.

Family Shots

Family shots are also interesting because some parents are shy than others. Although this section is family shots, I once had to chase a mom down to get any photos that weren’t portraits like this. I tend to always ask the couple about their family.

Couple Shot

  1. I like close-up shots; I always think of them as the framed photo they will have on their desk or anywhere in their house.
  2. Get photos in various locations, in light settings, overexposed, underexposed, or dark settings. Variety is good, and it allows you not to repeat the same photo every time.
  3. If you can get the couple to do a variety of different things, they are good. Some already have ideas of shots they want, making it easier for you to know.
  4. Make sure that you nail the shots because these shots will cover their wedding book or be the one that people judge you most critically on. Everyone wants to relieve a certain memory, and this shot tends to be it.

Reception

You have made it!

  1. Get plenty of shots of the guests (again for meeting them and also driving traffic to the web gallery later)
  2. Shots of the venue – details include the cake, table settings, name place cards, etc.
  3. The bridal party and couple are announced, along with some couple and bridal party shots at the table.
  4. At this time, the couple will visit every table, so I follow.
  5. The first dance begins, and I finish off the night by getting plenty of photos of the couple, then the bridal party is announced, and then the dance floor is opened to everyone with some final wide-angle shots of a dance floor full of people with the couple in the middle.
  6. Please do not leave until they cut the cake! Most people forget the cake and party until the venue is done; ask them to cut it or remind the couple to ensure that cake photos are taken. From my experience, some people don’t know what to do here.

AMAZING! WE HAVE MADE IT TO THE END! I always say goodbye to the couple, tell them how much fun I had, and wish them the best time on their honeymoon! Time to pack my bags and hit the road!

After the Wedding

Just when you thought the day was over and you could go to bed, not quite. There is one more thing that MUST be done. This is my golden rule, save all the photos on your computer to ensure that nothing breaks, gets stolen, any bad omen.

  • As soon as I get back to the studio or home, I ALWAYS UPLOAD ALL THE CARDS AND CHECK THEM ON MY COMPUTER before doing anything else!
  • I tend to have 3 photos ready that are my “top 3,” and I tend to share them with the couple as social media is big and why have them tag photos from others when you can shine as the hero who shared a few photos with them. They would tend to portrait shots that would require the least amount of edits.

If I’m reshooting the next day, I put everything on a charger, replace my cards, and get ready for round two tomorrow!