This is a question that wedding photographers hear often in the course of business. Many people just don’t realize how much work goes into creating those wedding photos. Since they only see the photographer when he’s taking pictures at the wedding, they have no idea how much more work still needs to be done after the guests have gone home and the newlyweds have boarded their flight to the Bahamas.
The first point that people need to understand is that a wedding photographer is not just a guy snapping pictures. He is a business with taxes, utilities, communication and equipment and transportation expenses that are part of the deal. He must have computer hardware, specialized software, cameras, lighting equipment, lenses, memory cards, printers and…well I’m sure that by now you have the general idea.
We wear many hats as small business owners as well. Aside from photography, we do office management, communications, secretarial work and sales. We are webmasters, bloggers and publicity agents, as well as the person responsible for the accounting , post-production work and graphic design.
And, yes, we do spend time at parties snapping pictures—for anywhere from 6 to 11 hours at a time. And, although it may look easy to the untrained eye, getting those spectacular wedding photos that make brides happy takes a lot of experience, talent and skill. Just ask anyone who has made the mistake of drafting cousin Ralph to take their wedding pictures and learned the difference between professional results and amateur photography the hard way.
Then there is the post production phase, which can take better than twenty hours to complete. Your images, which can number as many as 2500 for complete wedding shoot, must be downloaded, which takes about an hour, then copied to an backed up to avoid any mishaps. Then we send around two hours going through all those images to select the best thousand or so images, which will move on the the next phase of processing.
These are edited, enhanced, cropped or clarified with a variety of specialized editing software programs. Then, finally, we get to the job of creating the photography products included in your wedding photography package, such as slide shows, coffee table books, albums and prints among many others. In the end, the average wedding photographer is not making a lot of money by the time all his expenses are met, and what he does make is earned through long hours of hard work.