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What They Don't Tell You About Being A Wedding Photographer

Professional Wedding Photography

By Jeffrey House Photography


I love being a wedding photographer.

Professional wedding photography has allowed me to meet some amazing people and I love the challenge and the pursuit of constant creative improvement.

At times it feels glamorous being a wedding photographer and other times it feels anything but glamorous.

In this article, I want to share with you what it's really like being a professional wedding photographer.  

Never Let Them See You Sweat!

Weddings are stressful events.  They're stressful for brides, grooms, parents, and even your wedding photographer.  As a wedding photographer, we are literally running 100 mph from the time we arrive until the time we leave.  We're capturing and documenting one of, if not the most important day, in a couple's life.  We get one, and only one, opportunity to capture every detail and every moment.  

Professional wedding photographers have to make thousands of split-second decision every wedding.  Most of these decisions have a significant impact on whether or not we "get the shot."  That's why wedding photographers need to be great at multi-tasking and keeping their composure.  

A wedding photographer's ability to remain composed, even in the most stressful of situations, is immensely important. If you appear nervous or frazzled, it's only going to make everyone around you feel more stressed too. Even if something happens that flusters you, you must always project calmness and control.  If you look clueless and panicked, no one will have confidence in you.

It's 10% Photography

When most photographers dream about following their passion and becoming a professional wedding photographer, they usually imagine themselves spending every day capturing one amazing photograph after the next.  However, when you become a professional, you quickly realize that "taking pictures" makes up approximately 10% of your job.

A large part of a professional wedding photographer's time is spent in post-production.  Now, I personally love post-production and believe it's a vital aspect of the creative process.  But, there are many photographers that don't share my feelings.  They believe, as a photographer, they should only be making great photographs.  While you may not like every aspect of your job, you still have to do it and give it your full attention.  

The remaining portion of a photographer's time is spent doing administrative tasks - invoicing, taxes, paying bills, etc. Running a small business requires a lot of paperwork and this part of the job is dreaded by most photographers - myself included.  It would be great if we could all just hire someone to handle these tasks, but unfortunately, most do not have the budget for this.  

Intoxicated Guests  

A wedding reception is essentially a huge party.  And for many, an open bar becomes a personal challenge to see how much alcohol they can consume in a short period of time.  If you've ever experienced trying to communicate with someone who is intoxicated, you understand it can be very challenging.  

Because weddings are happy events, most of the time everything goes smoothly.  But there are times when guests have too much to drink and become disorderly.  As a wedding photographer, this can be exasperating, especially when you're trying to capture photographs of these guests for your client.  It's these types of moments that we need to demonstrate composure, patience, and professionalism.

It's A Party...But Not For You

At almost every wedding, someone will invite us to have a drink with them.  But generally, we will politely decline. While we appreciate being included, we have been hired to photograph the event and believe it's important to remain professional.  

Recently, we published an article about a photographer that broke every rule of professionalism.  Her uninvited boyfriend showed up at the wedding to "hang out" with her and the two of them proceeded to consume a lot of alcohol.  After they openly had an argument in front of all the wedding guests, the wedding photographer also missed many critical moments of the day as she sat in the ladies room puking.  

I love a good wedding party, but every wedding professional must always remember it's not a party for them and you have to be very careful about crossing lines.  

Family Dynamics

Almost every family has some sort of unique family dynamic for one reason or another.  It can range from divorced parents that can't be placed next to one another during family photos or photos we shouldn't share on Facebook because those two people "shouldn't have been dancing so close together."  

As the photographer, we have to be very aware and sensitive to these situations to ensure we avoid any confrontations.  it can very challenging to remember all of the unique dynamics because we're meeting so many new people for the first time, but we always take a little extra time to discuss these potential issues with our couples prior to the wedding day.  We want to make sure we have knowledge of these situations prior to the actual wedding day.  

I Love What I Do

I always find it interesting when you get to see behind the scenes of people's careers.  It's very easy to for opinions about them or what they do, but when we discover another perspective we often find ourselves with a new appreciation.

I get asked a lot why I became a wedding photographer and I know there are a lot of misconceptions about wedding photographers as a whole.  So, today, I thought I would share some aspects of wedding photography that don't get much attention.  But there are very important aspects of we do too.  

We truly do get to meet a lot of fascinating people and we to experience some amazing moments.  Moments that make us smile, laugh out loud, and some that even bring a tear to our eye.  It's not uncommon for the relationship we have with our clients to span 18 months or more - We get to know each other pretty well.  We believe in long term relationships with our clients because we appreciate them and we feel it helps us to deliver a better experience.  When you think long term as business professional, you tend to make better decisions for your customers.  

We thank all of our past couples and we can't wait to meet our future couples.  Thank you for allowing us to be part of your special day and we wish you all a lifetime of happiness.