Posts Tagged ‘engagement sessions’

What’s really involved in shooting a wedding

A lot of potential wedding clients (and inexperienced wedding photographers) think that shooting a wedding is a one day job. Au contraire mon frere. By the time I get to the wedding I’ve already spent about 6 hours prepping and working with my clients. And once I get the photos downloaded I typically spend another 15-20 hours editing. If they ordered a wedding album that usually takes another 15-20 hours.

For most of my wedding clients I shoot an engagement or portrait session. It’s a great way to get to know each other and for them to see how I work. When I shot Holly and Ryan’s session a few weeks ago Ryan commented on how fast I moved through different options. I like to work fast. I hate being in front of a camera and I know that a lot of my clients have the same feeling. My job as photographer is to help alleviate that discomfort. Showing the client images on the back of the camera is always a good way to put people at ease; for me humor and keeping people on their toes seems to work best. If I move quickly my clients don’t have time to think about what they are doing or how uncomfortable they feel in front of the camera. Eventually we get into a rhythm and they tend to forget I have a camera pointed at them. The other benefit of an engagement session is that my clients have the option to use the images on their announcements, wedding website and on their wedding day. Both Jo Anna and Todd and Holly and Ryan opted to have wall prints framed and matted and then have their guests sign the mat. Some clients opt for a coffee table book to use as a guest registry.

Holly & Ryan 20x16

Holly & Ryan 20x16

Jo Anna & Todd - Marina El Cid, Riviera Maya

Jo Anna & Todd - Marina El Cid, Riviera Maya

Between the engagement session and the wedding day I’ve typically spent a couple hours meeting with the bride and groom going over details, expectations and the schedule.  If you don’t have a wedding coordinator your photographer can help with the timeline. We’ve been there and seen what works and what doesn’t.

I always research the venue and scout the location before the wedding day.  The location scout helps me familiarize myself with the area and come up with ideas for the portrait session. For Chuck and Sarah’s wedding I went by the Birkby House the day before the wedding and walked a few blocks surrounding the location. The insert photo was taken during the location scout and resulted in some fun portraits.

Sarah and Chuck - Leesburg, Virginia

Sarah and Chuck - Leesburg, Virginia

Before the wedding I also have to prep my second shooters and assistants.  We’ll talk about my goals and ideas and I’ll fill them in with the names of the wedding party, location, start time and other instructions.

The day before the wedding I’ll start prepping my gear.  On my facebook page I wrote about the gear I took to Chuck and Sarah’s wedding.  The gist is that I’ll take two cameras, five to six lenses, three to four flashes, tripod, light stand, laptop, quantum turbo, a ton of batteries and all the accessories needed for the shoot.

All in all I’m in for 30-60 hours of work to shoot a wedding and deliver the final product; that’s a week’s work not a day.

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