Most Difficult Things About Being a Wedding Photographer
Professional wedding photographers have an immense responsibility to make sure that the special moments of the big day are captured and presented to the couple in a beautiful way, it is an industry of passion and love however it certainly isn’t easy.
The Hardest part about being a Wedding Photographer
We asked 18 professional wedding photographers what they find the most difficult thing about their job.
Weddings are usually at least 8 hours of shooting, commonly jump up to 14, and can get crazy with even more hours. Carrying gear around , being on your feet all day and staying mentally focused and creative for such a long time can be mentally and physically exhausting!
That’s why the day after a wedding is often called ‘wedding hangover’, usually a sunday, but for most people the only day when their partners are off work too and you want to spend quality time with them too. Juggling work and private life in general during peak season is challenging. You’re usually working weekends when your friends and family are off work.
At the moment the toughest thing for everyone is COVID-19. Not just because of the uncertainty a lot of people are facing with work and health, but couples are being forced to postpone, reschedule and even cancel their day. It’s a horrible position to be in, and as their photographer I know how disappointed they are.
Under normal circumstances, the toughest thing is probably the last meeting. This is the point where I deliver the USB and final wedding album to the newlyweds, and say goodbye. It’s an odd moment; I’ve been part of one of the biggest days of their lives, during the run up, sometimes helping to make plans and then the day itself. Then we’re done. Some couples stay in touch, some come back to me for family sessions which is so lovely, but I can never be sure if I’ll hear from them again. It’s quite emotional.
I think being a wedding photographer is tough because you are more than just a photographer, you are a jack of all trades. You have to do your own marketing, social media, post, printing, admin, finances as well as just take photos!
Apart from the long periods of time on your feet carrying camera kit, it is probably the fact that I miss out on a lot of my own friend’s and familie’s parties gatherings and weddings!
The toughest thing about being a full time dedicated professional wedding photographer is constantly striving to better at what you do. Always trying to surpass your customers often demanding requirements wherever possible. My customers are discerning and value their wedding photography beyond finding the lowest price. So a discerning customer always keeps me on my toes and helps me constantly improve the quality of my photography and the service I offer.
The toughest thing about being a wedding photographer: Being self-employed has its upsides like being able to work from home and spending more time with the kids but I do miss the day to day interaction with work colleagues. There are many lonely hours spent on the computer – editing, social media (for work), website maintenance and marketing – that another human to bounce ideas off or share the coffee rounds would be more than welcome.
Things have changed a lot over the last years. I remember that one of the toughest things in our first years of activity was dealing with judgy guests, it seemed that everyone had an opinion on everything.
Unfortunately people do tend to judge by the cover and it is not only unpleasant, but also tough. Things have changed a lot now, luckily our self confidence cannot be touched as easily anymore, we like what we do and most importantly, our couples do too. And this is all that matters.
Every wedding is so different and I guess that makes it tough, but I would use a more positive word, like challenging. Every wedding is a new challenge and that is one of the things that make this job so amazing and rewarding.
There’s a whole lot to love about being a wedding photographer. Most of the time you get to hang out with ace people having the best time. It’s an amazing adventure and every day is different. Our ‘work do’s’ can be a wee bit quiet, but without a doubt the toughest part is waving ta-ra to the ol’ social life. We are very lucky to have amazing family and friends who understand we can’t make every special occasion but still love them just the same.
Chasing clients to see if they are interested in hiring me for their wedding, especially after I have already met them and they seemed so interested at the time, sometimes you never hear from them, I just wish they would let me know either way.
The toughest thing about being a wedding photographer for me isn’t actually connected with photography its managing a small business. As small business owners, we find ourselves having to have many hats, HR, Accounts, Legal, Sales, Communications, Marketing etc etc. The photography bit is actually the easier bit of the whole business because that’s what I am passionate about but having to be passionate about accounts and marketing is a challenge.
The toughest thing is keeping a balance between work and life. Weddings are all consuming and when its busy its easy to be shooting most weekend, editing all week and then with online chats, designing albums, keeping in touch with your couples, planning, networking and more.
The weeks can vanish very quickly and if you are not careful life outside work can be lost. I endeavour to limit the number of weddings I take on each month and keep one weekend free each month. I also keep Sundays as family time and try where possible to stop working at a certain time in the evening. It doesn’t always work, but I try!
Probably the most difficult bit is the pressure of immortalizing the day. I have been in the business for more than 10 years, but every wedding is a single and unique moment in the life of our clients. Things happen fast and you need to stay focus during long periods of time to be able to deliver a top service. That’s not always easy, especially If you shoot a lot of weddings during the wedding season.
I find the toughest things about being a wedding photographer is juggling everything you want to do. As I do adore each aspect of being a photographer but often I want to do so much more! So it essence it is a good thing!
Balancing consults, engagement shoots, marketing, the wedding diary, editing, portfolio building, workshops and trips. Even if an enquiry comes in and your already booked- which is obviously a positive thing! But its a couple and venue you love! Its always a kicker! But still super positive.
In my line of work, the thing I find most difficult is marketing. I am convinced that there are so many very good photographers, what makes the difference between one and the other is only the person: to be able to communicate to a possible customer, what are my characteristics, my sensitivity, empathy, the respect for space and the intimacy of people, it’s very difficult for me.
Working out pricing. I love my job so much but it is my only job, and has been my only job for 20+ years. Photographers always tell you to charge more but clients want the best value and I want to give them that.
I don’t want to undersell myself but I really want to work with couples who love my work, not all of them have top budgets! I have always said I would rather work with couples who appreciate my experience and style of photography rather than those that can simply afford me.
The hardest thing is trying to sell a product that you’ve not yet created. They won’t have a clue what they are actually buying until at least a month after the wedding. Their wedding photos. All you can show them is what you’ve done before for other couples.
You can show them your experience and consistent level of quality, but you’ll never be able to show them the finished product. Yet, you have to ask them to pay for it up front. It’s a hard sell. Luckily, there are enough couples that understand this process. It’s no different to paying for a holiday, where you’ve not actually been on the holiday yet and don’t know if it was any good.
That moment, right at the end of the day, when you’re saying your goodbyes to all the lovely people you’ve made friends with, and they say, “Mate, come and join us at the bar for a pint! C’mon, you’ve earned it!” and you have no choice but to reply, “Ah, I’d love to, but I’m driving and I’ve been here for 9 hours, and actually, I’d quite like to go home now.” There’s nothing quite like the yearning for a free pint and having to just ignore it!
Finding work and is getting tougher, there are so many channels now to put your efforts into, it seems it has become a buyers market where even 4-5 years ago it appeared to be significantly easier to find people.
For me, I’d say the isolation of the job – a lot of it is at the desk with no one to talk to. I make great friends on the wedding day, seeing as I’m in such close contact with everyone and in a position like no other. Then I never see them again. Also, it can be tough to keep up with the industry, with social media, with SEO, trying to stand out and have people know why a wedding photographer costs what they cost.
Why Is Wedding Photography So Hard?
There is more to being a wedding photographer than just taking photos on the day, it is long hours and that is just the wedding day. Back at the computer there is editing, emails, communication, and backing up just to name a few things.
Wedding photography is different to anything else, it is a live event, you only get one chance to capture the moment, you need to be in the right place at the right time, always thinking ahead.
While it is tough, the passion and love professional wedding photographers have for what they do and they weddings they shoot cannot be understated and is what comes out on top no matter how difficult it can be.