Forums > Photography Talk > Wedding Photography is harder than you think.


Robbie Wolf Photography

Posts: 569

Phoenix, Arizona, US

Michael Pandolfo wrote:
....I have this recurring nightmare of Brides chasing after me with their mother-in-laws screaming for my testicles.

Troy D Photography wrote:
I have the same kind of dreams... 
Apparently you and I look at this differently.  >:-)


and this is how I feel about this thread:
http://whatshouldwecallweddingphoto.tum … gs-are-too

Jan 09 13 10:24 am Link



Posts: 506

Peru, Illinois, US

Michael Pandolfo wrote:

My first impression of this (other than it's a very good shot) was "we know which one of these manicures isn't going home alone tonight."

sorry, but if you consider this "a very good shot" you should never be involved in photographing a wedding and neither should the OP!

Jan 09 13 03:32 pm Link



Posts: 710

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

I shoot wedding video.  Having said that I've seen and worked with a full gamut of photographers.  Those who just own a DSLR, to those who are very good.  (Typically we interact & they either show me their photos in the viewfinder, or give me a business card). Both it and video are hard work, and fast paced.  Things like first dances, cake cutting etc can start on a dime, usually I try to say hello to the DJ & talk a bit first, so he later gives me a heads up or announcement it's starting. One thing Photographers need more than me is to be assertive, in getting the formal bridal party & family shots. Some families, want the entire large family, but as a photographer they call for all brothers/sisters/kids/aunts etc to be in.  Then, when it's almost set to go someone calls out "Wait, where's Jimmy?", then it's another 2 minute search for some guy named Jimmy, finally he's tracked down, but everyones talking, texting & interacting again. Then it's time for the brides family too, or whatever, and the Dad's out having a cigarette & wants to finish.  Things like that, it takes a toll. And the 45 minutes in the itinerary allotted to formals turns in 1 1/2 hours, and the reception hall is a 45 minute drive away.  Cocktail Hour sometimes runs about 3 hours.

Also personalities vary, I've had bridezilla's, complainers etc.  I also had one who was a total partier, had on a tear away dress that turned into a mini skirt, and wanted me to stay & keep on partying and videotaping at the hotel room (I declined). I've had some photogs be nice, some be a bit wierd (one guy was taking modeling type photos of the prettier girls in the hallway?? and I think gave them his card), one guy had a second shooter, but he got a ride to the reception in the limo, and I'm leaving and see the second shooter there, and I ask him if he needed a ride?!  He said yeah, the photog drove him, then just left him at the church & took off in the limo?  And one Hall was very hard to find, I had both GPS and Google maps printed out, but the place was set far back, behind a shopping center.  I had to stop in to a diner there and ask, and the hostess never heard of  the place but luckily a busboy nearby knew where it was. I got there, and the bride asks me "Where's the photographer??!"  I felt terrible, because I knew it was hard to find.  Luckily I had her card and gave her a call to walk her thru getting to the location. She was a really good photographer too, just sucks being late like that.  That's another big thing though, locations. Alot of brides think in 1 hour they can leave the church, go 20 minutes away, shoot all the formals & parties photos, and drive 30 minutes back to the ceremony location, all within 1 hour!?  I had one who wanted to drive into center city for photos, then drive out of center city pretty far to the location, on a Friday afternoon in the summertime at 5:30pm!! It would've taken an hour to get in, and an hour to get out, let alone photography time.

Jan 11 13 11:22 am Link


Studio MD - Casting

Posts: 1227

New York, New York, US

Superfluous weddings are pretty insane anyway. I liked the comment on the original article about how their big day was "ruined" by the bad photos. People forget that weddings happened long before cameras were around and didn't have people selling them on the idea that they must have these retarded celebrations and pay to remember the day.

Maybe people should recognize that the wedding industry is just that: an industry. A ceremony is nice and everything but there are other ways couples can spend thousands of dollars on marking their decision.

*Probably not the most popular point... but still valid wink

Jan 11 13 11:33 am Link



Posts: 1471

Elmsdale, Nova Scotia, Canada

I've been following this thread and tossing in a few comments. Some awesome portfolios, just fantastic. But a deluge of cheap imaging devices and social media have sealed the fate of an industry. It started with 35mm cameras back when I was starting college, more than 30 years ago! W

Jan 11 13 02:51 pm Link


Stephoto Photography

Posts: 20158

Amherst, Massachusetts, US

A wedding is the most nerve wracking event I shoot. Ever. Thankfully, everyone has been happy so far- but from the time I give the shots, to the time I hear back 'Omg, we love them, THANK YOU!' i'm a bundle of nerves.

These couples are entrusting the most important day of their life with me- and I admit, I kinda jumped in initially without assisting first. Both couples new immediately that I wasn't the most experienced wedding photographer, and both were at night (which makes things doubly complicated) so I had to use my flash instead of relying on natural light like I normally do.

I expected things to be a lot worse than they were- in terms of the couples, but both of them were so lovely- and a lot of fun to work with ! I don't regularly go after wedding bookings- only when someone comes to me, and knows my experience, do I take them on- and it's their choice.

Jan 11 13 03:11 pm Link



Posts: 469

Coppell, Texas, US

In years past I shot somewhere between one and two dozen paid weddings, did pretty well with word of mouth and never had a dissatisfied customer. 

But, lugging around all of the equipment, always in a hurry, in the midst of what was at best semi-choreographed chaos always left me sweat drenched, stressed out, and waiting at the Chiropractor's door.

And, that was in the days of medium format film, so the lab did all the work except masking the negatives.

Bridals are fun, great images, fewer hassles.  But as for weddings, the best comparison I can come up with is one I heard about armored warfare: "Shot, move, and communicate. . . or die".

Jan 11 13 03:12 pm Link


Al Lock Photography

Posts: 17020

Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

There is a reason I don't shoot weddings.... doing it well is VERY hard work.

Jan 12 13 01:51 am Link


Darriffany Photography

Posts: 10

Los Angeles, California, US

I love wedding photography. I prefer to shoot wedding photography

Jan 12 13 08:47 am Link


Eric Lefebvre

Posts: 508

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

PhotoPower wrote:
I think I'm pretty handy with camera and want to respond with $750 bid to shoot wedding in remote location in Nova Scotia involving entertainment industry folks.

750$? Where do you factor in the cost of business? The cost of the final product? Wear and tear on you vehicle, gas .... or are you taking that out of your 30$ an hour salary? If you are then you've just dropped your salary to next to nothing.

EDIT: Here let's do some fun math ...

1/3 of that 750$ will go to runing your business (web hosting, profesional liability, busines liscence, domain name registration, marketing ...).

1/3 will go to the cost of doing the shoot.
Renting gear (if needed), paying for an assisstant, the cost of producing albums and disks, travel and wear on car ...

1/3 will go into your pocket.

so 250$ will go to your business costs, 250$ will go to shooting the wedding and 250$ in your pocket.

You've estimated (or under estimated in my opinion) the shoot to be 25 hours of work (25 X 30$ = 750$)

250$ / 25 hours = 10$ an hour.

You are paying yourself the official minimum wage in Nova Scotia. is your work worth less or the same as the work done by someone operating a deep fryer at a local burger joint?

PhotoPower wrote:
Sixty bucks for driving time. Thirty bucks an hour for initial one-hour consult (couple stopping by here); a couple of hours of shooting on the day before the event, twelve hours of shooting and being ready for anything on wedding day, and an eight hour day for post, adds up to $750.

I think you are missing a few steps in the wedding process.
A 10 hour wedding for me is 32 - 35 hours of work. 32 hours X 30$ = 960$

PhotoPower wrote:
My friend and photographer said I should at least double the $750 ... but where will the young couple come up with $1,500?? They can take trip to Cuba for that!!

They can cut back on less important aspects of the wedding like having only one glass of wine on the table instead of 3, or going with a simpler meal ... in 10 years, no one will remember that they served chicken and one glass of wine but the pictures will still be there.

PhotoPower wrote:
Everybody at the wedding will be carrying a smart phone!! Who needs photographer....

If you can't produce better images than aunt Mildred with her point and shoot or even uncle Bob with his brand new "perfesional" Canon T3 with a kit lens and pop-up flash then you shouldn't be shooting a wedding.

Hell, if you cant produce better images than uncle bob using hi certainly shouldnt be shooting a wedding.

Jan 12 13 08:07 pm Link


Eric Lefebvre

Posts: 508

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

I shoot about 10 weddings a year (hoping to bump that up to 15 this year).

While weddings can be a bit formulaic they are certainly difficult ... understanding how to light a bride isn't the same as a model. You CONTROL the models pose and the light in the scene. You can't just go "STOP EVERYTHING EVERYONE ... deary, yes you in the white dress ... move 3 feet to your right so we can get a good split lighting there ... ok, we start back on 3... 1, 2 ..."

It happens then and there and you have to be able to anticipate the action as well as deal with uncontrollable lighting conditions.

On top of that emotions are high, expectations are high ... there is a very high level of emotional involvement and if you don;t meet expectations, you can certainly expect some nastiness (possibly even legal) down the road.

Jan 12 13 08:14 pm Link


Mike Collins

Posts: 2737

Orlando, Florida, US

Anything is difficult if you don't know what your doing.  And I guess that's the problem with most out there that think they can handle a wedding.  Most don't realize that you have very little, or even no time to "think" about a shot.  Sometimes you just have to go by instinct, for lack of a better term (we really don't have instincts). 

Even I much prefer being able to take the time to create each of my portraits without the concern for time (compared to a wedding) or knowing that I can shoot it again if I see something I don't like.  Some wedding "moments" present themselves only once.  You miss it and it's gone forever.

But we also have to remember there are several ways to shoot a wedding.  Pj or lifestyle type shooting has only been around for about 15 years or so.  Wedding photography before that was pretty much posed, flash on camera/bracket and pretty  emotion-less.  Personally I find THAT kind of wedding photography is not difficult at all.  And believe it or not, there are some who still just want a few shots like that and nothing more.  This is why they will let Uncle Joe with the nice camera take a few shots at their backyard wedding.  It's just not a big deal to some people.

Jan 13 13 04:37 am Link


Dragos Codita

Posts: 83

Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania

I've done several wedding as a director and second photographer with a good friend. All of them turnd just be better and better.
But still, our religion is orthodox, different from you catholic. Here wedding last usually 10 hours at minimul to 14-16 hours. We charge around 400 euros ... that may shock you, because we pay more for equipment than in US by about a factor of two.
We shoot Canon with the whole range of red ring lenses and 4-5 bodies, two full-frame and the rest crops, around 12 lenses in total for two photogs, plus other accessories that fit in two huge backpacks and in a trunk of a car.
Is there somebody who wants to try?

Jan 13 13 06:11 am Link