If you’re skeptical about being a wedding photographer, don’t be.
The whole process is meant to be enjoyed.
For me, showing up to a wedding to photograph a couple who is madly in love & celebrating the first day of spending the rest of their lives together is nothing to be grumpy about. Sure, it may be a super warm summer day, it’s likely that I’m starving, my feet probably hurt, but the thing is that it isn’t about me. Not even slightly. I don’t care about my own comfortability on the day of someone else’s wedding. It’s all about the couple. It’s about making them feel beautiful, it’s about capturing their love in an honest & real way. It’s about giving them photos that they will be able to show their children & look back on for the rest of their lives.
I frequently hear a wide array of opinions & mixed reviews about being a wedding photographer.
I used to be a part of roughly fifteen Facebook groups for wedding photographers. Groups such as “West Coast Wedding Photographers,” “Part Time Wedding Photographers,” “Midwest Wedding Photographers,” “Lady Freelance Photographers,” & that sort of thing. (None of these are actual names of groups, just the general essence of the groups).
There would be an unbelievable amount of horror stories each day in all of those groups about weddings gone awry, “bride-zillas”, harassment while photographing the reception, unfathomable requests made by the bride or groom or the family of the bride & groom, the list goes on & on.
At that time, I was just starting out and this scared me off big-time. Photographers left & right would be bummed about how little free time they had, how shooting weddings all day & all summer was incredibly taxing & exhausting; they took weeks or even months to edit. Going through the photos was a nightmare; having the client constantly follow up about when the photos would be edited was draining.
These were some of the daily gripes I would hear in the groups. They would even have “Rant Wednesdays”: specific days of the week to start rant threads about their latest client horror story.
I would sit back & read in awe.
It was safe to say that I was incredibly apprehensive & wanted nothing to do with the wedding industry. I was so afraid that I wouldn’t be able to avoid clients or relatives of clients that made shooting weddings a personal hell.
But here’s the thing: all of those threads about how terrible weddings were, were the real problem. All of the situations that the photographers were in were honestly incredibly avoidable. It was by their own error of not including correct information in the contract or for choosing to work with clients whom they’d not previously interacted with.
If you book a wedding with a client who is overly demanding or rude or difficult via email, why do you have any reason to believe that they will be charming or pleasant or respectful in real life? You don’t. You respectfully decline the wedding inquiry & you move on — seems pretty straightforward to me.
Personally, I like to stick with more low-key weddings & elopements. Cliffside marriages that take place in the pouring rain tend to be concentrated on the more important things. The celebration of love surpasses all of the value that lies within the venue, catering of food, or approval from family members that I’ve never met. With that, I’ve found that I’ve never encountered an unpleasant client — not once. But, of course, that holds nothing against the weddings that I have been booking lately that are housed in actual venues. Those with more organized receptions housed indoors with formal sections set aside for toasts & whatnot. Those clients have been nothing but lovely as well.
I’ve not ever had to decline a wedding inquiry based off of a potential client acting rude or inconsiderate.
If we’re being honest, I truly do not know where all of these photographers in these Facebook groups are finding these clients. As far as I’ve found, they don’t seem to exist.
As for the long days of shooting & the weeks of editing: that’s a part of the process. There is nothing in the Wedding Photographer Handbook that says weddings are a breeze. You’re there all day & you’re taking thousands of photos & those photos will not be edited in twenty minutes, but that is simply the nature of the event.
For me, showing up to a wedding to photograph a couple who is madly in love & celebrating the first day of spending the rest of their lives together is nothing to be grumpy about. Sure, it may be a super warm Summer day, I may be starving, my feet might hurt, but the thing is that it isn’t about me. I don’t care about my own comfortability on the day of someone else’s’ wedding. It’s all about the couple. It’s about making them feel beautiful, it’s about showcasing their love in an honest & real way. It’s about giving them photos that they will be able to show their children & look back on for the rest of their lives.
The whole process is meant to be enjoyed. The time spent carefully selecting & editing the photos that you craft & finding joy in the fact that out of every photographer on the grid, that couple chose you to capture one of the most important days of their lives.
That’s something to celebrate.
Oh, & P.S. I’ve long since departed that curation of Facebook groups. My timeline has been significantly more peaceful in the last six months that I’ve dismissed all of the outlandish weddings gone awry.
Thanks for reading my words. If you want to see more things that I post on the internet, you can check out samlandreth.com for photos & samanthanicole.co for fashion things. Also, here is my Instagram & here is my Twitter!