A couple of years ago I was staunchly in support of wedding photographers not charging outlandish prices... Until I overbooked. I know that you can crank out a wedding edit in a week if that's all you do. In retrospect now I realize why it takes a month to get a wedding edit out and sometimes six weeks, because in between shooting four weddings, and a full time job, along with sessions, family and attempting to have a life of my own I've felt like I was drowning in obligations. But, there is still something I love about weddings. But I will warn you wannabe wedding photographers who have that Canon Rebel and are shooting over the shoulders of the paid photographers to be careful what you wish for.
Weddings are glamorous, sure, but after you go to a wedding every week for a month straight... They all begin to blend together. They are all unique, yet they are all the same. Ceremony and tradition call for similarities among this event that we humans in the western world call weddings.
But I love weddings, and simultaneously I'm tired of them.
The best part of weddings are the families... The best part of weddings for a photographer is going through the photos and seeing a lot of clear shots with great exposures. The best part of photographing a wedding is creating a lasting (quality) memory for your clients. Now, I'm sure all of us who have shot weddings for a few years will look to our first wedding and cringe, those times when we didn't totally grasp lighting and technical settings for our cameras. Where we didn't realize where our focus was. But, seasoned photographers look at those photographers with terror because we know exactly how much goes into it. We aren't bashing you for wanting to have the confidence to shoot your best friend's cousin's special day for $100 (we did it too). But we know that in a few years you'll look through those images and feel embarrassed about your work.
I cried coming home from a wedding this fall, because I was so sick the only place I needed to be was in bed. My entire body hurt but I knew that it was an obligation that I couldn't step out of, it's not like calling a substitute for your class (which is a whole other nightmare sometimes). The wedding had been booked for months and I had been sick for two weeks. These people are depending on you, when they book you.
^^ There I am^^^^ Shooting a wedding. By the time the ceremony is over I am SO TIRED. Can we have cake yet?
By the time the cake is cut and the dance begins...I wonder how the bride and groom can make it. Weddings are normally at least six hours, often eight hours and sometimes twelve hour days. Be prepared.
Pricing doing something I love is a struggle. Because it's subjective, I love photography. But, I also find that the more I work the more I value my time. I also value my experience and the amount of equipment I bring to someone's big day. I know that I can give them images that are of a good photojournalism quality. I am not into all the fake posing and silliness but allow them that option and to bring their own creativity to the day.
Yes, it's slightly out of focus... but it was my first 30 second exposure at a wedding and I love it....
But the best part of weddings are not the money spent on all the little details... the best part of weddings is these are one of the few things in life that on that one day, at that one time end happily.
Even if you have a headache the next day....
Weddings are about enjoying yourself, and I think that even as an exhausted photographer... there are still things to enjoy about every single wedding I am fortunate enough to capture. But would I have booked that June 2011 wedding knowing what I do now? Hell no. Nope, not even in a million years did I know what I was doing then. But I'm glad I did. I'm sure my portraiture blogs are contradictory to what I wrote a few years ago but that seems to be natural with knowledge and experience. I often lament why people didn't tell my my photos were horrible in 2009 and 2010 (which in my opinion they were). But that is life, sometimes we need encouragement as we learn and grow even if we aren't the best because that experience and practice is what makes us better as artists and people.