A question I have been asked several times – “what is it that a Wedding Photographer does?”
But they tend to say it in a way that they really mean – “do you only work on Saturdays?”. I think we suffer from the same stigma as perhaps teachers do. Some think they work from 9am till 3.30pm and have 14 weeks holidays a year – easy! I’m sure a teacher will have something to say about that.
So what does a Wedding photographer do then?
Well we work hard. And we work long hours. And yes – we work weekends too.
So lets take a typical day when I don’t have a photo-shoot booked. Do I spend it watching TV? The answer is “No”.
8am – 9am – Catch up on e-mails / answer potential clients questions. So I have private emails, emails through my website, and messages on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. I get lots of messages from people asking me for prices for Weddings, expecting the full day for around £200!
9am – 5pm – Edit the last photo-shoot pictures. Editing the pictures is a time consuming business. Firstly I need to upload around 1000 pictures. Then I need to select around 300 pictures. I then put them into groups of similar pictures so that I can batch process as part of the editing process. Each picture is then individually renamed, edited and cropped.
5pm – 7pm – Save pictures onto disc and DVD slideshow. Pictures are saved on CD. Then I create a slideshow DVD set to music. The music needs downloading and adding to the slideshow. Pictures need adding in the correct order. I.e. Bride getting ready / arriving at church / ceremony / outside church / reception etc etc. And the pictures and the music need to be time with each other so they fit well when viewing. After that the DVD is etched with the bride and grooms names on it.
7pm – 9pm – Add latest pictures to website and ensure all pictures are named correctly and tagged for SEO. So the bride from the previous wedding has now had time to show her family and put them on face book etc. I am now able to add these to my blog and on my gallery page on my site. Creating a web page or blog isn’t straight forward if you want people to actually see it. You need to be mindful of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This means that if you want to the page to rank highly on Google then you must follow certain steps. I.;e you select a keyword you think someone might type into google for searching such as ‘Wedding Photographer’. Now your page URL and your page title must contain ‘Wedding Photographer’. Your pictures in the page must have an ‘alt’ name which also has this phrase in it. And this is just the start. The keyword must be used a few times in the page. The text content must contain a certain number of words. It must be easy to read, ensuring sentences aren’t too long. And so on and so on…. And then when it’s all done I then add the blog to all my social media pages too.
9pm – 11pm – More research on improving page rank and answer any new emails and queries. The goal is to get my business on page 1 of Google. The higher it is and the more work I get asked to do. Simple. But SEO is a complex business. As well as ensuring my pages have good SEO, one very important thing is to have quality back-links from other sites. The more people add links to my site, the more Google ranks my site, and the higher up the list I go. It works for Facebook likes and Google +1’s. So if you are reading this and want to help me out then please feel free to add a link.
11pm -12am – If I have a shoot the next day, prepare all my equipment and charge all batteries.
And in between all this I have my 2 beautiful dogs that need their walkies.
I haven’t even touched my camera all day.
So if you ever fancied becoming a Wedding photographer then make sure you are prepared for hard work.
You need to have the following skills:
Great with people – On the day of the wedding you are dealing with the bride and groom, the parents, the venue hosts, the guests, children, and uncle Tom who keeps getting in the way with his camera. And don’t forget you have the honour of being involved in a couple’s special day. You need to be assertive enough to get everyone together for the group shots, but blend into the background so that you are unobtrusive throughout the day.
SEO – as stated above
Website designer – unless you are paying someone else to do it for you
Marketting – Getting out there to florists, wedding dress shops, hair dressers, wedding planners. Trying to get others to promote your business and reccomendations.
Blogger – Like this one for example.
Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom – Learning all the editing tools. There are many presets you can use to give the pictures that extra wow factor.
Know your camera inside out – The cameras we use are not just point and click. There are lots of settings to take into account. No 2 shots have the same light so quick adjustments are being made all the time by a good photographer.
Have a good eye – It doesn’t matter how expensive the camera is, Although it definitely helps if you have a good camera and good quality lenses, but unless you can frame the shot in your mind first, and know what will be a great looking picture, then you won’t succeed.