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Wedding Photographer Duties and Responsibilities

Whether covering an intimate gathering or a huge celebration, some tasks are central to being a wedding photographer, including the following:

Meet with Clients Couples usually become acquainted with their photographer well in advance of their wedding. Such meetings entail viewing examples of the photographer's work, going over pricing, creating a list of desired photos, discussing hours and locations, and signing agreements.

Take Photographs Some wedding photographers take formal, posed engagement photos as part of the picture package. On the day itself, wedding photographers pay close attention to the predetermined schedule so that they arrive where they need to be in plenty of time. For instance, they may start at the bride's house to capture her getting ready with her attendants, head to the church to set up for the ceremony, then end the day at a banquet hall to cover everything from cake cutting to dancing. Following a checklist ensures that important shots don't get missed.

Edit Photographs Photographers carefully look at everything they shot. Actions such as removing red eye, cropping, and enhancing improve quality. They also may add graphics or other artistic touches.

Compile Galleries and Albums The final results are assembled into an online gallery or physical book of pictures. The couple and other interested parties choose which photos they wish to purchase and in which size. The photographer often suggests books, frames, and other display options.

Market Their Business Generating business is part of the job for photographers, especially freelancers. Marketing efforts may include setting up a website, attending wedding fairs, and seeking recommendations from satisfied customers.


Wedding Photographer Skills and Qualifications

Because they interact regularly with clients, wedding photographers should possess excellent interpersonal skills. A friendly, professional demeanor helps put people at ease on emotion-filled occasions, and clear communication and active listening ensure understanding and accuracy. Other factors critical to job success include:
  • Industry knowledge - besides exceptional talent with a camera, photographers need to handle lighting equipment, position subjects, and use photo editing software
  • Attention to detail - whether adjusting a bride's train or ensuring the flower girl is holding her basket, wedding photographers pay attention to all the little things that influence the ultimate results
  • Organization skills - systematically keeping track of which pictures need to be taken when prevents missing a big moment or forgetting to snap grandma
  • Creativity - employing artistic techniques or staging interesting poses puts a unique spin on a photographer's work
  • Salesmanship - presenting options and convincing clients of the value of such services generate revenue
  • Problem-solving skills - when the ring bearer won't smile or rain disturbs outdoor shots, photographers act quickly to deal with whatever comes their way
  • Physical fitness - hauling equipment, setting up lighting and backdrops, and standing on one's feet for several hours requires strength and stamina

Wedding Photographer Education and Training

Wedding photographers come from various educational backgrounds. Some hold only a high school diploma. Others take postsecondary courses or obtain a degree in photography, art, or a related field. Classes cover subjects such as equipment, positioning, and editing. Learning about marketing and business also can be helpful. When seeking a position with a wedding photography company, a strong portfolio is a candidate's best friend. Employers provide on-the-job training to new hires to verse them in procedures and services.

Wedding Photographer Salary and Outlook

Earnings for wedding photographers vary greatly based on factors such as location, reputation, and clientele. Perusal of PayScale, for instance, shows a range of $10 to $150 per hour! According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median hourly wage for professional photographers in general is about $16. While the BLS projects jobs in the photography industry as a whole to decline 6 percent by 2026, opportunities for wedding photographers and other portrait-takers should remain promising as people continue to capture life stages. The number of self-employed photographers is expected to grow 12 percent over the course of the decade.

Helpful Resources

If creating cherished mementos for newlyweds sounds like a job you'd enjoy, check out these other sources for further information:

Professional Photographers of America - this nonprofit created "by photographers, for photographers" focuses on practical issues such as securing copyright, growing your career, and pleasing customers

Wedding Photojournalist Association - the articles section of this group's website offers insight on topics of interest to wedding photographers, such as capturing fleeting moments and posing portraits creatively

Photography - have a question regarding photography? Chances are someone among the 143,000-plus members of this LinkedIn group can provide answers

"The Knot: 10 Steps to Finding a Great Wedding Photographer" - couples getting married do their homework before choosing the professionals they want to handle their big day. Get a grasp on factors that influence those hiring decisions through this article from a leading wedding website

For the Love of Weddings: A Photographer's Guide to Starting a Wedding Photography Business - an experienced wedding photographer who often gets asked how she broke into the business wrote this book to answer questions newcomers commonly pose

Wedding Photographer's Handbook - reviewers praise this book for its beautiful photos as well as for its professional advice

Digital Wedding Photography: Art, Business, & Style - from marketing your skills and getting the perfect shot to exploring the technical potential modern photographers have at their disposal, this book explores wedding photography from various angles

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