A wedding is an remarkable day to picture, and being invited to such a significant part of your customers’ lives is a fantastic honor!
However, like any profession, there are pros and cons involved. It’s a tricky task, and not everyone is cut out for it.
Today we are going to disclose our 10 most troublesome things about being a wedding photographer, so let’s get right down to it!
1. Getting Started
When you attempt to be a wedding photographer, you will end up faced with a small conundrum.
You will need experience shooting weddings to get hired, but you can not get experience until you get hired.
This is incredibly challenging and hard for any photographer to get around.
Some will do instant shooting for an established photographer to get that experience, and others will luck out with a friend or relative willing to take a chance on them.
In any event, it requires hard work and perseverance to get that essential experience under your belt.
And not only is it hard just to have a job, but it is an unbelievable investment of money to acquire all the equipment required to perform that wedding justice.
These events need many lenses, flashes, backup gear, and oodles of batteries and memory cards, and of course enough hard drives to backup the images correctly!
That’s lots of money to fork out before you have even actually got the company running.
Now, you can rent equipment to make these first few weddings somewhat less expensive, but if you are serious about getting into the business, you’ll finally need to make a significant investment.
This one could be number 2 — 5, as there are a lot of areas of the business of wedding photography which could be really tricky.
First off is just figuring out how to get this up and running.
Then, as the owner, you immediately see that you’re liable for all of the working parts of your organization.
You’re now the:
- Marketing department
- Graphic designer
- Customer service department
- And pretty much any other services you require, such as a business coach
It’s you. That’s not just lots of responsibility, but a good deal of learning that must go on to work out how to make it run smoothly!
Then there is pricing.
Oh pricing — among the most difficult and scary elements of being any type of photographer.
Are you doing it correctly? Getting paid what you are really worth?
Are you choosing prices which will make your company fail?
It can get simpler, and fortunately there are tools out there to try to help you sort it out, but it is still scary and overwhelming, and the cause of many ulcers.
3. Mega Levels of Work
As soon as you realize precisely how many bits go into running a business, it is not surprising that wedding photography is plenty of work.
Think about taking the wedding photos themselves and then add on all of the true business stuff, like branding, marketing, paperwork, pricing, accounting, and you will begin to see why wedding photographers do not get a bunch of sleep.
There is a dangerous myth that floats around indicating that they simply need to work 1 day of their week, and they make a great deal of cash.
But really they generally work a regular 5 day week, have meetings and involvement shoots in the evenings, and then shoot weddings on Saturdays. Yeah, mega amounts of work.
With all that work comes the challenge of equilibrium.
Weddings can quite easily take over your entire life.
Finding time to just be a individual, rather than trying to be the best wedding photographer, is really tough.
Your relationships with family and friends also tend to endure, as you’re usually not free on Fridays or Saturdays during wedding season.
It can be isolating, and downright exhausting to be consumed by something.
Burnout is not far behind and is something business advisors in this area warn photographers of. Without balance, it’s easy to eliminate the passion and love for the job that’s essential to produce top quality work.
In just about all areas of the world weddings are seasonal.
It becomes chilly in the winter or too hot in the summertime, so during those months you will end up with barely any work.
No surprise that makes it hard to pay the bills!
You can either attempt to create enough at the wedding season for yourself through the remainder of the year, or figure out ways to keep earning money once the weddings stop. It’s a significant challenge.
6. Building a Good Living
Straight up, no sugar, it’s difficult to generate a good living as a wedding photographer.
You will need to be good at photography and good at business. This skills can be taught, you can receive small business coach training to become business savvy, but photography isn’t just about learning techniques, it requires true skill and clear visions.
You want to adapt to an ever-changing market, and work out how to stick out from the crowd.
You will need to resolve the issue of seasonality, and set costs smartly to turn a profit.
You will need to keep your prices low but your client experience world class.
It’s simple enough to earn money at wedding photography; there is always somebody willing to pay $1,000 for the shoot and documents. But making a fantastic living is a wholly different story.
7. Handling The Responsibility
Weddings do not include do-overs or reshoots.
You get just one chance to catch the walk down the aisle, the first kiss, or the bouquet toss.
You do not just have to be technically proficient enough to be certain you can nail those essential shots, but in addition, you need to have the ability to deal with that type of pressure and think creatively to capture the expressions of the wedding party while ensuring the interior style is featured appropriately in the shot!
This certainly gets easier the more you take, together with plenty of prep, but you shouldn’t ever lose that understanding that you are shooting a once-in-a-lifetime event.
It’s plenty of responsibility.
8. Mentally & Physically Exhausting Shoots
Weddings are often at least 8 hours of shooting, commonly jump to 14, and can get mad at 21 hours.
This time requires quite much continual physical and mental exertion, as you’re following the wedding couple around, documenting their adventures.
Scarfing granola bars and chugging energy drinks can help you get through the day, but then there’s the much discussed “wedding hangover” afterwards.
Sunday is crucial for just recovering!
The long hours also do a number on your back and shoulders from carrying so much equipment around, and if you are not careful it is easy to get dehydrated.
You get to deal with all this while having to stay positive and cheery at each moment!
9. Pleasing A Wide Assortment of People
Your close proximity to the bride and groom throughout the entire day brings you into contact with all the important people (bridal party, parents, planners, officiants, etc.).
A number of them are people you actually have to take photos of, so you need to direct them too.
Many have a vested interest in both the way the day goes, and how the photos turn out. So you have the challenge of satisfying them all!
It is definitely possible, but requires a lot of work, understanding, flexibility and most importantly, patience.
The bonus is that the greater you can do this, the more likely you are to get referrals from a broad assortment of individuals, not just the bride and groom! Small business advisors know better than anyone how important word of mouth referrals are for business.
10. Finding Your Distinctive Style
We have already recorded nine difficult things, and have not even really touched really shooting a wedding!
While it’s a really diverse event, and needs a good deal of different photographic abilities, what can be hardest of all is finding your own special style.
The wedding industry can appear to become obsessed with another trend each year, and half of the photographers and three quarters of those sites follow suit.
Brides are influenced by all these resources, and seem to find that trend to get their own images.
It seems simpler to just jump on board and ride the tendency to success instead of pave your own way.
But trends are unpredictable creatures, and in another year it’ll be something entirely different.
My prediction is that classic gives way to ninjas. You heard it here first.
Jokes aside, basing your personality on a trend is harmful.
After the winds change, you are old news.
However, you need your job to have a special style, to make it cohesive and attractive to the perfect kind of bride.
And there is the challenge, because accomplishing this is not really something which you’re ever done with. Your personality will evolve as you evolve as an artist.
The secret to making it unique is to dismiss what all of the other shooters are doing, and focus on your private voice.
Start looking for inspiration anywhere besides the wedding market.
Check out what’s going on in the interior design world or visit museums on a regular basis.
The more diverse you create your inputs, the more specific your style will become, the more you are going to stand out, and the easier it’ll be to grow above and outlast the tendencies!
Now, I understand that reading all those difficult parts of being a wedding photographer can be frightening. I really don’t want to sugar coat the experience–it is tough.
However there are a ton of wonderful things about the work also.
The main point to take away from this discussion is that you will need to enter the industry with a realistic expectation of what it takes to become successful.
If you are deeply passionate about the graphics you are able to create for your customers, you will have the power and dedication required to create a good business from it.
In the end, being a wedding photographer means you get to eat lots and lots of yummy cake, which is the indication of a very magical job!