During a busy wedding season, it can sometimes feel like you’re making massive sacrifices constantly. Giving up your weekends, every-single-weekend during summer. Having your life literally taken over by weddings from at least March-November every year. Constantly missing out on seeing family and friends because they work during the week and you work weekends. It can be depressing and at times, lonely, being a wedding photographer. And that’s before you even get started on the editing pile.
So why do any of us do it? What’s so great that it’s worth sacrificing your social life and sanity for, for 9 months of the year?
Here are some of my favourite things about being a wedding photographer.
1. Being my own boss
Working for someone else under someone else’s rules, ideas or direction just isn’t something that I could ever get excited about, or be passionate about. Having the first and final say on everything is pretty great!
2. The flexibility
We all know that feeling. Some days you just cant get in the zone or motivate yourself. If you can’t commit 100% at 9am, generally there’s a bit of flexibility in your workflow to allow you to start later and work later. If you randomly get invited to the cinema at 3pm on a Wednesday, within reason, you can do it and make up for it later. When you work for someone else, you don’t necessarily have that degree of flexibility. You’re there at set times on set days regardless.
3. No alarm
One of the absolute best things about being a wedding photographer is the fact that you don’t have to wake up to an alarm every day. Unless you have other commitments of course such as children to get to school. You never feel quite as drained and tired as you do as when you have an alarm buzzing in your ear every morning. For me, one of the nicest things about being a wedding photographer is waking up naturally in the mornings (unless I have a wedding that day.)
4. The variety of people you meet
Shooting weddings often means that you’re working at events where the guest list can run into the hundreds. This means you meet a huge amount of people every year and in turn encounter people from all walks of life. You don’t always get to stop and chat or hear their stories, but once in a blue moon you do and it’s lovely.
5. You’re always part of a happy occasion
Weddings are almost universally a happy occasion. A celebration. Going to work and it always being a positive, happy and inviting atmosphere can be a real boost. Obviously there are other hurdles and stresses throughout the day, but there’s always someone with a smile and if there’s a problem usually you can count others to want to help solve it.
6. You get to work with some of the industries finest
Which is great if you have friends or family getting married. You know the good, the bad and the terrible, so you can provide your loves ones (and your couples) with the very best recommendations for the very best suppliers. Even better if you are the one getting married. You can piece together your own wedding photography dream team!
7. You get to use so many different skills all of the time. It keeps you sharp!
Day to day, you may be sat at a computer but you’ll often be using lots of different skills. Blogging and accounts- literacy and numeracy, communicating with clients- interpersonal skills. Updating your website, SEO, Marketing, managing your social media- they all use different skills. Then when you’re shooting you’re using a different skill set entirely.
8. You get to take photos as an actual job
For a lot of us, this was only ever a pipe dream, but somewhere long the way it became real. It’s easy to forget why you ever wanted to be a photographer when you’re sat under a pile of editing, but getting paid to take photographs is a pretty cool way to earn a living and when you’re actually shooting, it’s a lot of fun
9. Your work means something
There are lots of jobs that matter. Lots of jobs that have a real long and lasting impact. We always immediately think of Doctors, Nurses, Teachers- but wedding photographers really do have a lasting impact too. It may not be life or death, but your work and your photos are part of someones legacy. Photographs bring so much joy and hold so much sentimental value. You’ll make people cry happy tears and smile and recall stories they thought they’d forgotten. When you deliver a set of photos you may never see or hear from a couple again, but somewhere out there, something you did is making someone smile and that’s amazing.
10. You get to see so much of your county or country and have so many wonderful experiences
Whether you only shoot locally, or across the globe, photography can take you on some pretty spectacular adventures. You see some of the most amazing venues imaginable, cakes, flowers, dresses, shoes. Things you could only ever dream of.
And there are pretty cool experiences that go with it too. If you’re lucky you’re also provided with top quality food and you witness world class entertainment. At wedding’s we’ve been fortunate enough to see an intimate Ed Sheeran performance, and high voltage antics from The Cuban Brothers. We’ve met Meerkats, skunks and owls, ridden in fancy cars, boats and have been flown to Italy. All in a days work.
It’s not that glamorous all of the time, not even half the time, but there are some rare exceptions which make it all seem worthwhile.
What are some of the things you enjoy most about being a wedding photographer? We’d love to hear them!