Have you ever wondered what your wedding photographer does on a daily basis as they are shooting weddings? What does a day in the life of a photographer actually look like? How do they actually prep for and capture your whole wedding day?
Well, everyone loves a good BTS so, as a wedding photographer myself, I’m going to pull back the curtain and give you a look into what your photographer is actually doing behind the scenes.
Our day starts way before we actually show up to your wedding so let’s dive into what a day in the life of a photographer looks like!
Eat a giant breakfast
The best way to start off any wedding day is going to be with a giant breakfast. Generally we are going to be on our feet capturing your wedding for 8+ hours and that takes a ton of energy.
Getting a good breakfast first thing helps keep us going for the whole day because the last thing you want is a hangry vendor at your wedding! This is also a great tip for you as you think about planning out your wedding day.
You’d be amazed at how easy it is to forget to eat and drink during your wedding day so planning out a big breakfast before all of the festivities start is a great idea!
Once I have started the day off strong with a good meal, I’ll start to get ready. This means getting myself ready and making sure all of my equipment is ready.
When it comes to weddings, this is basically the only time that I will wear all black (and you’ll notice a lot of other photographers will do the same). Most of the time this is for one of two reasons:
- Black blends in really well so we don’t feel like we are sticking out as we capture your wedding.
- Photographing your wedding can get very hot and wearing black helps us avoid any stains we may not want to show.
I will also take this time to double-check my bag and make sure I have all of the equipment I need for your wedding. From cameras to batteries, SD cards, lighting, and everything else, I always make sure all of the boxes are checked before I walk out the door.
Get two drinks and a pastry at Starbucks
Once I am out the door and on my way to your wedding, I will stop by Starbucks to grab two drinks and a pastry. One drink is for the car ride over and the other one I will drink as I work on all of the detail shots.
I’ll also grab a pastry to get a bit more food in me before the wedding day actually kicks off. If you can’t tell, front loading calories is a big theme here and I always make sure I have enough in me to hold me over until I eat later in the night.
Scope out the venue
Once I make it to the venue, I get right to work scoping out the venue. I take this time to walk around while getting some of the detail shots as I go. I will also check the lighting to figure out where the best spots are and what I may need for the wedding.
Even if I know the venue very well, each day is going to be different so I always take time to figure out what the light is doing that day and what is going to make for the best photos for you and your partner.
I’ll also take this time to find the best first look spot for you and your partner later in the day! (P.S. if you are looking for the best way to plan out your wedding day with a first look, check out this wedding day timeline!)
Getting ready photos, candids, details, and planning
The next part of the day is spent popping in and out of you and your partner’s getting ready locations. I will make sure to capture both of you, or if you do have a second shooter, we will split up and each of us will take the getting ready photos for you both.
This is also a great time to capture some candid moments as well. We definitely keep this time more laid back and relaxed. There aren’t going to be many posed photos during this time (although we may throw in a few) so this is really a time to get some of your behind the scenes moments before everything gets in full swing.
Although I have already taken some detail shots of the venue, I will also take this time to capture some flat lay photos and more detail shots of your invitations, rings, jewelry, or anything else that is special and important to you!
I always recommend having a box of details set aside for your photographer to capture these images. This can include things like the full invitation suite, jewelry, perfume or cologne, all your engagement and wedding rings, vow books, and (as an added bonus if you can get them from your florist), some extra greenery to incorporate!
Finally, before we start all of the more formal photos, I’ll check in with your other vendors and make sure everything we need coordinated is planned out and we are all on the same page.
Formal photos and ceremony
Once you and your partner are all dressed, we will start in on some of the more formal photos. If you are doing a first look, we will make sure to capture that beautiful moment.
This is when we will also take some of the bigger group photos with all of your wedding parties. I like to make sure we plan out time to get photos of your and your wedding parties separately, group photos with everyone, and individual photos with you and everyone from your wedding party to remember this amazing day!
It’s then time for your ceremony and we will get any final detail shots as well as some candids as all of your guests start to arrive for your wedding.
After your amazing ceremony, we will have anyone you want to get group photos with stick around and take some time to get all of those individual shots.
Portraits and reception
Once we’ve got all the photos you want with your guests, we will sneak off by ourselves to take some more intimate newlywed portraits before heading into the reception. These are always some of my favorites, especially if we can get them right at sunset.
During the reception, I will make sure to capture all of the introductions, first dances, toasts, and cake cutting, but this is also where we normally take a little break as well. Once you and your guests sit down for dinner, I will take a bit of a break and have some food as well.
This is the perfect time for me to take a break without missing anything because who wants a bunch of pictures of people eating?
I’ll then of course make sure to get all of the amazing dance floor photos that you will love looking back on as you and your guests celebrate the night away!
End of the night
As this beautiful night comes to an end, I’ll make sure to capture the sweetness of your private last dance or you and your partner’s grand exit as you celebrate the amazing journey the two of you are starting together.
Once your wedding is over, I always like to end my night in the best way possible – with a stop at Taco Bell. What’s my go to order you ask? I will always grab a Black Bean Crunchwrap Supreme with no tomatoes and extra nacho cheese with a side of Fiesta Potatoes.
Although your wedding itself is over, my job isn’t. I will take the entire next day recovering on the couch, but there is still a ton of work to do.
I’ll get started on getting all of your photos uploaded and edited to send out to you. You’ll get a sneak peak of your wedding the next business day and I’ll keep working on editing all of the images to get the full gallery out to you in 4-6 weeks.
As much as it may seem like the majority of our time is spent capturing your wedding, so much time goes into combing through each and every photo we took during the day, editing the photos, and curating the final gallery.
Your wedding photographer’s job absolutely doesn’t end after your wedding and we spend countless hours making sure the photos you get back are everything you ever imagined.
Final Thoughts on A Day in the Life of a Photographer
So, there is a look into a day in the life of a photographer on a wedding day. While there is so much to do and capture in just a short amount of time, there is nothing else I would rather be doing.
Being part of such a special day for all of my couples is one of the most beautiful things I could be doing and I love being able to help freeze this amazing day in time for everyone.
Vendor list for Jamie and Daniel’s Wedding:
Planning: Eventfully Chic by Parris
Venue: Columbia Museum of Art
Catering: Capital City Catering
Videography: Busbee Film + Co
Photographer: D. Hayman Photography
Second Shooter: SG Photography
DJ: Events by Snow
Photo Booth: Photo Bomb
Officiant: Samantha Leitner
Florist: Woolbrights Wedding Flowers
Rentails: Crisp Event Rentals
Getaway Car: Voigt’s Vintage
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