The Secret Life Of A Wedding Photographer

It was only recently, whilst speaking with an old friend, that the conversation turned to how lucky I was to only have to work one or two days a week.  My friend made the assumption that the rest of the week I sat around and ate Bon-Bon's like Peg from "Married With Children".

You know what happens when you assume..... Perception is "someone's" reality... certainly not mine:  16-20 hours of planning, preparing and performing at each function, meetings with prospective clients and current clients, answering endless emails and phone calls, purchasing and preparing equipment & vehicles, advertising and marketing the business, website, blog and Facebook updates, office work and not to mention learning how to use software, attending bridal shows, trade shows and uncompensated events we do throughout the year..... Hardly anytime left for a personal life!

So-called leading wedding publications perpetuate these myths by writing ridiculously inaccurate articles about wedding professionals.  How is it that some "journalist" can give insight and write about an industry that they have NEVER worked in? Or claim some sort of authority or expertise and NEVER taken the risk of operating a successful wedding related business?

And don't get me started on why G.M (Government Motors) can get a bail-out and we're still waiting for our "stimulus" check!......

So you can understand, then, when I saw Photographer Richard Esposito's blog, I could feel his pain:

"What Do Wedding Photographers Really Do?" by Richard Esposito

It comes up a lot. Usually when I’m standing in the buffet line for dinner, or when there’s a slow time during the day when I’m not taking pictures.

“So you’re the photographer?”

“Yessir, I am, and I absolutely love it.”

“Well I don’t doubt it. You’re doing a great job out there. It must be great to work only one day a week!”

I hear similar stories from other wedding photographers. There seems to be a lot of misconceptions regarding what wedding photographers actually do all week.  It’s perfectly understandable, after all, the only time most people see us working is at the wedding. So I thought it would be interesting to survey wedding photographers and discover what they really do besides take pictures every weekend. Hopefully it will help clear up some misconceptions and give some insight into what goes on behind the scenes after we leave the reception.

About 50 wedding photographers responded so it’s a fairly good sample size, and I’d be surprised if a larger response would yield a much different result.

The Perception
How some people think wedding photographers spend their time (and how some photographers WISHED they could spend their time):

The Reality
70 hours a week through our 6-7 month season and 40 hours a week off season. There is no mention in here regarding time with family.

So let’s talk briefly about what it costs to be a professional wedding photographer. My second shooter here is looking to buy his own equipment. Just to start off with the basics he was up to $8,000.

Imagine the cost of what I carry. Oh, and I have to insure all of it. Then there’s vehicle expenses, commissions for running credit cards, equipment repairs, I spent $1200 on postage this year (postage!!!), continuing education, computer and software upgrades, hard drives, hard drives, hard drives, it costs to make albums, paying staff… I really could go on.

Oh wait! providing for my family? Putting food on our table and the discount outlet clothes on our back? I did 25 weddings this year and my expenses were double the average 2 person family income in Connecticut (according to! Overpaid? My prices go up next year because I was underpaid this year.

It’s plain and simple. If I didn’t have the expenses that I have, or spend that much time getting everything done, I’d be out of business.

Richard Esposito is the owner of Photographer-RE, created 7 years ago through my love of photography. Home base is located in Branford, CT though I travel throughout the United States capturing amazing moments for my clients.

One of my newest ventures is incorporating video with still photography, which allows you to relive your special moments in a unique and more complete way. We offer this service to only a handful of small weddings.

Photography is my life's calling and passion and sharing it with you is rewarding. I love my work and how just glancing at a photograph can bring you right back to a particular moment. The memory of any occasion can be preserved through great photography. I'm honored to be able to create imagery that you'll cherish for a lifetime.


International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers
Photographer-RE Blog

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