The Stress of Being a Wedding Photographer – Knox County VillageSoup


It can be said that switching from film photography to digital photography should reduce the photographer’s overall workload.

Take it from someone who’s done both – that’s a big no.

I photographed weddings in the era of film photography. There was one exception where I was the second shooter with a digital SLR after my mom, and ended up having to point in to shoot and report a car fire in the parking lot for my job.

I have only been doing wedding photography for a few years due to pre-wedding preparation requirements coupled with very unpleasant wedding guests. It was always wonderful working with the couples, but the guests? Not really.

The day a guest, angry that I had taken a photo of his “wrong side”, tried to grab and throw my camera, that’s the day I knew it was time stick to pet and family photography.

If it was a new location, cinematic photography meant lugging around a handful of rolls of film, different flashes and lenses, and several screens to “bounce” the light – and find enough time in advance to test shooting from various locations and having the film developed to see how those shots came out.

Smaller photographers, and film photographers in general, didn’t have their own development room. A one-hour photo was also prohibited, as the photos were too resolute and saturated.

You also had to take meticulous notes to mark the best shooting locations, screen height, lens, and camera settings, all corresponding to a number you wrote on the roll of film. .

With film photography, you didn’t know if it was a good shot or not until the developed prints came back.

The stress of that – or having an entire roll come back completely black or blurry – was unbelievable. There was absolutely no change. Nothing.

Turning the page to digital photography has changed the place of our workloads. While we can adjust on the fly, in the moment, and tell if a hit is a washout or a win, something is missing with digital.

In the end, we now find ourselves glued to our computers for a week after the ceremony, adjusting, tweaking, straightening, etc., before providing prints and digital copies.

The stress is still there – because we absolutely cannot mess it up.

I’ve read stories of photographers with corrupted cards that readers won’t read. The ones where the photographer had a whole wedding, and while looking through the lens was clear, once the images were opened on the computer, there was something clear on the mirror.

This is why photographers carry multiple photo cards with them and often use a backup photographer or second shooter.

One of the biggest obstacles facing digital photographers today is the camera phone.

Arms outstretched in the aisle. People stand during the ceremony, or crowd around the couple during the first dance, or kiss. For a professional photographer, capturing these moments is like needing to dance around a wall, while leaping through the air, 10 feet high.

Wedding photographers definitely don’t get enough credit where a lot of credit is due.

Photo by Holly Vanorse Spicer

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