Wedding Photography

What Is Wedding Photography?

A wedding is typically one of the most memorable days in a lifetime, one that people remember for years to come. For most couples, regular pictures just won’t do. Wedding photography is a big business and a very specialized type of photography.

Basically, wedding photography involves taking photographs of wedding ceremonies and participants. However, most professionals realize that there is much more to wedding photography than simply snapping a few pictures. Only the highest quality and most original photographs will do.

The number of photographs taken at an average wedding is staggering. The most important photographs are usually those that are of the bride and groom, and the rest of the wedding party. Subjects in many of these photos are usually meticulously posed. Candid shots are also taken at weddings as well, such as photos of the little girl dancing on her father’s feet or the bride smashing cake in the groom’s face. These types of shots are sometimes the most treasures.

Besides photographs of people, photographs of inanimate objects are also taken at weddings. Some of the most commonly photographed items include the chapel, cake, gown, and rings.

Brides who want truly unique and memorable wedding photographs can also usually choose to have a special “trash the dress” session after their wedding as well. These sessions usually include taking photographs of the bride wearing her dress in unusual or even dirty environments. A bride might choose to have her photograph taken while frolicking in the surf, for example, or laying in a field.

Work Environment

The first thing – and most important – thing that a wedding photographer does is meet with his clients. This is usually the bride and groom, or a representative of the family. During the initial meeting, the wedding photographer and clients will discuss the details of the wedding and what types of photographs the clients would prefer. Essentially, the photographer must get a feel for his client’s style.

Once these plans have been discussed, the wedding photographer will usually scout out the venue before the wedding. If possible, many photographers will usually visit the venue several days or weeks before the actual wedding date.

On the day of the wedding, a wedding photographer is often one of the first ones to arrive. Typically, he will bring at least one assistant or additional photographer with him to help. These additional professionals may be responsible for anything from carrying equipment to taking photographs.

The first wedding photographs are taken before the actual wedding even begins. These photographs often include shots of the dress, the bride getting ready, and the groom waiting with his groomsmen. If time permits, many photographers will also pose and shoot members of the wedding party.

Several photographs are also usually taken during the wedding ceremony itself. Some classic wedding shots include the flower girl walking down the aisle, the bride’s father giving her away, and the couple taking their wedding vows. Of course, wedding photographers will also usually get shots of one of the most crucial moments – the newlywed’s first kiss.

Couples will usually have the photographer stay for the reception as well. Here, he will usually take photographs of the tables, presents, and cake. Classic photographs of the bride throwing the bouquet and the father-daughter dance are also taken at this time. He will also take several candid shots of the wedding party and guests enjoying themselves. These difficult shots are sometimes very hard to get, and a wedding photographer should be able to react quickly, since these moments can pass in the blink of an eye.

A wedding photographer’s job doesn’t end after the wedding ceremony and reception, however. At an average wedding, each photographer will usually take hundreds or even thousands of photographs. Out of all of these photographs, only a small percentage are usable. A wedding photographer will typically only choose the best pictures, discarding ones that are out of focus, boring, or just generally unacceptable. Some photographs may also need to be retouched. Afterward, he will usually help the newlyweds choose the best possible photographs of their special day.

Education Requirements

Pointing a camera and pushing a button are not the only skills needed for a wedding photography career. When it comes to wedding photography, talent and a proper education are essential.

Aspiring wedding photographers should earn a degree in photography. A formal photography education can help students learn all different aspects of professional photography, including proper lighting and posing techniques. Earning a photography degree will also help students familiarize themselves and gain experience with all types of different photography equipment. Find a photography school now.

Those interested in a wedding photograph career should also start building their portfolios while they are earning their degrees. A wedding photographer’s portfolio is often his best bet at finding jobs. Typically, only a photographer’s best work is featured in his portfolio, and it is updated frequently.

Salary and Job Outlook


When pursuing a wedding photography career, it can be very difficult to determine how much a photographer might make from year to year. Professionals who have been in the business for several years will admit that some years are much more lucrative than others. A typical salary for a wedding photographer will vary greatly, depending on such things as his talent and the demand for his services. Experienced wedding photographers are usually able to charge more and book more gigs, and therefore make more money.

Job Outlook

Just after earning a photography degree, an inexperienced wedding photographer will often find work with a more experienced wedding photographer. In many cases, the new photographer will act as an assistant or second shooter. This allows him to gain more experience and add to his portfolio. A more experienced photographer can also offer tips and advice, which will usually help a new photographer refine his existing talent. After gaining more experience, many wedding photographers choose to open their own wedding photography studios. This is a big venture, and it typically requires purchasing or renting expensive equipment and studio space. Owning and running one’s own business, however, is often a very rewarding career move. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a general photographer was $32,490 in 2017. Since wedding photography is such a specialized field, these types of photographers usually have the potential to earn much more. For example, photographers who specialize in personal services – which can include weddings – made an median annual salary of $47,930 in 2011.

Helpful Resources

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