Wedding Photographer Jobs

Every bride and groom wants to have their big day captured on camera. That is where wedding photographers come in.

It is an easy job to do if you know how to capture “the decisive moment,” as Henri-Cartier Bresson liked to call it and if you have mastered technical photography, be it digital or analog.

According to the Wedding Photojournalist Association (WPA), “wedding photojournalism is characterized by its candid, creative and natural results…” In fact, associations like the WPA, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) or Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) are helpful for marketing, networking and resource purposes. There are different ways in which to shoot a wedding and that, of course, depends on what the bride and groom want. Here are some different wedding photography styles:

  • Traditional wedding photography – includes formal, posed pictures in staged settings
  • Wedding photojournalism – includes candid or informal shots
  • Destination wedding photography – includes accompanying the bride and groom to their destination wedding

Traditional wedding photography does have its place though. The traditional wedding photographer, like any photographer worth his salt, can still capture those beautiful moments of spontaneity. Traditional wedding photographers are also well versed in art direction – how to frame a shot, how to light the scene in natural or fluorescent lighting.

Destination wedding photographers do not work differently from other wedding photographers. Some destination wedding photographers may specialize in destination weddings; others may work in all three areas. What distinguishes destination-wedding photographers from others is that they accompany their clients (the bride and groom) to their destination.

This presents its own unique set of challenges but it can make for a rewarding career once you get the swing of things. Some of the things that might challenge the destination-wedding photographer are lack of familiarity with a particular destination and traveling with secondary or tertiary photographers, in addition to the equipment with which you travel.

Destination wedding photographers may also shoot in the traditional style, photojournalistic/candid style or both. If there is a particular location that the bride and groom have in mind, it is a good idea to research the area online and scout the location upon arrival. Travel with the bride and groom to the location and gather information on what kind of shots they are looking for. You will also need to assess what kind of equipment you will need.

Some wedding photographers shoot solely in digital now, since the turn-around time is quicker, it is cheaper, there is more margin for error and since it is easier to digitize a photo album if the originals are digital. Still, other wedding photographers prefer the aesthetic of film photography. There is less room for error, however, and shooting in film requires more technical mastery than digital photography.

Whether you shoot in film or digital and despite the type of wedding photography you specialize in, all wedding photographers offer several items:

  • Proofs – the original set of images that the client reviews to determine what they will include in their album
  • Album – the finalized compilation of wedding photographs. This can be in the form of a printed photo album and/or digitized on CD that the clients can use at their leisure
  • Copies – Wedding photographers usually charge for additional copies

Wedding photography can be an exhilarating and rewarding profession. According to a 2008 The Wedding Report survey, clients spent an average of $1,500 on a wedding photographer for a single wedding in the United States. Moreover, according to the same report, the market value of wedding photography was more than $2.3 million.

There is a lucrative slice of pie to be had if you are willing to put in the effort to learn the craft, observe the trends (i.e., tradition, destination or photojournalistic photography) and market yourself.

A wedding photographer helps captures memories that those getting married may be too caught up in the moment to remember. In addition, even though wedding photography is one of the easier photography careers to break into, it still requires creativity, artistic talent, technical knowledge/mastery and business acumen.

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