January 3, 2018

 

When Robin asked me to write this post it was a no-brainer. Would I love to share what a day in the life of a wedding photographer is like? Ummm, YES! This is ONLY the thing I am MOST passionate about in life. So, thank you Robin for having me on The Bride Speaks.

When I started my photography business almost 10 years ago, I had no idea what was in store. I was fresh out of graduate school, having graduated in architecture. I had no idea what I was doing. I began photographing weddings part-time while in graduate school, but here I was, making the decision not to apply at a firm and focus full-time on wedding photography.The sun was hidden behind the midday clouds, offering a haze to surround the lovers. Wisps of baby’s breath placed in slender, clear bottles daintily lined the pathway to her beloved, while majestic oak trees draped over the honored guests in this peaceful, open-aired sanctuary.

Over the years, I have grown so much. I am not sure whether it was good or bad that I never had a real mentor, but I definitely learned a lot along the way. In fact, I am so proud of all the things I have learned and so willing (now that they’re over) to share those mistakes. I recently launched a podcast “Mistakes Make Magic” on iTunes!She could not have picked a more picturesque place to become a Mrs.

What DOES a day look like for me? Well, every day is SO different and running a photography business is honestly only about 50 percent actual photography. The rest is branding, marketing, post-production, product fulfillment, client correspondence, and the list goes on. Some days I don’t even touch a camera, which may come as a surprise. But what I’ve learned about business is that it’s not going to run itself. I’m grateful for an amazing team to help because I truly could not do it alone.

OK. The wedding day. For the sake of this post, we’ll focus on that. I am a late-nighter so I take EVERY opportunity possible to sleep late on the wedding day. I know we’ll be up late that night, and I never feel guilty about sleeping in.

But the truth is, the day has already begun … even before I wake up! By the time I wake up on a wedding day, I have already gotten to know my client and their expectations for the day. We have already made their schedule (whether I made it myself or made it in conjunction with the wedding planner), and there is a shot list in place. I have already cleaned and prepped my gear, formatted my memory cards, and sometimes have already left my house and spent the night in the city of the wedding. You just never know with traffic and events, especially in larger metropolitan areas.

After getting dressed, I meet my second shooter at a restaurant because, unlike the guests who are going to eat and mingle, we are going to work and may not have the opportunity to eat. This also gives us the chance to make a plan together, go over the schedule and reconnect as it may have been a week or more since we worked together. After eating, we arrive early to the prep spot, and I always start with introductions.

This may seem like a small thing: getting there early and introducing myself to the wedding party. But this REALLY sets the tone for the day and helps me to remember everyone’s names. Saying someone’s name versus “Hey you” makes a stronger impression than I ever realized.

I always start the day with details. This includes the rings, shoes and any other details that the couple wants documented. These may not be moments, but these images do bring memories back regarding the day: what they wore, how they felt. Maybe it even brings memories of shopping for and looking for those items. Or maybe they are family heirlooms and hold sentimental value. This is why I love to beautifully document the details.

Next, we move into candids. These type of images may include images of the bride(s) with her bridesmaids toasting and celebrating, the bridesmaids helping each other into their dresses and then, ultimately, the bride(s) getting dressed. If this is a same-sex wedding with two grooms, we will do photos of the groom with his groomsmen and then images of them getting dressed. This time is usually spent with those closest to the couple so I always love these images. This is also an opportunity for me to observe and get a feel for everyone’s personalities and the “key players” for the day.Let it be a peaceful tone. For where peace begins, there it can also reside. And where it resides, it has the ability to embalm you, just like She, in the transcendent amber of Love.

Once everyone is ready we’ll move into first look and formal photos. If the couple decides to see each other prior to the wedding (I could do an entire post on just this topic alone), this is when the first look takes place. It is usually around two hours pre-ceremony, giving us more than enough time for their special moment, and then formal or posed photos with friends and family. Posed photos are never anyone’s favorite in that particular moment, but I can almost guarantee that these will be some of the most printed images from the wedding. They are timeless and will always be looked upon because they represent everyone there in support of the couple.

My favorite part is next: the ceremony. This is of course why everyone is gathered in celebration of the marriage. I have photographed around 300 weddings at this point and I can assure you, each one is different. There is always something that stands out during a ceremony, whether it’s the way they look at each other, the reaction of a parent, or even a funny moment like someone accidentally knocking over a large floral centerpiece. No two weddings are ever the same. They are all special in their own way, which is what I love so much about photographing weddings.

Following the ceremony, if the couple has not done a first look, we will move into formal photos. However, if they have already taken all of their formals prior to the start of the ceremony, they can head to the reception with guests to enjoy the cocktail hour. Up until this point of the day, photography has been running the show. What I mean by this is that we are typically in charge of the schedule, who is where and what is taking place prior to the wedding (with the help of their wedding planner, of course). However, once the ceremony has ended, the reception is much more candidly captured.

Formal dances, cake cutting, toasting, bouquet and garter tosses, unexpected dance moves, laughter, and sooooo many unanticipated moments. THAT is what we are photographing at the end of the night.

That night or the following morning, I spend some time backing up the images and beginning the post-production process. On average, from start to finish, I work with a client for between 12 and 24 months. These couples, after such an extended period of time, start to feel more like friends than clients.

I am thankful not only to capture but also to witness some of the most intimate, beautiful and breathtaking moments I have seen in my entire life. Wedding photography has changed me. It has made me more kind, more patient, more of a leader and more compassionate. Everyone’s circumstances are different, but on the inside we are all the same. That has been the biggest lesson I have learned.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into a day in the life as a wedding photographer. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me anytime at catherine@catherineguidry.

 

— Catherine Guidry

The Boutique Bridal Show – Sunday, January 21, 2018.

Elegant and intimate. This unforgettable afternoon will be the inspiration of your desired wedding.