The best things about being a wedding photographer
A love letter to wedding photography
Wondering which bits of wedding-photographer-life are the most fun, enjoyable, and fulfilling? Come BTS to find out the best things about being a documentary wedding photographer in the UK.
I don’t play favourites. I love my plants, pets, and wedding photography adventures equally. And for good reason: They’re all amazing!
But, in typical Sarah-style, I’m going to be totally real with you: It’s not always peonies, snoot boops, and wedding cake. Philodendrons droop, pets poop (in the worst of places – the TV unit shelf springs to mind!), and sometimes wedding photography can be a really tough gig. But even on the most challenging of days, I still count myself more blessed than a chocolate-lover at The Willy Wonka factory. Because I truly do have the best job in the world. Here’s why…
What I love most about being a wedding photographer
Warning: The below list contains an abundance of exclamation marks, gushes, and good vibes. To prevent pins and needles from setting in, I’ve capped the list at 12, but trust me, I could go on forever about the wonders of being a wedding photographer. Consider yourself forewarned!
- I get to soak up – and capture – so much love. And not just the love between the lovebugs saying “I do”. I adore love in its widest sense. Parents’ love for children. Love amongst friends. Love for food, flowers, and fun times. Love for ordinary everyday moments that we often overlook. So yep, my love radar goes off the scale at weddings! And I get so much pleasure from being able to save that love for my couples.
- I get to protect memories. It’s too soon for the value of my photos to have hit critical mass just yet, but I only have to page through my own photo albums to understand how important the photos I take will become in future years and for future generations.
- I get to watch people go from “I’m so awkward” to “I really enjoy having my photo taken”. I relate to this, but I also know it’s just about picking the right photographer for you, which helps me make others feel comfortable and relaxed. Watching people physically relax and mentally change their minds about being photographed is the ultimate “I told you so!”
- I get to show people how others see them. Most of us are our own worst enemies and berate ourselves for the way we look – especially when we’re forced to face ourselves in photos. But the people who love us see us differently. So one thing I love about documentary wedding photography is being able to capture the love that other people have for my clients.
- I get to make the best of friends. This is an addendum to the point I snuck into #2, but I truly think the wedding industry has some of the most incredible humans alive. Some of my best friends are other wedding suppliers I’ve met through photographing weddings, and I count myself lucky to be part of such a supportive, loving, and welcoming community.
- I get a front-row seat for the show – and stories! I’m one of the very few people who get to see your faces as you marry. Which means during the ceremony, I feel like I’m right there getting married with you. Plus, I get insider info on how people met (dating apps are the most popular atm, btw!), hear the engagement stories (which usually never panned out as planned!), witness some close-to-the-mark stories in the best man’s speech, and watch both happy and sad tears roll down people’s faces. Basically, I become an honourary family member for a day. And if I’m extra lucky, sometimes I even get to go back and capture the wedding of a sibling or cousin and join my adopted family again! Oh, and I’m sneaking in an extra point here, but I’ve also had the chance to meet and photograph some fascinating people too! Like Professor Stephen Hawking, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, and Queen Elizabeth II. Yep, weddings allow me to meet all sorts of folks.
- I get to see new places and experience diverse customs. I’ve got wedding photography to thank for an injection of adventure and culture in my life. Not only has shooting weddings taken me all over the UK and abroad, but it’s also allowed me to witness some incredible and memorable customs. The Korean piggyback? (Yup, it’s a thing!) Iranian dancing? Chinese tea ceremony? I’ve seen it, shot it, and loved every second of it!
- I get a variety of things to shoot. No other genre of photography gives quite as much variety as wedding photography. I’m unleashed and unlimited! I get to shoot portraits, groups, documentary, architecture, flowers, pets, landscapes, still-life, food, fashion, and more. It’s a buffet of beautiful memories to capture.
- I get to indulge my creative side. I was a crafty kid (drawing was my thing, btw) and then in my corporate days, I watched in frustration from the sidelines as I commissioned agencies to create the creative stuff. Boo! These days though, I get to be creative with shooting, editing, and designing. Hurrah! Creative-side fulfilled.
- I get to build my vision. I’m not working on a business that supports someone else’s values. I’m doing what I believe in and what I’d like to see more of in the world. This is a life purpose for me, not just a job. It’s a service for others in exchange for the rewarding feeling of doing something worthwhile and meaningful.
- I get to Sinatra it and do things my way. As a business owner, I can design my own life. On days I’m not shooting, I can get up at my leisure – sans alarm! – and start my day my way. I can walk the pups in the middle of a weekday and have the park to ourselves or go to the garden centre and buy more plants at 3pm. Or both. And over the years, I’ve designed a business that not only suits my strengths and weaknesses but also allows me to enjoy the process of wedding photography. I’ve set up my business to avoid the ‘busy’ trap by limiting how many couples I accept each year and I can work slowly and meaningfully instead of rushing for mediocre results. The only rules are my own … and I get to change them at the drop of a hat.
- I get to shoot the cake … and eat it, too! I was tempted to turn this into two points: One for the icing and one for the cake, but I – only just – restrained myself.
And that’s my job. Every day, I get to call that work … even though it feels like I’ve found some secret life hack, because there’s no way it actually feels like work.
But in the spirit of full disclosure: Wedding photography isn’t just mid-day walks, celebs, and cake. Want to know more about the reality of what it’s like to be a wedding photographer?