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Lenses | The Other Side {36 Hours With A Wedding Photographer}

Lenses | The Other Side

Weddings, I love them, but as a photographer they are a lot of work. This is the first of a mini blog series I will be writing and posting every Friday about what life is like on the other side of the lens as a wedding photographer.

This week I’m going to share with you what the 36 hours before, during, and after a wedding is like for me.  For these 36 hours I used a wedding that was 2 hours away, 8 hours worth of coverage, and had three site locations. The images through out the post are not from one single wedding, they just make the blog post look pretty :)




2pm: Check in with my couple via email, text, or phone call. This is to see if there are any last minute changes I should be aware of. I also remind them what time I will be arriving, and to relax and have a good time on their wedding day!

3pm: Open my client’s folder on my computer. Have a look at the timeline for the wedding day and make any changes I was just made aware of. Print two copies, one for me and one for my assistant.

3:30pm: Double check my gear for the next day: charge battery’s, clean lenses, format memory cards, sync the time code on all my cameras, few other boring things that only photographers care about…lol

5pm: Finish any last minute gear checks, pack camera bags, and pack lighting gear up.

5:30pm: Shut down my home office, bring all my packed gear into the living room, call it a day and relax!

11pm-7am: SLEEP, very important for a successful wedding day.


7am: Get up, make coffee (so, make breakfast, check my email over coffee and breakfast (making sure my clients didn’t send me any last minute information), get dressed and ready to rock my clients wedding day!

10am: Pack up the car; double-check my office to make sure I didn’t forget anything (yup not missing a thing)! Time to hit the road!

12pm: Arrive early to the reception location to set up off camera flashes, take test shots to dial in my settings, and make a note of them so when I arrive to the reception location all my assistant needs to do is turn on the flashes and I’m ready to roll. Do a quick site survey since I’ve never been to this location before.

1pm: Back in the car and off to the brides getting ready location.

1:45pm: Arrive at the brides getting ready location. Say hello to everyone, crack some jokes, make new friends, it’s a good time!

From this point on the day moves fast, I mean real fast, what seems like 15 minutes was actually an hour!

2pm: Start making photographs! Typically some getting ready (hair, makeup, the bride getting into her dress (usually I have to close my eyes or leave the room, it’s all good, I totally understand). Details (dress, shoes, rings, etc.), and candid moments. Dad seeing his daughter for the first time in her dress, Mom crying her eyes out saying how beautiful her daughter looks (she does)! This is the good stuff, the once in a lifetime stuff, those moments and images are why I’m a wedding photographer!

3pm: Off to the ceremony location we go!

3:30pm: Arrive at the ceremony location. Now I capture some images of guest arriving, details of the ceremony location, and check in with any officials for the site to learn about any restrictions I was not made aware of in the planning process.

4pm: Ceremony! Again, this is a great part of the day for a photographer because it’s full of raw emotion. The grooms face, as he see’s his soon to be wife for the first time. The flower girl not having a care in the world as she throws flower petals. Dad giving away his daughter, and the first kiss! I love the first kiss! Come on who doesn’t?

4:45pm: Family Formals: This is the hardest point in the day for a wedding photographer, not because the images are hard, but because it’s that time in the day when everyone is looking at you for direction. Luckily for me I like to take charge and always try to have family formals done quickly. This way all the guest can go to the cocktail hour and have a few drinks!

5:05pm: Family formals were done in 20 minutes, everyone is happy! Time for the bride and groom to get their pose on! Couple formals are always fun, and since I typically have done an engagement session with the couple, they already know how to rock the poses like pros (that’s one of the reasons all my collections include an engagement session). 

5:45pm: Off to the reception site, time for everyone to drink and get their dance on (not my team and I of course)!

6-6:30pm: Arrive at the reception site; remember those flashes I set up before? Time for my assistant to turn them on, while I go chat with the DJ about how the night is going to flow. One of the first things I do when I arrive at the reception site is make a b-line for the DJ. I want to make sure we are on the same page in terms of the timeline. This is crucial for me to make sure I never miss an important moment during the reception. Detail shots! Cake, tables, place settings, details, details, details! I love it!


6:30-7:30pm: Entrances, first dance, father daughter dance, mother son dance, and speeches. (Not always in that order or in this hour, but this hour tends to move quick and I’m going hard at this point to capture all those moments).

7:30pm-8:30pm: Dinner for the guest. Time for my team and I to grab a quick bite and then back to work! I use this time to capture more details, maybe grab the couples rings and take some more killer images of them, switch out memory cards or lens, and generally get ready for the rest of the night!

8:30pm-10pm: Cutting the cake and guest killing it on the dance floor!

10pm: Pack up our gear, say goodbye to the couple and family, hopefully we made some new friends along the way!

Early Morning Sunday

12am: Arrive home! I’m beat, what a great day, but boy are weddings tiring! You would think my day is done, but it’s not!

12:30am: After a shower and change of clothes I usually grab a drink (typically two fingers of Jack on the rocks). Hey I worked hard, nothing wrong with a stiff drink after a hard days work right?

12:45am: I turn on my computer and upload the images from the day! I back them up three ways, and of course need to look at them! Sometimes I get so excited I start to edit one of two for the Facebook teasers I will post the next day for my couple.

2am: Good Night Moon…wait was that a cow I just saw!?

I love my job! Yes weddings are long days, full of hard work, and unpredictable variables, but I would not trade it for anything!