Reality Check!


Spurred from a conversation I had with my mom about work and the future of my business (Happy Mother’s Day, by the way!), I decided to post some info describing what a wedding photographer’s life is like.  My friend, and fellow photographer, Stacy Reeves, says it best on her blog:

“I’m fairly sure that if you asked my friends and family who has the best job in the world, the vast majority of them would say me.  In the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to travel all over the country and the globe (this year I’ve got scheduled stops in Paris, Milan, St. Thomas, Cabo San Lucas, and San Francisco – this is actually my schedule) all on paid vacations, working one or two days per trip and enjoying the rest.  I get paid thousands of dollars for what is perceived as one day of work.  I get to spend time with beautiful people doing something that most people enjoy as a fun hobby.  Almost every Saturday night I get a great meal by some of the best chefs in town and I get to party on the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning – and I get paid for it!  Talk about the good life, huh?”

The International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers did a study last year and based on public perception, this is probably how you think I spend my time:

preception of wedding photographer life

However, ISPWP also followed 50 photographers and charted how they actually spent a week of their time:

Original article and images were taken from the International Society of Professional Wedding Photographers blog (ISPWP)

Now I’m gonna continue being lazy and let Stacy say the rest: (thanks Stacy! Copying your post probably saved me 1 percentage point on the chart!)

As someone who has been doing this full-time for several years, I can attest that that graph is about as dead-on as it gets.  And notice how just about everything except the “Taking photos” part involves a computer?  I always joke that so many people get into photography because they’re sick of spending Monday-Friday 8-5 sitting in front of a computer doing boring, menial tasks, only to find out that for most people, being a photographer involves spending Monday-Friday 8-5 sitting in front of a computer doing boring, menial tasks.. Only this time you work nights and weekends, too!  Granted, it is absolutely a labor of love – there is nothing in the world I would rather do, and I am so beyond thankful that this is my life.  In fact, I twittered earlier that I am probably the only person on Earth who is really sad when the workday ends, or sad when I have to stop working to do something personal like to go to doctor or run errands.  However, the reality is that I work 60 to 80 hour weeks most months, and I probably spend more time in front of a computer than anyone with a “regular” office job, as well as sacrificing my Saturdays and sometimes Sundays.

There are so many quotes I can relate to in that article (particularly about April-November being one long blur), but the biggest one is from a photographer who calculated that for every bride she books, that equates to 90 man-hours of work.  Hard to believe, but true for so many of us.  I posted this article so that brides who stumble across my blog can understand that although it may seem like you’re only paying for a few hours of shooting time, there’s so much that you don’t see, so many hours of behind the scenes work that you’re investing in without realizing it.  Yes, it’s true that your photographer has a pretty awesome job – but it’s not because they work so little, it’s because they get to work with great clients who appreciate their talents and their long hours of hard work – hopefully, people just like you.  🙂

So hopefully, this will give my blog readers an idea of how I spend my time.  It’s not just photos one day a week and PS3 the rest of the week. As Stacy said, it’s a labor of love, and