Wedding Photography : Where Does the Time Go?

wedding photography by chris gardiner in oakville ontario

Your wedding is the culmination of definitely months but maybe years of planning, and a lot of work go into the day, from a lot of different people.   I would like to share with you process that a photographer will go through in order to prepare to photograph a wedding so that they can ensure they will be delivering what the bride and groom are looking for to keep their memories safe.

[This post appeared originally on my wedding specific website blog]

So, let's talk about time dedicated to a wedding in hours. And when I say dedicated, I mean, I can't use this time to be working on anything else, the work being done on a wedding requires full attention.   I'm not saying I charge people for these hours, but these are the hours that are involved with every wedding and it's good to know the work involved with the service someone is doing for you.

- A few hours involved with meetings long before, interviews in person, building quotes, invoices, contracts, emails exchanging information and ideas.  Can easily amount to 5 or more hours, but let's call it two hours.

-Packing, preparing gear the day before. Preparing gear to go to your wedding is something I like to do at least one day ahead, and the gear involved can be relatively simple (~15lbs of camera gear coming with) to relatively complex and in depth (~45lbs of camera gear).  Lets call it an hour.

-Travel, even for a local wedding that is relatively shorter day coverage, still looking at about an hour of travel time.

-Hours at wedding.  It is not uncommon for me to start around 9am capturing hair and makeup, and it's not uncommon to continue shooting until after 9pm. So 12 hour days are no stranger to me.

-Downloading Photos and Videos, the last wedding I was at last week was for 5 hours of coverage. I captured about 900 images, and that took 1 hour to download.  A 12 hour day of shooting, both photo and video, will take 2 hours of downloading probably.  My workstation is still somewhat useable in this time, but still requires constant attention as the download probably spans a dozen memory cards which need to be changed, and several download locations for the organization of my file system.

-Editing photos, well before editing there is grading. I pass through the photos full screen and decide what is most essential to telling the story of your wedding without words.  Flipping through 2500 photos for a big wedding day could take about six hours itself, just to decide which photos will be edited.  Editing photos for a wedding that has asked for all the image files could take another 10-20 hours. Export will take another one or two hours at least.   So editing photos, all things considered; we will call it 20 hours moving fast for a bigger, fuller day of wedding coverage.

-Video, importing video and then sorting it goes a lot like it does for photos.  Creating an "EDL" (or edit decision list) for a wedding video can take about 2-3 hours.  Then I like to lay down the audio track, or background music, and set key transition points for the video, this helps me edit to the flow of music without having to watch it a million times as I go.  Once that is ready, one minute of finished wedding video  will generally take me at least one hour to generate.  I like to deliver 10-min cinematic edits, so you can call that 10 hours, though its often more.  So 13 hours all said and done.

-Albums, after photos are edited, but before they are delivered, I sometimes need to put together a photo album.  An album of 20 pages can use upwards of 100 full resolution images, though its good to have more to choose from.  A layout like that usually takes 4-5 hours. Sometimes longer thanks to the bulky online designer for the third party printing company we use to deliver these beautifully bound and printed wedding albums.  We are not counting file upload time though that is usually an hour at least.

-Preparing the final package for delivery, to include your video and any printed material accompanying it, we will say half hour.
Tally it all up:  56 hours for what would be a pretty typical wedding request that I get in my coverage.

Add on the times where multiple people are involved in the work at once, so the wedding I always have a second shooter for the whole duration. That is another 12 hours potentially! 

Thanks for reading!  Check out my wedding work

C Gardiner Photography | Promote Your Page Too