yay, you’re getting married!

you’ve found your love [which is really the hard part!] + now the task of organizing, budgeting + preparing for this most beautiful day of days.

that cute venue on the hilltop, the yummies you want served to your guests sitting around tables adorned with trinkets + florals in all the pretty colors, cocktail hour + transportation, your dress, jewelry, shoes, flowers, the design + coordination, the officiant, hair + makeup crew + dj will all be accounted for.

weddings, as you may be learning, can add up quickly.

wedding photography is an expense, but an important one.

hear a player out.

1909 wedding teri b photography photographer in malibu paris topanga canyon vietnamese spring garden

first of all, its important to address one of the most common excuses i hear, witness + get rejected for: ‘we are having our friend shoot, they are doing it for free’

well, yes, you certainly can. i actually shoot many of my friends weddings, but, i charge them. my photography is my business, my well being. sure, i would love to shoot whenever for whoever, especially for my friends [+ actually sometimes i do!]. when it comes to weddings, however, i expect my friends to value my art. more importantly, i want to be accountable for the work i provide for them, as if they were like any other client. i have heard more times than i can count people that have had their friends shoot photos for them but never got any finished photos. or maybe got a couple but never a full collection. maybe your friend actually can take a good photo, maybe they have thousands of instagram followers, maybe even has a great camera. it still doesn’t mean they are experienced in shooting a full wedding. this is one shot. do not throw it away. [hamilton, anyone?]

same goes for hiring a student or someone looking to build their portfolio who will charge nearly nothing.

again, yes, this is a viable option. after all,  you’ve spent so much money already why not just skimp a little on the photography department and find a photographer who is just starting out or, heck, someone who won’t even charge? perhaps this person even has a portfolio, maybe it features some good photos of a bride and groom. in this case, you may want to ask yourself if you’re feeling lucky. for the record, sure, you actually could get really lucky. it could all be great. it is also possible that you could get really screwed. say things go awry, maybe they take terrible photos, maybe they are inappropriate to your guests, maybe they don’t dress the part, maybe they poorly place tripods right in front of the alter [i have seen this happen]. okay, so you decide to sue, well, you’re screwed again since there is probably no contract or paperwork involved in this transaction. i will note that real, working photographers also make mistakes, technology happens, as does life. the difference is a professional knows how to amend these situations. this is one day. is it worth a gamble?

okay, I’m convinced a professional is the way to go. but, the investment still seems high.

to an untrained eye, it may seem like photographers only work for one day + roll out like royalty with cash to burn. i wish this were the case, i’ve always wanted to rock purple on the daily… the reality is, shooting on the day of your wedding is rigorous, stressful + full of responsibility from start to finish [+ then some]. i am hustlin’ yo.

to help you understand the whole process, i’ve put together a list of how my time, energies + talents are utilized in this one, big + beautiful day of shooting

the official breakdown:

meetings, emails, phone calls, text messages + time to help where i can in the entire process [timeline, wardrobe, location + beauty consulting]

gear prep, making sure cards are cleared, batteries are charged + all is packed + ready to go

hiring a second shooter [interviewing, training + all of their editing]

dressing up, so i look presentable

getting to your venue/location [travel, gas, airfare, parking, tolls]

styling of your dress, jewelry pieces, shoes, invitations + borrowed treasures

location scouting; planning + executing your first look, family portraits, couple portraits + any other necessary set-ups throughout your day

playing meteorologist + watching the sky + planning accordingly for your shots

mediating, organizing + grouping all of your dear ones for photos when necessary

playing hair + makeup + wardrobe assistant throughout the day, making sure you are always looking your best

coordinating with your other vendors before + during the day

running around, dodging trees + chasing the wind to make sure i get the best shots i can

uploading + editing [three step process that sometimes takes 12-16+ hours]

gallery delivery + packaging + mailing

also, noteworthy:

my experience with shooting over 110+ weddings, necessary skills to think + problem solve on the fly, maintain stamina + sanity during long hours of standing, walking + shooting + my artistry in capturing your day.

much like a plumber working out of his van [though a bit more fashionable i’d like to think] i carry + have on hand with me [thousands of dollars of] gear on a wedding day. i have to be prepared for all kinds of situations so i have the camera bodies, lens + stands. not just rentals or things to get by. tools that i have carefully picked + loved + practiced with so i can be as effective + efficient as possible for shooting your wedding.

i can’t speak for all photographers but this is my business + how i make money year after year. i pay taxes under my business name, i have all the same expenses as you do with all the unexpected financial struggles along the way.

all in all, i hope this post was able to demystify the process of my approach to wedding photography + help you understand why it is a worthy expense.

i am here to create a wonderful collection of the best images of this best day ever.