5 things your photographer wants you to know (but may not ever say to you)

I’m not sure anyone really wants to know these things, but I think it’s always a good topic to keep in the back of your mind when you hire a professional photographer (or videographer).

We spend more time editing your photos (and/or video) than we do capturing them.

 My husband and I working side by side. Photo by Georgine Brewer.

My husband and I working side by side. Photo by Georgine Brewer.

We’re used to instant gratification when it comes to photos and video. We’re used to taking a photo and it being there in front of us, and sharing it immediately. We’re used to watching live feeds of things happening right then at that moment. So of course it’s normal to think that if the photographer is shooting with a digital camera, all they have to do is upload the photos, right?

The thing that’s hardest to explain is that we shoot in RAW. RAW format doesn’t mean better, and it is far from being instant. Like, you wouldn’t want to eat a raw steak straight out of the package, right? Same for your photos and video. RAW simply means it’s in it’s most basic, maleable state. RAW photos need seasoning and some sort of preparation before you can serve it up. They need to be straightened, brightened, saturated, contrasted, color corrected, and retouched. Some photos require heavier manipulation like fixing blemishes or editing your Uncle Dennis’s cell phone out of the frame. I might spend 30 minutes editing one picture. On average, I spend about 30 hours editing a wedding from start to finish.

Add that in with multiple weddings or sessions a week, plus the need to do other things like sleep, and you have yourself several weeks before I can turn around a full gallery that is up to my standards. The wait is excruciating, but it’s worth it.

Which leads me to my next topic…

Don’t ever put filters over our photos.

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There is nothing more disappointing than seeing my photo on someone else’s feed with an Instagram filter over it. If you don’t like a photo the way I delivered it, I’d much rather you come to me and ask me to retouch it again before slapping a filter over it yourself. Why is it such a big deal, you may ask? Because I’ve put actual work into making your photo the way it looks, and applying another filter on it is not only overkill, but a waste of my time and your money. Because how I delivered it will match up to my other work I present in my portfolio. Because putting a filter over a photo you didn’t take is the same to me as graffiti-ing over a painting in a museum.

Just don’t do it. It hurts my feelings. It makes me think you didn’t like the picture. And it really doesn’t look better than the way I gave it to you originally.

We wish all your guests’ cell phones were confiscated at the beginning of the day.

But seriously. It’s mostly just a temptation for them to get in the way.

We don’t really care if everyone else hates us, as long as you’re happy.

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Here’s the truth: No one else who is attending your wedding has hired me to be there. And you know what that means? Your mom isn’t my boss. Your venue isn’t my boss. Your wedding planner isn’t my boss. The only person I answer to is the one who signed my contract. I’ll be kind to everyone until someone tries to tell me how to do my job, or gets in the way of me doing my job, or delays me doing my job. And if someone else is keeping you from getting everything you wanted from me being there, I will make no apologies in putting that person or persons in their place. Even if that means I have to shove them out of my way to get the shot.

The best tip you can give us is a good review.

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You are never ever expected to tip. It’s rare that I get tipped after I work. It’s always appreciated, but never expected. You know one thing I like better than a tip? A positive review, or referral. A good review does more for my business than any amount of money you could leave me in an envelope. A good review means another potential client might decide to hire me over someone else because you said I did a good job.

And the best part about reviews? They cost you zero dollars to write.