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What goes into a photoshoot?

You may wonder what goes into a photoshoot and why photographers charge what they do!?  I think there may be a common myth that Photographers just take photos and hand them over… so why does one hours work seem to be so expensive? Or for a wedding… why does 8 or 12 hours work appear to cost a fortune? Well let me bust that myth for you!! 

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Good breakfast



No Skateboarding!


Joy and laughter

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Let me bust the myth!

Behind the scenes is a whole load of work, planning and creative thinking that is not seen. For a one-hour shoot a photographer will spend in the region of 8-10 hours from pre-shoot discussions to post-production editing, to the creation and uploading of a gorgeous gallery that you see as the finished product! For weddings I will spend around 4 weeks creating the couple’s images and curating their galleries and slideshows.

Photographers can spend from 15 minutes to 1 hour on a single image. I can also spend hours just culling an album; and when the hours add up, it can be less than the minimum wage. Each shoot and conditions are different and corrections to be made vary all the time.

It requires patience, technical knowledge, being good with people and children and being able to think quickly especially when you have, sometimes hundreds of, people in front of you waiting for you to be fast and take the photo. You can feel when you’re losing your crowd, but you can also feel when they’re having a great time and spirits are high!

I stretch and warm up before I start any photoshoot, so I don’t pull any muscles. Photography is a bit like a full work out when you’re on your feet for hours!

For weddings I dehydrate myself, so I don’t need a wee wee!! (ha ha true story!), For days before I eat well and make sure I’m on top form for the big day, I don’t skateboard in case I injure myself and on the morning of the wedding I have a breakfast of usually eggs and wholemeal toast to keep my energy levels up for as long as possible. I also pack snacks full of protein and bananas to grab quickly when I have a second… which is usually during the wedding breakfast when I have ten minutes to change my memory cards and batteries. Then I get back out there as I don’t want to miss a thing!

I love weddings and a love story; the speeches always make me cry, I love the couples, I love the clothes and accessories, the details that go into the big day, I love meeting all the guests and getting to know everyone and with family shoots too. I love meeting mums and dads and their children and spending time together in the great outdoors. I feel like I make new friends with each new couple and family I meet.

I give a wedding and family photoshoots my all and will often lose my voice for a few days and then the next day I am often found to be very quiet, not only because I will have lost my voice but because it is a mentally and physically challenging job. It is also a very special and important job and I’m always so grateful and feel really privileged to be involved in such an important day.

I am good at what I do, but I do have a lot of anxiety where I think I might have messed up some photos (I never do by the way!) but sometimes the anxiety is so built up that I convince myself I do until I go through my first cull of 4,000 photos! and then I’m like oh yeah.. these are lovely! And half the time I’m crying with joy at photos of the couple. I think a lot of photographers and creatives have high levels of anxiety and I think we must use that fear in a positive way.

When I am in photography mode, it is me alone, no one to back me up, I get the job done, I do it well, make it fun, put people at ease and create images to last a lifetime. So there is a lot of pressure that isn’t seen. I think a lot of people feel this in their jobs too and so will totally relate very well to what I’m saying.

I have been learning photography for around 10 years. It is something I am passionate about but also something I find challenging. At the start of my journey I would get upset with the sheer frustration of ‘why isn’t this in focus!!!? And ‘why doesn’t this look like what I see on Pinterest!?’ ha ha true! Actually, I still do this now. It is an ongoing process of learning and im always striving to be better..

I’ve also injured myself at weddings and have given myself tennis elbow which could take a year to heal.

The money and business side of things is also difficult, and I think is often not explained very well. When I give out a quote, I’m always worried what people are thinking and if they think I am charging too much and I have to tell myself that no I’m not, because I sometimes work for less than the minimum wage (true story!) . Every situation is different with lighting, people and the moods of children, and when I get back to my cupboard un the stairs (also a true story!) I want to edit every photo in a certain way and that takes hours.

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So… What goes into a photoshoot I hear you ask? Well, here is a little bullet point list which may be easier to understand than my paragraphs of jibber jabber:

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Before, during and after a Photoshoot

  1. Pre-shoot administration and discussion, setting the date and location, discussing outfits, creating and sending an invoice for a deposit (1-2 hours)

  2. Visit location site before a shoot to check the best photo spots and backdrops so that the shoot runs smoothly on the day and I am streamlined. Especially when time is of the essence with a bride and groom or with small children (1-2 hours)

  3. Plan the poses, think about the accessories, learn everyone’s names. For weddings send out the questionnaire, arrange meeting to discuss the day, create colour coordinated photo list, plan it in an order that will work well and keep it flowing and as fast as possible and make sure that children go first and that I know about any family members that shouldn’t be photographed together. (1-3 hours)

  4. Pre-shoot equipment charge, check and clean. I wipe all my lenses, charge all my batteries and check everything is ready and good to go, run through the photoshoot in my head and get my creativity going.

  5. Wipe and format High Speed SD cards

  6. Prepare shoot accessories and props, clean, check and pack. I think about who I am photographing and what accessories to pack. I make sure they are clean and easy to get out of the suitcase.

  7. Load equipment into van – all the props and suite case, my heavy-duty wagon to go over rough terrane, my camera bag, lights, water and a snack

  8. Travel time to and from venue, this will be done twice; once before the shoot and for the shoot itself.

  9. Shoot Set up. Unpack the van and unload the equipment, wagon and accessories.

  10. Warm up and stretch

  11. The shoot itself, this will take around an hour, sometimes two depending on the size of the shoot and the number of people.

  12. Load all the equipment back into the van.

  13. Unload it all at the other end.

  14. Post photoshoots pack up and clean, tidy up all the props, pack away and clean lenses and equipment.

  15. Upload files into Lightroom, organise them into folders (this could be up to 6 folders for a wedding, file and label the folders in lightroom and the hard drive 1-2 hours

  16. First cull - 1-3 hours

  17. Wait a day and do a second cull (if I don’t wait for a little while I miss things) I must be in the right state of mind to work creatively and spot things in photos 1-3 hours.

  18. Bespoke editing on every image 10-60 minutes per image

  19. Export images with a watermarked, low resolution 1 hour

  20. Create Wix viewing gallery for client to make selection. 1-2 hours

  21. Email gallery link to client

  22. The client will choose their images and let me know.

  23. Export client’s final selection in high and low resolution on to my hard drive in Explorer and then from there they are exported to One Drive 2 hours.

  24. Create One Drive folder for client and create sharing link, email client files 1 hour.

  25. Create slideshow in lightroom, create a new folder telling the story of our photoshoot in order, select music and export to hard drive and then on to you tube and one drive 2-3 hours.

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