A (Wedding) Day In The Life Of: Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers

Welcome to the second chapter of a series where you'll learn what your wedding day is really like for your vendors!  These folks bust their humps for you…but I'm not sure if everyone realizes just how hard they work.  Hopefully this series will change that and give you a whole new appreciation for those you've hired.

Two weeks ago, Soiree by Souleret gave us a glimpse of her life as a wedding planner.  This week, we're talking to Leeann Marie, Wedding Photographers.  Read this once and you'll never again question why wedding photography is so expensive.  This girl works hard for the money (How many of you just heard “so hard for the money” in your head?!).  Anyways…

From Leeann…

What goes into a “wedding photographer's day”?  First, it's not actually a day.  A ton of time both before and after the actual wedding day is spent working to get everything right for a bride and groom.  Weeks before the wedding day, I'm working with my couple to iron out the details of their timeline…and the details are the nitty-gritty of the planning!

The weekend and few days after the wedding are big “work hours”.  So what goes into it?  Here's a little play-by-play:

Friday Night

5:14 p.m. – Arrive at a networking event for local event professionals.  Chat with everyone about our weddings tomorrow, what we've been up to lately, and random, weird kids stories.

8:06 p.m. – Dance party in the car on the way home.  No baby in the car = loud music and new Taylor Swift.

8:35 p.m. – Organize all memory cards, clean lenses, pack batteries, print timelines, write thank you notes, double check all bags for equipment.

Memory cards galore

Memory cards galore

Never too many extra batteries

Never too many extra batteries

9:25 p.m. – Put in Breaking Bad Season 4 and watch episode snuggled on the couch with my husband.



Saturday/Wedding Day!

5:45 a.m. – Baby is up.  Ugh.  Get her back to sleep.

8:20 a.m. – Up for the day.  Make french toast.  Shower.  Change into wedding outfit, which consists of black pants, suit jacket, and comfortable shoes.  Will be on my feet all day!  Goal?  Look like I'm going to a wedding – because I am!

10:30 a.m. – Load up car.  Brew another cup of coffee.  Make PB&J, my wedding day staple.

Note to self: must try raisin bread PB&J

Note to self: must try raisin bread PB&J

11:30 a.m. – Out the door and on the way to bride's house for preparation photos!  Wave bye to the family for the day!

12:15 p.m. – Photos start!  Photographing all details, candids, and bridal portraits before even heading to the church.  Notice hairpiece misplaced on bride's up-do and work to bend it into shape.

2 p.m. – Wedding Ceremony.  Must be quiet in the church and un-obtrusive.  Moving in multiple areas throughout the church requires stealthy moves and understanding of the ceremony (sit, stand, sit, stand, etc).

3:15 p.m. – Family portraits in the church!  The time most people dread, but I thrive on this.  We already have a list from our wedding day planning so I know exactly who-is-who and what the couple is looking for!

3:45 p.m. – Family photos are done!  Easy and everyone is happy 🙂  Gather gear quickly and load into car before the limo takes off without me.  I'll drive with them on the way to the reception so that I have my car for later.

4:12 p.m. – Pit stop for a Diet Coke.  Parched and lacking caffeine already.

Diet Coke solves everything

Elixir of life

4:33 p.m. – Arrive on Pitt's campus for photos.  Park illegally.  Run across campus to meet up with bridal party.  Appear to not be winded.  Switch out memory cards and triple check card's location and storage sleeves.  (I have another card in my camera's second card slot that records a backup of images throughout the day, and cards are always worn on me – not in a bag somewhere else!  This is really, really important, folks!)

4:41 p.m. – Lay on ground in all black gear to “get the shot”.

5:23 p.m. – Back to car and load in gear bag.  Pray I don't have a parking ticket.  Head to reception location and make sure to park before anyone touches the details.

6:01 p.m. – Arrive and cocktail hour is taking place.  Photograph details in reception room before it's open to guests.  Play with new lighting gear to make sure it's perfectly set for the rest of the reception.

6:23 p.m. – Hug Jeremy Ganss hello.  Awesome to be working with him again!

6:44 p.m. – Bridal party introductions and toasts.  Lights are set up for great photos and I'm moving around the room to get different angles and reactions.

Fun with reflections

Fun with reflections

7:01 p.m. – Dinner.  But first, I photographed the cookie table and snatched a piece of baklava.  No one knew (until now).

7:10 p.m. – Up from dinner table to photograph groom's fraternity brothers.

7:14 p.m. – Dinner still yet to be served.  Check email.  Chat with Jeremy.  Look at his car photos while I tell him about what I've been up to lately.

7:21 p.m. – Up from dinner to photograph family and impromptu speech.

7:25 p.m. – Dinner is served.

8:10 p.m. – First dance.  Work it out with the aunt-of-the-bride where the best place for her to stand is so that she can record the dance on her iPad.  (I hate being in the back of this kind of video!)  Followed by Father/Daughter, Mother/Son, and cake cutting.  Roll cake off of the dance floor immediately after so guests don't knock it over.

8:34 p.m. – Re-attach bride's headpiece.  She's dancing up a storm and it's starting to fall out!

9:51 p.m. – Eat another piece of baklava behind a wall.  Get first drink of water all day.  Consider more baklava, but head back to the dance floor instead.

Missing baklava for more dancing

Missing baklava for more dancing

11:06 p.m. – Head out for the night.

End of the night elevator selfie

End of the night elevator selfie

11:44 p.m. – Arrive home.  Unload gear.  Shower.

12:15 p.m. – Bedtime!

Sunday & Days After the Wedding

After the wedding day, I'll download and backup all of the cards, post teasers, “cull” the images (i.e. choose the best-of-the-best for the day), edit the full gallery, upload them to multiple locations online, customize the client's website with their galleries, release images, design albums, blog the wedding, submit for publication, and answer any email questions.

All in all, I would guess that each wedding in the “critical time” of planning, photographing, editing, and delivering takes 50-60 hours total.  There is a lot of work behind-the-scenes that goes into delivering a full wedding gallery, but it's a job that I absolutely LOVE.  Even in my “end of the night” selfie in the elevator I couldn't help but smile.  I'm lucky to spend weddings with my brides and grooms!

Post Wedding Day: coffee and editing

Post Wedding Day: coffee and editing

BB here…

Leeann, how do you do it and make it look so easy?  But more importantly, how did you only have two pieces of baklava?!  Thanks so much for recounting your work day for us!  Congrats to you for kicking total butt and taking names!

For even more behind the scenes action, check out Leeann's latest blog post on the secret world of wedding photographers.  And stay tuned for a full feature on Leeann and her biz this summer!




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