The secret life of a wedding photographer
Let me begin by introducing myself. I am the husband of the owner/photographer of Belinda Marie Photography. I’m also her tech guy, her part time collaborator, her occasional business manager and her full time biggest fan. I have seen her cultivate a thriving business from a single camera and 2 lenses, to several cameras, and backups, and suitcases full of lenses and equipment over the past several years. We even put a studio in our new house, full with lighting and backdrops! I get to enjoy all of the art she puts out into the court of public opinion and see the payoff when people respond to the stories she tells with her photos. I am writing this to share with you, a little more though. Some people see the finished product and don’t know quite what goes into a wedding from the photographer’s point of view. Well, the husband of the photographer anyway. From the beginning of the process, usually an email or a phone call, Belinda begins working behind the scenes to give the best experience to her clients. She researches locations based on what she learns about her clients, she tours, she googles, she maps and finally plans and schedules her shots. All the while several things must be considered; the weather must cooperate, the sun needs to be in the right spot and the surroundings all need to mesh with the vision of the client. Then she shoots. A lot. Thousands of photos for every wedding. She captures moment after moment and seemingly innocuous details that help tell the story of the day. She works around the guests and caterers and family to blend in and watch through the eyes of her camera. That’s the most fun for Belinda. She’s a romantic, and loves to go to a wedding knowing that she gets to tell the story for her clients. After the wedding which is usually around 6-10 hours of solid picture taking, she calls me. After every wedding, she calls and talks to me about the details, about the couple, about how excited she is about a certain group of photos she took. She connects to her couples and genuinely loves that she was a part of their day. Exhausted, excited, she dutifully uploads the thousands of photos, backs them up for safe-keeping and then finally rests.
I wake up early most days. 6:00 am or so. I work long days managing a national retail chain. Let’s call it H. Lobby. Typically from the time I am leaving for work until the time I come home, Belinda has been working on her computers on either one or several weddings. Some days I wake up to find her still on the computer after having stayed up all night to “get to a stopping point” This part of the process intrigues me. Belinda can work on a couple’s wedding for hours on end, with unending patience. For a typical wedding she’s sorting and sifting through close to 5,000 photos. I struggle with sorting through the 50 emails I get in a day. But she enjoys it. Loves it. She is passionate about it. Once she finds the right photos to tell the story, she works tirelessly to do magic to them. She removes fire extinguishers, or stray hairs. She color corrects, and manipulates highlights and exposure (whatever that means) to create truly beautiful pictures. This paragraph will only take a few moments to read but in reality it can take weeks to complete the work it describes. Belinda pores over her work, she is her own harshest critic. She will ask my opinion on finishing touches to some of her work. I am, admittedly, occasionally annoyed by it. I don’t have the patience she has, I couldn’t look at the same faces for days as she does. I do however, enjoy seeing her finished product. She lets me look at every gallery she delivers. Every time, I am impressed. Every gallery is better than the last, and I am amazed because that last one was so amazing. I love to see the care that she puts into every couple’s day; she is invested in every wedding and I think that is what makes her work so great.
I am biased. I love my wife more than words can ever say. I am proud beyond measure at her success thus far. Belinda Marie Photography has grown faster than we both expected and it has allowed her to make it her full time job. She responds to hundreds of email every week, she’s looked at over 50,000 photos so far this wedding season and still loves it. This might just seem like a fluff article from a husband praising his wife. It kind of is, but I also think it may open some eyes to the work behind the photos. Photos tell a great story but there is an intriguing story behind the photos as well. Belinda is, in my humble opinion, the best out there. Her work is great but beyond that, she is truly invested in every photo she delivers. It’s her art and her passion, and I am exceptionally lucky to be along for the ride.