It may only seem a few hours work, but there is a great deal of work behind the scenes. In addition you are hiring a professional, who has heavily invested in the best equipment and has years of experience to ensure you get great wedding photographs, but behind the scenes there is a lot going on.
Before the wedding, a lot of time is spent in the preparation, I spend time with my clients, to determine exactly what they want and in some cases do a pre wedding shoot.
I will always do a visit to the church and venue for the wedding breakfast to discover the best positions or locations for the wedding photographs and make contacts along the way in advance of the day.
The equipment has to be in good working order, batteries charged checked, memory cards cleared down and portable studio flash checked (just in case it rains and some of the photographs have to be taken indoors).
Following a day's wedding shoot, I normally have around 300 to 400 pictures. So there is a lot of time spent downloading the wedding photographs my computer, then sifting through them to get a final selection. I tend to aim for no more 200.
I can hear you saying only 200 out of 400 that's only a 50% hit rate! You are right!
There is a very good reason for this. Capturing the perfect moment can be quite tricky if you only take one picture of everything. You can guarantee that somebody was looking the wrong way or had their eyes closed or just didn't have the right expression. Sometimes you have to pre-empt a situation when you are doing the editorial style pictures of people being spontaneous and having fun. The only way to do this is to put my camera in what is called 'burst mode' this means that when I press the shutter I can get as many as 9 frames per second. This gives me a 1 in 9 chance of getting that picture which is just right. I don't do it all the time, but as you can see there will be a lot of pictures discarded when using this technique but I get the picture which is all that counts.
Once that is done, each picture has to be edited to bring out the best qualities in the photograph, then they are normally exported at a low resolution to be uploaded to the client area of my website and then exported again at high resolution to be given to my clients. On average this will take a full day to process the wedding pictures to the high standards my clients expect.
When this is complete, I will liaise with my clients if they are having an album or photo book which has to be compiled, approved by my clients then be sent to the printers.
So hopefully you can see that there is a lot of preparation before the wedding day and after the wedding day in addition to actually photographing the wedding.