Location: Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne Phone: 0420 712 476 Email:

An Eighty Hour Process...


What do Photographers do for the rest of the week?

If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this question at a wedding I could have retired years ago!! Unfortunately there is a popular misconception that wedding photographers only work on a weekend and get paid ridiculous amounts of money for that one day of work!! While it is true that some photographers simply shoot and burn on the day of the wedding, leaving their clients with a bunch of unedited images on a USB stick and a couple of hundred dollars in their back pocket, this isn't the reality for many of us.

First of all I think it is important to state that I am totally obsessive about my work and a constant perfectionist. My father, who was a mechanical engineer all his life, taught me so much about care and quality and the concept of producing something that was designed to last. He did not cut corners due to time or expense, you would end up spending more in the long run, or have clients who would be disappointed in what you have made. He applied this thinking not only to what he made, but also to anything he bought for himself even though he wasn't a wealthy man.

I try to stress to you, if you buy something cheap today you will inevitably end up being disappointed and could end up spending more in the long run, whereas if you save and buy well you will have something that will please you for a long time. This concept is so entrenched in my own DNA that it does affect the amount of time I spend on my own craft which is why a wedding, from initial enquiry to album delivery, takes us around 80 hours to complete.

Officially one of my weddings takes nearly two weeks to complete in terms of hours spent on it. So we can safely establish that a weekend isn't long enough for me to do the things the way I want to!!

So how do we get to 80 hours? It may seem a lot on the face of it, and I know there are many photographers who spend nowhere near this amount of time, but this is how the time I take breaks down.

If we take an average wedding day for me, I will spend 12 hours attending the wedding in a combination of shooting and preparation (running the routes, scouting locations etc). Invariably my work takes me away from home with an average journey time of 2 hours getting to and from the wedding. Say, for example the Dandenongs - so the wedding day itself takes on average 12 hours.

Prior to the day I spend approximately 6-8 hours meeting clients, shoots, emails, discussions with planners and venues, researching, planning and so on. Gear cleaning, packing, formatting cards, printing instructions, car preparation, route planning can take another 2-3 hours.

After the wedding day we have the processing of the images. This varies considerably given the length of coverage, how difficult the lighting was on the day, different locations and so on. My workflow is at the stage now where I am completing a wedding in terms of editing, processing, and uploading to client galleries in around 20 hours. I used to be able to do this in half the time not so long ago, but the increase in length of coverage that we are enjoying now, coupled with my constant desire to experiment and improve my work has increased this part of the process quite a lot.

Album design takes around 5 hours depending on the size of the client's album and their input. Recently I put together an album for a cousin, I did not take the photos, and so I had a disc full of poorly photographed and technically very poor photos to deal with. It took me 40 hours to create a beautiful album, because every image had to be painstakingly corrected for poor exposure, photographers standing in the images, poles and trees coming out of heads, no detail in the very beautiful wedding dress, it was disheartening.

Printing the images for the album takes another 2-3 hours. Putting the album together is the most time consuming part of the process for us at a whopping 18 hours as I like to do things perfectly here and you simply can't rush this part of the process. Reprints and further correspondence with clients take another 4-5 hours.

I am aware that outsourcing the printing would be a way of getting the time it takes down, but I shudder at the thought of someone else printing my images! I also believe that when I took the picture I knew what I wanted and how I wanted it to look. Trying to convey that idea to a third party would probably just leave me frustrated. But each to their own. My albums are beautiful and the quality of the construction and design can be ruined by rushing the mounting process, so like all craftsmen, we take our time and ensure everything is perfect. Yes, they are time consuming, but they are stunning. Again, outsourcing is an option, but in my experience the quality just isn't the same.

One final thing to remember is that it is important that the price I charge for my work is not just a reflection of my skills as a photographer but also of the amount of time I dedicate to each and every one of my clients. The quality of the photography and the products I supply are beyond compromise, and I give everything in the pursuit of making my clients happy. I honestly believe that even in today's cheap, fast, and fad based society there is still a place for quality and craftsmanship but it does come with a time cost. It is possible to outsource the printing, album design, album construction etc to free up time, but for me part of being a professional photographer is being hands on with every aspect of the creative process from capture to print.

So, what do I do for the rest of the week, quite simply - alot!