An easy to follow step by step guide to get aspiring wedding photographers started.
Wedding photography is all about capturing a couple’s special moment for a lifetime of beautiful memories.
A great wedding photographer tells a story with their images and is able to invoke emotion through their work. Each and every photographer has their own unique style and it is important to know what look and feel you want your photos to have. The internet provides an endless supply of examples from other wedding photographers’ work for some inspiration.
This can be a difficult market to get into, but do not get discouraged. It is possible to make it as a wedding photographer if you are willing to put in the work and have a passion for wedding photography.
Step 1: Learn About Wedding Photography
In order to become a wedding photographer it is not necessary to have a professional qualification. Having said that, it is important to know the fundamentals of great photography and the equipment that is used.
This can be done through online or in person workshops, online tutorials or even taking some photography classes through a reputable photography school or college. Many photography equipment providers have information about their products, such as lenses or cameras on their websites that provides valuable insights on the performance and use of the products.
It is also important to keep up to date with evolving technologies. Editing software is just as important as your camera and other equipment. With clever editing, images can be enhanced and the desired aesthetic can be achieved.
Learn how the software works and how to get the desired effects for your images. Popular software choices like Lightroom and Photoshop have hundreds of online tutorials available for beginners and experienced users alike.
PRO TIP: Discover the use of lightroom presets to transform images from “average” to professional.
Step 2: Network with Other Professionals
Social media is an excellent tool for finding and communicating with other photographers in the industry. There might also be some in-person networking invents in your area that are great for meeting others and building valuable relationships.
Finding a mentor that is willing to provide advice or tips and tricks can be a great asset in building a career in wedding photography. Meeting another photographer for coffee is a casual, yet more personalized way of building your network.
Step 3: Gain Experience
Being able to gain on hand working experience will provide inside knowledge into how the wedding photography process works. This can be achieved by assisting other photographers on their shoots or even playing the role of second photographer.
Tap into the network you have built and shadow some professional wedding photographers on not only actual wedding shoots, but also engagement shoots. The knowledge to be gained for example the correct angles, lighting and composition will be invaluable when you start taking on your own clients.
Assisting professional photographers is also a brilliant way to learn how to communicate with the clients in order to make them feel comfortable. Building trust with clients is key to having a successful photoshoot.
Step 4: Invest in Equipment
After some experience has been gained, it might be time to invest in some equipment of your own. Photography equipment can be expensive, but it is not necessary to purchase all the bells and whistles at once.
By this time, you should be comfortable with what equipment is required to get started as an independent photographer. There is also the option of purchasing second hand equipment from photographers who have upgraded to newer models.
The important thing to remember is to know exactly what the equipment can and can’t do and be very well versed in how to operate the equipment.
Step 5: Reach Out to Friends
Word of mouth is still an effective way to let the world out there know about you. Start with friends, family or acquaintances that recently got engaged and offer to take some engagement photos.
With the experience gained through working with other photographers, you should have a portfolio to show off some of the images that have already been taken. Having a cohesive look to your images and a definitive style will create a sense of professionalism and make prospective clients feel more comfortable.
In order to build up a portfolio if it is lacking, it might be necessary to offer a free engagement shoot to friends or family. If the engagement shoot goes well, it will be easy to then book the wedding from there.
Ensure that there is at least one wedding package that clients can choose from that includes an engagement shoot.
Step 6: Create a Website
PRO TIP: Get a WordPress Website Designed.
One of the must haves for a wedding photographer is a website to show off their work. This is worth investing in as most people will search online for photographers in their area and then browse through their portfolios before deciding if it is worth contacting them.
The website should reflect your style and personality. Prospective clients will often judge the quality of a photographer on the quality of their website. Look at other photography websites for inspiration, but keep it simple, easy to navigate and most importantly aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
There is no point in having a website if no one can find it. SEO (search engine optimization) is going to determine whether your website pops up in search results through search engines such as Google. This can be tricky to get right and it might be necessary to ask a professional in this field for assistance.
Step 7: Share Your Work
One of the most effective ways to get your work seen is through sharing on social media platforms. This enables thousands of potential clients to see your images and potentially book an engagement or wedding shoot.
Another source is to submit images to wedding blogs or magazines for them to publish and use. They might not select the images all the time, but keep at it. Eventually, you might find that one or some of your images are selected and published. This will also go a long way in building credibility in the industry.
Tip 1: Practice makes perfect
Becoming a skilled wedding photographer takes plenty of practice and dedication. Grab any opportunity to take photos, even if it is only for personal use. The more you practice, the more your skills as a photographer will develop.
Tip 2: Learn about lighting
Bad lighting can ruin even the best of photos. Gain as much knowledge as possible on how lighting can affect images and the best lighting conditions for wedding pictures. Depending on the desired look, artificial lighting might also be necessary.
Tip 3: Scout for beautiful locations
This is especially important for engagement shoots. Knowing a location and where the best photo possibilities are, will make the shoots on the day go effortless. No one wants to walk around from spot to spot trying to find the best angles.
Having the ability to also suggest locations to clients, will put them at ease that you take your work seriously.
Tip 4: Learn to communicate effectively
One of the most important characteristics of a great photographer is the ability to make their clients feel comfortable. Knowing how to communicate with clients in such a way to put them at ease and trust your vision will be key to your success.
It is also important to communicate regularly with clients throughout the complete process. Editing images takes time so be sure that clients are well informed of the process and timelines involved. Effective communication will avoid plenty of headaches and upset clients.
Wedding photographers are extremely lucky to be able to share one of the happiest moments in a couples life with them. Not only can they share in the joy, but they are also able to capture each and every special moment.
Get involved in the wedding photography community and build relationships with other photographers. This will allow you to learn from others with more experience and share ideas with like minded individuals.
Most importantly is to be educated. Knowing the fundamentals of photography, how equipment works and how to edit photos are key to being successful as a wedding photographer.
Being a wedding photographer requires passion and dedication, but it should also be fun and creative. The important thing is to take the leap and just get started.