Before you can expect to succeed as a wedding photographer, and book your first client, you should consider the points in this PhotographyTalk article.
Succeeding as a wedding photographer is nothing but a pipedream if you’re unable to care deeply about your clients, their families and the significance of one of the most memorable days of their lives. Plus, this caring attitude must be obvious and recognized as genuine. Although you’re being paid to provide a professional service, you are also being granted close access to two families during this important occasion. Not only must you be respectful, but also with the right attitude. Your professional qualities on display during a wedding shoot may have as much impact (or even more) on building an excellent reputation and obtaining referrals.
Promptness, patience and delivering on your promises are other professional qualities that are absolutely necessary as a wedding photographer. Your clients don’t expect to wait for you, so you must be a very well organized person. You must know how to manage the process of shooting a wedding, so you’re where you’re supposed to be to capture the photos the bride and groom expect. Critical to any business’ success is doing what you say you will. If you’ve promised to be at the church an hour before the ceremony, then leave early enough to be there an hour and 15 minutes early. Even go so far as to plan alternate routes to the church, so there is no possibility of traffic making you late. Do you have a plan if your car breaks down on the way to the church? You must if you expect to deliver on your promises.
You don’t necessarily need a studio, even if you’re a full-time wedding photographer. Although quality equipment is a requirement, you don’t need top-shelf professional cameras, lens and lighting equipment. New DSLR cameras with more-than-adequate performance features and lenses with highly acceptable optics continue to be introduced at price points affordable to amateurs and semi-pros.
Of the equipment skills required to succeed as a wedding photographer, speed may be the most important. A wedding is an event that progresses at its own pace. Your job is to capture the event as it happens, much like photojournalism. Many of the events at a wedding only occur once and your clients will expect to see those photos among the proofs. It’s not so much about being fast, but understanding your camera, lens and other equipment so well that you’re able to operate it without thinking too much about what you’re doing. Most of your effort should be focused on positioning yourself correctly and composing a great image, not fumbling with exposures and other settings.
Because of the proliferation of wedding photographers, it may be easier to find intern or assistant opportunities to learn the craft and the business. You may have to be willing to work for free initially, but scheduling one Saturday a month to assist a working wedding photographer won’t take much time from your weekends and you’ll quickly learn many tips and techniques within a few months.
If you’re contemplating becoming a wedding photographer, then spend some time reading the PhotographyTalk articles and interviews with some of the world’s greatest wedding photographers: Jasmine Star, Nate and Jaclyn Keiser, Marcus Bell, Chadwick and Camille Bensler, Jeff Ascough and Andy Marcus.
Maximize your opportunity to succeed as a wedding photography with online courses, such as those offered by MyPhotoSchool.com. It has 4-week video tutorials specifically for wedding photography as well as other courses to teach you everything you need to know to use your DSLR, profitably. For a more formal education, consider the New York Institute of Photography or the Brooks Institute, where you’ll learn even more, and earn a degree.
Enhance your opportunities for success as a wedding photographer, when you click here.
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Photograph by Photography Talk Member Ella Goheen