Every pro wedding photographer was once an aspiring newbie with a lot of questions and not too many answers. If that's you right now, pay close attention to the following. First of all, wedding photography is a lot harder than it looks. Wedding guests and people with little or no experience in photography tend to think it's a very simple job that consists of showing up at the wedding with expensive gear that does the work for you and pressing the shutter. You and I both know that's not the case. But because things are a lot more elaborate than that, here are seven vital to-dos before you start working on your first wedding day.
1. Know your tools
Now this is very important stuff. It doesn't really matter if you're going to use two pro bodies or just one enthusiast camera if you don't know how to operate any of them. Do not make the mistake of going to a wedding without knowing how to use every function on your camera and flash. Weddings can have highly unpredictable moments that require quick changing of settings and if you're going to be caught off guard, you're not going to get much respect from the bride and groom, not to mention any recommendations.
(Success Tip #1:The secret to selling more photography)
2. Get a KeepSnap Account
You're going to want to get as much as exposure as possible and make extra income. KeepSnap is the way to go because it's easy to use for both you and your clients. I recommend setting up an account with them before your next wedding. After the wedding day is over, log on to KeepSnap, create a PIN protected gallery and upload those awesome photos. Set a price tag between $0.99 and $19.99, but remember to keep all the photos the couple has already paid for free. After that send the gallery to the newlyweds who will then start spreading the word to friends and family. The people who view the gallery will have access to all the paid photos, and they will also have the option of buying extra ones.
Before going to a wedding by yourself for the first time, try to assist as many pros as you can. The pay might be poor or you might not even get paid at all, but the experience will be worth a lot. In fact, I don't recommend going to any wedding as the main photographer before being someone's assistant at least once.
4. Simulate photo shoots
The time you spend with the bride and groom alone is the most productive for their memories and your portfolio. It's also the toughest time for any photographer, because you have to direct them and put them in positions that make them look good. If you dive head in without any practice, you will look hesitant and you will most likely use very little of that small window of time you have with the couple. Surely you have a nice couple among your friends. Have them dress formally and do one or more photo shoots. It will help build your portfolio as well as your confidence.
5. Location Scouting
Make sure you have a plan for the photo shoot. That means knowing exactly where you want to take the couple for those awesome intimate shots. Do your homework because it will always pay off.
6. Make a shot list
This will make your work so much easier. Make a shot list and stick to it as much as possible. Photos of all the jewelry and other small details, of the groom putting on his coat, of the bridesmaids helping the bride with the back of her dress all have to be there. In time you will memorize this list and that will help you become more productive.
7. Study the work of others
Seek inspiration from other wedding photographers, but remember the great difference between being inspired and copying. Always stay inspired, but more importantly, push the boundaries of your creativity and with every new wedding, try to be more creative than you were the last time.
Learn more about using KeepSnap here.