photo by simonkr via iStock
Given the fact that most weddings were cancelled throughout all of last year, this wedding season is going to be absolutely insane. So insane, in fact, that if you’ve ever thought about getting into wedding photography, this is definitely the year to do so.
I’ve already been contacted dozens of times this year by happy couples looking for a photographer and I would estimate that over half of them were having serious issues finding someone.
However, if you’ve never photographed a wedding before, then you’re likely looking for information about how to get started in wedding photography. Unfortunately, there are some pretty awful wedding photography tips for beginners out there on the web and I’d like to combat some of that misinformation with this guide for wedding photography.
Don’t “Learn on the Job”
photo by chaoss via iStock
Okay, this is my absolute pet peeve. I see at least one guide for wedding photography a week that suggests photographers skip over the learning stage of wedding photography and just start working.
I have a few problems with this “learn on the job” mentality. The first is that I don’t ever suggest lying to your clients, even lying to your clients through omission. If you’ve never photographed a wedding before, then your potential clients need to know that. Primarily because their wedding day is incredibly important to them and if you mess up their photos because you’ve never photographed a wedding before, then there is no way for them to get those memories back.
But, I also think that you need to tell all of your potential clients that you’ve never shot a wedding before because you shouldn’t be charging what more experienced wedding photographers are charging. If you’ve “borrowed” wedding photos from stock websites for your portfolio just so you can charge thousands of dollars for your work, you are hurting your clients, you’re hurting other wedding photographers, and in the long run you’re hurting your own business.
photo by PeopleImages via iStock
This brings me to my last reason why you shouldn’t “learn on the job.” If you do this and you mess up the photos, everyone in your town is going to hear about it. It’s definitely going to be a while before you get any work in the wedding industry. Since photography is all about networking, you’re only hurting yourself.
I would say that the only exception to this is if you have a friend or family member who is willing to let you give it a go, or if you are shooting a wedding for free for someone who would otherwise opt not to have a photographer there.
Buy Gear and Backup Gear
photo by Volodymyr Shtun via iStock
Frustratingly, it costs a lot of money to get into wedding photography. I wanted to focus on this in my guide for wedding photography because I feel like a lot of other wedding photography tips ignore this fact.
Wedding photography is a bit different than other types of photography because you need your primary gear, and then you need an entirely different set of secondary gear.
This means you need a camera, and a backup camera, lenses, and backup lenses, SD cards, and backup SD cards, and the list goes on, and on, and on.
Even if you’ve read hundreds of tips for new wedding photographers, you aren’t going to do well if you show up to a wedding without a functioning camera.
So, as your guide for wedding photography, I highly recommend that you purchase a ton of backup gear.
Learn Everything You Can About Your Camera
photo by tomazl via iStock
Another important part of our guide for wedding photography is to understand the ins and outs of your equipment, but especially of your camera.
One of my favorite aspects of wedding photography is that it really keeps me on my toes. I could shoot one wedding and have to change the settings on my camera dozens of times. You’ll be shooting indoors and outdoors. You’ll be shooting in bright, noon light, and near total darkness.
If you don’t understand how your camera works, then all of this can be quite overwhelming. You want to be able to devote your full attention to directing the wedding party and guests and you’ll only be able to do that if you listen to this guide for wedding photography and learn your camera now.
Offer Beautiful Prints
photo by AwesomeShotz via iStock
Another great tip in this guide for wedding photography is that you should be offering high-quality prints to your clients.
I’m a big believer in print photography because it’s an excellent way to remind your clients about their happiest moments on a regular basis. Plus, when your clients do opt to purchase prints, they will be reminded of your work more regularly and will hopefully reach out to you when other momentous life events occur.
As your guide for wedding photography, I would be remiss to not give you a recommendation for a print studio. I personally use CanvasHQ for all my print photography needs.
CanvasHQ is a family-owned and run company, which means that their communication is excellent. For instance, they dedicate an entire page of their website to a current production time clock which lets you know exactly how long your print would take to get made if you sent it in right now.
CanvasHQ also only uses the highest quality ingredients. Every canvas that they produce is rated to last at least a century, which means that these are heirloom pieces for your clients. So long as they store their canvases out of direct sunlight, they can expect to pass them onto their grandchildren.
Of course, no guide for wedding photography is complete without at least a few tips about making some extra money. By offering higher quality prints, you can charge your clients more for them and upsell them more easily on prints.
What are you waiting for?