So you have a camera, and you would love to earn enough to buy a few more lenses. So you make a few business cards and start announcing you’re open for business. People start telling you the easiest way to make money is to shoot a wedding. Why not? Sounds like fun.
Wedding photography is one of the most difficult niches in the photography industry.
- You must deal with dozens of different personalities, all in a highly stressful situation.
- Taking a perfect picture of a bride and groom – one in the whitest white, one in the blackest black – can be exceedingly difficult. Especially because you’re very likely going to have to capture the two of them outside in the sunshine, and inside in almost pure dark conditions.
- You cannot control the situations – you have to go with the flow. You have a few short hours to capture hundreds of amazing images.
- You may be expected to be in 2 (or 3, or 4…) places at one time. How are you going to control the situation so you’re not stressed?
- Guests travel from all over the world for this one day event. There are no do-overs.
Which is why as a professional wedding photographer who photographed hundreds of very high-end weddings over the years, I cringe when people say to get their start in weddings.
If you have the desire to start a wedding photography business, here are my suggestions.
- Spend a year photographing, well everything. Take on a bunch of family portraits. Shoot inside your studio, and outside at the beach (park, downtown area, etc). Get used to shooting in many different types of circumstances.
- Find out who your top wedding photographers are in your area. Call them up and offer to take them to lunch. Then offer your services – free of charge – for an upcoming wedding. Be willing to do everything from carry the bags, to setting up lighting equipment. Watch carefully and learn
- Repeat the above step as many times as you can.
- Start small. Don’t offer to do a huge 10 hour event for 250 people. Instead, create a package perfect for a very small wedding. If you can do several 2-3 hour events that take place in a church, a restaurant, or possibly a private residence, you’ll learn a ton and not have the stress of moving from place to place.
- Sit down after every wedding and critically look at your photographs and at the way the day unfolded. What could you do to make the photographs better? What made the day stressful to you, or to your clients? What can you do to improve?
I love weddings. It’s not just about showing up and snapping a few images. It’s about taking full control and turning your clients day into their best day ever.