Is Photography School for Professional Wedding Photographers a Must?

photography-school-for-professional-wedding-photographersGoing to photography school for wedding photographers is a personal choice, determined by numerous factors, such as a desire to learn, but also time and financial constraints. The general outlook on this topic can seem divisive: some extoll its advantages and believe attending such courses is mandatory for those who truly wish to call themselves professionals; others, on the other hand, fail to see the perks of it and regard it as a general waste. So, which one is it? Read on, for our version of the pros and cons, and don’t forget to tell us your own opinion in the comment section.

Yes, it is!

You get all the information you need

The main way in which photography school for professional wedding photographers can help is by providing  with the time, space, and structure to accumulate all the essential information you need, on the art of taking pictures. After all, you’ll be dedicating several hours a day, 5 days a week, for at least a few weeks, to this purpose alone. When’s the last time you were able to take some time off for learning, as a pro photog?

You’ll get the degree to show for it

Now, you don’t absolutely need to go to photography school for professional wedding photographers in order to land gigs and develop a lucrative business. However, if you do, chances are that such credentials are going to make you look more dedicated in the eyes of your (potential) clients.

You get to connect and socialize

‘School is not for making friends!’ Well, that might be true for business school, but photography school for wedding photographers is a great opportunity to meet and connect with like-minded professionals. Not only will you get to exchange views with people who have the same interests as you, but you can also strike up lucrative partnerships, or business opportunities. And this social aspect is vital to the success of any photography business.

No, it’s not!

Photography school for wedding photographers disregards business

Sure, it’s great to learn about all the theoretical aspects of photography, understand some history of this art, and hone your technical skills. But what about the business aspect of this trade? Most serious photography courses nowadays do offer business courses, too, but they’re largely theoretical and no match from actual, hands-on experience in running a business. The best way to learn this skill is by going out and doing it.

It’s a waste of your time, really

And since we’re on the topic of running a business – ain’t nobody got time for school, as the popular refrain goes. Think about it: instead of learning a bunch of theory you’ll never use, you could be spending that time actually starting and running a business.

… Not to mention a waste of your money

A lot of the most influential professional photographers out there started out as self-taught amateurs. In the day and age of information, online photography resources, and the Internet, there’s really no need to shell out thousands of dollars for something you could be teaching yourself, for an infinitesimal fraction of those costs.

It doesn’t help with actually succeeding as a photographer

This is perhaps the most contentious moot point, between those who believe photography school for professional wedding photographers is important and those who don’t. At the end of your courses, you will have expended precious time and money, but without actually making any headway with developing your business. A business requires far more than technical, artistic, and even theoretical business knowledge. There’s marketing and branding, shooting and editing, business acquisition and shoot pricing – and, of course, learning. Photography is not the kind of field in which a one-time course will take care of your education. You need to keep learning and developing for the rest of your career.

Rekindle Your Passion for Wedding Photography in 3 Easy Steps

It happens to the best of them: we haven’t asked, but we’re sure that, were you to catch her on an off day, even contemporary glam photography guru Annie Leibovitz sometimes feels like the spark is just gone.


Bottom line, no matter how passionate you may be about wedding photography, sometimes that passion just vanishes without a trace. Sometimes you feel stuck in a rut and, no matter what you do, you’re just not happy with your work. It happens to us all, which is why we’re here today to show you what you need to do, in order to rekindle your passion for wedding photography in three simple steps.

Ever felt this way? You need to find your passion for wedding photography again!

The danger of feeling stuck and trapped within monotony is that you develop an entire range of very negative, self-deprecating thoughts about your work. And while, at first, it may seem like these ideas will propel you toward creating ever better wedding photos, this rarely ever happens. Rather, you become more prone toward creative blocks, which, in turn, lead to creative frustration and a whole lot of resentment. In fact, what these thoughts are there to tell you is that you need to take better care of yourself, both as a person, as well as a creative individual, who happens to work in wedding photography. Here’s what could have gone wrong and made you feel that your work is subpar, or otherwise inadequate:

–          You keep compromising. Instead of working toward honing your creative vision, you’ve let go one time too many.

–          You don’t value yourself and your work enough. Yes, it’s perfectly fine to turn down a job or two every now and then – especially if you’ve been feeling stressed, overworked, and burned out.

–          You feel underappreciated and, hence, uninspired.

The good part is that all creative individuals, no matter the field they’re working in, feel this way every now and then. If they say they don’t, they’re lying (either to you, or to themselves). The part that’s even better: you can fix these feelings and make them work for you, not against you. Here’s how:

Step #1: Where do you see yourself?


This may sound like a total cliché, but in order to find your passion for wedding photography all over again, you need to refocus on your vision. Your ‘voice’ as a photographer. Your signature style. This may mean that you’re going to have to start learning to turn down projects that don’t align with that creative vision. It’s all a matter of prioritizing and of asking yourself: ‘does this job make me feel proactive? Am I working to achieve a dream, or simply going with the flow?’ If your answer is geared more toward the ‘going with the flow’ option, perhaps it’s time to step back and assess whether or not you really need to say yes to the umpteenth White Wedding gig this year. Refer the potential clients to someone who can do the job and move on.

Step #2: Step outside your comfort zone


The paradoxical thing about being a wedding photographer is that you sometimes end up saying yes to engagements that you know won’t help you learn. They are clearly not the type of work that you want to be known for. You would like to change, but simply can’t seem to motivate yourself to try something new, and would much rather stick to the beaten path. But if you genuinely want to find your passion for wedding photography once again, you need to step outside that comfort zone and experiment. What’s the worst that could happen? No, seriously. Consider the best and the worst possible outcomes of doing things differently. Hint: it’s always worth trying out something new, if only for the sake of the experience.

Step #3: Kick back

Take a break from work. Drive off a few hours away. Be with yourself and no one else for a few days. Learn to unwind and enjoy your own company.


Think you can’t afford that?

That’s a fair issue. If money is standing in your way to relaxation, then work your way through this problem. Price your shoots better and as soon you’ve got some money saved to take a short break away from work, do it. You’ll thank yourself for it.

Are You Facing Photographer Burnout?

Imagine this.

You plod along day after day facing the same results.

You know what you want but you just can’t reach it. Things are holding you back from achieving what you truly want to achieve. You dread getting up. You dread facing the day. You’re tired at the end of the day.Are You Facing Photography Burnout

Something’s gotta change. But what? What can you do?

These are classic indications of burnout. But what truly is burnout? And do you really have it?

Burnout is the point at which you reach exhaustion of either physical or emotional strength and motivation as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.

Burnout can be based on a variety of things, including:

  • Having a negative work atmosphere
  • Not loving what you are doing
  • Not believing in what you are doing
  • Having a horrible boss
  • Having the wrong clientele
  • False feelings of overwhelm
  • Negative feelings around inappropriate action

If you see yourself in any of these, and you know you’re probably facing burnout, now what? Where do you go from here?

First, realize that burnout isn’t something controlled by outside sources. Instead, burnout is internalized and comes from self-imposed feelings created in reaction to your surroundings. When you feel pain, you continue to internalize it until it moves from feelings, to daily inflictions, to a complete restructure of your lifestyle.

And that’s when burnout really impacts you. [Read more…]

Working Moms And A Photography Business

With Mothers Day this weekend, and as a working mom for 18 years now, the concept of being a “working” mother is just as emotional as ever. Start a conversation on “working” moms and you’ll quickly get into a heated discussion no matter what side of the fence you are on or what your belief system is.

The facts say it all.

  • A full 61 percent of mothers work outside of the home.
  • 4 in 10 working wives currently out earn their husbands. This has increased over 50% from a mere 20 years ago.
  • And with female college graduates currently outnumbering males with a 60/40 ratio, these numbers are only expected to rise in the coming years.

Whether you own a part time studio out of your home, or you’ve chosen to build a full time business out of a commercial studio, how can you be the best mom AND the best business owner at the same time?Working Moms And A Photography Business

Split Your Time

It’s impossible to do two things at once. You can’t take care of your kids AND provide 100 percent customer service. You can’t give a client your full attention if your child is running wild in the next room. When kids are with you, they want your attention. Even if they have nothing to say. In order to be affective as both a business owner and as a parent, dedicate time to both activities and be conscious of keeping that time exclusively for the activity at hand.

Be Present

When I’m with a client, I dedicate 100 percent of my attention to that client. No cell phone or texting. No interruptions from outside sources.

The same holds true when I spend time with my daughter. Even at 18, when she comes home from school, she wants my time to talk about her day. She may have activities to discuss, thoughts from happenings around school, or just in need of some attention after “kid-friction” that invariably goes on at every grade level, including high school. [Read more…]

Life Got In The Way Of Starting My Photography Business

“I had every intention of starting up my photography business last year. I had the business cards. I had a website started. I had my equipment set up. I was even in the process of creating my pricing lists and brochures. Then life got in the way.”

Have you heard that phrase?

Have you used that phrase?

What does it mean … life got in the way.

People talk about “life getting in the way” all the time. The kids needed extra attention. Mom got sick and the caregiving started. The job required overtime.

But how does that allow “life to get in the way”?

Isn’t that just life in general?

The funny thing about life is it always happens. It never stands still. It never goes 100 percent the way you anticipate. Seasons move in and move out. Things change.

And that really is just what life is.

So if you use the phrase “life got in the way”, isn’t it basically an excuse for not doing something?

When you say:

“I worked a full day, only to find I had a teacher meeting with my child’s teacher after school, a phone call from my husband that we were having dinner with one of his clients, and a note from school asking for 2 dozen cupcakes for the bake sale the following day. Life got in the way and I didn’t have time to finish my brochure.”

What you are really saying is other things had more priority than finishing your brochure. It may have been work. It may have been cupcakes. It may have been your feeling of being exhausted. In any case, you allowed other things to move in front and become top priority over your need to finish your brochure. [Read more…]

How To Stop Feeling Guilty For Wanting More

You have a job that pays the bills.

You have a great family life.

You make enough to afford the fun things in life.

Your kids are happy and doing well in school.

You live in a nice house, in a nice neighborhood.

You drive a nice car.

You can enjoy your Starbucks every day.

Then why do you keep wishing for more?

And more importantly, why do you keep feeling so guilty for wanting more?

With so much in the media right now about how bad the economy is, it’s hard to not question your feelings if you aren’t facing a similar situation. If someone can’t pay the mortgage because they don’t have a job, should you really be complaining about a job you don’t like when it brings in more than enough income?

Tough it out. Hunker down. Be happy with what you have.

You’ve probably heard more than that from family and friends.

Yet is it true? Should you really be grateful for what you currently have?

The answer is yes … and no. [Read more…]

5 Tips While You Dream Big

One of the biggest things people strive for is to find a career path doing what they love. In fact, there are a ton of quotes that help you buy into this belief.

“Do what you love and the money will follow.”

“If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“If you are not doing what you love, you are wasting your time.”

Yet that concept isn’t always easy in today’s world. Ask anybody around you and you will probably hear about their two different types of work; the kind that pays the bills and the kind they wrap their heart around.

Because you are here, photography is probably your dream career. It’s the one thing that feeds your heart and soul. And because you already know photography would be your dream career, you’ve already moved past one of the most difficult tasks: coming up with the idea that will let your passion fly.

Your next step is to choose to follow your dream job. You may decide to start out small, bringing in a little extra income here and there. Or you may go in head first, knowing there are no guarantees, yet understanding the rewards could be tremendous.

Which ever way you choose to approach your dream of making photography an income generator in your life, there are many obstacles you’ll face in the road ahead. In order to stick with it and not become frustrated down your chosen path is to remember the most important thing in the next few months is balance. You’ll face great days … and not so great ones. You’ll have major leaps forward … and giant steps back. Yet balance will always keep you in the position to move forward with your dreams.

1. Keep your approach flexible.

The more you predefine your direction, the more problems you are likely to encounter. The key to finding success with your new photography career is to take action on it every day, yet also understand that its hard to predefine in many cases what that action will be.

For example, at one point we made the decision to move our business into the world of boudoir photography. We gained a few clients and loved the results we were getting. Yet the work was hard to come by. Yet the weddings started flowing in. When we really looked at what we loved, what we were good at, and what was working for us, wedding photography kept moving up the list. We adjusted and never looked back.

For you, it could be as small as finding some time to work on your new career. Maybe you’ve decided to work three hours per night during the week. Then your child comes home with an invitation to her band concert on Wednesday night from 7 to 9.

Don’t beat yourself up over having to put your dream aside. Instead, be flexible and fit it in at another point during the week. Maybe you get up early Saturday morning to fit it all in. Maybe you give up Saturday night’s poker game. You can do it if you realize what is important to you. [Read more…]

I Have An Idea … Blink, It’s Gone Forever

I was sitting with a group of friends a while back, enjoying appetizers and a drink as we talked. The place was full and fairly loud, so instead of sharing with the whole group, we each turned and talked one on one with our neighbors. I didn’t know the woman on my right all that well, so we started talking a little about what we do, what we enjoy – you know, the little “chit chat” stuff you talk about when you’re getting to know someone.

I told her about everything I do: photography, writing, books, coaching.

Then I turned the tables and asked her about her life. She has a husband, son in high school, and a job she “hates”, but it pays the bills. Then she opened up about her dreams. She said she’s spent a lot of time dealing with a family situation with her son, and she would love to turn her knowledge into a business. She dreams of writing a book and coaching other families going through similar situations. I saw the look in her eyes. And heard the passion in her voice.

“What’s holding you back?” I asked.

“I just don’t have the time or energy to do it” she answered. “Maybe someday.”

Her story is common. In fact I bet if I asked most people on the street, they would all have a similar story. There is something deep inside that if you put all other things aside, that one thing would be something they would love spending their time doing all day every day.

Let’s look at photographers.

I hear every day from people that would love to turn photography into a career. But something holds them back. It might be family. It might be commitments. It might be a job. It might be money.

Really it could be anything at all.

But in the end, its just a priority. Everything else wins. Photography loses.

“I have to keep my job so I can pay the mortgage” you might say. So you spend more time working for ‘the boss’ and less time pursuing your love of photography. Your priority is the house. Not the photography. Because if it was photography, you would get rid of the mortgage, downsize to a smaller, less expensive place for awhile, and make photography your priority. We did it –

Dig Deeper: If You Don’t Change Today, When Will You?

A couple of years back, I read a story about an old man and a jar of marbles. You may have read it too – if not, I found a copy of it here.

And yes, I have my very own jar of marbles on my shelves at home. I keep it there as a reminder.

My jar of marbles helped me make my decision to sell my home and pursue my love of travel.

My jar of marbles helps me create everything I do within my life.

And my jar of marbles was also there to help me recreate one of my long-term sites, Vision Of Success, to help guide people into What’s Next.

I don’t cross over my sites very much – every site I create is stand alone, and I like people to follow a site because that is the content they are really interested in. Yet today I’m releasing my Vision Of Success site again and I’m excited about it. I’ve written a brand new Kindle book Laptops and Beaches that I used to guide us into our current lifestyle, and wanted to share it with those of you that see photography as more than a career, but also a lifestyle that can allow you to do anything you choose.

So this is my one plug. If you are designing or redesigning your current lifestyle, and need a little motivation along the way, Laptops and Beaches may be the perfect guide for you.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Whatever your idea is, remember, its an important one. Its not something you should put aside and wait for another time to put it into action.

You only have 3900 Saturdays in your lifetime. And because you’re reading this, I know you’ve already used up a good portion of them. Those Saturdays are gone, but you have a whole slew of Saturdays left to go.

If you have an idea, put it into action today.

If You Don’t Change Today, When Will You?

When was the last time you changed?

I mean really changed, not just a little.

I mean stepped completely out of your comfort zone, and did something so radical, when you told people about it they gave you the look … “whaaatttt?”

If you know either Andrew or myself, you probably know we’ve been doing stuff like that for a long time. Trust me when I say our parents gave up a long time ago questioning the way we do things. Just when they are comfortable with what we are doing, we “surprise” them and do something completely new. And sometimes completely off the wall.

When we started up our photography business years ago, we did it on the side for awhile. Until one day we quit it all and worked at it full time. With all of our family completely in the “job” mentality, they definitely questioned our sanity.

Or when we decided to sell our house last summer so we could move into a condo, and travel the world anytime we choose. Our daughter is off to college in a year, and we know travel is more important to us than a large yard that takes a ton of time in the summer months. [Read more…]

Is The “F” Word Creeping Into Your Business and Personal Life?

“Most people die at 20 and live until they are 75.” – Les Brown

I saw this quote the other day and wrote it down to remember it. I have a whole list of quotes I love and look to them often for motivation.

And while I completely agree with this quote, another part of me asked “why”. Why do people give up everything, lose their dreams, and continue with a life they really don’t enjoy?

When I started out after high school, I attended college because my mom said I had to. I didn’t have a goal or a purpose; just my mom behind me saying I had to have a degree. She wasn’t allowed to go to college back in her day because her family assumed she would drop out and get married anyway; why “waste” the money? She always regretted it and made sure her daughters had a degree instead.

So I “fell” into a business degree because I really didn’t know what else to do.

Then I fell into a variety of “jobs”, from banking to accounting to auditing. I never loved it; I just did it. I did get paid very well for what I did. And I also traveled all the time, which I guess is what whetted my appetite for travel. But I just did it all because that’s what you were supposed to do.

Then something happened when I was 28. My dad died of a massive heart attack. It was very quick, no warning. Just here one day, gone the next. He was 54 years old and way too young to die. But he has continued to influence me more since his death than he probably ever did while he was alive. [Read more…]