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Having photography as a career or a business puts you in the lucky position of making a living doing something, we assume, that you love.
There are so many options too, such as press photography, sports photography, photographic prints, and of course becoming a wedding photographer.
However, wedding photography as a business isn’t just a case of turning up with your camera and snapping the happy couple.
Choosing to be a Wedding Photographer
Wedding photography has lots of positive aspects to it, such as participating in a couple’s most joyous of days, meeting lots of different people from all kinds of backgrounds, you get to take photographs in some amazing buildings and locations, and if all that wasn’t enough, you get paid for doing it all.
However, there can be some issues which can cause you problems. First, you can’t always predict the weather, which may compromise some of your shots, you are dealing with two families who may, or may not, get along, and most importantly of all, you only get one chance to get it right.
This means if you screw it up, you can’t exactly ask for a re-run, so there’s a significant degree of pressure on you.
First Steps to Becoming a Wedding Photographer
As with any new venture the first thing you want to do is research it. There are countless courses and training material available all over the internet, so make use of it.
Most of all try to get a sense how most wedding photographers plan their day, plan their shots, and also how they deal with scenarios, such as bad weather, difficult clients and the like.
It will also pay dividends if you research your market to see how many wedding photographers there are, and you can also go as far as asking for quotes to give yourself an idea of how much they charge.
You could take this entire research project a step further by contacting some wedding photographers and asking if they will give you any advice on getting started.
The ultimate would be to inquire if any of them would be willing to take you under their wing and allow you to accompany them to weddings they are photographing as a kind of ‘side-shooter’ (literally).
Doing this would allow you to see exactly how they operate during the day, how they communicate with the wedding party, and most important of all would allow you to take pictures by way of dry runs and practice.
Your Equipment as a Wedding Photographer
Hopefully, it goes without saying that be a professional wedding photographer, you are going to need more than your smartphone camera.
You are going to need the very best camera and equipment your budget will allow, which should include multiple lens types, a flash diffuser, tripod, light stands, memory cards, batteries and you might even want to include a spare camera on that list, just in case the worst happens.
Of course, it is not just equipment for taking the photographs you’ll need, but there is also the processing of them thereafter, such as editing and adding effects.
Once you and your clients have agreed on which ones to keep, you then to arrange for them to printed and placed in a wedding album, so you will have to secure the services of a processing company who can fulfill this for you.
Running Your Wedding Photography Business
Whether you plan to operate under your own name or a company name, you should set up a simple website which can be used for potential clients to contact you, give a full rundown of the services you offer, and most important of all, displays your portfolio.
Until you get your first client you might not have a portfolio of wedding images, so include any high-quality images you have of other subjects.
You could offer to photograph your first couple of weddings for a highly discounted fee in order to get those initial portfolio images.
Apart from your website, there are many other ways to promote your wedding photography business. Advertising locally is an obvious one, and you should also be on the lookout for bridal fairs where you can have stands with examples of your wedding photographs.
One of the most effective ways to get clients is to network with other businesses and services which a bride and groom are likely to need and offer them a mutually beneficial split both ways for recommendations.
Wedding cake shops, bridal shops, gents’ outfitters, wedding car companies, and wedding caterers are the prime ones to approach.