I can talk on this subject for days, really, I could! But what I feel is most important to know is this…
The world has space for you.
How do I know this?
- Because it’s YOU we’re talking about
- People have been getting married for centuries, and they’re gonna keep getting married – there is no shortage of people getting married.
What you need to know before becoming a wedding photographer, is that the world has space for you.
Let me elaborate.
If what they told us in school was true (you are special, you are unique, there is only one of you in the world) then it stands to reason that ‘The bride’ is also unique and special.
This means that every person getting married has their own set of needs and their own idea of what they want from a photographer.
‘The Bride’ is not a species of female who morphs into a crazy person once a ring is placed onto her finger (I despise the person who came up with the title Bridezilla). She had likes and dislikes before the wedding, and while she might spend a lot of time getting distracted by Pinterest, she had opinions and tastes before becoming engaged.
She may have always liked organza bows on the back of plastic chairs.
Great. That’s her style.
Well, the same goes for you.
You might LOVE hiking up mountains and photographing people in front of waterfalls while your fingers get stiff from the cold and your gear gets wet from spray. You probably describe your style as ‘boho’, ‘authentic’, ‘capturing the real moments’. Maybe you’re even wearing a beanie right now and brewing some coffee that you bought while on a yoga retreat.
Similarly, you might love posing couples like vogue models on a sand dune with their lips pouted and veil blowing in the wind while her partner stands solemnly behind her, looking off into the distant.
Now if you’re this kind of photographer, you probably describe your style as ‘high end’, ‘commercial’ and ‘high-fashion’.
This is OK. You get to be any kind of photographer you want to be!
WHY? Cos there are SO MANY DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN THE WORLD! Becoming a successful photographer comes down to being who you really and truly are, marketing yourself as such, and then booking clients who believe in what you do.
And it can be done. I’m living proof. I ain’t no boho photographer – never photographed a bride with a donkey or anyone in front of a waterfall. I’ve never been to Iceland or photographed an elopement in the rain.
But I HAVE shot 160 really wonderful weddings with some really happy people in some truly beautiful places and my life feels rich because of these experiences.
Be who you really and truly are, market yourself as such, and then book clients who believe in what you do.
If you ACHE to be a wedding photographer, I’m here to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT. There are resources online to help you improve your technique, there are ways to gain experience in the field before booking your own weddings, there are people out there who will appreciate your art and pay you money to shoot their wedding.
You – can – do – this
Here are my 3 tips for getting started as a wedding photographer.
Assist – network – practice
- Assist (for free if necessary)
Reach out to photographers who you admire and offer to assist them for free. He/she will be happy to save having to pay an assistant and you can learn while watching them work. Not only will this give you the opportunity to practice your shooting, but you will learn about the flow of a wedding day, about managing personalities and about how to pose couples.
Get to any event where you’ll have the opportunity to network with photographers as well as other wedding industry professionals. Once you have made contacts, reach out with a friendly hello email. Make friends with people who are in a similar stage of business. The support from friends who are going through the same things as you will be invaluable. Also, you might go on to refer overflow work to one another. There are only so many weekends in a year to shoot, so ‘sharing’ clients will benefit you both and get you more bookings.
Whenever you get the opportunity – shoot. Grab some friends, friends of friends or maybe even contact a modelling agency and look for models in need of updated photographs. Shoot and share, shoot and share, shoot and share. The more practice you get, the more confident you’ll become and the more you share, the better chance you’ll have of your work being seen and appreciated.