So you want to become a wedding photographer. You want to shoot beautiful weddings, travel, work from home, the whole nine yards! Honestly, I wanted that too! I also wanted to be my own boss, set my own schedule, and have a job that allowed me to create. So about two years ago I set out to get this dream going!
I learned a lot both through experience and through online education. There is so much to cover and I plan on breaking more of this down in future blog posts, but I wanted to share my top tips for becoming a wedding photographer. As this series continues I’ll link each new post into this post so you can find everything easily! Let’s get into it. 🙂
Tip 1: Camera basics
This goes way back to the very basics of photography. Knowing how to use your camera. I’m taking knowing your ISO, Shutter speed, f-stop, white balance, focusing, all that. There are so many FREE resources on youtube that’ll teach you real quick on what lenses to buy and what settings to use.
For me, I started out with a Canon Rebel t3i and a $180 50 mm 1.8 lens. Then I upgraded after my first wedding to a Canon 70d, but kept the same lens. Now I have two Canon 5d Mark iii’s the same 50mm 1.8 a 100mm Macro lens, and a 24-70 lens.
A quick note: The equipment does not make the photographer. Knowing your settings and knowing what you need to do to get the look you want is sooooo much more important than buying nicer lenses. Like they make a way more expensive 50mm lens that’s also amazing, but I love the one I have and I know how to make it work well for me!
I do recommend getting a camera with dual card slots (and shooting raw on both) once you start shooting weddings alone. This just allows extra protection for your photos.
Tip 2: Build your portfolio
This one you’ll hear a lot. Go and second shoot and then use that to build your portfolio. This can be easier said than done. A lot of established photographers get a lot of people reaching out to them and asking if they can second shoot. I get wanting to ask someone whose very experienced, but know it might be harder.
I actually recommend asking another newer photographer. I first second shot with my friend who had been shooting by herself for only maybe 2 weddings. I second shot 3 weddings with her, and 1 with another friend and used those to book 10 weddings the very next year (aka my first year).
Another way to build your portfolio is to go out and shoot! I shot friends, pets, and things I was doing. I also practiced shooting rings and details by taking out my own jewelry and shooting that!
Tip 3: Use your portfolio to its full potential
This one is so so so important. Once you have the work and at least some experience, next you to make it all work for you! You are going to want to post on Instagram and Facebook and post a lot on Google My Business. You want to show the world all of your work so that they know you exist! I’ll go into marketing more in another blog post soon, but MARKETING IS KEY.
You’ll want to make blog posts about the specifics of that wedding, then use those photos in other blog posts too! The more you can use your portfolio the better. You’ve already proven you can take beautiful photos, you just need to show them off to help you get more work.
Tip 4: Have a business name and website
So you are going to want to set up your name and website. For name ideas, I recommend using either your first and last name or first and middle name. Why? Because since this is a very one on one industry, having it be personal to start can be very helpful! The name Alyssa Joyce Photography sounds more personal than Pretty Southern Photography.
Personal branding is really really helpful in this industry!
You are also going to want a website (with a domain name that matches your business name). So using myself for example I decided what my business name would be and then right away went and bought my domain.
Domains are not expensive at all and you just renew once a year! I use google domains to buy mine, just so I can keep track of them better. There are cheaper places, but remember they are also hosting your domain. So make sure you trust them. You can also switch who hosts your domain. I actually bought mine on wix, but then switched it to Google. It’s a bit of a pain to do it that way, but there are a lot of guides out there to help with that.
Tip 5: Create a brand around your business.
You want to be known for something. You want to have a look and feel that if someone were to even take a glance at your website they would know it’s you. Branding is really what’s going to help separate you from all other wedding photographers. Not necessarily your editing style or your photos.
The way I edit is really not super super unique. The way I guide and pose my couples is kinda special, but the way I brand myself is what’s really going to be the most memorable part.
And the biggest reason is it’s based on me! It’s based on colors I like, things I say, activities and things I like to do. It helps me be relatable to potential clients. (And it’s also based on my ideal clients!)
If you are like “but what if that turns people away?” Good. If you are marketing to everyone, you are marketing to no one!
So I’m gonna end it here for now! If you’re feeling like wait I need more, don’t worry! I will be creating more posts going into a lot more details about how to become a wedding photographer soon.