10 tips to get started as a wedding photographer
Professional wedding photographer career?
Wedding photography is a very challenging and yet, a highly rewarding career option for anybody interested in pursuing photography professionally. Starting off as a wedding photographer there are a bunch of things to look out for. Here, we briefly look at ten of the most important ones.
Wedding photography is a tool heavy genre. Unfortunately, if you don’t have the right tools you cannot hope to deliver great images to your clients. For starters you need at least 2 camera bodies and 3 lenses. Apart from that you will need at least one light which you can control manually.
2. Basic rules of photography
Any photography that you do still requires that you know the basic rules of photography. However, just as it is encouraged to look beyond what you read in a textbook and try and find new and more relevant information, it is okay to break the rules of photography and experiment, to capture more unique photos.
Posing is a very important aspect in the whole scheme of things. As a wedding photographer you will need to direct the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids and the groomsmen so that they don’t pose awkwardly. Evidently, not all poses will work with all body types. If possible, learn how commercial photographers pose their models as well as the many different types of poses that you can work with on a wedding. Another good resource is to check wedding magazines where works done by other professional photographers are published.
4. Inter-personal skills
When working with your couples you have to keep in mind that they are not professional models (not all of them). They don’t know a good pose from a bad one. It is your responsibility to tell them how to pose. This is where you will need to use your inter-personal skills. Breaking the ice is the first step. Speaking with our couple, making them feel comfortable is essential.
5. Shooting alone vs shooting with a team
This entirely depends on your style of wedding photography, i.e.; whether you like to shoot traditional or candid or photo-journalistic etc. As a candid wedding photographer almost all your shots will be unstaged taken at the spur of the moment. But that may serve only one aspect of a wedding album. It also needs the essential shots. That means either you will have to do both, which is obviously asking too much, or take a second shooter.
6. Making a statement with your photo style
A lot of photographers would shoot with a specific lens or from a specific angle or post process in a particular way. This is to convey their signature styles. If you look at some of the contemporary photographers like Moshe Zusman or Mel Digiacomo or anybody else, for that matter, you would notice that everyone’s style is different. As a beginner photographer it is okay to copy someone’s style but only till you find your own style.
7. Setting up lights
Natural light works for most parts when you are shooting during the day time. But artificial lights can really help you to achieve those punchy results. Like if you want to separate your couples from the background (other than using f/2.8 or wider) artificial lights are the way to go. Then again, when you want to capture those beautiful sunsets into the shot and the ambient light fails miserably, artificial lights are the only way to go.
The final touch of your style and your vision is achieved when you take the images you shoot and pass them through your post-processing workflow. While a lot of wedding photographers do employ the method of spray and pray, I pray that you don’t do so. As far as possible get it right in the camera. If you get the composition, the lighting and the posing right, your entire post-processing workflow will be reduced by several hours. Think of it as extra hours to do more photography or fulfill the other obligations of your life.
9. Market yourself
If you do good work, more work will follow via word of mouth. The focus should always be on doing great work. Don’t just think about the pay check at the end of the day. Involve yourself in the actual process of shooting photos. You can literally tell whether a photographer is actually enjoying the shoot or just going through the motions. The results are usually predetermined in such situations. Having said that, you can also start your own website and have printed photo-books that you can show to your clients.
10. Pricing yourself
How do one assess his own price? How do one assess what is one’s worth? How much is a fair price for shooting a wedding which lasts for a single day? The thing is, you need to consider not only price for your investment in your gear, but the market, the competition and what you think your time is worth. Don’t try to charge too less as it can have a detrimental effect on your business prospects.