Breaking Into Wedding Photography- Top 5 Tips
I’ve been working professionally as a wedding photographer for just over 4 years now, but it’s only been the last 6 months that I have been working full time. Like many others entering this field I juggled wedding photography alongside a full time job for quite some time. It got to the point where I simply couldn’t juggle both- I was working 70 hour weeks, and I was rapidly approaching the point of complete burnout. In the end I was made redundant from my full time job, and in retrospect this was just the ‘push’ that I needed!- it saved my health and my sanity!
Whilst I am delighted to have made that jump, I will definitely admit to the fact that I have made lots of mistakes over the course of the last 4 years. So, if I was to give advice to others looking to break into this field, what would that advice be?
Here are my top 5 wedding photography tips:
1. Get yourself a mentor
As much as possible try to learn from the mistakes of others. The best way to do this is to get yourself a mentor that you can learn from, and get feedback from. Ideally find yourself both a photographic mentor and a business mentor; both are critical to your success.
2. Second shoot for a variety of photographers
When I started to shoot weddings I worked as a second shooter for a long-established wedding photographer. And whilst its true that I did learn a lot in the process (and built up my portfolio) I soon found that our shooting styles were incompatible- I loved to shoot with available light, whereas the photographer in question shot everything with on camera flash. In retrospect I should have sought out other professional photographers to also second shoot for. In the process I would have learned a great deal more.
3. Learn about lighting and composition
These are the building blocks of photography, and the more you know about these subjects the quicker you can establish your own unique style, and in the process your own ‘brand’ and ‘look’. This is what sets you apart from all the ‘run of the mill’ wedding photographers, and enables you to command higher fees.
4. Learn all you can about sales, marketing and SEO
The wedding industry is awash with photographers that are incredibly talented, but are very poor. This is because they don’t have the knowledge, ability, or drive to market themselves successfully. Learn as much as you can about the fields of SEO, branding and marketing. I would also advise that you learn about SEO, as this is a great way to generate business. Personally I have always done my own SEO work- it isn’t as difficult as you might think, and you can save yourself a fortune by doing it yourself.
5. Don’t give up
You will make mistakes. You will screw up. And at times you will feel disheartened. But, as long as you have some talent, don’t give up. As long as you learn from your mistakes and are determined to succeed, you almost certainly will.
Matt is a wedding photographer based in Surrey, UK. Along with his wife Brenda, he runs Foden Photography. Their style combined both fine art and documentary style work.