Back in 2011 I made a decision that would change my life forever. I left behind my academic career, the only way of life I had ever known and made the leap into wedding photography. I wouldn’t say it was a leap of faith, with closed eyes, I knew what I was doing, what I wanted but I had so much to learn. Up until that point I had only ever brought my point and shoot camera to friends & family weddings, nothing on the scale I was about to embark on!
At this time of year, as we all make new years resolutions, set goals for ourselves and aim to make dreams happen, I am often asked by others “How can I do the same, how did you do it?” How did
I make such a huge shift and leave behind my lecturing career for an ideal job, that was so different?
At the time I don’t think I thought about it too much, or else I may never have done it! But now, upon reflection I would like to share with you my 3 biggest pieces ofadvice that I could share with any new wedding photographer
1. know what you want and plan how to get there
In some ways I had a good head start. I had already studied photography as an outlet whilst
I was studying for my PhD in Politics. I had a certain level of technical know-how to build on
and refine and for me my biggest challenge was how to run a photography business. I had never properly studied business before unless you include accountancy at school! In order for the
photography side of my business to grow I needed to nail the business side of things first. I
spoke and met with as many people as I could in the wedding industry. Luckily my boyfriend knew a few people & I met with them to ask how they got started, what they would
recommend from experience in terms of marketing and I followed their advice.
So get out their, meet with wedding photographers. Ask them how you should market yourself), who should you advertise with, what wedding fayres are good in your area, how do they structure got their pricing. Gather all the information together and work out your plan of action. Of course you will meet some people who won’t want to help you.. But you will also meet wonderful people who will remember what it was like when they started out.
2 Second shoot with Other photographers
You might have an excellent understanding of how your camera works or how to run a business
but actually photographing a wedding is a whole new experience! Knowing the order of the day, pre- empting where you need to be and what happens next is vital for you to photograph a wedding professionally and to cover all aspects of the day for your couple. For me at the start, I found photographing in the church a challenge. You can’t move around too much and make noise, so you really need to think quickly on your feet and know where to be at the right time.
Of course at the start t really did feel the pressure, athtough I didnt show it (that is important too)! To gain experience I asked to shoot with other photographers I admired, and I learned so much observing what they did, how they did it and when. I assisted them for as long as it look for me to know I could now do it on my own. My work was improving and so was my confidence. I decided to book my first
wedding for 8 months away, anything sooner and I wouldn’t have been ready and it would not have been
fair to my couple nor me. But you do have to set yourself a deadline and go out on your
own or else you might never do it!
3 Produce a sample album of your work
This is probably the biggest piece of advice I could give you starting out. It is the main thing that helped
my wedding business grow to almost 30 bookings in my first year. It was so valuable to have a physical representation of my work when couples emailed and arranged to meet up & for when I was at
wedding fayres in my fast year. Most couples will decade to include an album in their package and realistically they like to be able to see the album they will get, as well as see your work in print
across a complete wedding. So I strongly suggest you take one of the weddings you second shoot at
and make a wedding album (with the photographers permission of course!)
So, there you have the 3 things I did at the start of my wedding photography business to set
a firm foundation for the years ahead. I hoped you enjoyed reading this and feel free to leave any comments or ask any questions below.