How To Become a Professional Wedding Photographer
Whether you want to know how to become a professional commercial photographer or how to become a professional photographer in general, the quickest way to start making money with your camera may be wedding photography.
The goal behind this 14 tutorial was to create the most comprehensive resource on everything it takes to create compelling wedding images as well as the tools needed to start and run a successful wedding photography business. No matter if you are brand new to photography or if you are already shooting weddings professionally
Why Wedding Photography?
As we explain in the promo video above, wedding photography pretty much fell into both of our laps. I believe many photographers have the same wrongfully biased opinion about wedding photography as I did when I first picked up a camera. The idea of dealing with dramatic bridezillas, going hours without food or drink, and having to take cheesy photographs all day was not my idea of a good day at work.
The most interesting thing about wedding photography is that there is a market in every single city. I believe wedding photography offers an amazing opportunity for anyone interested in photography as a hobby or career; through wedding photography, you can become 100% self employed as a full time photographer!
goal with this tutorial isn’t to make everyone a millionaire or turn you into some sort of rockstar wedding photographer. I aren’t either of those things. What want to teach you is how you can take better photographs, start your own business, and hopefully shave off at least three years of trial and error during those initial startup years
TIPS WHEN PLANNING A WEDDING TIMELINE
LEAVE A CUSHION
The biggest mistake I see couples make is running their timeline to the minute. When Planning a wedding timeline leave a cushion. I consider weddings to be organized chaos. A day full of love, tears, and excitement – mix in a little alcohol and there you have it, organized chaos. Something always comes up and it will, I promise.
Make sure you plan for travel time. Not only for you but for your photographer and other venders that have to travel to multiple locations. While you can just walk out of the hotel, church or into your reception, it takes your photographer time to pack everything up, get to the car, drive to the next location and unpack the gear to be ready for the next shoot.
When planning a wedding timeline remember every season has it challenges. Some weddings have to deal with the heat, cold, rainy season and humidity, but they all have one thing in common, sunset. The most flattering light of the day is what photographers refer to as “Golden Hour” which happens about an hour before sunset. So, when planning your ceremony, if you want to be shooting in that beautiful light, be familiar with sunset time. If you are having a winter wedding, remember sunset can happen as early as 4:30. So if you are ceremony is at 6pm in the winter it will be limited to inside photos after the ceremony.
DESIGNATE A PHOTO WRANGLER
This could be one of your best decisions and this person could save your timeline. Your photographer will not always know the faces of all the people on your formal shoot list but a family member or friend that knows them is priceless. As your photographer is shooting one group, the Wrangler can get the next group ready. This way you can shuffle through them quickly, organized and stay on schedule.
ESTABLISH A WEDDING WEBSITE
This one takes a little more work for you on the front end when planning a timeline, but will save your sanity by not have to answer the same phone call from all your family and friends. Here your guests can find all the information they need about your wedding day as well as nearby hotels, restaurants, and things to do when not at your wedding.
WHAT A FIRST TIME WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER NEEDS TO KNOW
The news that you are photographing your first wedding often leads to emotions ranging from excitement to apprehension, and in some cases, fear. Assuming you have experience with your equipment and have developed the necessary skills to take great photographs, the wedding event has a greater likelihood of being a successful one if you follow some key steps.
BEFORE THE WEDDING
Proper preparation before the event is the best way for a photographer to have a successful outcome. I spent several weeks before my first wedding visiting other photographers’ web sites. I read books on wedding photography, and I researched photography blogs and forums. It is amazing how much information is available for little or no charge. These tips and photographs can inspire you and get you thinking about what you want to accomplish and how you are going to make it happen.
It is important that you have a standard written agreement that is signed by the bride- and groom-to-be and the photographer. There is no excuse for not having this document in place. It should describe the deliverables and the fees associated with the service and products. It should also include a model release so you can use the photos for promotional purposes. It is highly recommended that you contact an attorney and draft a standard agreement that protects you.
At the time of signing the agreement, there are two other opportunities to enhance the process. First, get to know the bride and groom. Spend some time chatting so you will know their story and they will know you. When the wedding day comes, they should feel comfortable with you so their true personalities will shine. If possible, include a no cost or low cost engagement shoot so everyone can gain even more of a comfort level. It is a good opportunity to give them some posing tips that they can use on their wedding day
It is also imperative to know the schedule. When you are meeting with the bride and groom, go over the agenda for the time you are expected to be at the wedding. Get to know their expectations. Let them know when you expect them to devote time to photographs with you in charge. This is a good time to talk about a wedding coordinator. If they will designate a friend or family member that will help the you identify important family members during the wedding day, it can be a tremendous help.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR COUPLES
Introduction to wedding photography tips
Every time I meet with a couple for a conversation about their wedding photography I inevitably offer some suggestions that they could make during their preparations that will help me do my job more effectively. I have accumulated a wealth of experience over the years and enjoy sharing it with the couples that make time to discover my unique style of wedding photography. Several months ago, I realised that I am often repeating the same wedding photography tips from meeting to meeting and decided to formalise the suggestions in one central repository for easy reference and sharing. These wedding photography tips are by no means comprehensive, although that is my ultimate aim; they will be edited and improved upon as new ideas come to mind. Much like the wedding photography FAQ, you should consider this document a continuous work in progress.
The purpose of wedding photography tips for couples
The goal of this article is to help you help me deliver outstanding wedding photography by putting together an awesome, efficient, and beautiful wedding celebration.
As a documentary wedding photographer, I can only capture what I see unfolding before my eyes because my influence over the images is limited to angle, the field of view, focus, and timing. It is your duty to plan and design your wedding with the purpose of excellent images in mind, precisely because I do not rearrange trinkets, decorations, or furniture, or interrupt couples during touching moments with prompts to move here or stand over there. Despite that, I have no qualms about dispensing advice leading up to your wedding. The purpose of this article is not to make my job easier – in fact, I work harder when given more creative opportunities by thoughtful wedding planning – but to provide you with as much helpful information as possible so that you can help me deliver the best looking unposed photojournalistic wedding photography
Get your wedding photographer to capture you getting ready and preparing
Whenever I meet with couples whose fixed wedding photography budgets mean they have to decide between photographic coverage earlier in the day (preparations and getting ready) or later in the evening (once the dance party gets started), I always recommend they choose the former. There are many more touching and emotional moments happening at the beginning of the day than towards its conclusion. Once the dinner, speeches, and cake-cutting traditions are over, and the dancing (and drinking) has started, the utility of having a dedicated wedding photographer on site decreases dramatically. There are two main reasons for this. First, with a few rare exceptions, the schedule for this part of the night no longer has any earmarked events, traditions, or ceremonies to behold. The nighttime revelry rarely yields more than a handful or two of unique photographs, after which you quickly get diminishing returns.
Choose unique lodging
Couples that opt to have an overnight stay at a hotel on the eve of their wedding should consider upgrading their accommodations to lodgings with personality. Because conventional hotel rooms are designed to appeal to the greatest number of people, they strictly adhere to the same set of uninspiring interior design and layout tropes, and this bleeds into your photographs. Most couples understand the importance of selecting a unique venue for their reception, but often overlook the importance a distinctly beautiful location contributes to preparation photography.
Ultimate Guide to Wedding Photography
If you are interested in photography or even work in the photography business, then you have most probably stumbled across wedding photography already, since this genre is becoming more and more popular. I would say wedding photography is one of the most challenging fields in photography, because you literally have only one chance to get the shots that you want.
I have been photographing weddings for around 7 years now. Over the years, I have learned a lot – sometimes the hard way, through many mistakes. In this wedding photography tutorial, I’ll share with you some of my experiences, important advice and wedding photography tips to ensure that you’ll be well-prepared for the most important day in the life of the people you are going to photograph.
What is Wedding Photography?
So, let’s have a closer look at what your actual task is, if you are booked as a wedding photographer. Of course it’s about taking the best pictures possible of the whole day. This includes getting ready with the bride, the ceremony, a wedding shoot and the party.
While the wedding shoot is the only part of the wedding that you can actively control, the other parts are more like a reportage. Your job is to take pictures of what is happening in front of your lens, without interrupting anything. Nothing is worse than a photographer trying to get people to pose for the camera during a wedding. Always try to stay invisible and let people act naturally. Don’t make them feel watched. That’s how you’ll usually arrive at the best shots.
What Equipment do you Need to Photograph a Wedding?
There are no fixed rules for what camera gear you will need to bring to a wedding day but some parts of the equipment are obligatory, while others are more optional. First things first, let’s have a look at the most important things in your camera bag.