So you got a sweet camera. And you just opened it up and started taking a few pictures.
After a couple of days or so after taking pictures of your cat and your brother and anyone else you can take pictures of, you decide to open a photography business.
To be official you start a Instagram account and a Facebook page for your photography.
After you get some shoots, you think you are ready to earn some "big money" and shoot a wedding?
That's how I started my business too.
But let me caution you after doing this for six years about all the different things that you're going to see in your path before you try to jump all the way into the business of photography.
I'm going to ask you a series of questions in this post. Then I'm going to answer the question with some real life experiences from my business.
Alright are you ready?
You might want to get coffee and get some coffee before delving in- just warning you!
What does it take to do wedding photography?
Wedding photography can be highly profitable but I do warn you that you need to know a lot about advanced camera features. You need to be on your feet for over 12 hours with little to no water and little to no potty breaks.
You have to be the first one there in the last one to leave. You Gotta know about natural light, artificial light, fluorescent light and off-camera flash.
You gotta know how to do product shots, family portrait shots, bride and groom shots, low light shots, and candid shots all in one day.
You have to be the secret wedding planner if the bride and groom doesn't have anyone.
You got to have at least three lenses and the knowledge of how to use your camera manually. Auto will not cut it. The kit lens will not cut it. Your camera you bought at Best Buy will not cut it- because it's not made for low light settings.
All of this gear- lighting, flashes, cameras, lenses- it all take money- like A LOT of money (like over $5,000 minimum).
Yes, you can do a wedding without all the fancy gear- but you run the risk like me- to have rain at your outdoor wedding and everyone has to be in a tiny garage with 75 people and only candlelight. (This really happened to me!)
Or this horror story- it's sunset and you're wedding is running behind and all your photos have to be in a pitch-dark lawn of the hotel.
If you become the wedding photographer you have to think of every possible situation and what you need to bring as a back up.
For example, when your camera and lens drops right in the middle of the first dance on the floor? (Happened to me!)
Or what if your memory card blows in the middle of family portraits? (That happened to me too!) Do you have a second memory card as a back up, just in case you need to recover files.
What if the bride and groom request that you cannot use flash the entire wedding? (True story)
What if you have to stand outside of the entire ceremony because you're not allowed to come in and take pictures? Do you have a long enough lens for that? (Another True Story)
What if you're only given 10 minutes for bride and groom shots? Do you know enough about posing to get over 50 images in 10 minutes? (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?)
What if the hotel has a very very yellow shade to it? What were you doing Cameron to make sure that you're photos don't make your people look so Orange?
How do you handle people at your wedding that want to take photos with their own cameras?
Do you know how to take group shots of 14 members of the bridal party in 10 minutes?
What if you pass out in the middle of the ceremony and fall into an uncle? (Yep, this was me, 3 months pregnant).
Do you have the legal safeguards to make sure that you are not sued and if you are it will be against your business and I guess your personal assets or family?
Do you have a specific and wedding workflow so that you can get over 1000 images edited within a few days? (I get mine done within a few days there should be no excuse).
Alright that is just question number ONE. Are you ready for number two?
How do I get a steady stream of clients?
Photography is straight hustle and hard work.
In order to be successful photographer in these digital days you have to be above and be on everyone else that has a camera.
You got to go the opposite direction of what they're doing.
If you people are offering natural light wedding outside with 200 images- you got an offer images that they could never get with just a standard camera.
Your editing has to be on point and consistent with your brand. You can't be having all these crazy sepia edits in every single photo. You can't be doing all these crazy trendy things if it doesn't match your style and your brand.
You got to learn how to leverage social media, design, web management and other things to promote yourself and your brand.
You got a pass out business cards Like it's your job. You gotta make cheerleaders everywhere you go so they can talk about you everywhere they go.
How do I learn how to do everything?
But the best way to learn is to shadow someone for a few weddings. Carry their bags for them and learn how to do what they do!
I would love to answer any questions or even to skype with anyone that needs help.
Marshall Arts Studio is a Photography and Graphic Design Team in Chesapeake, VA.
We serve families, students and couples with amazing images that will be cherished forever. We would love to work with you! Contact us below to get in touch with us!
Also, 10% of our proceeds goes to building fresh water wells in South East Asia through our Water. Life. Love. Project. Check out the details here: www.waterlifelove.com.
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