(Closed) Tips for a new wedding photographer

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
621 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@Anamagana:  My tip for you if you’ve never shot a wedding is to not practice on your friend’s wedding. The best path to learning about wedding photography is to shoot with experienced wedding photographers as a second shooter until you have the equipment, skill, and instinct to shoot on your own. You are opening up a can of worms shooting a friend’s wedding with no experience, i.e. losing the friendship if things go wrong or being sued if things go really wrong (and not just by the couple – you could be sued by anyone at a wedding if they, say, trip over your camera bag or you in some way inflict injury on them).

November 3 at 6pm – is it an outdoor wedding? If so, the sun will be setting around that time (depending on where you are). Do you have the lighting equipment and skill to deal with that or a dark, indoor space? What about all the photos that have to be taken after the ceremony when it’s pitch dark outside?

I know this all sounds harsh but I’m only trying to prevent what I see happening all the time on photographer forums (inexperienced photographers getting sued or worse) and what I see happening all the time here on the Bee (brides being devastated by their wedding photos and it’s too late to go back and do things differently)

Post # 4
2335 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2012

@mariematt:  +1

Aside from what PP suggested, the big things for starting an actual wedding photography business (from a client’s prospective) are to answer emails promptly, have a good website, and keep an updated blog.  Its also a big plus for brides if you have your pricing on your website- at least a starting price point.

Post # 5
13384 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

@mariematt:  Really good advice.

OP, the Bee is full of brides who really regret getting “friendors” or skimping on photography budgets.  It’s really hard to suggets tactics, when most of us are going to be in front of the camera, not behind it.  MarieMatt and a few others share their expertise and opinions with us, but they are all established wedding photographers who give honest and frank advice. This could be a very dangerous undertaking for you, because your friend may not know what she’s getting into.  Not all photography is the same (landscapes and wedding are two different beasts), and it takes training and practice to get it right.

Post # 6
951 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@Anamagana:  I think the best thing you can do is shoot a few weddings for free to build your portfolio and word of mouth. My friend had her wedding done by a relatively new photographer and got a stellar deal as she was still gaining experience.

I’d say spend a lot of time on Pinterest and WeddingGawker and see what types of photos are popular so you can get an idea of what your future clients may like.

In your city, explore and walk around near popular wedding venues, outdoor spaces and downtown to get some ideas for locations and shots you can set up. Ask your friends or family to come and do a few photos of them so you can get practice on interacting with people and guiding them. Try and do some photos at a similar time of day to practice with lighting.

Do you know any photographers or wedding photographers? I have seen people ‘shadowing’ a photo shoot to learn and gain experience. This may be tough to ask someone you don’t know, but if you have a friend of a friend it could be worth asking.

Good luck!

Post # 7
1477 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

OP: Personally, I wouldn’t do it! I agree with mariematt 

Post # 8
388 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

I think it is a good idea if u r on a budget, but (in the nicest possible way) please don’t expect out of this world pictures (unless this woman is actually a born photographer which is always possible!).

I have just been to a wedding and the bride hired someone she works with who is doing photography on the side. After the wedding the bride said she wished the photographer had been more forceful e.g getting people to come and have pictures, telling people where to stand etc. She was too quiet and no one was listening. You really need to listen to what photos they want and then have a voice to get them done and in the time allocated. The bride also said she wanted a bit of direction from the photographer as she didnt tell them where to stand, what to do, how to look etc. They just stood there and she took some photos!

Hope it all works out 🙂 keep us updated!

Post # 9
1314 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2006

@Anamagana:  If you are a friend to your friend, don’t practice wedding photography at their wedding.  If something goes wrong it’s a recipe for a friendship going down in flames.

If you really want to get in to wedding photography, intern or assist a full time wedding photographer.  Be a second shooter for a year.

Shooting a wedding with no experience is like having never driven a car before and getting on a busy LA freeway to learn.

Post # 11
790 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2014

Friends and business usually is a cocktail for disaster. I agree with others and not do it.

Do you have all the proper gear? Do you have two or more bodies? Bodies that work well in low light? Fast lenses? Off camera lighting?

I dont know of any newbies having this much gear.. Not saying you dont but its Very unusual they do..

Post # 12
739 posts
Busy bee

Welcome to the world of wedding photography. If you understand the risks {mostly stated above} and you are confident to move forward this is the best advice I can give you.

Your friend’s wedding:

GET A CONTRACT – spell out every “what if” and have it in writing. Have your friend understand that this is your first time shooting a wedding and she should not have any expectations for results. Make sure you are on the same page and do not lead her to believe anything different. If she is let down you can almost guarantee your friendship will be over. It happens every day.

Looking at pinetrest is not going to help unless you know how to direct those people to do what you want. Remember this isn’t everyday life, people are drinking, have heightened emotions, possibly family drama and the only three people who actually care about the photos are you and the bride and groom {maybe the parents but they are going to be pulled every which way}. You need to know how to take control of a situation and also make good images while doing it.

Know how to use a flash, this is a Nov. wedding and it will be dark, dark, dark.

Make sure to bring backup gear. Camera body, lens, flashes, cards, batteries.

When you get home from the wedding, you are going to be OMG tired, your back and feet will hurt and all you want to do is melt in your bed or couch. Instead you need to upload the photos and back them up to an external HD or DVD immediately. Once they are backed up you can sleep.

Now for my advice on starting your businesses.

If you are serious, you need to apply for a Tax ID and a separate bank account for your business. Do this ASAP. Any money you make or spend goes through that account and you keep records of everything you make or spend. Self Employed are the #1 people to get audited and you could really screw yourself over if they find out you have been making money and not paying taxes on it. Put 1/3 aside of EVERYTHING you make to pay for taxes. You will most likely not end up owing anything the first few years if you are smart and put everything you make back into building your business {equipment, insurance, marketing}.

ALWAYS deliver on your promises. If you tell someone you will have their photos in two weeks have them done do it. Get back to clients promptly.

Always shoot. Everyday you make images you grow as an artist.

Find other photographers in your area, network with them and assist them.

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