Everything You Need to Know About Being a Wedding Photographer
When it comes to starting a wedding photography business, there are a few things you should know. If you’re wondering how to be a wedding photographer, these are the tips you need to know about becoming a full time professional. Let’s get down to the basics of everything you need to know about professional wedding photographers.
I share a few affiliate links in this article to things I’m genuinely passionate about as a wedding photographer.
Let’s get this out of the way: becoming a full time wedding photographer is hard. Starting a business in any industry is difficult. Moving from a 9 to 5 job to a freelance life takes a lot of transition. You must be able to calculate your cost of doing business and book enough weddings to sustain yourself as a full time wedding photographer.
When you go to start your wedding photography business, it’s likely you won’t be making the leap from a full time job immediately. But when you keep shooting weddings and building up your business, taking the leap into full time wedding photography becomes more likely.
When it comes to small businesses, you must be able to learn about the financial side as well to be able to survive. Many creatives aren’t inherently invested in the business side of things. As a wedding photographer, you must be able to manage both sides of your business.
Before you jump into photographing weddings, you should assist and second shoot beforehand. That way you can serve potential clients with the best possible experience as a wedding photographer. When you’re photographing a wedding, you’re capturing someone’s lifelong memories. It’s important to train and make sure that you can serve them with the best experience.
Some photographers even start off by offering a free wedding shoot to friends and family. That way you can gain the experience without as much at stake. When family and friends agree to let you photograph to build your portfolio, you don’t have money or a reputation at stake.
As a wedding photography business owner, you’re going to be wearing a lot of hats. One of these hats is learning to market yourself as a wedding photographer. It’s one thing to build up an amazing portfolio, but it doesn’t mean anything if you can’t attract new clients. There are several ways to market your photography business for free or affordably online.
Creating social media channels for your wedding photography business can be pivotal to success. Sharing your work on social in the right ways will allow you to organically be found by new clients. Some of the best social platforms for photographers include Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and TikTok. Make sure to keep your brand as a wedding photographer separate on social so your expertise shows through to potential clients.
My favorite social media scheduling tool is Tailwind to ease the burden of running social channels. Tailwind allows me to schedule my Pinterest and Instagram posts in bulk ahead of time, so I can batch the content and forget about it.
Blog content can be essential to your wedding photography business. Optimizing your blog content for search engines can make your site rank higher, allowing you to be found by more potential clients. If you write a great article on local wedding planning, you can attract several new customers with your content.
For those who are not terribly keen on writing blog posts as a wedding photographer, I use Grammarly to help out when writing. It’s an easy Chrome extension that will catch those little things you may not notice.
There are plenty of options when it comes to paid advertising. One of the most popular spots to advertise wedding photography is Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads also connect to Instagram, making a rounded marketing campaign on the two platforms. You can also consider Google Ads for your business, something we chat about in-depth on the Photo Opp Podcast with expert Deirdre Andrews.
Networking with others in your market will allow your business to thrive. Wedding photography is an inherently local business, so building a community with other vendors is important. Planners and venues are especially important to network with as a wedding photographer. You must be sure to build a personal relationship with the vendors you reach out to.
Cold emails and cold calls aren’t necessarily going to work when it comes to networking with vendors. You must make sure to let them know you are genuinely interested in their work and impressed with what they do. Find organic opportunities to meet other vendors like networking events.
When it comes to other photographers, community will always beat competition. Other photographers can be an amazing source of referral business. There may be some days that a photographer can’t take on in their schedule. If you befriend other photographers, they’re much more likely to recommend you.
Look into other photographers whose work you admire. Reach out and have a coffee, and build up an authentic relationship with each other. When a bride or groom reaches out to you to inquire about a date you’re not available for, recommend your new friends and let the client know to let the photographer know who referred them.
Show that your business has unique value in your area. Wedding photography is a very saturated market almost everywhere you go. Whether it’s a specific photo editing style, a unique skill set like video, or a distinctive shooting style, you must figure out what makes you different. Market yourself as a wedding photographer based on your unique value proposition.
If you’re looking to keep educating yourself and build new unique skills, try Creative Live. There are tons of wedding photography classes available for you to better yourself as a photographer and set yourself apart from others in your area.
Many photographers struggle with the constant need to acquire new gear. As a wedding photographer, you don’t need all the photography equipment. That being said, having the right gear does help. If you can’t afford to purchase a bunch of photo equipment, however, you can consider renting equipment for weddings.
When you figure out your wedding package pricing, if you rent equipment often for certain weddings, you can also bake it into the cost of that package. For example, if one package has a videography addition, you can bake rental costs into that package price. Try out BorrowLenses for photo equipment rentals delivered right to your door – it’s my favorite service for renting.
The most important part of being a wedding photographer is delivering an amazing experience. That all comes down to how you are serving clients as a small business owner. Every bit of experience you can bring to the table matters. Running a wedding photography business has a lot of moving parts, but with the right tools, anyone can grow and scale.