How To Start Your Own Wedding Photography Business – Hello! My name is Zach Nichols. I am a professional photographer living in Spokane, WA. I am primarily a wedding photographer, but I also do other types of photography that people need. In my spare time I like to travel and take pictures, which I often post on Instagram. In fact, I think most of you reading this are coming from my Instagram page.
Well, let’s wrap this train up with a very important question… why should you listen to me? If you google “how to start your own photography business” you’ll find endless articles and guides on what people recommend and “guaranteed” “shortcuts” to becoming an award-winning “world-traveling professional photographer”.
How To Start Your Own Wedding Photography Business
I will be the first to tell; Credentials are important. I can say I’m an award-winning photographer (just like everyone else)… or I’m the top wedding photographer on Google for my field. Maybe I could tell you that I was featured in an SLR Lounge article about my travel and wedding photography, or that I booked 21 weddings in my first year and more every year because I was paying more every year, but still, why are you listening to my advice? Experts charge hundreds of dollars for the information I provide in this article, but I want to give it to you because I love giving back to the community. You can take what you want from this article. I wanted to share the seven steps I took when I started my photography business and what I learned along the way to get to where I am today.
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So, do you want to become a full-time professional photographer? First, you’ll need some supplies. The key to getting started is buying cheap gear with the future in mind. Don’t use a credit card to buy appliances, you don’t need much to get started. I started with a Nikon D5300 and a 50mm prime lens. The combo only cost me $500. I bought a refurbished camera and a used lens and they were great to start with. When buying lenses, buy the full-frame versions or buy used because one day you’ll be upgrading to a full-frame lens and you don’t want to waste the money. I actually wrote a great article about the best photography for beginners, check it out in 2020!
Creating a starter portfolio is the best step in starting your photography business. Who hires someone with no experience and no work? What I do and recommend is to take pictures of your friends. If you want to come to the wedding, make models and photo pairs. Practice study angles, position and lighting as you develop your own photographic style. It doesn’t have to be perfect, you just need photos that you like and are happy to show to potential clients or other photographers…speaking of other photographers…which brings us to the next step.
Step 22 – Start your photography business, work with a professional photographer and invest in more equipment.
The first and most important step in starting your photography business is building your business. Once you start making money with photography, you might want to start a business. The easiest and best way to do this is to start an LLC or “Limited Liability Company”. Before you start your own LLC, you may feel bad about your business or your customers. An LLC protects you from losing everything and is instead responsible for your business assets.
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You can also start using depreciation to cover your taxes, which will save you a lot of money in the long run. Starting an LLC early allows you to get used to knowing how everything works so that when you start your business, you don’t have to go from 0 to 100 and learn everything at once. I haven’t done this and wish I did, but hindsight is 20/20.
The best way to get better at something is to learn from people who are better, wiser or more successful than you. This applies to sports, school, business and… photography, so my next step is to work with a professional photographer. “Wait, you said you were going to teach me how to start my own photography business…why am I working for someone else?” Trust me, this is the fastest way to start your business and get a great portfolio. I understand that this is not necessary for all genres of photography, but it is very important for weddings.
Let me start by saying that getting a job as a professional is not easy. Do your research to find the best photographers in your area. Do the same when looking for a professional job. Don’t just work for professionals, look for the best; the style you want to emulate and the style she loves. Oh, and be prepared for most of them to ignore you or not even respond.
That part of my personal journey still hurts a little when I think back. At first I wrote to five different photographers in my area. Can you imagine he was the first one to get back to me? one. What did he want to say? “Thank you for contacting me, but I don’t think your job matches what I’m looking for.” No, “have a nice day, or thank you anyway!”, short, sweet and very impolite. It hurts At this point I made a huge mistake and let pride enter the equation. I was young, I thought I was pretty (I wasn’t) and I was sure someone would want to hire me. So when I faced failure, I gave up. I tell you one of the most important rules as an entrepreneur and professional photographer, don’t let failures or closed doors stop you. Take this as a lesson and use it as fuel to get better and better.
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So how did I become a wedding photographer? About half a year after leaving weddings, one day a Cure d’Alain photographer named Brent Loyenga contacted me and asked me if I wanted to shoot weddings with him. I was amazed. I’ve completely given up on marriages and here’s a guy I’ve never met asking me to work with him (after an interview and a marriage “test”). I met, interviewed and then went to his marriage “trial”. As her second photographer that year, I shot ten weddings and soaked up all the information I could. He told me about his photography business and photography tricks and allowed me to use all the photos he took on my website for my portfolio. It was a great start. That year I bought him a full frame camera and a couple of lenses with the money I earned for the second frame.
So find a professional photographer. The experience and portfolio you can get, I don’t think you can get it in such a short amount of time, especially as a wedding photographer. There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First, don’t pay to learn from an expert. Where I live there are photographers who pay to do this stuff and I’ve always considered it a scam. It will also allow your chosen photographer to use their photos on your website. They may not let you post on social media (Brent was no good), but it’s important to create that on your website because it’s your main place to book your clients.
When you work with a professional photographer and make money for free, you need to buy more equipment. At some point you’ll want to get a full-frame camera (unless the pro you’re working with insists on shooting with it) and some lenses. I am currently working on a blog post
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Hi, I am Erick Norman. A blogger specialist in Kitchen Design.