Wedding Photography Buisness Guide How To Be A Wedding Photographer On Line Photography Degree How To Photograph

Welcome to my web site and page on learning how to be a professional event and wedding photographer. You will read diff rent opinions and ways to learn the skill of shooting a wedding and not crying that you took horrible photos of a brides wedding. I feel confident enough to be able to shot an entire wedding and produce enough quality wedding pictures for the Bride and Groom in three hours and I have in as little as one hour for short ceremonies. the goal is to have the knowledge of how to and when to take great photos. Images that are un obtrusive are nice and photojournalistic are fine also. But when you return the wedding proofs and you don't have a nice image of the Bide and her father or mother you will hear it. . This is why a wedding photographer should have the ability of shooting a traditional and photojournalistic wedding. this way you are covered and your Bride (customer) will love your work and ability to work fast and keep a good pace until you know you have what it takes to design a 35 spread 70 page album.

It is not enough if you can take great pictures of your child or loved ones. You are getting paid to capture a one time event and there are no do over's. First you must have good cameras and gear to cover the event. Second you should go to places where you can watch different photographers shoot a ceremonies. I will get back later on but first read what other photographers have to say.

April 6, 2011  |  Posted by Andy A.S Photography   A Wedding Photographer in the UK. Source

1. Skills? Ok so this keeps popping up in my blog already. If you have any doubt in your photography skills then never take on a wedding day. Master Your skills to perfection before you take the plunge.

2. The right camera. I am a true believer that a great photographer will get results no matter what camera they are using but that is not to say photographers should limit themselves. Modern Brides expect only the best quality for there wedding day so invest in a camera that will help you provide that and not hinder it.

3. The right Lens? Wedding photography can be very demanding and your are often faced with difficult low light. That’s why good quality fast lens are a must. I think VR helps to for hand held shots in the church.

4. Back up. Every camera, lens or flashgun you own needs a back up plan. I carry 2 of everything just incase something breaks or fails. With out a backup you could be left in big trouble should the worst happen?

5. Battery’s. I have an odd obsession with batteries. I am endlessly paranoid about my battery’s dyeing on me during a wedding day and the result of this is I carry hundreds of high quality 2700mah for my flashguns. I also always have my charger running a set either in the car or the reception venue so there is never a chance of running out.

6. Insurance. Photography equipment is expensive but without it a wedding photographer is nothing. In the fast pace of wedding things can and do happen so make sure you have a good business insurance policy on all your gear.

7. More Insurance. Its not just accidents against your gear that need insuring. In this day and age it is very important that you also have Liability insurance for protection from claims arising from injuries or damage to other people or property. While it may never get used more and more people are making claims against business for injury’s and all it takes is for some clumsy so and so to trip over your bag and they have a claim.

8. Portfolio. Who is going to book a wedding photographer without bring able to see what they can do. You should be able to show a wide range of images from multiple weddings. Try and show images in various locations and various conditions

9. Contract. Your booking contract should be watertight. It should outline everything including hours covered, package price, what the package contains, terms of business, terms of booking fee, payment terms if you can think of it then include it. It is worth getting your contract looked at by both a solicitor and your insurance company.

10. Transport. A reliable mode of transport is a must have for a wedding photographer. The last thing you or your customers want is you breaking down on your way to the church.

11. Memory cards. Ever heard of the saying don’t put all your eggs in one basket? While there are plenty of cards out there capable of holding 2000 RAW files what happens if that card is corrupt? You lose all your images. I tend to stick to 4 or 8 GB cards and back up to my laptop any chance I get.

12. A good tripod. A £20 tripod simply won’t do the job. Get your self something with a bit of weight to it.

13. Some guts. Being a wedding photographer is just as much about people management as anything else. Even getting the bride and groom to step away from their family and friends for a few moments for their portraits can be a challenge. Being shy or reserved wont get your anywhere here and you have to be a little bossy from time to time. Don’t forget to always be polite at the same time but assertive.

14. Pressure tested. So the July Wedding you had booked should be easy right. The sun is out with just enough cloud cover that its not to harsh, the venue is perfect, the couple is stunning and everything is perfect….. How often is that really going to happen? The chances are something wont be perfect, it may be a rainy day, your bride may not be as slim as a fashion model or your groom may be camera shy. Under all that pressure you still have to get the shots so make sure you have all possibility’s covered and can perform under pressure.

15. Computer system and storage. IN the past photographers all used macs and the truth is many including me still do. Modern PCs can handle most image processing needs but you will need to invest in something with a pretty high spec. Most importantly spend time and money on a good monitor and color calibration.

16. Image Editing software. Wedding photography does not always have to be edited to perfection and image editing should not be a substitute for good photography but some level or editing skills and the software to do it are a must. Photoshop has always been the industry standard but can take years to master. While many people may think digital editing has made a photographers job easy, the truth is it has opened a whole new set of skills you will need to learn.

17. A Head for business. Being a wedding photographer invoices much more than pretty pictures. You need to become a top business person at the same time. Everything from marketing to accounts will need to be done and records will need to be kept. More hours will be spent on running the business than on the photography itself

18. Marketing. I am afraid to say that simply deciding to be a photographer wont result in a line of clients at your door waiting for you to shoot there wedding. Marketing and advertising is a must especially in the first few years.

19. Website. We live in an age where a good website can make or break any business and wedding photography is no exception. Clients are going to expect you to have a professional website where they can view all your information and even your portfolio. If your not a skilled web designer then invest in a professional service or even try a blog site (like the one your looking at now)

20. A solid workflow. It helps to know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it. Everything from packing your bag to designing the album is going to be done in a certain way. Find the way that fits and keeps your business moving.

As you can see being a professional photographer is a challenge in it self. There is a lot of investment time, money and knowledge. The best way to get wedding photography experience is by working for a wedding photographer for free. Yes for free. If you consider how much a trade school charges to learn a skill it is a bargain to go out on weddings with different photographers and learn there skills. In the mean time you can shot and get to know your gear on the job. Luckily for today's photographers they can see what they are doing in the preview of there digital slr's. This was not available when I was learning. Photographers were far and few in between because of the manual focusing and expensive cameras. the main reason was due to the fact that you got to see your work a week or two later after the film was developed. The digital SLR flooded the industry with people trying to make extra income and be there own boss.

So if you can turn off you viewing screen and shot a wedding and know the wedding images are going to be perfect then you are ready to shot your first professional wedding.

Article by: By Craig Mitchell dyer CA. Source

Step 1:
Get a website. It does not need to be a fancy expensive flash based site, but it does need to have lots of work samples and be SEO friendly. PhotoShelter makes it very, very easy to get something off the ground very quickly. I recommend checking them out and reading everything on the site about what buyers want and SEO, etc. great information. Get a domain name, nobody will take you seriously if your website is a MySpace page or your Flickr account.

Click Here!For a buisness guide to photography.
Step 2:
Get an office. Remember you are a professional. You are a business. You need to act like one. Professionals do not meet people at Starbucks and have an email address that is It doesn't have to be a big place, can be a small little meeting room, you could share it with other professionals to save on costs since you will only be using it for meetings.

I just opened up an office in the OC (aka Orange County, CA) and found a great deal by sharing a small space with a wedding coordinator. My photos on the wall, her décor, we have a shared calendar and it works out great. Remember your competition has cool studios that impress clients, you need one too.

Step 3:
Have sample books. Sure, you have your best work in your portfolio, on your website, but any doctor with a 5D can point it and shoot it and every once in a while get a great shot. You need to prove you shoot consistently and be able to show a potential client a few complete weddings so they can get an idea for your style. These client meetings are so important.

You only have one chance to make then think you are the best in the world. Not the entire world, just their little world. Be yourself, let them get to know the real you. Ask them about their event; let them know you care about them, etc. Help them fall in love with your work. Sample albums are a great way to do this.

Step 4:
Define your style. It is tempting at first to just give people whatever they want and be willing to change your style to match what they want. Don't be tempted to do this. Your style is what will set you apart.

Step 5:
Make yourself unique. What can you do and offer that others cannot? As sports photographers/real photojournalists (I say real because every wedding photographer claims to be a photojournalist these days), we have a great advantage over our competition in that we have seen it all and are prepared for every possible situation.

Things move fast at a wedding, a lot of them are in horrible light, and our experience is invaluable. A wedding moves slow compared to professional football players, etc. Sell that. For me personally, I have really gotten into shooting video. Everyone else in my market thinks it's a waste of time and that is fine by me because it allows me to offer something others do not and sets me apart.

Step 6:
Charge Appropriately. It can be tempting to do something cheap just to get the work. But you're only hurting yourself. Make sure you charge enough. Otherwise you will only bring in more cheap work. If you need stuff for your portfolio, offer to second shoot for another photographer friend to build your book.

Step 7:
Network, Network, Network. No one will know about you if they do not know you. Get out and meet with as many new photographers, florists, coordinators, DJ's and other wedding vendors as you can. Go to networking meetings. Join wedding related associations, such as the Association of Bridal Consultants and the Wedding Photojournalists Association, Digital Wedding Forum, Local Chamber of Commerce, etc. I help co-found a blog co-op of Portland area photographers, we all post to the site and refer business back and forth and to the site itself and it works great, 
good for our individual SEO as well. There are only 52 Saturday's a year. Most photographers book up fast. Other photographers referring each other is the best way to get new business. Make sure you refer people as well.

Step 8:
Gear. OK, so now you are all set. You have done everything you need to book some weddings, you have your first gig, but what to bring? What will you need? Ask this question to 10 photographers and you will get 10 answers, so I will only speak for myself, but here is what you will need. A wide lens (like a 24-70 zoom), a wider lens (16-35 or fisheye), a telephoto lens (70-200, 300), if you can a fast lens like a 50 f/1.4 or an 85 f/1.2, a couple of speed lights, some Pocket Wizards. Light stands and 2-3 camera bodies. Sounds like a lot. But you never know what will happen and it is always good to be prepared and have backups in case the worst happens.

You want to travel light as you will be on your feet a lot, moving around a lot, but you also want to be prepared. Sometimes you will have great light, most of the time you will not. You want to be able to shoot a great image no matter the circumstances. My gear bag for a wedding includes:
2 Canon 5D Mark II
1 Canon 1D Mark IIn
4 Canon Speed lights (2 580EX's 2 550EX)
6 Pocket Wizard MultiMAXes
16-35mm 2.8
15mm fisheye
24mm 1.4

85mm 1.2
50mm 1.8
70-200mm 2.8
300mm 2.8
1.4 extender
2 Digital Camera Battery external batteries for the speed lights
Honl Snoots and Gobos
Gray Cards for custom white balance
3 light stands
Misc. cords for remotes and stuff to make it all work.

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All of this stuff, except the light stands and 300, fits into my Think Tank roller. So I can be pretty mobile with it. With this setup I can travel easily and shoot any possible situation.

I like to light the dance floor at the reception, but I often shoot at high ISO's (Don't be afraid of 3200 and beyond) with low flash output and drag the shutter to not take away from the ambient environment they worked so hard to create. Over than that, I just shoot like I shoot everything else. Football, baseball, breaking news, wedding, I pretty much take the same approach: Watch what is going on, anticipate where the peak moment will be and shoot a sharp well lit picture with a good background.

Step 9:
Workflow/Product. So, now you've shot the event and you have 2000 RAW files to process. My workflow is to ingest all the cards using Photo Mechanic onto my RAID server. I add keywords, captions, website info and my info sing the IPTC pad as they ingest. Then I import the files into Aperture and begin to edit. I do everything as far as color corrections, adjustments, processing, etc in Aperture. Once the files are processed into hi-res jpeg's I upload low-res versions using Photo Mechanic to Photo Shelter and create a link and login on my website for the bride and groom. Family members can also purchase images from the site.

There are a million different products and labs you can use. If you are serious about wedding photography a trip to the annual WPPI convention and trade show in Vegas is worth the trip. You can find everything you will ever need and whole bunch of crap you will not. I use White House Custom Color for proof books and prints and use Asukabook and Laguna Albums for my albums. Other popular companies are Finao, Leather Craftsman, Zookbinders. I have no experience with any of those companies, but they are out there. I also give a DVD of hi-res jpeg's to every one of my wedding clients.

Remember, your customer is always right, even when they are wrong. Whenever you do something for your business, don't think as a photographer think as a customer. How would the customer feel, what would you like as a consumer, etc.

I hope that helps. If you have any other questions about wedding photography, contact me anytime.


Ok you made it this far and you are ready to make the decision. What type of gear do I need? The first thing any Professional photographer should have have are Photo editing skills and a good photo editing programm I use Photoshop CS3, it does the job but CS4 or CS5 is also good if you want to spend the money right now. A good PC and a lap top, with an external hard drive. I use windows and western digital. Windows is fine platform has worked for me and if you want Mac then that good also. but for the price of a Mac you can buy a decent camera.

As a Professional wedding photographer you will need a camera. I am currently shooting with canons 5D mark two's. I would recommend Nikons they are faster and have auto focusing over Canon. Try not to spend 10K at first but a good used set up and see where it goes. Many wedding photographers get burned out and invest heavily on gear, to look good :). Remember your at a wedding function and the caterers want you to keep things cool and make every body happy. So the less you tote around the better. So take it slow. I would defiantly buy a good flash because your light is what makes the shot count. All you need are two lenses an 80 mm f2.8 and a 70-200 f2.8 if you don't have a way of buying f2,8 lenses then go for the fastest one you can. The next lens I would invest in is a fish eye 15mm f2.8, and a 28mm f2.8. A good tripod is a must carbon fibers are light and sturdy, a camera bracket, and of course a camera bag. Once you have these you are ready to shot a wedding. All you need is an 80 mm f2.8 I can shot a 15 hour wedding and the pictures look great you can zoom and crop in photo editing. but a 70-200 is good to have. the other lenses can be purchased as you book more weddings.

So the question is what do you do when you get to the Brides home? The best thing to do is keep it simple at first. One light one camera. Look for a couple of places to photograph the Bride and then her Brides maides and family. Photograph all around the home so you break up the back ground. Always remember you need full lengthes and three quearter images and, close ups of the bride. Keep it simple at first don't be bossy if you need to call a guest ask the bride or a member of the bridal party to call them. USE A TRIPOD it makes your day much easier and you can move around and fix the brides wedding dress and veil and her guests. I see allot of photographers shooting free hand. I always use a tripod and a bracket for steady shots. With a bracket the light is always on top.

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