Six Way to Break into the Wedding Industry
Becoming a wedding photographer in today’s industry is hard not only by the efforts it takes to get into the industry, but by remaining noticed amongst the rest. There are so many wonderful parts of a wedding day. From telling a story to meeting fabulous people to capturing every moment to last forever. It’s a tough business, but the rewards far outlast the obstacles. When I first got into the wedding industry, I was terrified. I would sit up the night before nearly in a cold sweat thinking and anticipating what was to come the next day. It was certainly a moment in my life where I had to shove myself out the door. I look back on those days and realize it wasn’t that I knew I couldn’t show up and capture beautiful images, it was my fear of failure in the wedding industry. I have learned many things along the way, but note that I am still learning everyday. As I look back on my journey, I have found that six principles have gotten me this far. While everyones journey is different, I feel if taken and molded into your own, these too will help mark your path along the way.
1. Gain Experience
Experience is curtail in any business you dive into, but truly as a wedding photographer having the experience of working with people, time lines, and most of all your camera is key. First, you must know your camera, a wedding day moves quickly and it’s important that you are able to stay on top of your camera in different lighting, circumstances, and environments. Just as important, is to be experienced with the ins and outs of a wedding day. There are so many special moments in a wedding day that it’s key to plan, be flexible, and know how to keep your cool. The best way to gain this experience and feel the flow of a day is to be a second shooter. I, as many other wedding photographers have done and still do is second shoot. This takes some of the pressure off you to focus on learning, watching the main photographer, and most of all building your portfolio. When I first started, I had a couple of opportunities to work with some great photographers. Through this experience, I saw different techniques and learned what worked and what didn’t for me and my style. I also was able to see how a wedding day flowed and where to be in the most important moments of the day. Just like any business you want to be knowledgeable and confident in what you are doing so that your clients trust that you are able to handle their day!
2. Define Yourself as a Photographer
Defining yourself as a photographer in this industry is huge. There are so many great photographers, that it’s important to be seen amongst the rest. Be unique, different, and especially YOU. I know many of us compare each other’s work and styles and while it’s good to be inspired, your style remains yours and will never be duplicated by others. When a bride sees your work or notices your personality, it’s because she connects with you and how you see your images. If this wasn’t the case, then a couple would not be contacting you to share their special day with. This being said, find a way to showcase not only your work, but your personality in an online portfolio. Whether that’s through a website or blog, make sure that it has your branding, personality, and unique touch written all over it.
3. Find Your Workflow
I will be the first to admit that I am still mastering my workflow, but if there is anything that is going to keep you in the wedding industry other then your passion, it’s going to be your workflow. Editing can be tasking and time consuming. So consuming that many photographers end up finding themselves burnt out and leaving the industry within a few years. Those who have been able to hold on were able to find a workflow that was not only quality driven, but suited them for their workflow style. There are many tools in photography for you to utilize. My personal editing process is to backup, render, select, and process through bridge and photoshop. Others, may use lightroom and/or a combinations of the two. Whatever your workflow, make sure it works flawlessly for you.
4. Know Your Market
Knowing your market is another great key into the industry. If you live in a large city you know that your market will be not only be priced differently, but also feel differently then a small town or urban setting. Pricing your market is important because being overpriced could be overlooked by some and being underprice could be seen as unexperienced. Not only knowing your market in price, but knowing who your potential clientele is always very important. If you’re wanting to market to a particular bride, be creative and savvy in the ways you reach out to your clients.
5. Build Relationships
Hands down the biggest component into the wedding industry. A bride will almost always listen to their friends and family members when recommending a photographer for their wedding day. When building relationships remember that people will always remember their experience with you. If they had a terrible one, they will let others know. This is where you want to take the time to get to know your clients, communicate with them, and most of all make them feel as special as they truly are. Other important relationships to build in the industry are with your wedding vendors. If a couple has not been recommended by friends or family the second referral will come from the people who have worked directly with you. These people are your wedding planners, venues, florist, and caterers. Trust me, build as many relationship big or small, because you never know who will be referring your name.
6. Be Passionate for the Industry
If you’re not passionate about what you are doing, DON’T DO IT!! When a person is passionate and loves what they are doing, it will show and others will notice. Passion will also always shows in your images and keep you connected with your eye behind the lens.To keep your passion, challenge yourself to continue learning and staying connected with the reasons why you entered the wedding industry in the first place. My passion has always been by following my heart, and it has truly kept me in love with photography and sharing it with others.
This article was written by Stephanie Reeder. She says: I am not an expert on anyone’s journey other then mine, but I hope that this helps generate your direction in getting started. I am always open to help others and share thoughts, stories, and ideas with those who are as passionate about capturing the moments. Feel free to contact me through my website or on Facebook.