How To Become A Wedding Photographer - Aaron Jeffels

How To Become A Wedding Photographer

How to become a wedding photographer in 2020?  You want to become a wedding photographer, but there doesn’t seem a clear path in front of you and you want some answers.

Well, I am here to tell you that there isn’t any easy way to become a wedding photographer, but there are a few little tips I can share that might get you started.

 

Firstly a little about me and how I become a wedding photographer.

 

I started photographing weddings in 2016. Like most people who dream about being a photographer, I went out with my camera and started photographing anything that caught my eye. After a while, I started my own Facebook page and very gingerly started to post some of my images to the big bad world.

To my amazement, I got a like! An actual bloody like on one of my photos. I was shocked that someone could like one of my photos. Then I started to post more and more and before I knew it I even had followers.

This was the start of my journey, right up to this exact moment now.

Has it been easy getting to this point? NO Was it worth all the hardship to get to this point? YES

 

So how can you become a wedding photographer?

 

The first thing to mention before we get started is to ask yourself how much do you want to become a wedding photographer?

Now ask yourself again how much you want to become a wedding photographer?

Let me help a little by telling you that photographing weddings (the glam side) accounts for only about 10% of all the work I actually do.

I spend most of my time editing photos, answering emails, meeting clients, planning marketing campaigns for the year ahead, editing my website and writing blogs like this one.

Actually getting out there and photographing people is a small part of my job.

So ask yourself again, is this something I really want? If it is then read on.

Grit

 

As I said above the number one quality to succeed in the wedding photography business is grit and determination. When you are sat at your computer at 11pm at night trawling through articles on how to improve your websites SEO, or editing a wedding, you need that grit to keep pushing on.

The wedding industry is so overcrowded with the competition than without the determination to carry on when it gets a little tough, you will no doubt sink to the bottom or the pile or even worse just give up.

It’s very easy to get burnt out in the first few years when starting your wedding photography business.

The wedding industry is so overcrowded with the competition than without the determination to carry on when it gets a little tough, you will no doubt sink to the bottom or the pile or even worse just give up.

Second Shoot

 

Theres only one way to know if you are ever going to like photographing weddings and thats by actually photographing a wedding.

Theres no point in setting up your business and doing all the hard work behind the scenes if when you photograph your first wedding you hate it.

Reach out to local photographers and ask if you can assist them for the day. From my own point of view, it is so a help having someone who can run and get a guest or pass a message on when you are tied to with group shots.

Once you have assisted another photographer you will have a much better idea of what it’s like photographing a wedding and if you can cope with the stress and frantic pace of a wedding day.

It’s surprising how many wedding photographers quite because of stress. I have spoken with many who can’t sleep the night before. Photographing someone’s wedding is a big responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Portfolio building

 

Once you have assisted another photographer and are still keen on getting out there you need to start thinking about building your own portfolio.

Some photographers will allow you use the images from the weddings you have assisted on in your portfolio which is a good start.

You could ask friends and family if they will be willing to model for you for the day so you can build your portfolio up.

If you are looking for something a little more professional then it could be an idea to team up with some local suppliers and do a styled photoshoot.

This leads me on to the next tip.

Network

 

One of the best ways to get ahead in the wedding industry is to have a good network of suppliers that you can call upon. Not only will this benefit you and them, but it could benefit your future clients.

At the front of my mind, I always have a list of recommended suppliers I can give to any of my clients at any time. You never know when a client might get in touch asking if you know someone who can help them in a sticky situation.

Over time if you are producing good quality consistent work then other suppliers may well recommend you to their clients.

This is a brilliant way to grow your business, especially when starting out.

If you don’t know how to approach them, why reach out over Facebook or Instagram and ask if they need any up to date photos taking for their socials? Wedding suppliers are always looking for new content they can share with their clients.

Wedding suppliers are always looking for new content they can share with their clients.

Gear you need to become a wedding photographer

Once you have decided to jump into the industry, you then need to think about all the gear you will need to photograph a wedding. 

Its not just a camera and one or two lenses. You need to think about if things go wrong on the day with your main equipment what do you do. You need to think about having a back up for everything. That means a second camera, two flashes, lenses that cover a wide range of angles, multiple batteries and memory cards. 

Its also worth noting that you will need insurance, transport and appropriate clothing. I am a firm believer that you should dress smart for someone’s wedding day. That means no trainers! 

You can read my gear blog to see what I take to every wedding here.

Now What?

 

Now you have covered the basics. You have started to build your portfolio, you have built up your gear and invested in some training. The networking with other like-minded suppliers is going well, you are probably thinking now what?

You need to get out there!

This is probably the hardest part of becoming a wedding photographer. This is where that grit and determination come in to play. You need to get out there and put your self in front of clients.

I have lost count of the number of hours I have spent reading and learning about marketing. Business and marketing should be your number one priority to learn about when you are starting a photography business. You might take the best photos in the world, but if you don’t know how to put them in front of people then no one will every book you!

So how do you do it?

Well the first thing you should be looking to do is build a website. This is your shop front, your store and your little part of the web that is yours. It tells your clients everything about you in the first few seconds of landing on your homepage.

 

 

Websites

 

There are plenty of ways to build a website these days and it couldn’t be easier. Check out Squarespace or WordPress to get you started.

Once you have built your website then it’s time to start building your social media platforms. The two main obvious ones are Facebook and Instagram. Facebook is great for building a community of people who will follow your work and engage with you. Instagram is more of an online portfolio.

Then there’s Pinterest, this is brilliant for sharing ideas and generating traffic to your website.

Advertise

 

Once you have built your online presence then you can always start to advertise online to generate some traffic to your socials or website.

I use Google Adwords to generate a steady stream of traffic to my website. This is brilliant because you can target a specific audience. Then you can also use Facebook Ads. You can also target your audience with Facebook, but I find it less successful than Google.

One over the way that I have found to be very successful in booking clients is to attend wedding fayres. These vary in cost, and as a photographer, you may struggle with competition, but it is a great way to engage with people and spread your name.

 

Conclusion

 

I hope this has helped you with trying to figure out if this is something you would love to do. It is hard work, you sit more at a computer than you are behind a camera, but regardless I wouldn’t change it for anything.

With any business, there is always a little bit of luck involved. Some people make it some don’t. Just remember to keep going and good luck.