Wedding Photography Exposed!
A few years ago I switched from being an Engineer to being a photographer. I had an A Level in Photography learned in the darkroom 20 years prior and a need to do something different. Did I want to be a wedding photographer when I first started out? To be honest the thought terrified me. No, I was going to take landscape pictures and sell them to tourist information centres! Well that didn’t last long, I had one success and then nothing.
Back to the drawing board. I had the location, next to the River Trent, a couple of bridges and a nice park…I would take family portraits. That was more like it! I photographed some lovely families over that first year. We fed the ducks, blew bubbles and the kids climbed trees. Until one day someone asked me “Do you do wedding photography?”
I heard myself saying yes and scurried home to draw up a pricing structure. I didn’t get that first wedding and probably just as well. What followed were weddings where I offered my services for free to couples who were happy for me to learn my craft on the job…thank you to you all! The results weren’t half bad, the first full day wedding I did is still shown to couples in one of my sample albums!
Then there’s the realisation of all the gear you need, not only do you need a mortgage to buy the budget busting camera, you need a second camera incase the first one breaks. You need two flash systems for the same reason and then the lenses. Ouch! You won’t see much change out of £1000 for that f2.8 70-200mm lens, then there’s the 24-70mm f2.8…it will never stop I promise you!
Then there’s the marketing. No one is going to choose an unknown photographer, but you have to wait a couple of years for word of mouth to work and couples to tell their friends how good you are…well that’s the plan! My success has been Facebook marketing. You can target adverts to engaged couples in your area and ask them to message you for more details. I would say I have had 50% of my bookings this way. We always meet and have a chat, but that initial advert has been really successful.
My photography style is natural and relaxed photography – reportage but with group and couple photographs included – but nothing overly stylised. To me the wedding day has to be all about the couple and them chatting with their guests and having a laugh! I won’t get in the way of that. I photograph as the day happens, I don’t orchestrate the day. The group and couple photographs are directed but not overly posed…if someone cracks up laughing all the better…it’s their day and that’s what happened!
So that’s how it all started. Next time I will write about the wedding day itself but as a heads up…its long, very long, your on your feet for 12 hours and you will be cross eyed from looking through a view finder by the end of it, but it is also one of the most rewarding jobs you can do and very addictive….