So you’ve decided to become a wedding photographer? YAY! What an exciting journey you’re about to begin!!!
If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend checking out my 5 Things to Consider before Getting Started with Wedding Photography blog that I posted a couple weeks ago (in case your still on the fence on if this is right for you!!) BUT I digress. Let’s talk about you and your new business!
One of the main things you’ll probably need to focus more on as you get started is the content you have for your marketing purposes – aka shooting more wedding content and gaining experience.
Well, there are some great strategies to help you get some more experience with this, and also great ways to help you build your portfolio for future brides to see!
But, before we get started, I’d be lying if I said it’s easy to get there. Because honestly, it took me a while to get to a point where I felt I HAD experience (like, almost a YEAR of work!!!).
However, the more experience and work you get, the more experience and growth you will have as a photographer, and more importantly, the more you’ll learn about who you are as a wedding photographer.
So, the question of the hour is: how do you ACTUALLY get more experience and content shooting weddings when you don’t have a lot?
Here are some helpful tips I’ve found that have really jump-started my career when I first started as a wedding photographer! Can you believe I actually went from part-time to full-time in the span of a year?!?!?!
Most people will tell you that second shooting is the route to go. And honestly, I used to think that as well.
But frankly, when you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of experience, it’s hard for experienced photographers to feel comfortable bringing you on as an assistant to be their second shooter.
Speaking from experience, I charge a great deal now for my wedding packages, and I need to meet that standard of quality. (Now PLEASE NOTE: my prices are they way they are BECAUSE of the experience and quality that I deliver to my clients. This has come with lotttssss of time, and 2 years of shooting weddings.)
But now that I’m at this level, I need a second shooter who feels 100% comfortable with a flash, manual settings, and what to capture on the day of a wedding.
So, THIRD shooting is actually the better route for you if you’re getting started! And honestly, I can think of MANY photographers who wouldn’t mind having extra help on a wedding they are shooting!
This also gives you less pressure to be everything the primary shooter is looking for, and if you work with anyone like me, I’m happy to share tips and tricks to help you get the settings you need for flash and manual cameras during down time at a wedding, of course.
My suggestion for you: Reach out to photographers and ask if you can THIRD shoot, not second shoot. This gives them more intrigue, because they know that they don’t have to commit full responsibility to you, just extra help on the day of a wedding.
There’s nothing quite like getting in the field than attending a wedding with another photographer, and this is a great way to get more experience if you don’t have a lot of weddings in the books quite yet!
Now that you’ve decided that wedding photography is something you’d like to pursue, I recommend getting educated first. Meaning, learn how to use your camera.
If you want to be called a professional, then you need to be an EXPERT at your craft.
Think about it: people go to school for YEARS to become experts in a certain area, so that they can work as a professional in their field.
The best thing you can do for you and your business, to grow it quickly and start out on the right foot, is to INVEST in your education.
And newsflash: a lot of photographer education stuff that’s been released is WAYYYY cheaper than normal college tuition (like, $40,000 cheaper… still paying off those loans, tbh).
So, who are we to dive into a business that we have no idea how to do well, or even how to produce and deliver good quality products?
I’m serious! Pick up your camera, and start learning how to use it. Don’t say yes to a wedding if you don’t feel 100% confident that you are ready to shoot in manual or with your flash comfortably.
And if you’re reading this thinking, “I’m totally lost when it comes to shooting in manual”, well, that’s where education comes in.
I’ve released a great guide that goes over manual settings basics and how I work with manual in my cameras. And, for even more help with this, I’ve gone and created actual manual shooting exercises for you to practice with your camera in my Virtual Third Shooter Course, like testing different lighting settings and how you can work doing this under pressure!
Honestly, if you’re reading this and are still not feeling 100% on shooting in manual or working with your camera, I HIGHLY recommend investing in your education FIRST. Because it would be a worse situation to be caught delivering a sub-par product when you’re calling yourself a professional, and having THAT be the first impression you leave in this new career you’re starting.
Start out on the right foot – and get educated! 🙂
Along similar lines to investing in your education, mentorships are a great way to get more experience and learn.
Your friends in the industry (if experienced), have done this – they’ve started from the bottom – and now, they are making their own way in this industry. Get to know them, become friends with them, and ask them the IMPORTANT questions about how to shoot a wedding.
Chances are, they’ll tell you a BUNCH of valuable information to help you when you shoot weddings of your own.
Another great reason to make friends in the industry or invest in mentorships is they are a great person to reach out to when you’re ready to third shoot with someone. Because they already know you and who you are, I’m sure they would love to have you tag along as another assistant so you can gain more experience.
With mentorships specifically, you can pretty much ask anything you want in a FaceTime virtual meeting, or in-the-field shooting and gain more experience on how to properly shoot a wedding. If you’re interested, I actually also offer mentorships, and would LOVE to sit down with you or go out and shoot and answer any questions you have about manual settings, weddings, or even getting started as a business owner! 🙂
Honestly, my recommendation is education. Get to know your camera and what happens on a wedding day!
The best thing you can EVER do for you and your business is be ready, prepared, and educated as you grow and develop your new business. Don’t let $$$ scare you from diving into your future! It’s cheaper than college tuition, and will always 100000% be worth it.
So if you’re looking for some great education to help you with this, my online course is a great place to start with weddings 101!
If you’re just starting out and have no idea what to capture yet, you should check out this guide I put together! It goes through all the essential and important shots I get on a wedding day, oh yeah, AND IT’S FREEEE!!!