In this four part series, I’m sharing the steps to take your portrait photography business and transition it into a wedding photography business! But before you learn about and implement a marketing strategy to make the transition, you need to ask yourself one question: WHY?
Why do you want to shoot weddings?
Do you just want to shoot beautiful things? Because that’s not enough to commit to all the work that goes into delivering an unforgettable client experience from inquiry through the engagement season and up to the wedding day. Plus the hours of editing the “not-so-beautiful” parts of the wedding day (i.e. family formals, party dancing, cocktail hour).
Is it just for the money? That definitely won’t be enough to light you up so creatively to make it through a 12-hour wedding day, running around non-stop, being emotionally invested in every aspect of the day and being completely and utterly mentally exhausted from trying to remember all the things you need to. Wedding days are a whole new ball game. Challenges with lighting, location, people, logistics, timing — it’s absolute joy and mayhem all at once! And you’re expected to handle the unexpected and perform as though it went perfectly. I’m not trying to scare you into not pursuing weddings because you absolutely should if you feel it’s right for you. But I feel I must warn you that it’s not for the faint of heart. It will take a lot more than money to motivate you to make it happen.
I, personally, feel like I was made for weddings. I am incredibly detail-oriented, not just on wedding days but all throughout their engagement season. And my love language, “Acts of Service”, truly delivers an unforgettable experience for my couples from the moment they inquire, leading up to the day and even after they say ‘I do’. I bring a calm, positive presence on wedding day who fiercely protects her couple’s happiness (that’s the Enneagram 7W8 in me). I LOVE a good challenge. I love the chaos that weddings bring and the problem-solving I have to do throughout the day. Is it easy? Not one but. (especially my first few!) But is it incredibly rewarding? Abso-freaking-lutely.
Be responsible. Be prepared.
As a wedding photographer, I invest a lot into my business. Not just in gear, software, subscriptions, etc. but in EDUCATION. Before I ever shot a wedding, I had already become a student of shooting weddings. I couldn’t get enough and still can’t get enough to this day! (I definitely have an addiction to digital courses) BUT education has, without a doubt, been the greatest investment in my business and has taken me further than any lens or camera has!
PLEASE don’t be one of those photographers I hear about who accepts a wedding opportunity but is ill-prepared to shoot it properly. One of those I hear about, “I wish you were around when I got married. You should see our photos, they’re crap.” My follow-up question: “well, how much did you pay?” and I usually get a shameful “not that much”. I’ve heard of ONE COUPLE getting an absolute steal because they actually didn’t pay much but their photographer was WELL prepared to shoot their day! BE ONE OF THOSE PHOTOGRAPHERS! Weddings are not something you can do over so please be responsible and prepare your skills to shoot this once-in-a-lifetime moment occasion.
Before you officially take on your first wedding, I believe there are five technicalities you should understand:
- How to shoot in manual
- How to choose good light and location
- How to pose your clients
- How to edit your photos
- How to use flash (optional but definitely helpful!)
I also believe you should have a basic idea of what your “style” is (light and airy, true to color, dark and moody, etc). Yes, this can vary a little over time but finding who you are and what style lights you up is the key to producing work and building a portfolio that is consistent from the start. CONSISTENCY BUILDS CREDIBILITY. Whether you shoot weddings, families, seniors, whatever — when you have a portfolio of images that you can show someone and say confidently, “This is me. This is my style. And this is what you can expect from me,” then you’re in business, baby!
Speaking of which… let’s talk about that portfolio
If you’re trying to branch into wedding photography but all you have to show is a portfolio full of families, newborn and senior portraits, it’s going to be tough for you to convince potential brides to trust that you know what you’re doing and also to envision themselves in your photos.
SHARE WHAT YOU WANT TO SHOOT
To market yourself as a wedding photographer, you’ll want to start adding couples and wedding-related imagery to your most recent work (portfolio, social media, website). And you will want to start sharing fewer photos of those sessions, unless you will continue to book families, seniors, etc.
You may be thinking, ‘uhh…ok, Courtney… how am I supposed to share “wedding things” when no one is booking me for wedding things?!’ And I totally understand. That’s why next week, I’m sharing two things you can do NOW (or at least in the next seven days or so) to have wedding-related images for social media, your website or portfolio without ever having booked a single wedding!
READ PART II:
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Courtney Rudicel is an Indiana Wedding Photographer and Educator. Her specialty is timeless, joyful & playfully romantic wedding photography for classic couples and educating photographers on how to build a business that delivers an unforgettable client experience. Within Indiana, she serves Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Lafayette, Bloomington and South Bend. Areas in surrounding states that she serves: Columbus, Dayton, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, Ohio; Ann Arbor, Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is available for destination weddings, engagements, and branding sessions. Click here for detailed pricing and Get in Touch to reserve your date!