Today, an increasing number of young men and women are opting for Wedding Photography, as a full-time career. WeddingSutra has seen the rise in popularity of wedding photography, and a huge change in perception of photography as a career, and the value accorded to it by wedding clients. Here we share some tips and advice for those wanting to make a long-term career in wedding photography.
Photo courtesy- EMILIA JANE
Tip 1- Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
While your talent and passion for photography and interest in photographing people (and earn money of course) motivate you to seek more assignments, remember to build trust and maintain cordiality- not just with your clients and their families, but also with select guests, and other photographers or wedding professionals at work.
Tip 2- Skill Building
If you have started out as a hobbyist, you will need to hone your craft very quickly before clients figure out your shortcomings. Weddings in India are not easy to shoot since most are held indoors at night in the worst lighting conditions. Add to that the pressure of getting good photos of special moment while staying out of the way. It can be really nerve-wracking. It makes it all the more essential that your techniques are top-notch.
Many local established photographers offer one-on-one mentoring as well as group workshops. Take advantage of that to advance your learning. And if you are trained in photography, know your creative style and can afford it, attend a wedding photography workshop with one of the top names like Jose Villa, Jerry Ghionis and Ben Chrisman.
Tip 3- Engage with the Leaders
If there is a Photographer whose work you admire, try to establish contact and stay in touch with him. Don’t make the mistake of asking too many questions, or putting forth questions like ‘how can I get more clients’ or ‘what should I do to charge more’. Senior Photographers are usually happy to appreciate or critique your work and not go into the hows of getting more business. If you don’t get a reply soon, don’t be disheartened, send in a gentle reminder a week or two later.
Tip 4- Fish where the Fish are
Getting your photos published in general lifestyle blogs and or getting yourself listed on platforms which just list businesses might not be as effective as getting your best work published in select few platforms that are viewed by top wedding professionals, and discerning brides and grooms-to-be. One of them is WeddingSutra of course (click here find out how you can contribute regularly to us). And Photography resources that are popular with to-be-weds like the Canvera Wedding Photographers Directory.
Tip 5- How to Submit your Work
Whether you are sharing your work with bridal websites or with a client, remember to write a short introduction with information on where you are based, where the photos were shot (name of venue + city) and mention why you are sharing it with the recipient. Avoid heavy attachments but don’t send poor resolution photos either. And if you are sharing as a link, make sure it is viewable by all and not password protected.
Tip 6- Social Media Effectiveness
Social media will be your most potent marketing tool besides word of mouth of course. It serves as an inexpensive (and effective!) way for businesses to promote brand awareness and engage with existing as well as potential clients. Remember to thank your clients in case they share your work which could be their happy announcements or beautiful wedding memories. In case someone has shared your photo without photo credits you can always privately message requesting them to tag your page. 99% chances, they will, as soon as they can.
Tip 7- Photographer and Wedding Fraternity
Even if your work is infinitely better than another, don’t trash your competitors. If someone asks you what the difference is between your work and theirs, focus on telling them what you do exceptionally well, instead of focusing on what the other professional does poorly. At WeddingSutra, we believe competition is a good thing, and your competitors are a reason to offer the best service you possibly can. Don’t pick a fight with other photographers on social media. Ditto with other wedding industry professionals. Don’t talk about how some other wedding professional (makeup artist, decorator or the wedding planner) behaved at work while you were shooting a wedding.
Tip 8- Understanding Clients
Most potential clients are getting married for the first time– so chances are most will have no or little idea on what wedding photographers or other wedding specialists charge. There are genuine customers who may like and appreciate your work, and there are those who might shop around. Some might place a premium on the value and importance of well-designed albums with priceless memories, while some may take decisions based on price. There is little you can do, to change everyone’s perception on value and price. What you can do, is communicate effectively, follow-up gently or politely decline, in case you feel the assignment or their budget doesn’t work for you. It’s always better to say ‘No’ earlier and earn in the long-run, than take on something where there is a big disconnect between client expectations and delivery.