Wednesday, October 14, 2009

So you want to be a photographer?

I was recently talking to a friend who wants to get into wedding photography. Then I thought, hey, people helped me when I was just starting so why not pay it forward... here goes!

Getting Started:

- Purchase photographer uniform - black dress/suit! :) My super girl photo belt with Velcro-in accessories is also a must have!

(photo posted to Facebook by Tara Pullam)

- Pro equipment: You'll need pro cameras & lenses! The glass makes a big difference! As well as similar quality back-up equipment. (If you don't own it rent it)

- Education: Just like nurses need to be trained, there are skills & tricks of the trade that you should learn that you cannot pick up on your own. You may not be saving lives - but to your clients their wedding photos are a matter of life & death so don't take your responsibility lightly! Take classes & workshops.

- Assist, assist, assist. First work as a wedding photographer's assistant. Then work as a 2nd shooter. This is a great way to build confidence, skills, & your portfolio.

- Research. What are photographer's charging? Yes this will vary a lot and it will be based on experience, style, overhead... a lot of different things. You need to add up your own costs.

- Join a professional organization, PPA, ASMP, or even Pictage/Collages and go to meetings & read forums.

- Shoot a discounted rate wedding but NOT FREE. Don't devalue yourself, but explain to your clients that you are offering them a lower rate because you have experience as a 2nd shooter but this will be your first solo wedding. There are plenty of couples out there with little budget but your job is to educate them that your price is directly related your your experience. Do this to watch your own back! You don't want them telling their friends what they paid you and being stuck with that low rate. This way if they refer friends you can up your price based on the experience you've gained since.

- Practice at a friend's wedding. Only IF they're ok with it and you're not in the pro's way. A good time would be during getting ready photos before the pro gets there, cocktail hour, or dancing shots! Do as I say not as I do... if you are IN the wedding you can't shoot it. (I put the camera away to walk down the aisle)


- Know when to say NO. Some clients want more than is reasonable. If they are difficult in the beginning - chances are they won't get any easier to work with! If you get a bad vibe run the other way. You need to have a good relationship with your clients to give them the beautiful wedding memories they deserve.

- Attend wedding shows. This way you can see how photographer present themselves. This will help you when marketing yourself!

- Create a website & sample album. You can't get work if you don't have any photos to show! Don't cut corners. If you show a cheap album you're telling potential clients that you don't care about your work enough to give it a good home.

- Have fun. This is a job, but one when you're present on one of the biggest days in the couple's lives. You need to be happy to be there! If it ever stops being fun don't do it!

1 comment:

Gwendolyn Tundermann Photography said...

You've been nominated for a Kreativ Blogger Award: http://gwendolyntundermann.com/blog/2009/10/19/kreativ-blogger/