Many people say they will NEVER do weddings. When I ask them why, they often can’t articulate a reason.
I photographed lots of weddings when I was younger and stronger and could carry all sorts of gear around and stay on my feet for 10 hours shooting. I loved doing it. Think about it. Weddings are like a safari. You never know what’s around the next corner. Everyone is dressed up. The locations are usually terrific. People have come to celebrate. And let’s not forget that wedding photographers are amongst the most financially successful when it comes to paid photography. What’s not to love?
If you’re thinking of breaking into wedding photography, here are a few things to consider.
1. Read and look at every bridal magazine you can find. The women getting married are reading them and these magazines are informing the opinion of the brides on what a wedding photo should look like. That means they should inform YOUR opinion too. Look at magazines like “Grace Ormonde Wedding Style,” “Modern Bride,” and “Town & Country.”
2. Practice. Go to some friend’s weddings and make some photos (be sure to stay out of the hired photographer’s way.) Also, ask established wedding pros in your area if you could come as a non-paid assistant to help them out. Work on shooting portraits of your own friends and family at popular wedding spots. Get familiar with your camera and what it’s like to photograph a wedding.
3. Remember that wedding photography is MUCH more about your relationship with the bride than it is the picture. One of the first mistakes I made as a wedding photographer was forgetting that if the bride didn’t like the way I handled myself at the wedding, great pictures weren’t going to matter.
4. When deciding what to photograph – concentrate on the bride. When I shot weddings, 85 percent of the photographs selected for the album contained a picture of the bride. Let’s face it folks, weddings aren’t for the groom, they’re for the bride and her mother. So shoot to make those two happy and you’ll have a good day.
5. Remember to have fun. Weddings are supposed to be celebrations. Don’t let your desire to get a good photo get in the way of you having fun. Especially don’t let it get in the way of the wedding party having fun.
These are just a few pointers. Entire books about wedding photography are published every year. There are lots of resources for aspiring wedding photographers. Buy and read Fast Track Photographer by Dane Sanders. Don’t skip this step or the rest will be for nothing. If you’re truly brand new, I’d join the Professional Photographers of America. (I’ve got 10 free conference passes to PPA’s national convention in January at Nashville, TN. Follow me on Twitter to learn how to get one in the next few weeks.) Also, subscribe to Skip Cohen’s blog and read it daily.