Starting a wedding photography business is not easy and you don’t just wake up one day with the talent to do it. There are a lot of steps involved, but if you love weddings and have the eye and personality for it, it’s worth it. So how do you start a wedding photography business? Here are 10 steps to guide you.
Step 1. Do you have the eye?
Before you can even start a wedding photography business, you need to convince yourself that you have what it takes. You need to be able to see things in a way that most people don’t. You’ll see through the clutter and get past what’s in front of your eyes—and capture the best moments from any angle possible. It sounds easy, but trust me—it’s not always that simple! But if anyone can do it, it will be YOU!
Step 2. Are you good with people?
If you don’t like talking to people, this business isn’t for you. You’ll be dealing with lots of different personalities, from your clients and their families to your vendors (like the venue and florist). Your job is to get everyone working together as a team, so being friendly and personable is an absolute must.
If you’re worried about not having enough social skills or aren’t sure if they’re something that can be learned or improved upon, don’t let it stop you from moving forward with your plan to start a wedding photography business. While it’s certainly helpful if you feel comfortable speaking in front of large crowds of strangers, practice makes perfect and you’ll grow more confident over time.
Step 3. Learn about wedding photography online, from blogs, magazines and other pros
You’ve got the basics down but want to take your skills to the next level. No problem.
There are lots of online resources and books out there that can help you learn more about wedding photography, but when it comes down to it, learning from other wedding photographers will always be the most valuable resource.
If you don’t know any other pros personally, try searching for hashtags related to weddings in your area on Instagram or Facebook (like #weddingphotographerNY or #weddingphotographermiami). You’ll find tons of profiles featuring incredible work by pros all over the world—and those people would love to meet up with you and give some tips!
Don’t be afraid to message them directly asking if they’d be willing to chat about what they’re doing differently and how you might improve your own photography skills in those areas.
Step 4. Get the right gear
Once you have decided what kind of photography you’ll be doing, consider the equipment that will help you. There are a few different types of cameras, and each has its own pros and cons.
- DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) cameras are the most common type of camera used by wedding photographers. They are capable of high-resolution images and offer interchangeable lenses so you can use a wide variety of settings when shooting at different distances or focal points.
- Think about purchasing extra batteries, battery chargers, and multiple high GB image cards. Once you get into the zone you might move through these items faster than you think.
- Think about other gear you might need like tripods, storage bags, reflectors, different lenses, etc.
Step 5. Get experience
Now that you’re getting serious about your business, it’s time to start gaining more experience. Start by taking photos of friends and family on their big day—you’ll be able to capture candid shots like no other.
Then create a wedding portfolio that showcases your work so potential clients have something tangible from which to draw their conclusions. Once people see the quality of work you’ve produced in the past, they’ll be more likely to trust you with their own photos.
Next up: seek out opportunities for paid or un-paid gigs! Reach out through social media or Craigslist ads; post flyers around town; ask friends and family members if any local businesses need assistance with photography services during special events such as weddings or graduations; offer yourself up as an assistant at local photographers’ studios; volunteer with nonprofits looking for volunteers like yourself… whatever works best!
Styled shoots are also a GREAT way to grab some portfolio. You can often find information about these through Facebook groups.
Step 6. Meet wedding vendors in your area
Now you need to get to know the other wedding vendors in your area.
They can be a great source of referrals, advice, and help. You’ll want to ask them for tips on how they run their business and what they do that works well for them. You should also ask about any challenges that they have faced in their own business as well. This will give you insight into what problems may arise in the future and allow you time to prepare for them ahead of time!
You might even consider asking these vendors if they would be willing or interested in partnering with you on some projects or referring new couples your way when appropriate (and vice versa).
Step 7. Educate yourself about marketing and finance for small businesses
When it comes to starting your own wedding photography business:
- Know your numbers. You need to know how much money you will make in a year and how much it will cost for supplies and other expenses.
- Know your competition better than they know themselves. You’ll want to know where they advertise, what kind of marketing strategies they use, what their prices are like, etcetera.
- Know who your customers are and where they live so that you can target them through referrals and social media.
Step 8. Start a referral program to encourage happy clients to spread the word
- Encourage clients to refer you to friends and family. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get new clients.
- Make sure they are happy with the service they receive. And if they aren’t, find a way to make them satisfied! Whether thats a future discount or even a refunded amount.
- Make sure you have a way to track referrals. Know where people are finding you from so you can better market to that.
- Thank them for the referral! Gratitude is game-changing.
Step 9. Create a website, portfolio and blog
Create a Website
You need to have a website that you can use to showcase your work, as well as to show clients what you’re capable of before they hire you. There are a variety of options out there. I would advise checking out the platform Showit. It’s an easy to use drag-and-drop platform with a variety of templates to start from.
Create an Online Presence
Create an online presence on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Developing an online presence will help build trust with potential clients because they’ll see that other people trust you enough to recommend them or follow what you’re doing.
Step 10. Set up your marketing materials and business paperwork (contracts, taxes)
An important step to starting your wedding photography business is creating the necessary paperwork and marketing materials. You’ll need contracts and agreements, tax information, business insurance, accounting and bookkeeping services, licenses and permits (if applicable), legal documents (such as a DBA [doing business as] certificate)
You’ll also need a brand, marketing materials such as stationery, business cards, pricing sheets, etc., and a website. Even if you have no intention of having a website or blog yet they are still important because your customers might find their way there.
NEVER DO BUSINESS WITHOUT A CONTRACT. Contracts not only protect you, but also your clients. Make sure everything is outlined about your process, price, and deliverables. Don’t leave clients guessing, and don’t leave yourself unprotected. Outline. Everything.
Starting a wedding photography business involves hard work but also creative inspiration
Starting a wedding photography business is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard work, and you will have to be creative. But if you love people and want to make them happy, then this could be your calling.
You will meet amazing people. You will learn a lot about yourself and others, through both successes and failures in business. And when it all pays off on your wedding day (and after), you will realize that every ounce of effort was worth every second!
So, that’s our answer to the question: how do you start a wedding photography business? If this sounds like something you want to do, then go for it! But don’t forget you need to be patient with yourself and remember that every step of your journey is an opportunity for growth. We hope these tips will make things easier for those getting into this exciting field!