Wedding photography is lucrative and being able to charge a premium to capture the happy couple’s big day (and actually get away with it) it is easy to see why so many people want to become professional wedding photographers. Because of this the wedding photography market is saturated, competition is fierce, and whilst there is a high demand for professional wedding photographers actually getting a paid wedding photography job is tough. Most professional photographers get the occasional paid wedding photo shoot but few photographers consistently get wedding shoots to earn a living, and hence have to do other stuff too.
If you want to get those paid wedding photography events you need to offer something different, something unique and something that no other photographer has. If you want to make it as a wedding photographer you need a unique selling point. Sourcing a unique selling point is key to making it as a wedding photographer.
A unique selling point is simply something that makes you stand out from the crowd, and it can be anything that will increase the chances of paid work. If you take a step back and think about it there are several unique selling points:-
Yep, you have to find something that is different to other wedding photographers and use that to wind the paid wedding photography contracts.
Deciding on a unique selling point isn’t a decision you should take lightly or on a whim. Before deciding on your unique selling point you need to research the local market, look at the professional wedding photographers in your area, look at what they do and what they offer, and identify their unique selling point.
In an ideal world your unique selling point is going to be something that no other wedding photographer offers. Manage to do this and you will have little competition, if any at all. Offering something totally different and totally new is rare, however it is possible, and if you can do this you will be well on your way to winning wedding photography contracts.
If another photographer in your patch offers the same unique selling point as what you want you need to make sure that you are better than they are, otherwise you will struggle to win the work.
Once you have decided on your particular unique selling point it is time to get out there and market yourself. Start a blog and make regular posts about the type of things you are up to. Post photos (make sure you get permission from the bride/groom/mother of the bride/father of the bride etc. first) to show what you can do and the styles of photo you offer etc. Promoting yourself online is all well and good however the target market is going to be local and you need to tailor your approach accordingly.
In my experience the best way to win paid wedding photography shoots is via word of mouth. Once again, this is fine but getting that first gig is always a high hurdle to get over. Whenever I was invited to a wedding as a guest I took my camera and captured various candid photos whenever I could as a gift for the bride and groom. I didn’t bother shadowing the wedding photographer the couple decided to use, and instead did my own thing. I only had to do this for two separate weddings before being offered a paid wedding shoot.
Once I had my first paid wedding shoot under my belt the requests for professional photography services kept coming. Newly-weds often know several other people who are getting married in the near future so if you do a good job and exceed expectations you will get recommended to another local couple soon to get married.
Relying on these word of mouth recommendations is a dangerous strategy because the work will eventually dry up, once all of the group you are slowly working around are married of course. To keep the work coming in I would suggest attending wedding fayres, advertising in local publications, distributing business cards and also keeping your blog up to date.
Once you have photographed a few weddings, built up a wedding portfolio and have some experience and tangible evidence of what you can do it is much easier to get paid wedding contracts.
Lighting is key in all types of photography and wedding photography is no different. The lighting you use can make or break the photo, therefore it is crucial to nail the light, and “Wedding lighting tips and techniques” is an article that will help you achieve this.
Lens choice is another important consideration when taking wedding photos and the “Best lens for wedding photography” is an article you may wish to take a look for the only wedding photography lenses you need.
It is vital all wedding photographers visit the wedding venues (church, chapel, country house or whatever) before the big day. Don’t believe me? Take a look at “Why you need to visit the venue before a wedding” and see for yourself.
Many wedding venues are dim with little light and since many prohibit the use of artificial light it is important all wedding photographers are comfortable with taking photos in low light conditions. “Low light wedding tips” is an article you may wish to take a look at to brush up on those all-important skills.
It is crucial to photograph the bride and groom ahead of the big day and give them some “Pre-wedding photography sessions” to make sure you nail the photos on the bride’s most important day.
There are many things wedding photographers should do, many of which you may have forgotten or simply weren’t aware of in the first instance. “The responsibilities of being a wedding photographer” is an article you may wish to check out.
Wedding photography isn’t just about the bride and groom and there are several other people you also have to consider, which means you have to be comfortable taking group portraits. The article “Taking group wedding shots” is something you may want to have a look at.
Having the proper gear will ensure you can get the best wedding photos, and everything you need is explained and explored in the article “Wedding photography equipment”. Please feel free to take a look.
Whilst it is good to be different and good to have your own style of shots there are certain bridal portraits you have to capture when shooting a wedding. All of these are explored in the article “Bridal portraits you have to take”, so please feel free to take a look.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.