Becoming a Wedding Photographer

There has been such a huge influx of people wanting to make a living through wedding photography these days, that I almost get as many enquiries from people wanting to become my assistant as I do enquiries from people getting married.

I’ve worked as a photographer for over twenty years and have specialised in wedding photography for the past six, shooting between 35 and 40 weddings every year. The number of wedding photographers setting up in this area has massively increased in this time, which may be partly due to the amount of redundancies.

With the interest in digital photography being so high, all that an out of work banker, civil servant, estate agent, recruitment consultant has to do, is spend some of their redundancy money on a DSLR, build an affordable, template website and sign up for Google AdWords. Hey presto a new wedding photography career is born!

Or is it? The first big problem is the lack of a portfolio. To get anyone to hire you on such an important day, you’re going to need images to show what you can do. But to get a portfolio together you’ll need to be photographing real weddings. One way to do this is to get invited to as many weddings as possible and take your camera with you. I often have aspiring photographers flanking me at weddings in the hope of getting precious shots to build their portfolios. I also get grilled on everything from which kit to use to marketing techniques too and am usually happy to advise, although the key thing to remember is not to get in the way. It’s also not advisable to shoot during the actual ceremony, as there are often strict and detailed rules that apply and these are discussed and agreed between the pro photographer and the priest / registrar beforehand. A rogue guest wielding DSLR, (full flash blazing, or not) can often bring a halt to proceedings, with an embarrassing reprimand and blanket ban on all photography to follow.

Another way that many try to gain images and experience, is to try to become an assistant / second shooter. Many offer to do this for free, but there is a big difference between assistant and second shooter and working for nothing can have problems. An assistant would be expected to carry the bags, park the car, hold the umbrella etc. but quite often wouldn’t actually get to hold a camera other than to change the batteries. One or two fifteen hour days of doing this for free is usually enough.

A second shooter would usually be expected to photograph lesser aspects of the wedding (guests arriving, table details, flowers etc.) However there can be issues with weather you’ll be allowed to actually claim the shots to use as your own. This is something that should be discussed and agreed beforehand, because if you’re using the photographers equipment, many pros would whisk the camera and disks away for editing and that would be the last you’ll see of them.

However, there is another way of gaining the confidence of your potential clients which is quite surprisingly often missed. I suggest that instead of aiming to go headlong into photographing weddings with the aim of a fast track to big money bookings, aspiring wedding photographers should concentrate on portraiture first. Become a seriously good photographer before even contemplating taking on a wedding. Too many new wedding photographers think that they can learn the basics on the job. Consistency is key. A mistake that many make, is that they get the odd good shot and collect them over time giving themselves (and others) the impression that they are really good photographers. But If you can’t achieve a very high standard every time you use your camera, then you’re not ready.

Once you have reached a really high standard and you have a wealth of consistently high quality and varied portraits, you’ll start to create a style and not only be able to charge commissions for portrait shoots, but you’ll be in a much better position to convince a pro that you’re up to the job of second shooter, gaining vital experience of working at weddings.

With this combination under your belt, you should be ready to take on a real wedding by yourself. But make sure that your completely open to the clients about your experience. There is always room for another wedding photographer in London but only those who are of a very high standard will survive the competition.

Essentials to have in place before photographing your first wedding:

• Contract – make sure you’ve clearly outlined your terms and conditions, what you’re offering and payment details in a contract which should be signed by the client

• Insurance – you must have three insurances in place: public liability, professional indemnity and equipment should be covered for loss or damage

• Back up equipment – a second camera charged and ready to use, plus lenses, flash, batteries and memory cards

How to Find Wedding Inspiration and Your Wedding Style

If you are like most brides you have been looking forward to your wedding day since you were 10. You have probably imagined your perfect dress, your perfect cake and walking down the aisle with your perfect person too. There is no question every bride wants her wedding to be an unforgettable day, a magical time, and a perfect event that will inspire your guests to weep tears of joy. But how do you achieve this perfection? Well, it certainly helps to start with inspiration. Here are a few tips to figure out your wedding style.

Tip 1: Magazines. Take a trip to the drug store and grab a bunch of wedding and fashion magazines. Thumb through them and start imaging how you can fit some of these ideas into your ideal wedding venue, dress, bridesmaids dresses, and reception. Start a wedding inspiration book or binder. Cut out any images or pictures you find inspiring and glue them into your inspiration book. After you have several pages in your binder you will start to see a style or pattern. Do you love pinks or rock and roll ideas or vintage themes? You can use these themes to show your wedding planner what you like. You can also use this binder to help you chose your venue and flowers and even your dress!

Tip 2: Wedding Blogs. Spend some time on the internet. Check out the best wedding blogs and make tabs or bookmarks of all the real weddings and wedding ideas you love. Most wedding planners have blogs that are great too. You can also copy out pictures that you like and print them out to add to your inspiration book. You can find bridesmaids gifts, wedding planning ideas, decorating ideas, photography poses, cake designs, seating arrangement design and more. There is no limit to the ideas you will find in wedding blogs and websites.

Tip 3: Wedding Expos. Take a trip to your local wedding expo. Explore the different vendors and get an idea of which vendors you feel most connected to and would like to use. Make sure to talk to everyone – get an idea for their style and personalities and don’t forget to grab a bunch of brochures and business cards for later. Once you have your inspiration book & have gathered a few ideas of what you want your perfect day to be like, spend some time looking at your local vendors websites and make a few appointments.

Tip 4: What do you love? Inspiration for your wedding does not have to come from a specific blog or magazine. You may be inspired by your childhood beach house, your favorite movie/book or even your favorite far away place. Colors and design can based around any idea you love. For example, if you love the beach and ocean you can choose aquas, teals and sandy beiges as your colors. Incorporating beach glass, sand and shells to your table design could also be an option. Bridesmaids dresses could also be in shades or blues and bridesmaids and groomsmen gifts could be really cool shades.

You can find inspiration for your wedding just about anywhere, it is just a matter of taking the time to figure out what you like. Once you have a few ideas of inspiration you like, spend some time with your wedding planner and discuss together how you can create your dream wedding. Your wedding planner can help you find the best local vendors, venues, photographers, videographers, etc.

This is a day you will remember for the rest of your life, so make sure to take the time to figure out exactly what you want. Try not to get discouraged with too many outside opinions. And most importantly, don’t forget, this is your day!!

Hire a Wedding Photographer For Your Wedding

From the tough times of hiring a professional photographer to the recent times where hiring photographers is just a piece of cake, wedding photographers have always stood a special place in the hearts of people. This is because of their exclusivity to click only for marriages. Delusively, people think anybody can do this job but once they do some research about the real professional wedding, be sure to dapple big differences. In this article you’ll know the best ways of choosing a real wedding photographer who can click photos that will gem all the wishful memories.

Before planning your selection, you should keep in mind some important things that will ease the process. Set a high budget for their service. “High” doesn’t necessarily mean “rich”; it just means you should set the price one step more than your budget. You will be able to get wedding photographers for a low rate but don’t expect quality from them. Wedding is a moment to enjoy and celebrate so make sure you spend substantially, but not lavishly. Also, be ready to spend enough time and be patient because hiring a wedding photographer is not easy these days and a normal photographer will not be able to do it. Now that you are ready, let’s get on with the selection process.

Availability – Your wedding photographer should be available till the end of day. Many photographers take up more than one wedding per day and don’t spend enough time at each place. This will make them hasty and inefficient. So consider this factor and check for the availability of your photographer for your wedding day.

Reputation – Most of the references you get will be through word of mouth. So if you come across someone recommending a photographer, don’t forget to inquire about his commitment, abilities and professionalism. A professional should be the one who has favored a place in their clients’ mind.

Personality and conduct – Many photographers start being nervous once at the Wedding Avenue. See to it that the photographer you choose is not that kind of a person. A professional will be very comfortable with any wedding atmosphere and will know how to keep things under his control perfectly.

Portfolios – Check for online and offline portfolios of the wedding photographer. An online portfolio will help you know about the photographer before you can meet him in person. If the online portfolio doesn’t look good, don’t even bother meeting him. Remember, you have time and it should not be put to waste. If you are impressed with the online portfolio, contact the photographer in person and ask for samples. If you are impressed, get on with it.

Other inquiries – You can inquire to them about the equipments used, how many weddings they take in a month, what types of photos and angels they recommend, what technology they use, about photo re-touching, etc.

If you are impressed with a wedding photographer, sign a contract for hiring so that both of you can keep an evidence and track of transactions taking place for the service.

Unusual Weddings, Unique Settings

Lots of people get married in chapels and churches, gardens and parks, beaches, hotels and country clubs.

But what if what you want is something more memorable? A bit (or a lot) unusual?

Here are some ideas for you, based on things that other people have done:

In England, “mystery tours” have long been a cultural phenomenon. A group of planners there help couples plan mystery weddings. People are told a place and time to meet; they are then taken by bus to another location for the wedding ceremony. Afterward, they are loaded on the bus again and whisked away to the reception located. After the fun and even ending fireworks, they are returned to the original location.

People often incorporate their hobbies into their weddings. Scuba divers have been married underwater. Amusement park enthusiasts have been wed on roller coasters. Movie lovers have even rented movie theatres for their nuptials. Skydivers have been married in mid-air. Hikers can utilize National Forest shelters.

Those people lucky enough to love their jobs sometimes marry at their place of business. 7-Eleven employees, people who work at grocery stores, medical personnel..they all have got married “on the job.” Think how much the person who works in a garden shop could save on flowers!

Celebrities are well known for inviting friends to a “party” which turns out to be a wedding. This could be a great fun idea for non-celebrities, as well. For instance, have a masquerade party. Everyone comes in costume. The couple comes, of course, as a bride and groom. The officiant could come in full clerical regalia, if desired. Announce at the right time that a real wedding is about to take place. Have your ceremony, bring out the cake and champagne, and party on! Or, for real, informal fun, insert your wedding into the middle of a barbeque! (Of course, you would want to let immediate family and anyone else whose attendance you wanted to insure into the secret.)

Have your own “Rennaissance Festival,” with strolling minstrels, flower “sellers,” face painting, and whatever suits your fancy.

Other unique venues and ideas could include baseball fields or basketball courts, lighthouses, tops of tall buildings, or a myriad other places. Think of places that are significant to you, or activities you love, and incorporate them into your wedding to make something fun, unique, and completely your own.