David Koonar’s Guide to Becoming a Wedding Photographer
Photography By Vitor Pinto @vdapinto
If you’re a photographer, getting into wedding photography may seem like a lucrative proposition. “Hey,” says someone that doesn’t really know anything. “I can make a whole bunch of money for one day’s work!” Those people are overlooking some of the harsh realities related to wedding photography. At David Koonar photography, we have done our share of weddings and know the game, as it were.
Please understand. We’re not trying to scare you away. Just keep in mind that there are realities to your new career that you may not have considered.
It isn’t something that’s easy by any stretch of the imagination. The people at David Koonar photography can tell you that it requires knowledge in a wide array of photographic disciplines in order to do weddings properly. You’re going to need how to shoot landscapes. You’ll have to be able to shoot portraits and people in general. You need to be a product photographer and a fashion photographer. To top it all off, you need to be able to have an itchy trigger finger in order to capture those perfect candid moments that the couple will be looking at fifty years from now in their holographic 3D photo album.
In terms of time, understand that a wedding is not an eight hour job. You will have to meet with the couple, likely multiple times, in order to go over the plans on the upcoming nuptials. You will, of course, need to invest in the appropriate equipment before you ever do your first wedding, which can be costly endeavor indeed. We’ll talk a little more about that below.
Once you are done the wedding, you will have to work on editing what will likely be hundreds of pictures (out of the thousands you take.) So no… You’re not making $3000+ for an 8-hour job. You’re basically a construction worker building a house, and you’re only done when the contract is complete and the house is fully built.
This is something you can’t mess up. Photography is a service-based industry. Word-of-mouth and reviews will be the difference between success and failure. You cannot afford to create any miserable experiences, especially if you’re just starting out. This may sound the death knell for your budding photography career and mess up the memories of any unfortunate couple that trusted you.
Your pictures and your name are your brand. In order to build value for that brand, you’re going to have to be amazing.
While David Koonar Photography specializes in landscapes and outdoor settings, we have dabbled in wedding photography if we were specially requested for the task. As such, here are some things you can do to progress your career as a budding wedding photographer.
Buy the Right Equipment
As discussed above, you’re going to need the right cameras and lenses in order to do a decent job. Multiple lenses may be necessary.
If you can’t afford to get all this stuff starting out, rent if necessary. Just make certain you know how to work everything. Once you are generating income, invest in new equipment.
You may think you are the most creative artiste that ever lived, and that you do not need to prepare for your shoot. Even if the former is true, the latter is definitely not. Structuring your wedding shoot will save you and the couple time. The better organized any aspect of a wedding is, the smoother things will go and the less time they will take.
Anyone who deals with weddings can tell you that time is the enemy. Anything that takes too much of it detracts from the rest of the experience. Don’t be a time sucker. Look at other photographers to get ideas for all the different types of shots you may take for the wedding, and then plan accordingly.
As a wedding photographer, you are providing a service at a social engagement. It should come as no surprise that you will need to talk to lots of people.
Sometimes, you will need to talk to families in order to do portraits correctly. You will have to talk to the bride and groom multiple times in order to get the job and plan the event. During the event, you’ll need to be talking to them throughout.
In many cases, you may need to talk to guests in order to get them to move out of the way. Or get closer. Or scooch to the left.
If you cannot talk to people, it is suggested you find a new career path and go photograph something inanimate instead.
Give the Best Service
Think of the most amazing service you ever received. Are you thinking about it? Good, now go out and be that person. You need to build your brand, and your brand needs to be strong.
If you offer the kind of service people gush about, you’ll see that you will start getting word-of-mouth clients like it’s nothing. Your reviews will be great and people in your area will call and e-mail.
There’s nothing that sells you better than great service.