Today I want to answer the question I get a lot from budding wedding photographers, and that's;
'Is being a wedding photographer as cool as it looks?'
A straight, out the gate answer, would be yes, of course, it is. However, when I go away and think about it a little more, I do believe there are somethings I hadn't considered when answering the question.
I thought it is best to answer this question in three stages by listing the Pro's, the cons and of course, dispelling some of the myths associated with being a wedding photographer!
Well, let's start with some of the myths, and one of them is 'You'll get rich quick.'
Nope, won't happen!
If you think you can do your first wedding charging good money without building a reputation built on quality, value for money and a great product, you're mistaken.
It takes time. The equipment for one isn't cheap; you will have to invest. My first wedding I charged for covering the cost of a new flash. The second wedding paid for an upgrade on my laptops RAM and a new pair of trousers and shoes – trust me, 14 hours on your feet, you need good shoes!
Next myth is it's easy. Let's have a closer look at the entire process;
You want customers to find you that means marketing. Not just an ad in a newspaper, or Facebook ad, but real, hard-core marketing. I'm talking SEO, social media, print, referral programs, community management, wedding fayres, community groups, word of mouth, the list goes on. Then you get an enquiry.
Then you have to win that customer, retain them. Show them your work, a portfolio!, build confidence that the money they spend is with the right person they're investing in – You are an investment! If they stick with you, great!
Then you have to plan. Plan the engagement shoot, get to know your couple ahead of the day; it makes the relationship so much better. Plan the schedule, where you're going to be, how you are going to get there. Manage expectations, can you do what the couple want? Will you have to learn something ahead of the day? Have you scoped out the venue or multiple venues? You need to know the lay of the land, the challenges you are going to face. What's the backup plan if it pisses down!?
Ok, we haven't got all day, but we haven't even got to the wedding day yet, and we certainly haven't picked up a camera! There is still so much more to consider, but we'll cover that another time!
So you can already see that there's more to the job than meets the eye. So, no, it's not easy!
Another Myth and this is similar to the last one is that it's just a day's work. Considering all the stuff I have previously mentioned, understand that communication doesn't stop after the wedding. You have to arrange prints, albums, viewings and of course, before all that, edit the damn photos! I worked it out that in my first year, I was averaging about 24 hours a week for each wedding that includes the wedding day. That's one wedding. A full-time week of about 35-37 hours is the admin stuff, invoices, insurance, marketing, web development it goes on.
It's genuinely a lovely job! How many other jobs do you get to spend the day with people being happy, capturing that on camera? You are recording the entire day of memories that will last these peoples entire lifetime.
You get to spend a lot of your time at some of the most beautiful venues, be served the best food, socialise (a little), network, potentially get more business, have fun and get paid for it! It is the best. My first year, a bride was related to a member of Elbow – who came to the wedding! Another event booked Toploader, while they were waiting to go on I had fried chicken and beer with them!
There's a good chance that as a photographer you love the gear too. I know I do. Well, it's yours! You can invest in great equipment that remains yours! How awesome is that?
There are no real cons to being a wedding photographer, but there are some things that you need to consider.
Consider equipment and personal liability insurance. If your light stand falls and breaks aunt Phylis's hat, and your flash, who is going to pay for that?
The gear is expensive. You have to research what you need and don't make the mistake that buying a new kit will make you better!
What's your experience? Leave your comments below; I'd love to hear what your thoughts are. If you found this video useful, please chuck us a thumbs up, and a subscribe – or don't, whatevs!