For Photographers: How to start a wedding photography business: Getting the first Wedding

‘Leap and the net will appear.’ John Burroughs.

Once you have one wedding under your belt, you have something to build on. Experience,  a small portfolio, and hopefully a recommendation. But, with none of the above, getting started can be tricky. There are many ways to go about to, but I’ll describe how it worked for me.

I heard a friend was getting married,  and asked her if she had thought about the photographer and would she consider me. I had recently finished University, and was embarking on my photography career. I have some work to show, but very little relevant to wedding photography, and no actual weddings, so I quoted as little as possible in an attempt to secure the booking.

I asked for £500, and then spent about about £700, on an assistant, equipment, and other expenses. I knew then that I was playing the long game, and it would be far better to invest in doing a great job at any cost, rather than try to make a profit on the first wedding and risk the quality of the work.

In fact, I didn’t attempt to make any profit in the first year, and feel this is why the second was so successful . I invested every penny in improving the service I offered. I shot three weddings in my first year and 25 in the second.

I compensated for lack of experience, with meticulous planning. I collected the basic timings and details from the Bride and her mother, and then , being a local wedding I was able to perform several site visits. I walked through the day in my own time, looking at the potential shots and angles, adding  notes to the timings to build up a plan for the day.

This planning became core to every wedding I have shot since. There can be considerable pressure when photographing a wedding, especially your first, so I do everything I can not to add to it!

My Advice:

  • Find someone you know getting married, preferably a small and local wedding.
  • Quote as little as possible, and invest back into making it a complete success.
  • Plan, plan, plan!

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