There was a time when wedding photographers were considered bottom feeders of photography. They were often mocked, their talents smeared and their profession slurred. Ironically, as times change so did the importance of wedding photography grow.
Today, wedding photography is considered among the most popular, successful and profitable fields in photography. Modern wedding photographers are respected and often enjoy a celebrity status among their peers.
According to a 2016 survey conducted by The Knot, one of the leading online wedding resources, the average national spend on wedding photography last year was $2783. This is the second largest wedding expense, right after the average venue price of $16,107.
But it takes time to grow from an amateur wedding photographer to a respected company like Stunning Photography. And more importantly, it takes advice. The kind your competition won’t surrender willingly.
There’s so much more to wedding photography than your equipment or your retouching skills. Online marketing, your SEO efforts, your attitude and your background can all make or break your efforts to become a successful wedding photographer.
In this article, we’ll give you a few pieces of advice no one else will.
Your Portfolio Isn’t Everything
In most cases, the client will hire you because they were impressed by your portfolio. But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes it’s because you’re the cheapest wedding photographer they could book. Other times, it might be because you’re overly expensive.
We all know there are wedding photographers whose fees are more expensive than an average wedding and venue costs combined. And more often than not, they will get hired not because of their technical prowess or cutting edge equipment, but status.
The bride can later boast how her wedding was shot by the same guy who did the wedding photos for that celebrity couple. Sometimes bragging rights are valued more than the actual expertise.
For other photographers, the selling point might be their personality. It is very important for the wedding photographer to connect with the bride and the groom. After all, they will be spending the most important day of their life together.
So should you forget about updating your equipment and improving your skills? No. But don’t forget the value of other factors that might help you land that perfect photography gig. Think about what makes you unique, and make sure you show it to your clients.
Managing Your Business and Your Brand
A lot of photographers forget the business side of their wedding photography business. Building a brand is crucial in the age of digital and social media marketing. And building your brand is more than just designing the right logo.
Everything from what you wear, what you post online, how you greet your customers and how you communicate with potential clients is a part of building a strong presence.
You should also mind how you present yourself on your website. Carefully chose the font and the theme of your presentation to match the type of clients you want to attract. The same goes for your portfolio. Showcase the photos you want your target group to identify with, be it traditional, country weddings or urban, modern ones.
Everyone Can Be a Wedding Photographer
Some photographers argue that even newbies can become successful wedding photographers without even bothering to understand what an f-stop or ISO stand for, let alone what they do. In many ways, the sophisticated modern cameras can help even the least competent photographers shoot on auto-pilot, without mastering the photography fundamentals.
Nowadays, everyone can be a wedding photographer. Deal with it. Whining and complaining about successful wedding photographers who know nothing about photography is going to get you nowhere. Instead, find something you can offer the bride and groom these rookies cannot.
Inexperienced wedding photographers use JPEG format because it is far less time consuming or their RAW retouching skills are sub-par. But RAW is by far the highest-quality format you can use. And it pays off to brush up on your photography retouching skills and perfect your workflow so you can offer high-quality images fast.
More importantly, educate your clients on the difference. To most, terms like JPEG and RAW mean nothing. Instead, show them how you can use your editing skills to turn color cast scraps into beautiful pictures. Show them how you can accent every wonderful detail and conceal every flaw.
Brides are particularly sensitive to any imperfections, no matter how minute. So show her how you can make annoying pimples or eye bags disappear. If this doesn’t sell your skills, nothing will.