Setting Up Your Business
If you are looking to start work as a professional photographer, on a freelance basis, there are a few key business steps you must take in order to exude professionalism. First of all you should gather together a portfolio of your best work and write up a brief biography highlighting all the key details about you and your work. This should include your contact information, the styles you offer and any important terms and conditions. You should also consider setting up your own website, with your own domain and a logo.
If you are at the start of your career you may not be able to afford a website straight away, however, you should aim to get your domain name secured and a logo so that you can have business cards and flyers made up in the meantime. Repeat Logo is a popular business used by all sorts of businesses and freelancers.
Your First Wedding Photography Job
Your first gig as a wedding photographer can be stressful. However, if you prepare properly then everything will go great. If you are very nervous then you may want to consider taking another professional with you, or someone who has shot a wedding before. They can be support for you if you are feeling overwhelmed and make sure you get all the important shots. You can also look through my Wedding Photo Ideas for inspiration.
Whether you are working in a team or flying solo, the below guide will help you carry out a successful wedding shoot:
One of the most important things for you to do in advance of the wedding is getting the itinerary for the day. This way you know where you need to be and at what time. You should also visit the venues before the big day. This means you know exactly how to get there and you will know your route from the car park to the exact spot you need to be standing when the guests and bride and groom arrive. Keep in mind that on the day it will be much busier, with lots of relatives blocking your path so knowing your way around will give you a huge advantage. If you have more questions relating to standard practice for wedding photographers, please read my FAQ.
Agree on Shots
It is standard for every wedding photographer to sit down with the bride and groom in advance of the wedding day to discuss what photos they expect to see in the final album. There may be specific locations of the venue or particular family members that they want to be photographed with. If possible you could meet the couple at the venue and practice shots, if they have particular requirements about certain parts of the venue. Noting down a list of important relatives is also a great idea. You can carry this with you on the day so that you know you have got everyone. Having a list of all the shots you need will help you to remain calm on the day.
Use Two Cameras
Taking two cameras would be ideal as you can have two different lenses without having to swap them over on the one camera. You also will avoid the chance of dropping your lenses while you are changing them. If you can’t borrow an extra camera then at least have two lenses. Wide angle lenses are great for interiors and group shots while a longer lens is perfect for candid shots and portraits.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Whether it is film or digital memory cards, make sure you have enough. Take extra just in case. The worst thing that could happen to a wedding photographer is running out of space for photos or running out of battery. Do not let this happen. Take spare batteries and film or memory cards.
Aside from the obvious shots (the bride and groom kissing, family photos etc.) you should try to capture more initiate moments and smaller details. For example, close ups of flowers, wedding rings, backs of dresses, the menu etc. All of these little details will add depth to the album but will also become token memories for the bride and groom for the rest of their life.
Look for the Lighter Side of Things
Naturally you will capture plenty of professional, arranged photos at the wedding, such as group family photos and all the bridesmaids in a row. You also want to get shots of people more relaxed and enjoying themselves. This will capture the atmosphere of the day and the party. For example, the bride taking her shoes off to rub her feet, a baby chewing on a bridesmaid bouquet and the best man making a funny face. Photos like these make the album more personal for the bride and groom.
Ensure your camera is on silent mode, the same goes for your mobile phone as well. There is nothing more distracting than a camera beeping inconsistently throughout a wedding ceremony.
Remember that weddings are joyous occasions so try to enjoy yourself while you work. It is naturally going to be a stressful experience for you but if you take some time in between shots to chat with the guests and enjoy the event you will probably get better shots.