What’s involved in becoming a portrait and wedding photographer

What’s involved in becoming a portrait and wedding photographer

By Ricard Grainger

For those who know me and the way I write, you will know I’m usually like a boxing kangaroo. Serious when I have my gloves on, but funny looking at the same time. I wanted to make this article a little more serious, to help those who are genuinely thinking about turning photography into their career. I’m at that point now, where I am starting to receive a few emails asking how do they become a professional portrait and wedding photographer. And, to be honest, I personally don’t class myself as a full-time professional wedding photographer. I call myself a wedding photographer and will continue to do so, until I can completely rely on my photography as a sole income. At that point, I’ll be satisfied to call myself a full-time professional. So if you are looking for advice to become a full-time photographer, I may not be the person to ask. But, if you are looking to bounce ideas off with someone who booked around 15 weddings in their first year, then I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. I’ve just started my 2nd year, so I’ll let you guys know how it goes. I didn’t have any intention to become a wedding photographer, so I’m not sure if that plays any kind of part in it, but, this is what I have found is important. Oh, and keep in mind, I wrote this assuming you have already got a sound knowledge in photography, studied or even worked as an assistant.

 

Understand and know your equipment

For anyone that knows me in person, I am not fussed about the best brands or the best lenses or anything fancy like that. I didn’t care what camera/s I shot my first wedding with. What I cared about, is that I knew what the limitations were on the gear I used. Without knowing your limitations, you will not know how creative you can be or what kind of backup systems you will need.

Be prepared This is the contradicting point of my first point. Now, you need to make sure you have the right gear so if something happens, you will have a back-up or a similar replacement. I’ve never had any issues with any of my gear yet, but it was and still is something I have hanging out in the back of my mind. If your camera has only 1 card slot, then use smaller cards. If you have 2 batteries for one camera, get 4. If you have one camera, you will have to get another. If you only have one lens, you will have to get another which has a similar focal length. Just be prepared. Know what your gear can do and work out what you will need. Photographic qualities aside, at this stage, you are defining you are a professional and not an uncle Joe with a camera. If your name happens to be Joe and you are an uncle, then… actually… I got nothing, but I am sitting here smiling.

Learn business Make sure you do the fundamentals and get a good contract written up for you by a professional. Find your pricing structure and figure out how you want to price yourself. Most professionals will tell you what to sell and how to sell it, but for me, I just did what *I* wanted to do. I figured out my price, what I wanted to offer, what I wanted to sell and how I wanted to do it – I did this all myself. I wanted to do this on my own so I could whole heartedly believe in what I had to offer. I could never sell a product or a service which wasn’t completely synchronized with my heart. This made it easy for me to sell my product when it came to face to face meetings. Many professionals would disagree with me, but I don’t really care much about selling prints, canvases and albums. I care about selling my photography. I am not a printer, I am a photographer. I do offer my clients print options and many do like to snatch up the album. With my albums, I only offer it with everything already included (max pages, leather, beautiful case etc). Again, this is what *I* wanted to do.

What about the photography? This is something I’d prefer not to talk about really. If you want to be a photographer, you need to take the images *you* want to take. The ones that make your heart feel warm, the ones that make you smile. This is why I don’t want to tell you how to take photos. Do this your way, the way you want to. This is obviously an important part in getting business. Unfortunately, I can’t tell everyone that their creativity, eye and style is going to be in demand, because I’m not the type to sugarcoat everything to protect your feelings. If you are in business, then you need to have a strong will and heart. Keep taking photos and your style will develop. You will see it evolve. Patience is your key… though I know many people don’t care for patience, but golly, it is really damn important.

It’s time to meet your couples The couples that hire you, are your bosses. Treat them as such and work to please them. But, remember to think of them as friends too. I don’t go into my meetings or photo sessions thinking like a business owner. I go into them, thinking how I would like to be treated. I’m not a business robot, I’m a human like everyone else, and I’d like to be treated as such. I treat my couples as if they are my friends. I talk to them like friends and I become their friends. But I also take care of them as if they were my boss and would be ready to fire me the moment I become an ass. I treat my clients on a personal level and take care of everything myself. I don’t treat them like a customer at a car dealership. I want them to feel taken care of, not as if I was trying to take every dime and penny from them. This is key when it comes to your photos and this is why *my* photos look the way they do.

Delivery for referrals Go above and beyond for each and every session. Truly, it’s a must do. This falls into the “treat them like friends” category. Spend $10 and print them a few of your favourite photos, or give them an extra 15 minutes of your time. Do something, make them feel special. If you don’t care about referrals, then don’t worry about this point. But without referrals, you won’t be in business. 95% of my work has come from referrals. I’ve spent almost nothing on advertising and I kind of like having the money in my pocket, rather than in Google’s. I’m not saying advertising is bad by the way, by no means at all. Advertising is awesome… It helps the world spin. But, referrals is my master at arms. Referrals are king. Or queen. Or whatever is awesome in your eyes. Which brings me to my next point.

Be awesome This is the hardest point, but you need to be awesome in some way or another. The way you talk, setup your office, the way you meet your clients, your website, your blog posts or of course, taking rad photos. But you need to be awesome with at least one of those. Two is even better. But not three. Three means you are probably looking more awesome than me, which is not cool at all. This is how your clients will get their first impression of you. Make sure it’s an awesome one. I’ve used the word awesome too many times now, so I’m forcing myself to move onto the next point.

Keep yourself updated and connected Keep learning, connect with colleagues, shops and other photographers. I’m so lucky to be getting referrals from more experienced (and better) photographers than me. Actually, it’s not luck, I went out, made friends and boom. Referrals. I happen to be connected with 1 extra person, who happens to make my life that little bit better. Not by much, but enough to give me a smile every couple of months.

Remember, this isn’t advice per say, but more of some brainstorming from one newbie photographer to another. As I said, I don’t want to call myself a full-time professional, but I’m completely happy to share my thoughts with you. With that in mind, I’ve been asked to start writing the next article in this series, “Building a portfolio”. There are heaps of articles out there about this already, but I’ll be looking more into how and what has worked for me in the real world. If you have any questions, or simply want to chat, shoot me an email or leave me a comment on here.

Source: www.richardgrainger.com.au

By Ricard Grainger

For those who know me and the way I write, you will know I’m usually like a boxing kangaroo. Serious when I have my gloves on, but funny looking at the same time. I wanted to make this article a little more serious, to help those who are genuinely thinking about turning photography into their career.

I’m at that point now, where I am starting to receive a few emails asking how do they become a professional portrait and wedding photographer. And, to be honest, I personally don’t class myself as a full-time professional wedding photographer. I call myself a wedding photographer and will continue to do so, until I can completely rely on my photography as a sole income. At that point, I’ll be satisfied to call myself a full-time professional.

So if you are looking for advice to become a full-time photographer, I may not be the person to ask. But, if you are looking to bounce ideas off with someone who booked around 15 weddings in their first year, then I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. I’ve just started my 2nd year, so I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

I didn’t have any intention to become a wedding photographer, so I’m not sure if that plays any kind of part in it, but, this is what I have found is important.

Oh, and keep in mind, I wrote this assuming you have already got a sound knowledge in photography, studied or even worked as an assistant.

 

Understand and know your equipment

For anyone that knows me in person, I am not fussed about the best brands or the best lenses or anything fancy like that. I didn’t care what camera/s I shot my first wedding with. What I cared about, is that I knew what the limitations were on the gear I used. Without knowing your limitations, you will not know how creative you can be or what kind of backup systems you will need.

Be prepared
This is the contradicting point of my first point. Now, you need to make sure you have the right gear so if something happens, you will have a back-up or a similar replacement. I’ve never had any issues with any of my gear yet, but it was and still is something I have hanging out in the back of my mind. If your camera has only 1 card slot, then use smaller cards. If you have 2 batteries for one camera, get 4. If you have one camera, you will have to get another. If you only have one lens, you will have to get another which has a similar focal length.
Just be prepared. Know what your gear can do and work out what you will need.
Photographic qualities aside, at this stage, you are defining you are a professional and not an uncle Joe with a camera. If your name happens to be Joe and you are an uncle, then… actually… I got nothing, but I am sitting here smiling.

Learn business
Make sure you do the fundamentals and get a good contract written up for you by a professional. Find your pricing structure and figure out how you want to price yourself. Most professionals will tell you what to sell and how to sell it, but for me, I just did what *I* wanted to do.
I figured out my price, what I wanted to offer, what I wanted to sell and how I wanted to do it – I did this all myself. I wanted to do this on my own so I could whole heartedly believe in what I had to offer. I could never sell a product or a service which wasn’t completely synchronized with my heart. This made it easy for me to sell my product when it came to face to face meetings.
Many professionals would disagree with me, but I don’t really care much about selling prints, canvases and albums.

I care about selling my photography. I am not a printer, I am a photographer.

I do offer my clients print options and many do like to snatch up the album. With my albums, I only offer it with everything already included (max pages, leather, beautiful case etc). Again, this is what *I* wanted to do.

What about the photography?
This is something I’d prefer not to talk about really. If you want to be a photographer, you need to take the images *you* want to take. The ones that make your heart feel warm, the ones that make you smile. This is why I don’t want to tell you how to take photos. Do this your way, the way you want to.
This is obviously an important part in getting business. Unfortunately, I can’t tell everyone that their creativity, eye and style is going to be in demand, because I’m not the type to sugarcoat everything to protect your feelings. If you are in business, then you need to have a strong will and heart.
Keep taking photos and your style will develop. You will see it evolve. Patience is your key… though I know many people don’t care for patience, but golly, it is really damn important.

It’s time to meet your couples
The couples that hire you, are your bosses. Treat them as such and work to please them. But, remember to think of them as friends too. I don’t go into my meetings or photo sessions thinking like a business owner. I go into them, thinking how I would like to be treated. I’m not a business robot, I’m a human like everyone else, and I’d like to be treated as such.
I treat my couples as if they are my friends. I talk to them like friends and I become their friends. But I also take care of them as if they were my boss and would be ready to fire me the moment I become an ass.
I treat my clients on a personal level and take care of everything myself. I don’t treat them like a customer at a car dealership. I want them to feel taken care of, not as if I was trying to take every dime and penny from them.
This is key when it comes to your photos and this is why *my* photos look the way they do.

Delivery for referrals
Go above and beyond for each and every session. Truly, it’s a must do. This falls into the “treat them like friends” category. Spend $10 and print them a few of your favourite photos, or give them an extra 15 minutes of your time. Do something, make them feel special. If you don’t care about referrals, then don’t worry about this point. But without referrals, you won’t be in business.
95% of my work has come from referrals. I’ve spent almost nothing on advertising and I kind of like having the money in my pocket, rather than in Google’s. I’m not saying advertising is bad by the way, by no means at all. Advertising is awesome… It helps the world spin. But, referrals is my master at arms. Referrals are king. Or queen. Or whatever is awesome in your eyes.
Which brings me to my next point.

Be awesome
This is the hardest point, but you need to be awesome in some way or another. The way you talk, setup your office, the way you meet your clients, your website, your blog posts or of course, taking rad photos. But you need to be awesome with at least one of those. Two is even better. But not three. Three means you are probably looking more awesome than me, which is not cool at all.
This is how your clients will get their first impression of you. Make sure it’s an awesome one.
I’ve used the word awesome too many times now, so I’m forcing myself to move onto the next point.

Keep yourself updated and connected
Keep learning, connect with colleagues, shops and other photographers. I’m so lucky to be getting referrals from more experienced (and better) photographers than me. Actually, it’s not luck, I went out, made friends and boom. Referrals. I happen to be connected with 1 extra person, who happens to make my life that little bit better. Not by much, but enough to give me a smile every couple of months.

Remember, this isn’t advice per say, but more of some brainstorming from one newbie photographer to another. As I said, I don’t want to call myself a full-time professional, but I’m completely happy to share my thoughts with you. With that in mind, I’ve been asked to start writing the next article in this series, “Building a portfolio”. There are heaps of articles out there about this already, but I’ll be looking more into how and what has worked for me in the real world.
If you have any questions, or simply want to chat, shoot me an email or leave me a comment on here.

Source: www.richardgrainger.com.au

By Ricard Grainger

For those who know me and the way I write, you will know I’m usually like a boxing kangaroo. Serious when I have my gloves on, but funny looking at the same time. I wanted to make this article a little more serious, to help those who are genuinely thinking about turning photography into their career.

I’m at that point now, where I am starting to receive a few emails asking how do they become a professional portrait and wedding photographer. And, to be honest, I personally don’t class myself as a full-time professional wedding photographer. I call myself a wedding photographer and will continue to do so, until I can completely rely on my photography as a sole income. At that point, I’ll be satisfied to call myself a full-time professional.

So if you are looking for advice to become a full-time photographer, I may not be the person to ask. But, if you are looking to bounce ideas off with someone who booked around 15 weddings in their first year, then I’m happy to share my thoughts with you. I’ve just started my 2nd year, so I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

I didn’t have any intention to become a wedding photographer, so I’m not sure if that plays any kind of part in it, but, this is what I have found is important.

Oh, and keep in mind, I wrote this assuming you have already got a sound knowledge in photography, studied or even worked as an assistant.

 

Understand and know your equipment

For anyone that knows me in person, I am not fussed about the best brands or the best lenses or anything fancy like that. I didn’t care what camera/s I shot my first wedding with. What I cared about, is that I knew what the limitations were on the gear I used. Without knowing your limitations, you will not know how creative you can be or what kind of backup systems you will need.

Be prepared
This is the contradicting point of my first point. Now, you need to make sure you have the right gear so if something happens, you will have a back-up or a similar replacement. I’ve never had any issues with any of my gear yet, but it was and still is something I have hanging out in the back of my mind. If your camera has only 1 card slot, then use smaller cards. If you have 2 batteries for one camera, get 4. If you have one camera, you will have to get another. If you only have one lens, you will have to get another which has a similar focal length.
Just be prepared. Know what your gear can do and work out what you will need.
Photographic qualities aside, at this stage, you are defining you are a professional and not an uncle Joe with a camera. If your name happens to be Joe and you are an uncle, then… actually… I got nothing, but I am sitting here smiling.

Learn business
Make sure you do the fundamentals and get a good contract written up for you by a professional. Find your pricing structure and figure out how you want to price yourself. Most professionals will tell you what to sell and how to sell it, but for me, I just did what *I* wanted to do.
I figured out my price, what I wanted to offer, what I wanted to sell and how I wanted to do it – I did this all myself. I wanted to do this on my own so I could whole heartedly believe in what I had to offer. I could never sell a product or a service which wasn’t completely synchronized with my heart. This made it easy for me to sell my product when it came to face to face meetings.
Many professionals would disagree with me, but I don’t really care much about selling prints, canvases and albums.

I care about selling my photography. I am not a printer, I am a photographer.

I do offer my clients print options and many do like to snatch up the album. With my albums, I only offer it with everything already included (max pages, leather, beautiful case etc). Again, this is what *I* wanted to do.

What about the photography?
This is something I’d prefer not to talk about really. If you want to be a photographer, you need to take the images *you* want to take. The ones that make your heart feel warm, the ones that make you smile. This is why I don’t want to tell you how to take photos. Do this your way, the way you want to.
This is obviously an important part in getting business. Unfortunately, I can’t tell everyone that their creativity, eye and style is going to be in demand, because I’m not the type to sugarcoat everything to protect your feelings. If you are in business, then you need to have a strong will and heart.
Keep taking photos and your style will develop. You will see it evolve. Patience is your key… though I know many people don’t care for patience, but golly, it is really damn important.

It’s time to meet your couples
The couples that hire you, are your bosses. Treat them as such and work to please them. But, remember to think of them as friends too. I don’t go into my meetings or photo sessions thinking like a business owner. I go into them, thinking how I would like to be treated. I’m not a business robot, I’m a human like everyone else, and I’d like to be treated as such.
I treat my couples as if they are my friends. I talk to them like friends and I become their friends. But I also take care of them as if they were my boss and would be ready to fire me the moment I become an ass.
I treat my clients on a personal level and take care of everything myself. I don’t treat them like a customer at a car dealership. I want them to feel taken care of, not as if I was trying to take every dime and penny from them.
This is key when it comes to your photos and this is why *my* photos look the way they do.

Delivery for referrals
Go above and beyond for each and every session. Truly, it’s a must do. This falls into the “treat them like friends” category. Spend $10 and print them a few of your favourite photos, or give them an extra 15 minutes of your time. Do something, make them feel special. If you don’t care about referrals, then don’t worry about this point. But without referrals, you won’t be in business.
95% of my work has come from referrals. I’ve spent almost nothing on advertising and I kind of like having the money in my pocket, rather than in Google’s. I’m not saying advertising is bad by the way, by no means at all. Advertising is awesome… It helps the world spin. But, referrals is my master at arms. Referrals are king. Or queen. Or whatever is awesome in your eyes.
Which brings me to my next point.

Be awesome
This is the hardest point, but you need to be awesome in some way or another. The way you talk, setup your office, the way you meet your clients, your website, your blog posts or of course, taking rad photos. But you need to be awesome with at least one of those. Two is even better. But not three. Three means you are probably looking more awesome than me, which is not cool at all.
This is how your clients will get their first impression of you. Make sure it’s an awesome one.
I’ve used the word awesome too many times now, so I’m forcing myself to move onto the next point.

Keep yourself updated and connected
Keep learning, connect with colleagues, shops and other photographers. I’m so lucky to be getting referrals from more experienced (and better) photographers than me. Actually, it’s not luck, I went out, made friends and boom. Referrals. I happen to be connected with 1 extra person, who happens to make my life that little bit better. Not by much, but enough to give me a smile every couple of months.

Remember, this isn’t advice per say, but more of some brainstorming from one newbie photographer to another. As I said, I don’t want to call myself a full-time professional, but I’m completely happy to share my thoughts with you. With that in mind, I’ve been asked to start writing the next article in this series, “Building a portfolio”. There are heaps of articles out there about this already, but I’ll be looking more into how and what has worked for me in the real world.
If you have any questions, or simply want to chat, shoot me an email or leave me a comment on here.

Source: www.richardgrainger.com.au

No Comments

Post A Comment