Starting a career as a wedding photographer is EASY – all you have to do is follow these 10 EASY STEPS TO BECOME A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!
If you have ever wanted to start a fun, glamorous and profitable ($$$$!!!) career as a wedding photographer, I will share the secret to success that professional wedding photographers don’t want you to know.
The best part is that you don’t even need to know how to use a camera – or even have a camera to get started!
And you can learn it all FOR FREE – just read the rest of this article (and then be sure to buy our eBook*)!!!
The Wedding Industry Is Big Money!
Every year, brides with more money than brains spend tens of thousands of dollars on their weddings.
In 2013, brides spent an average of $30,000 on a wedding. Out of that, on average $2,500 was spent on the photographer and another $1,700 on a videographer!
All you need to do to grab your piece of that pie is to find out how to become a wedding photographer in 10 easy steps.
Now, we’re not allowed to promise you a BIG CASH INCOME, if you follow these 10 easy steps to become a wedding photographer…but just between you and me – if you follow these 10 easy steps to become a wedding photographer, WE CAN PROMISE YOU A BIG CASH INCOME FROM YOUR NEW WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS!!!!$$$**
How To Become A Wedding Photographer In 10 Easy Steps
Step 1: Hire a cheap wedding photographer for your own wedding.
If you hire a cheap wedding photographer for your own wedding, you will get thousands of mediocre photos – and probably the full resolution copies as well. This will give you the confidence to realize – hey, if he/she can do that, so can I.
You will also get a sneak peak into how easy it is to photograph a wedding from start to finish.
If you are already married, you can modify this step by getting divorced and starting over, or by hiring a cheap family photographer to take some family portraits.
Step 2: Get good camera.
Everybody knows that the better camera you have, the better your wedding photos will be.
I started my wedding photography career with a Sony DSC-F717 Cybershot and a ton of people actually paid me to photograph their weddings with that bad boy!
Of course, you can just use a cell phone for wedding photography, which makes adding some cool filters and uploading wedding photos to Instagram a lot easier – but for some reason clients tend to want to hire a wedding photographer that has a fancy looking camera.
So you can think of a good camera as both advertising and a camera. If you really want to maximize the advertising potential of your camera, put a big flash and a really big lens hood on it as well. The more stuff you have attached to your camera, the more weddings you will book.
Of course you don’t want to spend more on a camera than you did on your cell phone, so a Canon EOS T3 or a Nikon D3200 are excellent cameras for professional wedding photographers – and you can get either of them for less than $500 – and they even come with a lens.
Step 3: Go to weddings of friends and family and poach wedding photos from the real photographer.
If you don’t have any friends or family members that are getting married any time soon, you can just go to a church on any Saturday afternoon and chances are there will be a wedding. From there you can follow the bridal party when they go for wedding photos and if you are sneaky enough, you can crash the reception too.
What you want to do is stand right behind the actual wedding photographer and take every photo that they take. That way, you can get great wedding photos for your portfolio without having to do any actual work. Don’t worry if the wedding photographer is using fancy lights or other fancy looking gear – if you have a good camera you can take good wedding photos – just use “P” mode.
Just watch out because most established wedding photographers are real assholes and they don’t want anyone new to take the same photos as them. Just remind them that its a free country and you can take a photo of anything you want.
Of course, a great alternative to Step 3 is to just buy some wedding stock photos and pass them off as your own – how easy is that!?
Step 4: Start a wedding photography website and advertise.
Once you have a bit of a portfolio, its time to start a website and advertise – you’ll be booking weddings in no time!
Choosing the perfect name for a wedding photography business can be tricky. Just remember that brides love names that say something about your approach to wedding photography – so be sure to use something with the phrase “Capture the Moment”, “Timeless”, “From the Heart”, “Artistic” or “Treasured”. And don’t forget to add your first and last name too.
Our you can just combine them all into something really impressive like:
Treasured Moments Wedding Photography From the Heart by JP Danko – Artistic, Timeless and Treasured Always
And don’t forget that it also really helps to have some very emotional wedding style music on your website too – Marry You by Bruno Mars or pretty much anything by Train are unique choices that will work great.
Step 5: Set your rates really low and find a few people who will actually pay you money to photograph their wedding with your “good camera”.
At this point, knowing how to use your “good camera” means knowing how to use program auto (“P” = “Professional” as opposed to full auto “A’” which is for “Amateurs”) and showing up with charged batteries.
You might also want to also advertise yourself as a “natural light photographer”.
People love natural light photographers because they take natural photos with organic light and its almost impossible to take a bad photo in natural light.
Of course, this might pose a small problem inside some churches and at the reception. But fortunately, most churches have beautiful natural light everywhere and if your ceremony photos don’t turn out, you can just explain that since you are a natural light photographer, the bride and groom should have chosen a church with better natural light. Oh and nothing very important ever happens at the reception, so just forget about those shots anyway.
Step 6: Gradually increase your talent level while gradually increasing your rates.
Somewhere along the line you might start to notice that your photos start getting better and better. Maybe you will discover how to artistically tilt your camera. Or maybe you will invest in some awesome new Lightroom presets – but whatever the case, as your photos get better, you can start charging more money for them.
Step 7: Realize that your “good camera” is not quite so good – invest in a “really good camera”.
Upgrade to a 5D Mk III (B&H) or a Nikon D610 (B&H). With a full frame camera you can now start taking photos with bokeh. You’ll want to take photos of everything with as much bokeh as possible in every shot – brides love this.
While you’re at it, you should also get an f/2.8 24-70 lens (B&H). This lens is called the “wedding lens”, because its the only lens you will ever need for professional wedding photography.
(This photo was actually taken with an f/1.4 85mm prime, but that’s not the point, the point is bokeh, bokeh, BOKEH!)
Step 8: Realize that its not actually the camera. Start reading Strobist and invest in some off camera flash.
I suggest going old school with Lighting 101 from back in 2006, and then read through every single article up until today.
Of course, you won’t actually know how to use any of the wild and wonderful off camera flash techniques that you are reading about, but you can just practice at every wedding you photograph until you figure it out. Soon you’ll be adding strobes everywhere!
Step 9: Gradually increase talent level, acquire lots of photography gear, gradually increase rates until you finally arrive as a real life mid-level wedding photographer.
Congratulations, you’re almost there – but for now you can enjoy the life of a mid-level wedding photographer.
As a real life mid-level wedding photographer, you’ll want to try implementing some sort of flush mount album, canvas gallery wrap and giclée fine art print sales program. You should also think about not giving away the edited full resolution photo files.
But, alas all mid-level wedding photographers fail miserably at both, so on second though – why bother.
Eventually, you will get sick of your significant other nagging you to get a real job at Walmart so you can improve your standard of living.
You will also eventually realize that 95% of all other wedding photographers are your direct competition.
Now, and only now have you completed your training.
You are ready for Step 10.
Step 10: Realize that being a mid-level wedding photographer sucks. Quadruple your rates and re-brand as a luxury, high end wedding photographer.
Change your business name to your first and last names followed by “Photography” (for example JP Danko Photography). Get a nice clean looking website with a cool damask pattern background and a funky hipster logo. Change your rates and bam – you are now a high end luxury wedding photographer.
You can also get a sexy assistant to carry your stuff around.
Oh and just to be clear, you don’t actually have to take better wedding photos then you were as a mid-level wedding photographer – you just have to charge a lot more money from them.
All that stress you had about the full resolution photo files – forget about it! They’re now totally free after your clients purchase a $5,000 album.
All that time you wasted second guessing your own pricing structure every time a bride questioned your rates – its in the past. If a couple wants to hire you now – its on your terms!
Now all you have to worry about is all those smart ass young punks that stand behind you at every wedding and snap the photos you set up with their damn little smartphones and post them to Instagram before you finish setting up your lighting #MyWeddingPhotosAreBetterThanThePro #ShouldIBeAWeddingPhotog #AmazingWeddingPhotos #NoFilter
What Do You Think?
Will these 10 easy steps help you to start a fun, glamorous and profitable ($$$$!!!) career as a wedding photographer?
Is this the secret information that old wedding photographers don’t want you to know?
What step are you on right now?
Leave a comment and let us know!
In the words of Homer Simpson: “Its funny, ’cause its true.”
These 10 Easy Steps to Become a Wedding Photographer are more or less a summary to my own journey into the wonderful world of wedding photography. Of course, I was a little less cavalier towards my clients then I portray above – I really did try my very best to provide them with the best quality wedding photos I was capable of taking at the time.
But what I have come to realize that even though my early wedding photos sucked, the fact is that people still paid me quite a bit of money to go out and take them – which I think says a lot about the wedding photography business in general.
More often then not, new wedding photographers can’t be bothered to progress beyond Step 5, which leaves couples paying way too much money for really bad wedding photos that anyone could have taken.
On the other hand, I see so many talented mid-level wedding photographers slug away at the business for years only to eventually burn out from the stress of endless haggling in a grossly over-saturated mid-level wedding photography market.
That leaves the luxury market to the survivors. You can make a decent living as a high end wedding photographer, but you really do have to put in your dues.
Maybe one day the wedding photography market will normalize, but right now there are too many brides that are not getting value for their money, and too many photographers working for a lot less than they are worth.
*There is no eBook – but if this was a real how to be a wedding photographer article, there would be.
**This article is satire and JP Danko and DIYP do not offer any promise of a big cash income.