How To Become A Wedding Photographer In 10 Easy Steps – Photographers Hate This

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.

10-easy-steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

You can find cheap wedding photographers and cheap family photographers for a dime a dozen on Craigslist.  Or even better, find a Goupon deal like this!

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.

Mobile Phone Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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!

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Mobile Phone Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

(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!

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

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!

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

Follow Up

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.

Wedding Photography Career  Wedding Photography How To Become A Wedding Photographer in 10 Easy Steps

*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.

  • David

    Oh, my tummy really hurts now. To much laughter in 3 minutes

  • Shooter

    If it wasn’t so sad, it was actually funny

  • lord eels

    it’s a free market. with almost zero barriers to entry. no surprise, and it’s always been this way. it’s also “young man’s work”, generally, so everyone thinks they are some wise sage after 5 years in. PAH. wedding photography is about salesmanship, not the actual photos. people will be happy with OK wedding photos as long as there are enough of them with the right folks in them. it’s sweaty stressful work, and your clients are usually pretty stressed out and young/inexperienced/stupid. have fun with that crap. I did my time and moved on.

    • thebeline

      It wasn’t always as “free” and open, this comes in cycles. I don’t want to go as far back as gun-powder flash, and sitting for sixty-seconds, but this idea of “anyone can do it” can be seen with the advance of point-and-shoot film cameras, the advent of the first digital SLRs, and the gradual perfection of the Camera Phone. The cause is simple, everyone realizes how terrible their pictures used to be with old tech, and how “great” they are with the new. This cycle breaks down when they realize they may be “better”, maybe better quality, maybe just simply larger in numbers, but that doesn’t make their photos “great.” Consider that Cellphones can now take photographs that are considerably better than the first few years of Digital Cameras. That alone is enough to make your uncle think “well hot damn, my photos are PHENOMENAL.” That, coupled with ease of use, ubiquity, and speed of sharing, make people think that their a gosh darn pro. The unfortunate part is that, with the speed at which the digital market changes, there is a steady wave of people experiencing various stages of this cycle now. I am not feeling beaten up by it, it’s a funny train-wreck to watch.

      On the “doing time” bit. Weddings are a cakewalk, really. I never understood people’s stress over them. Plan the evening out, have contingencies, bring backups, wear deodorant, profit.

      Also, NEVER shoot for family or friends. They invariably want to get you a drink or dance. Dancing isn’t so bad, but Jack is a terrible photographer…

      • Jim Johnson

        Agreed. There were always barriers before digital, particularly film and equipment costs, lab charges, etc. Digital has removed most of the barriers. Now you can get your education from the internet, process all your own photos on your $300 laptop, and have a virtual storefront. There is no need to invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars of education and equipment.

        Digital has democratized photography which is great because anyone can now do it. It is also terrible because ANYONE can now do it.

        • Mia

          true. and it`s as horrible as it is beautiful. getting into the business is easypeasy but shining in it has gotten much harder. more need to focus on creativity and marketing. i think in the end this anyone-can-do-it pushes pros to do better and work harder and eventually transforms photography for the better.

          • Jim Johnson

            Without a doubt, the quality of work has greatly improved. When I think abut the kind of photos my hometown photographer produced when he held the monopoly… I feel embarrassed for him.

  • http://tahoeshooter.com Jon Peckham

    This is absolutely factual. This is what people are doing now. It’s so disgusting. . . I know this one chick that bought a Costco camera and now she calls herself a pro. It’s horrible.

    • thebeline

      What the heck is a Costco Camera??

      • jeffmcc

        I’m guessing they mean a camera that is bought at Costco.

        • thebeline

          Oh thank God. That is better than the alternative.

          Now, Costco does carry a 70D (not the 60D as you mentioned above), and this is a good camera. So not all is lost. However, honestly (and this is a subtle point that may be lost on the reader of this article) the camera does NOT matter. I, for a few years, shot weddings on a Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D. There are pros and cons of digital vs film photography, and if you simply master the camera it’s self, the cons list gets shorter no matter which camera you use.

          That said, back in those days, I would have killed for a T5i equivalent.

          However, typically, those who buy such cameras will never “master” them.

          • jeffmcc

            Last time I was at Costco they had the 60D. That was 2 years ago.

            I shot a wedding once with a T3i. Yes there is a notable difference when using a camera such as a T3i and maybe a 6D.

          • thebeline

            Oh Jesus yeah, the technology has come a long way since then. My third body, an NEX-5n, is leaps and bounds over the old Maxxum 5D, that’s to say nothing of my A900. That said, it isn’t the hammer, it’s the carpenter.

      • http://tahoeshooter.com Jon Peckham

        Jeff is right, any camera bought easily at costco. . .

    • jeffmcc

      Costco has a 60D. Not toooo shabby.

    • BLSS

      Everyone has to start somewhere – Even the author – “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” :-)

  • jeffmcc

    Interesting except some of the photos featured in this article are just HORRIBLE.

  • Cedric

    I didn’t find this article to be that funny. Leave the satire back and add customer respect and you get my story! Yes, wedding is an easy business to get in and I’m not ashamed to admitt that I chose it for that reason.

    You can find someone that will take ugly shots for 100$. At the other side is the “real” pro that will take gorgeous pictures but will ask you 3000$, and you won’t even get the digitals! Wow, what a difference! Being a customer that doesn’t understand anything to photography, would you even be able to understand what the differences are? Or when you asked the 3000$ guy, didn’t he replied that his pictures were just “better”?

    To illustrate my thoughts I’ll take a personnal example. The car I’m driving is almost 15 years old. It runs ok, comfort is not its strong point but it is reliable. If I wanted, I know that I could afford a brand new car. But I don’t care! For me, it is not that important!
    It is exactly the same thing with brides. Every couple doesn’t WANT to spend a big amount of money for pictures just because pictures are not that important for them.

    One thing I totally agree with: a lot of couples pay way too much in regard to the quality that is delivered. That isn’t only valid for “low cost” photographers but also those with premium prices and their own “well established” studio or shop in the middle downtown.

    I strongly believe that as long as your prices are in line with what you propose and customers are aware of it, then there can’t be any issue, whatever the price you ask for.

    I’m not a “premium” photographer and my objective is clearly not to become one. Photography is not my full-time job and that’s the way I achieve a decent living. I just want to please my customers and get myself pleasure by learning and increasing my skills.

    I have to admitt that it is pretty exhausting to read articles where pros spit on “low cost” photographers. Like I said my car is almost 15 years old but it can run on the same exact road that the very latest model of Mercedes. If the value you bring to the customers is in line with the price you ask for, then it should be easy to explain the differences compared to lower prices.

    About those that pretend being “pro” photographers, I still don’t see where the problem is. Please wake up, it is not disgusting or sad at all, it is called the free market. Take a plumber, a mechanic or a cook, same thing! Some are just better than the other. If you are a “real” professionnal (skilled, serious, coherent, etc.) then people get to know it by themselves.

    Thank you for reading that far.
    Cedric

    • thebeline

      I will agree that the “hate speak” should probably be calmed. Love all and all that, but there is another side that really should be considered.

      Take {insert your country}’s current unemployment and economic stance at the moment. I am in America, and while we do have a fairly substantial corporate industry that I will not pish-posh on, we are also hemorrhaging money to other countries due to pricing and labor value differences. Ignoring the corporate (or, “‘Merica has more money than God”) arguments, the industry and product markets have three-fold application to the Photography market, and their resolution would require the adjustment of many sets of perspectives:

      On one hand you have the Photographer who produces mediocre product, but feels they are worth more. Some consumers will buy it just because more means better (or in the analogy, “Made in the USA” must mean “good”). However, this product is still slightly less that other really good product that costs about the same, and hurts the people who actually put time and effort into their craft, diluting the market, giving high-prices (“Made in ‘Merica”) a bad name, and just generally causing ruckus.

      Then you have the countries what will produce dirt-cheap junk with no regard to quality (the flip is incredibly uncommon). This takes away money from the people that do good work, and it also wastes resources and money, makes the consumer generally upset or apathetic and unfulfilled, and also causes issues.

      Then you have the consumer who sees a proliferation of both cheap and junk, and because of saturation and exposure, they begin to believe that that is fine, and that that is acceptable and the status quo. And they never realize that better exists, or they simply won’t pay for what is of higher quality and more to their needs and desires, because, jesus, in a market so saturated with low prices, the pros look ludicrous.

      To take this just one step further and really make the point: The people making cheap junk can not support themselves on that alone, and either die off (in world markets, this is unfortunately all too true) or keep more than one job so they don’t. The issue becomes that these cheap junk making weekend warriors saturate the market so heavily that the word “Professional” (which should mean: you sustain yourself on your craft) becomes devalued, and everyone loses..

      The change in attitude becomes: Do what you are best at, and make a living off from that. Hobbies are great, but don’t steal the bread from your neighbors mouth by making cheaper headphones…

  • sircracked

    Ugh, here’s my problem with stuff like this, especially the “Step 3″ effect. I do other sorts of photo work, and generally have little interest in doing wedding photography regularly. But because I have folks, especially extended family, who see my work, I get pestered about doing pictures at weddings, etc. “After all, that picture of the Milky Way was cool, or those fireworks and parade photos, you must be able to do great pictures of weddings too!”. I actually have a cousin who’s wedding is coming up in 4-5 months that this is an issue with. I did some engagement photos for them, easy stuff, outdoors, not too far outside what my gear is generally used for, but convinced them to pay for a “real” wedding photographer for their ceremony/reception. So far so good. But they still want me to bring my camera to the wedding take some pictures.

    In one sense, I’m happy to do it, I actually like shooting and trying new things, stretching outside my comfort zone, as far as work I ordinarily do, but, A) I don’t want their special day to be my lighting and shooting guinea pig, and B)I really, REALLY don’t want to be “that guy” described in step 3 above. I know there’s got to be a middle ground here, being able to take some good pictures at a loved one’s wedding, but, not inciting resentment from the “pro”. Obviously, not butting in on staged photos, as appears in the upper part of the article, but, for certain moments and points in the ceremony, yeah, I’d like to get a good picture, and to some degree, learn what works and dosn’t for that sort of scenario, both with the photo itself, as well as the logistics of getting it. To some degree, there is a learn by doing, and, how the hell else are you suppose to learn, without potentially ruining peoples keepsakes of a treasured day?

    Again, It won’t bother me a huge amount if this isn’t a skillset I obtain, but, this concept of ordained priesthood, with sarcastic disdain for other, lesser folk who are just wielding cameras, not True Photographers, is kind of unhelpful, either in this piece, or as a general attitude that you see elsewhere.

    • Jim Johnson

      One of the hardest things I have had to do (and still continue to do) is to convince people that being a wedding photographer requires a particular talent and skill set not all photographers have. I think I take really great portraits and landscapes, and will gladly do that for you, but photographing the wedding… let’s leave that to people who know how to do that.

    • Vala Grenier

      Talk to the hired pro at the rehearsal and tell him/her what you said here. Ask if you can cover a different angle and/or carry gear for the formals. If he/she is up for it set a signal the pro can use to say “move that way. You’re in my shot!”. Maybe you can keep other would be shooters from bothering the pro ;)

    • mike

      If someone thinks your fireworks photos mean you would make a good wedding photographer, tell them “Sure, but you will have to be on fire for the pics to be good.”

  • Tony

    Step 11. Go back to Program Auto since there’s no time to fiddle with settings in between being ordered around by the planner and dealing with bridezillas. I despise weddings.

  • darylcheshire

    use Photoshop to erase the official photographer who was in your way in every photo.

  • darylcheshire

    I’m not a pro and I have refused to do a couple of weddings. I photograph landscapes, buildings and railway items. It’s as an eye opener when I photographed a friend’s cat which was a tortoiseshell mixed with something and it came out as a muddy mess and she rejected every cat photo. In hindsight it’s better to photograph it in natural sunlight.
    My comment was not to give up my day job.

  • Claudio Grieco

    I’m shooting a relative’s marriage this Saturday. I’m no pro and it’s my first time, but now I’m confident I can start my business. Thanks! ;D

  • Lyle

    JP: try substituting “than” for “then” and most times your diction will be correct. It’s never too late to start on the path of becoming a writer.

  • Rocky Point Joe

    In step 4, who needs to shoot their own photos for their website…just go out and steal someone else’s!

  • http://www.dryanphoto.com Deirdre Ryan Photography

    At the moment I guess I’m “mid level” but I’m working on becoming something more.

  • darylcheshire

    take pictures at an angle like the 1960s Batman series.

  • SB

    This is very similar to my own rise in the wedding photography industry (I’m Currently at step 9, and about to move to step 10). Although I did offer to shoot my first 10 wedding for free to build a portfolio, and I am/was a trained (but not experienced) photographer when I first started out.