So, you’re thinking of becoming a professional wedding photographer? Turning your passion into your career is equally an exciting and difficult decision, and like most things in life, it has both good and bad sides.
In this video from Adorama, you’ll hear more about it from an established wedding photographer. Pye Jirsa takes you through five pros and five cons of being a wedding photographer, and hopefully, it will help you make the decision whether this is a path for you or not.
All of these pros and cons are connected. In fact, they can even be two sides of the same coin: sometimes the same thing can be both good and bad, depending on your preferences, priorities, and personality. So, we’ll list each of these five “coins” and their two sides together, just like Pye does in the video.
1.Your weekday schedule is flexible: you will have work over the workdays (image editing, client meetings, portrait sessions), but you can organize the time as you please.
On the flip side, your weekends will be gone as all of your work load will be during the weekends. It will be particularly tough while you’re still new at wedding photography: you can’t charge much and you can’t turn down the gigs. But after you get established and set higher rates, you’ll be able to take more weekends off and enjoy them with your friends, family, and on your own.
2. You can make great money: once you become established, you can earn great money doing what you love. Even if you’re new at wedding photography, if you enjoy parties and being around people, you’ll still enjoy your job even if it doesn’t pay that well at the beginning.
However, be aware that it takes time to get there, and it won’t be easy in the first few years. In relation to this, note that your income will fluctuate greatly, especially in the beginning. This is something that definitely requires you to prepare and make some lifestyle changes.
3. Work is meaningful and enjoyable: as I mentioned, if you enjoy parties and people, you’ll love doing wedding photography. This goes for any genre you choose as long as it’s something you enjoy and find meaningful.
But on the other side of this, there’s a fact that you’re running a business. Being a professional photographer also means being a good business person, and it goes far beyond just being creative and skillful as an artist. This is also one of the reasons why I never turned pro, but I write a bit more about it here if you’re interested in reading. The bottom line is – think well if running a business is for you because it’s not the same as being a good photographer.
4. Traveling and meeting new people: if you enjoy traveling and meeting new people, this is the job for you! Needless to say, it will be super-rewarding, and you’ll enjoy it to the max. But on the minus side, it can be a bit tough on the body: you’re traveling, carrying heavy gear with you, and spending 12-18 hours at once hustling without a break during the wedding day.
As some bonus tips, Pye adds that proper nutrition and physical activity are essential to keep you in shape (not just for the wedding shoots but also in general). Then, drink lots of water during the wedding day and bring some snacks that are easy to eat on the go, like protein bars or almonds. And last but definitely not least, wear good shoes and comfortable clothes.
5. The sky is the limit: as a wedding photographer and an entrepreneur, it’s all up to you. You decide how much money you earn and how much you get to work. And once you’re established, you can build other revenue streams like workshops, education, etc. You’re your own boss, and you create your own structure.
But this is, at the same time, a major flipside. Nobody is going to tell you what to do, and you have to be really disciplined. I’m saying this from experience: this can be a major struggle! As creatives, many of us are not really good at being structured, and even if we are, it’s easy to slip into “lazy mode” and procrastination.
As I mention, I have my reasons why I never turned pro, especially in wedding photography (I hate weddings, and I’m not comfortable photographing them). But we’re all different, and we all have our preferences and our strengths and weaknesses. So, before you take the big leap, think well about yours, and have these pros and cons in mind to help you make the decision.