When you start sailing in the professional waters, there will be many challenges ahead of you. You will have many questions and hear many answers. Some of them will be helpful, but others won’t. They might, in fact, only discourage you from moving on. In this video, John Branch IV shares five tips commonly told to new wedding photographers, but they are nothing but myths. So, let’s see if you’ve heard those too and if you agree with them or not.
1. You have to have the best gear
I’ve said it a gazillion times; gear doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing. For most photography genres, including wedding photography, your clients have no idea what gear you’re using. Or maybe they do, but only if they’re professional photographers themselves. All your clients want is good results, and you can achieve them with cheap or mid-range gear. Think about it this way: if a plumber comes to fix your sink, you don’t care what kind of tools he uses as long as he fixes your sink, right?
2. You have to shoot full-frame
This myth is leaning on the previous point. Many new photographers (not just in the wedding genre) are advised to use a full-frame camera. But this isn’t a must. You don’t have to have a full-frame camera to shoot great wedding photos (or any other photos). It’s important how you use the camera and light, how you pose your subjects and interact with them… In a word, it’s the end result that matters, and you can make awesome photos with a crop body as well.
3. You have to have 24-70mm and 70-200 mm lenses
Sure, these two zoom lenses can be a great go-to choice. You’ll see many wedding photographers using them, and they are handy because they cover a wide range of uses and possible shots. But if you have other zooms in mind, or you want to use primes – that’s perfectly okay. It’s all a matter of personal preference and style, and not all of us should have the same choice of lenses. As long as you know your gear and know how to use it well, you can use any lenses you find fitting.
4. You have to shoot off-camera flash
John says that new wedding photographers are often taught that they must use off-camera flash. But it’s not true. Using OCF is not a must; you can use flash on the camera if you know how to use it properly. But there’s a disclaimer here: you still have to understand OCF and be able to use it if you need it. And needless to say, you need to understand flash in general and know how to use it.
5. Charging lower prices “kills” the market
Here’s one that might make some of you mad, but I must say I agree with John on this one. New photographers are often advised to charge a specific sum, or people tell them that they should “charge more.”
However, there’s no specific sum you need to charge. Your pricing should be based on your experience, skill level, and brand. In other words, if you’re new to wedding photography, you can’t charge the same price as someone who’s done it for a long time and who’s more skillful than you are. John gives a good example: if you charge a higher price, your clients will expect a quality that comes with it. But if you can’t deliver it – they will be mad. So, charge the prices for where you’re at. Remember, though – don’t underestimate yourself. And t’s okay to increase your price as you expand your portfolio and your skillset.
Now let me know what you think. If you’re a new photographer, did you hear any of these recommendations from others? And if you’re more experienced, are these the tips you’d give to new photographers, or you also believe they’re just myths?