How to make money as a wedding photographer
Welcome to the ultimate in high-pressure photography. By shooting a wedding, you're responsible for recording the biggest day in a couple’s life.
Reshoots and second chances are not on the table, so a high level of proficiency is needed to deliver results of a high standard. Along with great photography skills, excellent communication is needed to organise your day and ensure you get all the right shots in the small windows of time you’ll have.
The best wedding photographers make it seem effortless, but it’s a genre that requires total commitment and focus.
1. Second photographer
If you are looking to take your first steps into wedding photography and don’t yet feel confident enough to go solo, acting as a second shooter for an established wedding photographer can prove to be a wise move.
The second photographer is typically used at the start of the day for capturing the groom’s preparations while the main photographer focuses on the bridal party. Later in the day they switch to capturing reportage images using a telephoto zoom lens, before assisting the photographer with studio lights and posing for the more formal images.
Maximise profit by including print and album deals in your quotes. This brings in more money and leaves the happy couple with one less thing to organise.
Serving your time as a second photographer brings many benefits: along with giving you time to get used to working in such a high-pressure environment, you’ll most likely be able to borrow kit from the main photographer, giving you time to build up your gear bag.
2. Planning and research
Those looking to move into wedding photography should be aware of the amount of time and planning that’s needed to deliver a first-class package. The work starts well before the wedding day, as many photographers like to offer an engagement photo shoot with the couple.
Not only does this enable you to charge more but, more importantly, it gives you precious one-on-one time with the couple in a relaxed environment to build trust and rapport, which will make the couple more comfortable with the picture-taking process on the big day.
Along with the engagement shoot, time should be reserved for visiting the wedding and reception venues ahead of time to scout for locations and learn the layout.
3. People skills
Wedding photography demands a high proficiency in communication. You must learn to be warm and approachable, but also to be assertive enough to make sure the job gets done.
Gathering and arranging multiple parties into one location while the light is right is not an easy task. Planning the order for the images to be taken and keeping a shot list to make sure you have everything you need are excellent ideas.