So you’re going to be a wedding photographer- YAY! We are so pumped for you, and we want to help you book your first wedding. Here are five steps to getting that very first booking:
1. Expect to start small!
Your first wedding (likely your first several!) should be small, and you probably won’t make very much money. Use your friends & family networks, sites for small business startups like Thumbtack, or connections with other photographers & wedding vendors to find engaged couples who are planning small or budget weddings. As a new wedding photographer, it’s important not to “oversell” yourself by jumping into the deep end of the pool too soon. You risk ending up with unhappy clients, and that’s a deep hole to dig yourself out of at the beginning of your career! Find clients who are excited to work with you, but aren’t expecting the work of a high-end photographer. You’ll get there, but you have to start small!
2. Educate yourself before meeting potential clients.
While we would never recommend lying about your experience, we also wouldn’t recommend blurting out that you’ve NEVER photographed a wedding before! Educate yourself on #allthingsweddings before you sit down with a potential bride or groom. Be familiar with the wedding day events, the flow of a wedding day, and which moments you’ll be expected to capture. Position yourself as the wedding expert, and you’ll have no trouble booking the clients you meet!
3. Get some wedding portfolio work.
Whether you attend a styled shoot, second shoot for another photographer at a real wedding, or ask your friend to put on her wedding dress and take some photos in a field- get some wedding portfolio work! Do this multiple times if you can to get as much variety as possible. Potential clients will be more likely to book you for their wedding if they see brides and grooms on your website!
4. Assist (or second shoot for) a more experienced photographer
Shadowing a more experienced wedding photographer is THE BEST way to educate yourself on the flow of a wedding day! Not to mention, the connections with wedding vendors you make while assisting at a real wedding can become a rich source of referrals. Networking and relationships are everything in the wedding industry, so don’t be afraid to dive in and meet people!
5. Have a professional website.
In today’s world, a professional website is a mark of a legitimate business! You don’t need anything fancy, but there are a few things you’ll need to maximize your website’s booking potential:
- Show your face! Help potential clients connect with you immediately by showing a professional, well-lit photo of YOU. The style should look similar to the kinds of photos you deliver!
- State your location! It should be plainly obvious when someone lands on your website if you’re a photographer located in North Carolina, southern Florida, or the Pacific northwest. Get more (or less) specific depending on how far you prefer to travel for your sessions/weddings!
- Blog about wedding planning & wedding venues in your area. The more you blog using words that engaged couples in your area may be searching for, the more likely they are to find you online. Thanks Google!
We can’t wait to hear how you booked your first wedding!
Here are some other posts we recommend:
5 Must-Have Pieces of Gear to Start a Wedding Photography Business