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Starting a Wedding Photography Business

Thursday, May 17, 2018

I spent all morning working on errands and doing tasks on my to-do list. I was on the telephone most of the time while doing internet research, trying to find local stores that sell the battery for my cordless phone. Most of the idiots sent me in a circular path because they didn’t know where to go, even the Panasonic tech people. Some stores told me that they no longer sell phone batteries in the store. They only sell batteries on their website. I remember someone on Facebook had suggested Amazon. So, I went on the Amazon site and bought one battery with the same number as the one side my cordless phone. The estimated time of arrival will be May 23rd; then, I made other calls, before going to the bank with two jars of coins to trade in for bills—a 100 dollar bill, a 10 dollar bill, and some extra change. The other ten dollars are in 1 dollar bills that I did not add with the coins. These two jars were so heavy that I could have used them as 10-pound dumbbells, which is too heavy for me because I have actual 5-pound dumbbells that are perfect size for me. Then, I put away some clean laundry in its place. By 6 pm, I decided to go to a Canon workshop on Wedding Photography.

Benny Chiu talked about his 3-year journey to become a photographer, after working as a Mechanical Engineer for 15 years and realizing that there was more to life than a traditional office job. So, in 2012, he made his big jump into his full-time career as a wedding photographer by quitting his real job. He adds that he soon noticed there are some negative issues with quitting a real job to pursue a dream job.

Be aware of the negativity around you as well as self-awareness in order to prevent self-doubt.

  1. Non-believers will tend to be negative, and such non-believers are most likely people who are close to you, such as family and friends. But others might include other people who are jealous of you.
  2. You will experience a lot of rejections.
  3. You need to build your portfolio with quality photos. You need to create two portfolios—one for weddings and one for creative photography skills to display your different skills of your hobbies and interests. Such photography involves with shooting with intention, connecting with people, being especially attentive to the details, taking candid photographs, and working with lighting techniques.
  4. You need to seek mentors who are professionals, and take constructive criticism seriously because that is what will really enable you to learn and grow.

And, then, all you need to do is work hard up the ladder until you are able to start your own business by yourself. Most inexperienced photographers start out as Assistant, whether part-time, freelance, and sometimes full-time, which usually lasts for one year, as they also keep shooting their main interests. It is important to be useful and helpful with the people you work for in order to get positive recommendation for future photography positions. Be an observer, but observe quietly, the primary photographer’s actions, situation, communications, work tasks, techniques, and lighting. Notice poses that are used. Always ask questions. If you don’t feel like you are growing, then it is a good idea to either make certain changes to your dream or work on honing your skills. Such improvements will help your grow and move forward in a certain direction, depending on the changes you made.

From Assistant Job, you move up to Assisting as the 3rd Photographer at weddings. Such position provides a good opportunity to learn from the primary photographer all day, and your main job is mostly shooting different angles from the other two photographers. Such different angles will likely be very creative and artistic because you know have to make sure your photographs stand out but still enhance the other two photographers’ work because they are more experienced and likely to be much better. So, such position allows you to practice various creative and detailed shots. It is a good idea to stay distant from the guests in order to get candid shots.

After you have gained knowledge and experience from being the 3rd Photographer, you are ready to work as a 2nd Photographer for a wedding. It is best to study the primary photographer’s work before you go on the job so that you will know that photographer’s style, wants, needs, and expectations. Be a team player and be attentive to details. Take alternate angles by moving around. Ask for feedback in order to learn and grow.

Always be professional by practicing proper etiquette.

  1. Dress appropriately to represent the primary photographer’s business and brand.
  2. Respect the primary photographer’s direction.
  3. When guests ask you for a business card, do not give them your business card. Since you are working for the primary photographer and his business, give them the primary photographer’s business card.
  4. Ask permission from primary photographer to use photographs in your portfolio and internet.
  5. It is also important to sign a second photographer contract.

“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” Zig Ziglar

  1. Create a support system by connecting and making real friends with people in the industry.
  2. Do the work that no one wants to do.
  3. You are the reflection of the 5 people who you most spend your time with. So, pick it is important who you associate with by picking positive and professional people who you really like and respect.
  4. Share your dream with others.
  5. Be an inspiration to others by sharing your passions and story.
  6. Do not forget the people who have helped you during your beginning phase when you were struggling.

During this photography workshop, I think about the three weddings that I have worked on during the nineties. I realized that I was the 3rd Photographer at two weddings, shooting creative and sometimes unconventional pictures with different angles, in which I think enhanced the primary and secondary photographers’ traditional photographs because mine added personality to the wedding albums. In the third wedding, I was probably the 2nd photographer because I mostly concentrated on certain details to create artistic and creative photographs. The bride asked for copies of my photographs. They ended up taking free copies because they were my mother’s friends, as well as they were cheap anyway and they would not pay anything. Oh well, at least, I had fun. So, this workshop made me realize that I would make a good 3rd photographer, focusing on creative and artistic details as well as candid and fun unconventional shots.

What do you think?

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Written by Fifi Leigh

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