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Tips to Become a Successful Wedding Photographer

by Nathan Zachary
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All wedding photographers strive to create beautiful imagery for their clients while also leaving them with a good experience. To be successful in the wedding industry, a photographer must know their camera, invest in quality gear, be licensed and insured, work under a legal contract, be prepared for technology malfunction, and develop relationships.

Learn your Camera and Gear. Photographers often want to jump into the wedding industry without mastering their camera. This can cause a lot of issues because weddings are high-stress events that do not allow for redoes. Wedding photographers need to be prepared for unique scenarios so they are able to provide their clients with amazing imagery.

  • Practice working with different lighting situations. Weddings will usually consist of direct sunlight, soft light, and dark light scenarios. Lacking in one of these areas may result in the loss of crucial images. Wedding photographers know how to adjust their camera settings to capture the best images in all lighting scenarios.
  • Learn the exposure triangle and each of its components. As a wedding photographer, you will be challenged with photographing tiny details, large group photos, and action photos. Being in control of all your camera’s settings will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to get the photos you are looking for.
  • Book regular sessions before stepping into the wedding industry. You should have ample practice with real couples before looking to photograph a wedding. You will learn how to master your camera and how to pose your subjects.
  • Ask an industry professional to assist them during one of their weddings. Most wedding photographers hire a less experienced individual to assist them throughout the wedding day. This is a great opportunity to learn how a wedding works without the stress of being the main photographer. If you are very inexperienced, you can offer your services for free to the professional photographer.

Become Licensed, Insured, and Create a Contract. Professional wedding photographers work underneath licensed and insured businesses. They also only make formal agreements through written contracts that protect them and their clients.

  • Having a business license will increase your credibility as a wedding photographer and lead your clients to feel more comfortable working with you.
  • The majority of wedding venues require all vendors to show proof of general liability insurance. You must have general liability insurance before agreeing to photograph anyone’s wedding. This insurance will protect you and your clients from suffering any loss.
  • Insure your camera, lens, and all other important gear. If your gear were to be damaged at a wedding, you want to make sure that you can get a replacement quickly. Your camera is the largest tool for completing your job, so make sure it is insured.
  • Do not accept any job unless you have a valid contract. This contract should lay out every service you intend to provide, your cancellation policy, and events you are not liable for.

Invest in Quality Equipment and Backups. Wedding photographers are set apart from hobbyist because they invest in high quality equipment and are prepared for technology malfunction.

  • Quality cameras, lenses, and SD cards make a big difference in the quality of images produced by a photographer. Of course, knowledge is more important than your gear choice, but you do not want your gear to limit your ability to create beautiful imagery.
  • Backup cameras are essential. Make sure to always have at least two camera bodies with you at all times. Having an extra camera will ensure that you do not miss a moment if your first camera malfunctions. You cannot redo a wedding. Most of these moments happen only once, so be prepared.
  • Use multiple SD cards throughout the wedding day. As an extra precaution, you should be switching your SD cards every couple of hours. If one SD card corrupts, at least you will not lose all the photos. You can also invest in a camera that has a dual card slot so that you have two copies of every photo you take.
  • Purchase reputable external hard drives. Once you are done with the wedding day, it is crucial that you backup all of your images to a hard drive and/or the cloud. Make sure that the services you use have good reviews and have proven to work for other photographers in the past.

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