It seems like a viscous circle right? You can’t get work without experience and you cant get experience without doing the work. But you need to remember just how important wedding photography is to our customers. These could be the only lasting memory of the most important day of their life, so why would they trust it to an amateur? Any budding wedding photographer knows that in order to succeed you need a strong portfolio from multiple weddings. One or two shots is never going to do it either your going to need to demonstrate a constant flow of a whole wedding day. Its a highly competitive market and everyone with a camera thinks there a photographer these days, so your images need to be the best every time. So just how can I find the much needed experience in the wedding photography industry. Photography School. There are loads of photography classes out there these days that will give you hands on wedding photography experience.
Often they will be run by local studios who will hire models and run group sessions. You will get to spend time shooting a “bride” with an experienced photographer at your side to help with any tips and advice. There are also some great part time photography courses run by colleges that can give your hands on basic photography skills. Do a quick Google search for Photography School or Photography Course and your sure to find something suitable. Contact local Photographers. So we all know to get experience you need to get yourself shooting at a wedding. The only problem is this can seem near impossible. Most city’s and towns will have more photographers than you can imagine some good, some not so good and some great in my opinion competition is a healthy thing and there are plenty of weddings to go around. The problem is not all photographers think like this so finding a photographer in your area who is willing to take you under there wing and show you the ropes may be easier said than done. Many photographers see it as training up new competition. If you are willing to travel a little further you may find it’s a little easier. Contact a photographer who is not in direct competition with where you will one day be working and ask if you can do some unpaid work as an assistant. Working as a photographers assistant does not mean you will spend all your time with a camera in your hand, it does not mean you will get hundreds of shots to use for y our portfolio but it does mean you will get a taster for what a wedding day truly involves. You will be asked to carry the bags, run errands, upload images, fetch the photographer a drink and all other seemingly meaningless jobs.
If however you use your eyes and your ears and pay close attention to everything you can I guarantee you will pick up tons of skills? Build relationships. While it may feel like jumping from one photographer to the next to gain, as much experience as you can is the best thing you can do, nothing can beat a good working relationship. Try and get on as many weddings with one photographer as you can and make it a regular thing. If they call you with a last minute shoot cancel your plans and take up the offer. Over time the photographer will trust your skills that little bit more and will let you take on more responsibility, who knows they may even let you take the lead on a wedding with there assistance. Free Wedding Photography There are many amateur wedding photographers out there who start there career by offering free wedding to photography to couple on a budget in order to learn the skills needed. Always remember that no matter how little the couple has paid they are skill a client and if you make a mistake on there wedding day they could still destroy your reputation and your career before it has even started. If you have the skills to shoot the wedding then charge the going rate for package. Don’t forget even if you are shooting the wedding for free you will still have many expenses and you will still need insurance on your gear and your liability. Practice your skills on a model One of the most important things about being a wedding photographer is that your basic skills are mastered. You need to be able to handle every possible scenario and need to be confident in many styles of photography. Many of these skills can be mastered on a model. Try and practice using very little set up time and only very little time per shot. Set up a shot take the shot and move on to the next, this will help to simulate the fast pace of wedding photography. Only after gaining experience on as many wedding as possible (I would say about 20 weddings minimum) should you think about taking on a clients wedding solo. Even if asked by friends and family to shoot there wedding ask yourself honestly if you are ready to guarantee stunning photography no matter what you are faced with. Good Luck