Want to be a Wedding Photographer?
It could be your best decision yet!
There’s no doubt that wedding photography is one of the most lucrative of all the forms of professional photography. According to the National Mail Order Association of America (NMOA), which publishes wedding industry statistics for direct marketing companies, there are over 2.5 million weddings each year in that country ? each one being documented by a wedding photographer. There’s a lot of work out there for wedding photographers! And it’s well paid, to boot. The NMOA reports that the average spend on a wedding photographer is $1452 (approximately R11 833). Not bad for a day’s work.
How to Become a Wedding Photographer
Perhaps you’re a gifted amateur photographer and you’ve done a few wedding photography jobs for friends and family. As you transform into a professional wedding photographer, there are some important points to keep in mind:
Have a Wedding Photography Contract:
As a professional wedding photographer, it’s important to keep your terms and conditions clear, and to state them upfront, in order to avoid any disputes down the line. Your standard wedding photography contract should be drawn up by an attorney and should cover the following:
- Rates ? clearly stating what is and what isn’t included for the price
- The number of photographs the bridal couple will receive, and their sizes
- The scope of work, or description of the assignment
- Details of your ordering and payment procedures, including dates when payments, including deposits, are due
- Photographer’s obligations, and those of the bridal party
- Cancellation provisions, and details of any rejection fees
- Appropriate legal provisions ? business insurance, warranties, indemnities and so forth
- Details of copyright (who owns the photos)
- Confidentiality clause.
Always check out the wedding venue in advance:
You don’t want to be in for any nasty surprises on the day! Part of being a professional wedding photographer is being prepared for any eventuality, and completely organised on the day.
- Visit the venue and check whether there are any unusual factors you may have to deal with.
- Check the lighting, particularly where the sun rises and sets. Remember, if the wedding will be using several venues, visit them all.
- Plan your shots in advance ? decide what photos will be taken where, how and using which props. Plot this on a production schedule. Make contingency plans for bad weather.
- Get creative with your wedding photo shoots ? photos needn’t be boring, so suggest eye-catching wedding photo venues ? like historical buildings, train stations, the harbour, the beach etc. ? as well as wedding props to use in wedding photo booths.
Work the Wedding Poses:
Truly great wedding photographers are those who have the ability to get the bridal party to pose correctly. Here’s how to go about ensuring the blushing bride looks beautiful in her photos:
- Be inspired - study the portfolios of other wedding photographers to gain perspective about what works and what doesn’t work
- Create a sample file of the poses you like ? use it during your planning and incorporate it in your production schedule. To get the best from your photos, it’s wise to try a few poses with the bride beforehand. Find poses which are comfortable, natural and compliment her character and personality. Try to get a look which is softly sensual ? focusing on her eyes. Photos where the bride’s shoulder is slightly turned to the camera work particularly well.
- Take charge ? on the big day, the bride, groom and other members of the bridal party will be looking for you to tell them what, how and when, so be confident and lead well.
- Break the ice ? have some good, clean jokes on hand; humour is a great way to relieve that wedding tension and get natural smiles on the faces of the bridal party
- Ensure that there are plenty of comfortable places for the bride to sit during her photo shoot ? stools, benches, steps, even tree trunks.
Wedding Photo Tips:
For great wedding photos, remember to:
- Carry a spare camera with you on the day, if possible
- Carry ample batteries for all of your equipment; make sure they’re in perfect working order and have been tested before use
- Use one large memory disk, rather than several memory disks of smaller capacity, i.e. eight 4GB disks, rather than just one 32 GB disk.
- Can you imagine if that one large disk gets lost or damaged? All your work gone?
- Use the One Third Rule ? never position your subject in the centre of the picture but one third of the way from the left or right
- Take multiple photos using your camera’s bracketing functions, if it’s equipped with such
- Check your LCD screen regularly to confirm that you’re happy with the way you’re progressing
- Shoot in Camera Raw and jpeg ? it’ll give you more flexibility of something goes wrong.
Need more advice on wedding photography?
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