Starting a Wedding Photography Business: What You Need to Know

Starting a Wedding Photography Business: What You Need to Know

Have you been thinking about becoming a wedding photographer? If you’ve been toying with the idea of starting a wedding photography business, this article will help you figure out if it's the right path for you. Read on to learn a few steps to get started in the right direction.

I have been a wedding photographer for over a decade. Not very many people get to say that they work with clients on the happiest day of their lives. And, not very many people get to tell important stories of love, families, and ritual.

On the other hand, wedding photography can be stressful and filled with expectations. There is also giving up your weekends and twisting your body into unnatural positions to get the shot. But talk about an endless well for creativity and inspiration to continue growing as a creator and people person.

Should You Start a Wedding Photography Business?

You should start a wedding photography business if you want to be a professional photographer, run your own business, and enjoy serving couples by creating both great images and a great experience. If you don’t want to run your own business, you might consider working for someone else. If you don’t want to serve couples, you might consider a different type of photography.

Here’s the good news. I don’t think you need to necessarily love all the aspects of a wedding. You just need to love the same aspects of the wedding that your client does.

You’ll find as you dive into the wedding photography world that there are a variety of styles and numerous genres. There are as many types of wedding photographers as there are types of brides or grooms.

Here’s what I do think are helpful things to buy into when deciding if you want to start a wedding photography business. Despite how it can look online, it’s not always glamorous. It’s hard work both technically and creatively.

Reasons To Say Yes To Starting a Wedding Photography Business

If you’re excited about the following, consider starting a wedding photography business.

  1. You’ll be a better photographer and business person if you care about your clients. I believe that we should all take this into consideration regardless of our career path, but maybe that’s just me.
  2. It might be stressful and overwhelming at first, but any new challenge is. You’ll get better as you gain experience and learn the most important tasks.
  3. Don’t overthink it. Keep it simple. I suggest starting slow and easing into things so that you don’t go into debt or overwhelm yourself with expectations.
  4. You’ll need to get better at photography and specifically learn about light. Wedding photography will force you into many situations, so it’s best you prepare to handle them all.
  5. Pick one goal. Wedding photography is complex and it’s getting more competitive all the time. Don’t expect yourself to be an expert right away.

What Are the Most Important Steps?

So, you’ve decided you want to start a wedding photography business? Where do you go from here? Let’s break it down and start with some simple steps.

  1. Make it official, and you’ll start seeing opportunities everywhere. Get started by filing a DBA, putting up a website, and opening a bank account.
  2. Find clients. Next comes the business of marketing and growing your business.
  3. Take pictures. Experience is the best way to get better, so get out there and shoot.
  4. Learn photography. Beyond experience, you’ll need to learn techniques and how to understand light.
  5. Learn business. You don’t know what you don’t know. But you’ll learn it one way or the other!

Here’s a video that dives into these five simple steps to starting your wedding photography business a little further.

How Do You Market and Grow?

As you saw, one of the most important steps to starting your business is finding clients. There’s no business without someone paying you for your services. As you learn more about marketing, you’ll see countless proven methods that guarantee fast success.

Don’t fall for the trap. Know yourself, your values, and your budget, and figure out a marketing plan that works for you. Marketing is both a short game and a long game.

Marketing Plan

My marketing plan recommendation is as follows,

  1. Serve clients well. Referrals are often the best leads.
  2. Build your brand. Know who you are and who you want to serve.
  3. Drive traffic to your business. Utilize various methods to drive traffic. Maybe it’s social media, SEO, or pounding the pavement and going to bridal shows.
  4. Convert that traffic. Once you get the word out about your business, have a plan for how you are going to turn leads into jobs.

For more on these wedding photography marketing steps, check out this video.

Once you’re rolling, you need to continue to grow yourself, your business, and your photography skills.

Growth Plan

Get your mindset right. As a wedding photographer capturing this important day in people's lives, how do you view your work and your purpose? How will you stay calm on stressful days?

From there, you continue to build your business. You can and should continually refine things about your marketing plan and the direction you are going, what’s working and what’s not.

The best part about this business is that you can continually grow your photography skills. Once you master family pictures, you can learn about shooting sunset. Once you master capturing moments, you can turn your focus to creative portraits. 

The more you know and familiarize yourself with weddings and your gear, the less you worry about those details and focus on being creative.

Ready to Start?

Ready, set, click! Being self-employed has its challenges, but it also has freedoms. Growing a wedding photography business can be fun and rewarding.

I hope you listen to your heart because weddings are all about love. You don’t have to care about cakes and centerpieces, but loving love is a good place to start. I can’t wait to watch both you and your business grow!

Marc Bergreen's picture

Marc Bergreen is a colorado wedding photographer and adventure photographer based in Evergreen, CO with a passion for human powered adventure sports. When not shooting photos or creating youtube videos you can find him climbing, running, and skiing in the mountains.

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1 Comment

Wedding photography can be vary satisfying and profitable. Your subjects will be nervous before the ceremony then very busy hugging and kissing their guests after the ceremony.
At the reception things will be more relaxed and sometimes can even turn into a drunken brawl.
However after photographing about a thousand weddings during my 60 year photographic career I have enjoyed my work and although there profit margins were tighter than for portrait and commercial photography, weddings brought in bigger "chunks" of money than most portrait and commercial work.
Shoot weddings while you are young. It's not an old person's game.