By the way I started my wedding photography business in 2008 by accident, I could say that I don’t have any chance to applying a job cause my mom was sick and definitely I have to looking for money and become a family leader. Photography especially in wedding niche become the last choice that I had if I want to save my mom and provide good monthly living for whole family.
I was doing this hobby since 2004 and earn around US$10 for shooting with 1 roll of kodak 35mm film approximately for an hour session so actually I got enough experience to looking for money through photography. I know my self better than everyone so become an all round photographer is bad decision for me at all and I need to be more specific on business niche than finally I choose wedding photography.
Some friends of mine think that there is no money on shooting wedding cause they think become a commercial or fashion photographer will pay better. In fact, there are always rich and poor people in each business so no matter what you take as long as you focus on that than your momentum will come.
How to Start Photography Business from Home
I wrote about this topic several weeks ago and if you willing to know how to start photography business from home than you better read it first.
Why home and not a commercial building?
The only one answer is about your capitol so if you have thousand of dollars than you can rent an office and build a nice studio located in prime area of your town, even more you can join a wedding exhibition and promote your service over there.
My own challenge back in 2008 was I only have less than US$500 cash and a Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens to start this business so the only one solution to run my photo services is modify my attic house, built mini studio than promote it by using a wordpress blog that cost less than US$80/year, let me share some old photos when I shoot for engagement wedding right in my house.
So here are some gears that I use to shoot on this pictures:
- Shooting with Canon Rebel with 18-55mm lens
- Using 1 soft box of 20″x28″
- Brown paper background background stand++ consider to buy the too if you want to make it for your own!
3 Steps to Create Your Wedding Photography Portfolio at the First Time
I was shooting since 2008 and got tons of beautiful wedding portfolio so base on this experience I’m gonna share to you how I start photography business and creating my own wedding photography portfolio at the first time with 3 (three) simple steps that you can do:
1 – Shooting for your family’s wedding
There is no doubt that shooting for family members is one great step to start your photography portfolio, but since you gonna working on the most prestigious day than make sure you end up with good result, I mean you give the digital files and also the printed albums, even you can deliver a large print photo including classic frames as a bonus.
2 – Shooting for friend’s wedding
If you don’t have any family member who gonna be a bride and groom than your second step is looking for friend who gonna be married. Propose them in a good way that you gonna be their wedding photographer for free or simple give the digital files and albums (I did both by the way)
3 – Asking for being your friend’s 2nd shooter
After finish with step number 1 and 2 than I looking for my friend who already running a wedding photography business than asking for being his 2nd shooter and shoot for free (I did it, even you can do for free or ask for small fee). Now imagine if you have over than a photographer friend than each of them allowing you for being their 2nd shooter than you gonna have regularly photographer job and send you tons of wedding pictures.
By the way I did these 3 steps for over than 1 year and it means a lot to my business, till now I still become a good friend among all family member and friends who support me at the first time. Generally having 5 to 7 wedding is quite enough to starting your photography business, you can do post production and upload it on your blog, Instagram or facebook and let people know that you shooting for wedding.
Take a look for this old engagement photo below, I went to the south beach around 40 miles from my home and shoot for my high school friend’s session. It’s really simple and you can also do like this. I ask my couple to buy a white shirt and jeans than drove my car to the beach for catching beautiful sunset and voila I got this!
3 Recommended WordPress Theme for Wedding Photographer
If you read my post about creating wedding photography portfolio by using blog than you should know that owning a good theme for your blog is really matters. Blog or website is simply like your gallery so make it worth it and nice so people will keep enjoy for browsing, read, and see your portfolio. Down here I’m gonna share to you about 5 recommended wordpress theme that you can buy, check out these lists below:
Powered by Creative Market
Powered by Creative Market
Powered by Creative Market
No matter what kind of themes that you going to buy but remember about these specifications:
- Responsive – this feature allow your blog able to open in any devices, smartphone, tab, or even in a giant screen like 27″ iMac or laptop
- SEO friendly – this feature allow your blog can be found on google, it really matters if you promoting your services online cause million of people using google to find something
- Light – different people have different opinion about ‘light’
What to do Next Once You Got Photography Portfolio
The bad news is you’re not going to relax once you got nice portfolio on your own cause the real live will just begin after. It’s time for you to learn more about marketing, pricing set up, post production or even more client satisfaction method, so let me share a few tips related to it.
A lot of method that you can use to selling your services, as I said before you can open a studio in a prime are, join an expo, or even build your own blog using a wordpress. Honestly I could tell you that it depend on how much budget that you can afford and if this gonna be your first experience of developing business than spend few money is better than put whole your money inside.
One great marketing book that I personally recommend is Ca$hvertising by Drew Eric Whitman which you can buy on Amazon. When I shipped this book to my home in Indonesia it need almost 40 days but it’s worth it to wait cause I got more energy and idea to sell my photo services. The ‘Life Force 8’ is one great chapter that you could bet more for this marketing education.
If you selling your services through your blog just like me than learning more about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will be the best decision that you can made, actually through this method than I can sell destination photo shoot in Maldives for Hong Kong couple even I stay here in my house in Yogyakarta which is over than 5000 miles distance. One good quote that I could share to you about SEO is, make sure you put your blog on the 1st to 3rd page or forget it!
Pricing Set Up
A lot of parameters that you can use to set up your wedding package and pricing so make sure you use the Excel to calculate and split between overhead cost and profit. Here in my studio there are few items that I always listed on the pricing calculation such as:
- Fee for me and my 2nd shooter or assistant
- Fee for make up artist & hair do stylist (if my couple booked my all in one bundling package)
- Travel expenses (flights, hotel, visa, ground transfer, and meal)
- Album making and design
- Post production
- Album shipping
- Insurance, I recommend you to use WorldNomads
- Marketing cost, usually I spend US$100-150/month for Google adwords, approx. US$200 for dinner and presentation, and few hundred bucks for extra
- Profits, it depends on you
We live in digital era so having fun on Lightroom or Photoshop is a journey that we must do, I do both and use Lightroom for wedding assignment and Photoshop to optimize my stopping picture for marketing and branding, sometimes I did some digital imaging too in natural way. Now take a look for some Photoshop action that I did for my engagement session.
For me, there is no better method of making client satisfy of our services rather than doing the BEST for them and we got no excuse for that.
One good story that I can share today is I found a couple who don’t like my previous album cause the paper is thin and once she deliver a whatsapp chat to me than I told her “Ok just wait for a few weeks than I will deliver the NEW album with thick photo paper and it is FREE of charge and you may keep the thin paper album for your copy”
It’s an example that I could share to you cause Album is really matter both for me and my couple, it just like my service ‘ambassador’ cause everyone will see my works through it. So once again always give your best effort for your couple, period!
I hope you could get good inspiration about how to create your wedding photography portfolio at the first time, I know it’s hard especially if you just starting your photographer career but there is no excuse for your success so do only the best thing for your self and your future couple. Stay in touch with me and I will post another story about photography business here in my blog and whenever you got question related to this topic than simply drop me a comment below…see ya!