If you just begin your wedding photographer career and want to know how to make a photography portfolio at the first time than I hope some suggestion that I’m gonna talk today will help you as well. Any way thanks for visiting my blog and appreciating for what I share here. I work in wedding photography industry together with my wife and focusing on destination wedding photography services. At this time we shoot for less than 20 wedding in a year and it’s quite enough for us cause rather than having like 50 to 70 weddings than we prefer to take care our kids and share good childhood moment with them.
Shooting a traditional wedding with tons of cultural ceremony and over than 500 guests during 2008 – 2012 wouldn’t belong to my passion, I’m not enjoying this party so much cause too many people in one venue and it brings like a chaos wedding for sure. I was stuck within 2 years and bankrupt for $15,000 cause I want to bring my services into better level, here I want to shoot only international wedding for overseas client that bring me and my wife fly hundred to thousand miles to such wonderful place like Bali and Maldives.
Within 2 years I always figure out of how to make a photography portfolio for overseas wedding that bring my self to be better photographer. I don’t want this miracle happen only to me but in case you wanna know than let me share the REAL action that I did several years ago.
1 – Network with Other Photographer Mentor
When I’m stuck and having a bankruptcy I found a great photographer who live in Bali named Ricky Salim who belong to 20 Best Wedding Photographer in the World, the great news is he held a short workshop in my town and I sign up for his own workshop. I come earlier and take the front seat so I can hear clearly what he said lately when the lunch time is coming I walk out from the hotel room and run to catch him in person so I can sit right in front of him during the lunch break.
I talk to him in person that I want to increase my photographer level and asking permission to him so I can learn more in wedding photography industry in Bali. What I want is join on his wedding photoshoot and see directly how he shot.
Ricky develop a great wedding photography company with his best friend Nico in Bali known as Ricky and Co. Photography, surprisingly they shoot over than 40 wedding per month during summer season and 15 wedding per month during lowest season (rainy season). He got several second shooter so his studio able to shoot up to 3 wedding in a day and deliver the wedding album for less than 5 days.
In 2012 I met Joe Buissink in Indonesia cause he looking a person who belong to his private assistant, my job is carrying his luggage, preparing his lenses and taking care everything that he got on his roller camera bag. Different with working with Ricky where I able to shoot for my own portfolio, while I work with Joe Buissink I’m not allowed to shoot but imagine that I can see directly how Hollywood Wedding Photographer running his shutter and shoot like a ninja. If you browse Joe on Google than you will found that this such great photographer is the one who shoot for J-Lo’s wedding, Christina Aguilera, and so many celebrity gigs wedding in the United States.
SUGGESTION – Find the best wedding photographer mentor that you can achieve nearby your town or any other countries than asking permission to him to work as a team or assistant. See how he works and do personal approaching to his couple than it belong to million dollar workshop that you can get for free!
2 – Ask Your Mentor to Join on His Photoshoot and Use Them for Portfolio
Not every photographer will do this cause photo shoot means a lot and it belongs to photographer’s property. In fact there is always a photographer who allow you to use their photos as an online gallery where you can start to promoting your services as well.
When I met Ricky in Bali, I start to shoot with him and following where he goes. I listen to what he said to the couple as a posing direction or even simple joke to make the day more cheerful. While I’m watching on his action than I keep shooting on the wedding day and get as many portfolio that I can use for my gallery sample. It’s not easy cause as I said not many photographer or wedding organizer allow you to do this but this is what I did several years ago (with the main photographer’s permission for sure).
When I shoot Zhou and Wang wedding, again and again I fly to Bali and spend few nights there and following Ricky’s direction. Our couple today is staying in such beautiful cliff-front resort called Ayana Resort, you could suggest your couple to get married in this hotel cause the hospitality, view, and facilities are superb.
To reduce your travel budget you can book other cheaper hotel surrounded with Agoda.com, by the way I have so much fun and reliable price for over than decades by using Agoda so I highly suggest you to book using this company.
When you taking a photos as second shooter or back up shooter than always being a professional so don’t take too much joke or any ridiculous activities during the wedding and keep focus on what you are doing now. If you can deliver it in a good way than your question about how to make a photography portfolio in wedding industry will answered by it self.
3 – Do Your Post Productions As Best As You Can But Make It As Natural
Once you’re done with photoshoot that it’s time to you to get back your studio or home. Don’t stop and just show off to your friend but lets continue your work for editing. My suggestion for post production step is do your bets work but make sure to make it as natural as you can.
Retouching too much on wedding photos will take your image as a trash and you gonna lose its moment meaning for sure. By the way I love to retouch my ‘money picture’ with Adobe Photoshop better than Lightroom. It helps me to work in much more detail, select for what I’m going to retouch and do this work layer by layer.
A before-after snapshot that I show you above is a real wedding that I took in Bali few years ago. I retouch that image using Photoshop and spend 19 minutes to retouch it. When using Photoshop I will concern about level, saturation, contrast, and some filters, whenever you want to learn more about this Photoshop Action than you can download it for your own copy at my shop. Here I will teach you how to retouch this image step by step using Photoshop in a good way and got the result so much natural.
4 – Creating Your Own Photography Blog
There is no other best way to promote your services in digital era like now without owning a blog or website, rather than static website which no update than I suggest you to make a dynamic blog who always being update regularly. Don’t think that blog is not professional cause with various professional wordpress theme like I’m gonna share below than your blog will looks as a high-end company.
Take a look for several themes that I recommend you to use:
So with less than $100 than you can design your web ‘looks professional’, if you concern on promoting your services and want an instant way to have beautiful website than you don’t need any more pricy web designer. All of themes that I suggest you above is consist of SEO friendly features and support for any kind of electronic devices. No matter where your future couple open your blog, such as smartphone, iPad, Tab or even laptop and desktop than all photographs will be so responsive.
So why you must promoting your photography services by daily blogging?
Cause It’s Fast and Cheap!
When my seminar’s participant asking me over and over again about how to make a photography portfolio in wedding industry and promoting them in a good way than having a blog for less than $100/year is the best decision that you can make!
When I get this Maldives pre wedding photoshoot, my couple who live in Hong Kong (they are Hong Kong citizen) is found me on Google and after browsing my portfolio than they love for what I’m doing than they send me an email and asking for my photo collection.
So in my opinion it’s way more worth it than I’m joining an exhibition!
In case you want some more inspiration just in case you are a photographer who love traveling, just like me, and want to monetize your services than you must read my previous story about 5 blogging steps for photography and travel madness!
5 – Print It!
Don’t miss this last step cause printing your works is the most important steps that you must do. We are a photographer and photographer must print they work as well using the best fine art materials that represent romance, love, and surely hard work of creating it. Today I can claimed my self as an online based wedding photographer so I receive almost 95% of my photoshoot by email and serve a couple that mostly I don’t know before. Till now I still print my works and even bring it to my couple during the photoshoot, I’m gonna show to them the final result, I will let them touch my paper, my photographs or even smell it cause this is how the business running.
When you see my printed photos above than you can see one of my print from Danilo and Eka’s wedding. I saw cute little angle dancing with her mom during the party and that moment are so perfect so when I have an online or offline meeting with my couple I will bring that printed photos and show to my future couple directly. I will let them know how the final result is and how the photos looks like when it printed in a fine art paper.
These 5 steps if the real action that I personally did on my studio and you can follow these steps for your own action and modify it to get suit on your marketing strategy.
If you still want to figure out or asking more about how to make a photography portfolio than you can leave a comment below. I will be more than happy to help you and suggest you with some steps that I personally did for my own studio. I hope you enjoy for what I’m talking today and lets keep in touch here!