During past 4 years I’ve been invited as a speaker in photo industry and so many participants asking me about how to start a wedding photography business for the very first time. As a compilations from my seminar than today I wanna share to you a TRUE STORY which will come in good and bad experiences of being a photographer within 11 years.
By the way I’m graduate from an architecture major university with an “A” result for designing an international airport final exam. If you know a little bit about this world than you always want to be a great worldwide architect like Zaha Hadid or even Santiago Calatrava and that was my dream back 11 years ago. I decided to submit my vacancies to Malaysia, Singapore, and Dubai but not in Indonesia, What I’m thinking about is I must working with overseas partner to increase my knowledge and surely get a better cash.
3 years before graduation I’m falling in love with photography till my friend let me try his old Nikon FM10, it’s really tough camera I think cause if you ever use it than you know that you have to set the line inside your view finder precisely to get focus image….for me, this freakin’ hard work!
Lately I bought semi-automatic 35 mm film camera, the Nikon F80 and start shooting everything. I learn how to put a film roll inside the camera, how to shoot with this analog camera and surely learn about how to start a wedding photography business. I try so many genre in photography before, I shoot for modelling, commercial, magazine, journalism, and surely food photography but there is no niche that bring me so deep except wedding photography.
Why I Love Wedding Photography Better Than Others.
Before I talk about this topic specifically I would like you to know a bit story that happen to me. I’m the only son from my parents and in 1989 where I was 4 years old my mom and dad decided to divorce due to physic violence. I saw my dad hit my mom with belt and I saw him walk with other woman so often. He also has a first wife which mean that my mom belong to his second wife. I have two other brothers from my dad’s first wife so it’s been so complicated for my childhood’s life.
This tragedy become a nightmare for me and take years to solve, I can’t feel love anymore and feeling so sad when see romantic couple hold their hand together and walk through the pedestrian ways here in my town. I always crying like a baby when see somebody love each other cause I never see it from my parents.
Suddenly I have to live with my mom separately, she’s gonna work in Jakarta and I will stay in Yogyakarta with my grand ma and I only can meet my mom once a month, it’s a hard life for 5 years old boy!
This childhood situation bring me into someone that falling in love with moment, it’s a romantic moment where I could see people smile, hug each other and say the vow in front of God and priest that they gonna love each other till death do as a part. Due to this conditon, I couldn’t find any niche that better than wedding photography cause this is what I looking for.
So If somebody ask me about why I love wedding photography better than others than I could say that only through this business I could see a happiness that I couldn’t find from my past childhood. So when I’m shooting wedding I put my heart so deep and enjoying every single moment that I have during 6, 8, or even 16 hours wedding.
Now see my pictures below and by the way I shoot this Germany – Philippines couple in Conrad Bali and enjoying so much for all the moment.
I sniff and shoot this moment like a ninja behind the table till I use my 70-200 mm tele lens to get the best moment on this wedding. What I want to get is the real moment that come through my couple’s heart so I don’t want them know where I am and predict my shots, I think I’m act like a sniper too.
When I shoot Jasmine and Arthur’s wedding, I come 40 minutes before and talk to her, the fiancee and surely the whole family. What I want to do is knowing them a bit more before shooting their glorious moment, I must know how is their feeling during that moment and interaction between each person to another one. So when I saw Arthur start to say the vow that I can predict that Jasmine gonna show her best moment ever. I turn to left side and move behind the Arthur to get that moment, the real moment where I saw jasmine starting to cry when her fiancee say their wedding vow beautifully.
How to Start a Wedding Photography Business When You Know Nothing About It
What I believe is there is always a chance to everyone who know nothing about something that they love so much. I start my career as a traditional wedding photographer, so there are a lot of cultural event that I’m not really love to shoot. I know that now I already get a better paid since using my Nikon F80 era which take me into $40 fee from a single wedding. Through this package I shoot for 2 roll films and print it in 10 x 15 cm paper for 80 pages but I want to increase my skill by shooting international couple who wearing a white beautiful dress and located in such beautiful place like Bali, Maldives, Hawaii and some other romantic wedding locations.
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Than I try few methods that I could share to you today and bring me into destination wedding photographer experience who able to shoot wedding and portrait for international couple in overseas venue. All methods that I’m gonna share below is the methods that I already try by my self and works well on my career.
1 – Creating Portfolio
Having a portfolio in selling photography business is so important cause only through this part than you future client able to know how good you are. If you don’t able get your first client than ask to your family or close friend to shoot their wedding, you may offer them for free or by charging small amount that able to cover your operational cost such as fuel and album printing.
2 – Learn How to Edit Your Wedding Photos
Since several years I work with Photoshop and Lightroom as well to edit my photos. I use Photoshop to retouch my ‘money picture’ and I use Lightroom to retouch huge amount of pictures that belong to documentary. My suggestion is do this part as natural as you can.
Don’t put too much creation on wedding photos cause you gonna broke their moment, let the photos and moment come so much luxury by edit with natural style.
You may learn and get inspirations about edit your photos using my Photoshop Action
3 – Learn How to Design a Wedding Album
Always print your photographs and put an album on your collection cause delivering your final result in printed is way more luxury than simply giving in a file. When your client can touch the paper and feel the texture than the emotion will coming in and this is how to presenting your final result in a good way.
4 – Build Your Own Photography Blog
The cheapest and reliable solutions to answering your question of how to start a wedding photography business is by using a blog. Blog will be your online gallery and let your future couple know you personally better before asking for your price.
You may read my previous article about how to promote your wedding photography business by using a blog, cause through this system you could save thousand of dollars comparing to renting an office for studio including renovating and put pricy interiors details.
5 – Deliver Your Promise Beyond Expectation
No matter what kind of business that you working on than deliver your promise is a must. Good is not enough cause you must be excellent so let deliver your promise beyond expectation. When you able to do this and your client start to get their emotions while enjoying your work than this good business will run in a good way.