How to Build Your Wedding photography Portfolio
Whether you are just starting out in the world of photography, or you are an experienced photographer who’s looking to branch out and explore wedding photography, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with building up a quality wedding photography portfolio. There’s a lot to consider, and it’s hard to even know where you should begin! We understand your pain, so we’ve created a list of the top five ways to build up your wedding photography portfolio, without completely going insane.
1. Styled Shoots With Other Wedding Vendors
You may have read this tip and thought to yourself: “A styled shoot? I’ve never even done a real wedding!” Let us ease your fears. A styled shoot is actually a great way to practice and learn about the art of wedding photography, without all of the pressure that comes with it. With a styled shoot, you have complete freedom over every aspect of the project. Use the opportunity to connect with local vendors, venues, and models. Having these connections is such an important part of being a photographer, and if they enjoyed working with you on this shoot, they will refer you to their own customers who need a photographer. You can also use this time to experiment with poses, lenses, and techniques. Try out that risqué pose you’ve been dying to try, but have been too scared to suggest to your clients. For more ideas and information on how to do a styled shoot, check out our blog post here!
2. Second Shooting For Other Photographers
This tip is usually overlooked, but such a great way to build up your repertoire! Reach out to two or three more experienced photographers (research local photographers if you don’t already have these connections) and offer to second shoot for them for free. This will allow you time to practice, learn, and absorb their knowledge, and you will get your own great photos to use in your portfolio. Before you go on a shooting spree just to have more content, make sure you are getting high quality image. Everyone knows the saying “quality over quantity”, and it’s especially true here. If needed, ask the photographer you are working with if you can step in and take a couple shots of high profile scenes (bride/groom, getting ready, etc). These shots are extremely important, and will really help to beef up the overall quality of your portfolio.
3. Photograph Other Subjects Besides Weddings
This may sound silly and redundant, but so many new wedding photographers get stuck in this mindset that all they are allowed to shoot is weddings or engagement sessions. This is not the case! Broaden your horizons and shoot other sessions such as seniors and families. Much like styled shoots, these sessions are much more laid back, and really allow for some experimentation. You also are bound to encounter these groups of people at a wedding anyways, so by all means, practice, practice, practice! Take advantage of photographing people in general to try out new poses and angles, or even just working with people in general. Believe it or not, these types of sessions help you a lot with your customer service skills, which will be much needed at a wedding. And most of all, these images will get you started on building your wedding photography portfolio.
4. Shoot Small Budget Weddings
For some reason, there is this stigma that shooting a lower end wedding makes you less of a photographer, which is completely false and uncalled for in general. Take advantage of Craigslist ads and lower status weddings to build up your wedding photography portfolio. They may not be as nice as the higher end weddings, naturally, but this does not mean that your photography skills will go unnoticed. The most important part of a wedding is capturing the love and joy of the couple and their loved ones on this big day, and you still can do that even if the budget is a bit smaller. The one thing to keep in mind with these shoots is the price. Make sure you are not being taken advantage of just because you are new. Their budget may be low, but be sure to come up with a price that is fair to both parties, or else it will only hurt you in the long run.
5. In Person Marketing
Marketing is a vital part of building up your wedding photography portfolio! Get your name out there in any way possible. Whether it’s offering free headshots to local models or talent, or going out and taking complimentary photos of a venue and sending them to the manager, make your name heard. You’d be surprised how many people are in dire need of photographs, but just don’t have the money to get a quality photographer to work for them. Models and venues are top hits in this department. Many models may have had a recent haircut or physical change, and need new headshots. Or perhaps a beautiful church has recently renovated their sanctuary, and needs new photographs for their website? Contact local vendors and offer to photograph their products for free- not only does this give you great portfolio images, but it leaves a great first impression on these vendors, usually enough to get them to add you to their recommended vendor list that they pass on to their clients. Whether it be a florist, calligrapher, baker, or stylist, all of these people will more than likely cross your path at some point in this industry, so why not put your best foot forward? Referrals are such an important part of this industry, so make sure you are doing your part to earn a rave review.
With these tips, building your wedding photography Portfolio will be a piece of cake! A common theme with these tips is connections, and keeping in mind that the world of weddings is a “who you know” industry is vital to being successful.
Thanks for reading Top 6 Mistakes New Wedding Photographers Make blog post! Check out my other articles for photographers like Top 5 Ways to Find An Affordable Wedding Photography Assistant, Top 8 Wedding Essentials for the Wedding Photographer (that AREN’T Equipment), Why Photographers Need A PDF Pricing Guide, Contax 645 Tutorial #3 | Camera Settings, Film Choices, Metering, and Posing, Contax 645 Tutorial #2 | Camera Accessories, Film Loading and More, Contax 645 Tutorial #1 | Hybrid Wedding Photography Equipment, and many more in our Journal page.
Check out some of my wedding photos at The Market At Grelen Wedding | Virginia Wedding Photos, Delta Plantation Wedding Photos, Belmond Maroma Cancun Wedding among others. And some engagement photos as well like Wormsloe Engagement Photos and Savannah Engagement Photo Session | Forsyth Park to name a couple. Also, go to our General Wedding FAQ and our Engagement Session FAQ posts for information about how to prepare for your photo sessions. We have other posts that can help you in your wedding preparations in our Journal Page. Don’t forget to check out my homepage for my newest wedding photography work.
As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, and be sure to follow us on social media for the latest shoots and blog updates!