Top 6 Mistakes New Wedding Photographers Make
Starting out in the world of wedding photography is filled with many different emotions. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and intimidating, but I promise you, it is incredibly rewarding. As a beginning wedding photographer, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of the options and routes you can take to get on the right path and be recognized. There are a lot of choices to make, and it’s a lot to take in at once. We’ve compiled a list of the top 6 mistakes that new wedding photographers make, and hopefully this will help you in your journey to reaching your photography goals.
1. Having GAS
No, we aren’t talking about literal gas here, but at least we grabbed your attention! Many new wedding Photographers quickly develop GAS, which stands for Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Since they are just starting out, new wedding photographers feel like they are so far behind the professionals, and start buying as much equipment as then can afford. Not only is this not cost effective, but it really doesn’t help anything! You’ve heard the saying “Jack of all trades, master of none”, and this applies here too. Just because you have all of this equipment, if you can’t master any of it, then you will remain mediocre. Take the time to learn all of your equipment and software, then buy some new toys once you are comfortable with everything you own. Plus, when you do go out for shoots, all of the excess equipment will only weigh you down. If you are wondering what exactly you should be starting out with, we recommend for lenses to carry the basic 4: 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 100mm. This gets a wide range of shots, and won’t be limiting.
2. Not Doing Enough Practice Shoots
Like many other new wedding Photographers, you may have your heart set on getting just as many weddings and engagement shoots as possible. And that’s a great goal to have! However, it’s important to get some practice in too. Branch out and offer your services in other areas of photography, such as senior photos and family photos. These shoots are much more laid back, and offer you room to experiment with posing, lighting, location, and even technique. You’ll inevitably end up picking up more skills as you practice, as well as get some potential customers down the road! Another note, at weddings, you will be running into these types of people anyways. Having some experience in dealing with people and crowds will end up being a useful skill when you are photographing a wedding.
3. Not Having a Professional Website
When you are just starting out, a simple Facebook page with your information and a few pictures may seem like more than enough. However, Facebook is unfortunately dying out, and it’s getting to be more and more important for you to have a clean, professional website to share with potential clients, partners, and employers. Building a website yourself may save you some money, but it’s definitely worth it to find an affordable web designer to help you design and format your website. Before you know it, the website will pay itself off from the results, and can be way more valuable than new equipment. If you are brand new to web design and looking for something simple and user friendly, we recommend Squarespace. It is simple, easy, and affordable, yet professional and clean. If you are more experienced, WordPress is a great option, and is a lot more customizable. A website will really help you to grow your incoming traffic. Make some blog posts to enhance your Search Engine Optimization (getting higher placement on the search engines), and also display a portfolio of your finest work. Don’t forget to add in pricing and all contact information as well!
4. Being Shy
Embrace that you are one of many new wedding photographers! Do not be shy and timid just because you lack experience. Be ambitious. Go and reach out to other photographers and introduce yourself. Contact new vendors who are in the same boat as you and collaborate for a styled shoot (For more information, check out The Beginner’s Guide to a Styled Shoot). New vendors will be helpful! They can get you more connections, and you can refer each other to clients for mutual benefit. Even if you have no portfolio yet, email people and invite them out to coffee and get to know your community. Opportunities will come to you; you just have to put forth your best effort.
5. Thinking That You are a Competitor
A common misconception with new wedding photographers is that you are all competing for jobs. This is not the case! You are all in the same boat. I love the saying, “A rising tide lifts all boats”, because it’s so true, especially in this business. If we all work together as a community of wedding photographers and vendors, we will learn and benefit from each other. Contact more experienced photographers and grab lunch with them and discuss the industry. Offer to second shoot for a more experienced photographer for free so that you can learn from them. Getting to know your fellow photographers will only help you to grow more in your skill.
6. Undercharging Because of Your Experience Level
Just because you are new, does not mean that you should discount yourself and your services. This is something I see so often in the photography world, and it doesn’t help anyone out. In the long run, this is only damaging to you as an artist. Think about how much you want to make per hour, and then decide from there what your prices are. How many hours long is a wedding? How much will your taxes be? How much money do you want to put back into equipment or other materials? Make sure you adjust accordingly for these until you have a fair price. And of course, feel free to do some more research on pricing in the area to get an idea of what the going rates are.
Just because you are a newbie to the world of wedding photography, doesn’t mean you have to be overwhelmed. As long as you are ambitious and know what you want, you will go far in this industry.
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!