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How to Become a Wedding Photographer (Step-by-Step Guide)

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camera of a wedding photographer in action

There’s something incredible about being able to capture the magical moments of a wedding. Many amateur photographers dream of becoming full-time wedding photographers. And it’s not hard to do; it just takes some planning and work.

The beautiful thing about a business like wedding photography is that you can do it as a side gig for extra money, but it can easily turn into a full-time thing as well. After reading this article, you should be equipped with the knowledge to get started on building yourself a career as a wedding photographer. 

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Before You Take the Jump

Before taking any courses or registering a business, you need to ensure that this is indeed something you want to pursue. And if it is, you’ll need to buy some equipment to get started with. You likely have some of the basics already if you’re interested in wedding photography, but here is a small list of important equipment to start:

  • Camera: You don’t have to start with the most expensive one, but make sure it’s a good DSLR camera.
  • Several lenses: Again, you don’t have to buy high-end lenses immediately. However, make sure you have a couple of choices so you can always get the best shot.
  • Tripod: You’re better off buying a high-quality tripod from the start because you’ll notice a drastic difference in their stability.
  • Lighting: Make sure you have several options for artificial lighting because not all your shots will be outside in the sun.
  • Batteries and memory cards: There’s nothing worse than your camera dying or running out of room mid-shoot. Always have several spare batteries and memory cards available.
  • Camera bag: You’ll want a decent camera bag with space for your gear and anything else.
female wedding photographer
Image Credit: Mariah Krafft, Unsplash

How to Become a Wedding Photographer

You don’t necessarily have to perform all these steps in the exact order. For example, suppose you’ve already been taking pictures for a while. In that case, you may have some good work to turn into a portfolio website immediately. So, you may want to do that sooner and get it out of the way.

1. Take a Course

man wearing reading eye glasses
Image Credit: tommaso79, Shutterstock

You don’t have to take an expensive college course—although you can if you want to and have the budget. There are many options online where you can learn everything you need to know about starting a photography business.

2. Register Your Business

business owner doing some financial documentation
Image Credit: Moon Safari, Shutterstock

Once you know the ins and outs of starting the business, it’s time to register. This is especially important if you want to grow this into more than a side hustle. Registering your business is part of getting the financials in order.

In addition to registration, you may want to consider opening a separate bank account to make keeping track of money for taxes easier.

3. Networking and Social Media

man using laptop
Image Credit: Piqsels

You’re probably already on various social media platforms. But now is the time to create dedicated profiles for your wedding photography. Instagram and Facebook are two great options for networking for a wedding photographer.

In addition to general networking, you’ll want to network with other local photographers. This allows you to ask questions and learn while building new relationships.

4. Accompany an Experienced Photographer

male wedding photographer at work
Image Credit: Getúlio Moraes, Unsplash

If you find a photographer that is doing exactly what you want to do, going along as a second shooter is a great chance to learn with hands-on experience. After you’ve built a relationship with them, all you have to do is ask. Many photographers won’t mind an extra set of hands.

5. Talk to Engaged Friends

female photographer marketing services
Image Credit: MYDAYcontent, Shutterstock

Once you’ve built some confidence, taking pictures is the best way to continue learning. Talk to your engaged friends or acquaintances about shooting their wedding. Wedding photography is generally expensive, so you can offer a reduced rate and explain that you’re still learning.

6. Build a Portfolio

female photographer holding image prints
Image Credit: Jacob Lund, Shutterstock

By now, you should have some work that you can showcase. Going forward, the path to the best shoots is by having an incredible portfolio to showcase. Nowadays, it’s easy to build an online portfolio. If you have the budget, hiring a professional website designer is the best option for saving time.

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Closing Thoughts

You’re not going to make it overnight. Keep taking pictures and learning new techniques. As you progress in the business, you can upgrade to more expensive and high-end equipment. If you stick with it, eventually, you’ll build a business that can sustain you and allow you to work how you want.

Featured Image Credit: Natilyn Hicks (Natilyn Photography), Unsplash

About the Author Shea Cummings

Shea Cummings is a passionate content writer who believes that the power of words is immeasurable. He leverages years of experience in various trades such as carpentry, photography, and electrical to bring his articles to life. His goal is to provide his readers with information that delights and informs. When he's not writing you can find him spending time in the outdoors or playing some Minecraft on the Xbox with his wife and two sons.