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  • Writer's pictureSophia DuBois

How to Stand Out as a Wedding Photographer

This industry is not for the weak! It's extremely over-saturated and everyone's trying to book their ideal clients. I'm going to do my best to share what I've learned in the past few years.


Engagement Photo Session

Be Professional

I know it sounds like a no brainer, but if you don't have a website, portfolio, questions/answers ready for potential clients, a professional contract, and a reliable invoice, then you're going to be seen as an amateur.


Website

For my website, I use Wix. This is not sponsored or anything like that but it's extremely EASY to use. It some time to figure out what worked but I'm here to hopefully save the time for you.


#1 Find Your Niche

If your website is full of event shoots, dogs, babies, weddings, food, couples, real estate, etc. No one is going to see you as an expert in weddings. They just want to see your example photos from couple shoots that you've shot.


#2 Menu

When it comes to deciding what your website needs to include, you can't overthink it. I think the main ones most photographers have is: your portfolio, how much you charge, who you are, and a contact page.


When a couple chooses a photographer they're going to want to get to know who their photographer is. I've seen so many Instagram pages and websites where I have no idea who the photographer is or what their name is. People tend to trust people more when they know what to expect.


The next import thing to add/promote is your portfolio. The couple needs to know what your style is. Do you tend to do more posed photos, more warm tones, more cool tones, brighter edits, or perhaps moody edits? This is your time to shine and show off your talent!


When it comes to your pricing/packages, make sure you think really hard about your value. I got really lucky with my first wedding. I had never shot a wedding before but their photographer last minute cancelled 2 weeks before their wedding. I was even more shocked that they paid me $1000! If you've done 1 or 2 weddings, I suggest you do 3 packages. 1. A Small Wedding Package, 2. A full day wedding, and 3. A Couples Session.


Instagram

Instagram is one of the main ways people find vendors. Make sure your handle has photographer or photography in it! Even better if it has the state or city you're in. Example: Arizona Wedding Photographer. I don't know about you, but if I was getting married and I was looking for a photographer, that's what I would type in.


Post all couples and wedding photos. Honestly, post whatever clients you're looking to attract. I'll have some portrait photos in there too because you can't always be booked with weddings all the time but you still need to be posting.


You should be posting every day but it's not realistic. If you can, that's amazing! But I never want to post too much of one session. I limit it to 2 or 3 posts for one session.


I've noticed that the posts that do well are the multiple photos in one post with music set to it. Reels also do REALLY well. So if you're a creative person with content, then you're going to do just fine.


Contracts/Invoice

Contracts, Contracts, Contracts!

I personally use Honeybook to send contracts to my clients. They have a template for wedding photography contracts and you just have to fill in the spots. They actually have a template that includes both the contract and the invoice. I usually send the contract, they sign it, and then the deposit is due. My deposit is half of what I charge. It's really nice too because you assign the second half of the payment to send them a reminder a week before the wedding. I usually do a week before so it gives them time to send it. Their wedding is coming up so their minds are all over the place!!


Be Generous

Now that you've booked a client, now you have to prove that they made the right choice! When I was given the chance to photograph my first wedding, I was so excited but I was also very nervous. Your clients big day is now in your hands to capture it. I was of course excited to get paid but now i had to show for it. I actually spent around $300 of the money on things for the wedding.


Rentals

If you have your eye on a lens but its $3000 and you can't afford it yet, RENT! I do this all the time. You can just look up camera rentals in your area and you can get it from there. I live in Scottsdale, Arizona and I always go to Tempe Camera. It's $65/day which in my opinion is worth it since it makes the photos look so amazing!


Disposable Camera Wedding Photos

Film

I personal don't have a film camera, but I wanted to do something a little extra for my couples. I usually by a $25 disposable camera and throughout the day/night, I'll snap behind the scenes photos. It adds a nice touch of authenticity. There's no edits and it what their day actually looked like. Everyone likes a nostalgic vibe too!! It's a big hit.


Delivery

I order a photo delivery box. I used to use hanging branch but they're on a break from sales right now?? I don't really know. But it's a box that has the couples name engraved on it. The box I order includes a space for the disposable photos to go and a spot for a glass flash drive to go! I deliver their photos through Pic-time but then I also put them on the flash drive so if they lose their downloaded photos, they still have them. You can definitely mail it to them but I drive it to them personally. This isn't always the case if you have a destination wedding for instance but I think it's a nice touch.

Wedding Photo Box


The first wedding as a beginner that I did, I knew i had to prove myself so i even brought sparklers for them to do their send off and half way through the reception they ran out of water bottles so I went to the store down the street and picked up more. I'm pretty sure I was the only sober one there hahahha but they ended up tipping me $300! I think that's the only time I've been tipped for photography but it felt good! But yes, going above and beyond really has helped, especially with word of mouth!






Make it FUN!

When a couple hires a photographer they hire them to capture their day, not take away from it. Have a meeting a month before the wedding and then another one a week before.


In the meeting a month before, ask them to send you a shot list of every photo they're wanting, how many guests are going, the venue address, the time line of the day, their family dynamic, how many people are in the wedding party, the wedding attire, if they want a first look, if there's a videographer/wedding planner, any special traditions, and if they have any questions.


The meeting a week beforehand is to finalize everything and make sure you're on the same page! Make sure you double check the lists they gave you and refresh all poses you may want to do. I suggest making an album on your phone of all the poses you're wanting to do and a photo of the days time line.


When it comes time for the actual wedding day, don't make it too posey and let them enjoy their day with their friends and family. The photos with the family members and bridal party shouldn't take up too much time.



I hope this was helpful! These are just the main things that I could think of but they've worked very well for me. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck at your weddings! You're gonna kill it!



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