As a photographer, weddings can be a fantastic source of income, especially once you’ve established a strong reputation in your community and through word-of-mouth referrals from happy couples. Of course, establishing your reputation can be the hard part.
Weddings are high-stakes, high-priced, high-stress events for couples. They want to feel confident when choosing a photographer for one of the most important days in their lives. Couples want to see photos — and plenty of them — of other weddings you’ve shot so they can get a feel for your overall style. Winning over couples might not be easy in the beginning, but these strategies can help.
Edit your portfolio
Prospective clients will pore over your portfolio, and they’ll want to see the full breadth of your work, not just a couple of “money shots.” So delete anything that you don’t feel is emblematic of your style or the level of quality you strive to attain. Are you a photographer who prefers to capture candid moments, or do you specialize in portraits or group photos? Make sure your portfolio accurately expresses who you are as a photographer. Also, be sure to highlight images at popular local wedding venues. Couples like to see that you have experience shooting the venue where they’re getting married.
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Get to know other local photographers
Chances are you already know other professionals in your field. But make a concerted effort to connect with them professionally. Seek out successful wedding photographers whose work you admire. Email them, attend a meetup, or perhaps take them out for coffee and ask them to take a look at your portfolio and talk shop. If they like your work, it could lead to referrals when they’re already booked.
Offer reduced rates and free engagement shoots
Many couples want an experienced photographer, but to get experience, you need people who are willing to give you a chance. When you’re starting out, consider doing some work gratis for the sake of gaining experience. Think about offering couples free engagement photos. If they like your style and feel good about the shoot, that could be enough to get them to sign on for a wedding package. For wedding-day experience, appeal to budget-conscious couples. Offer reduced rates, explaining that you’re new to shooting weddings, but you have a strong photography background.
Step up your Instagram game
In addition to building up your own Instagram portfolio, be sure to share your handle with vendors you work with regularly (and those you’d like to work with). For example, caterers, florists, wedding planners, and venues usually post photos of recent weddings on their Instagram accounts. Engaged couples often scroll through images of weddings located in the town or at the venue where they plan to get married. They take note of the vendors that are tagged in posts — it’s not uncommon to get booked after someone sees your work on Instagram. So make sure you’re putting your best work out there, and share great images of, say, the appetizers with the caterer, and the bouquets with the florist, and ask them to tag you if they post on social media.