Mistakes I See People Making When Starting A Wedding Photography Business

Mistakes I See People Making When Starting A Wedding Photography Business

Starting A Wedding Photography Business

Starting a wedding photography business?

Super exciting news, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you. This can be the best job in the world, but after years in the industry and countless conversations with budding photographers, I’ve noticed the same mistakes popping up again and again when people are starting a wedding photography business. Let’s dive into these common missteps and how you can steer clear to ensure your business thrives from the get-go.

Embrace These Aspects As Part Of Starting A Wedding Photography Business

1. Underestimating the Business Side of Things

Many photographers are drawn to the profession by passion, but remember, passion alone doesn’t keep the lights on. Neglecting the business side – from accounting and marketing to client relations – is a recipe for trouble. Embrace these aspects as part of your craft. Tools and courses are your friends here. Invest time in learning about business management, and consider software solutions to streamline your workflow, like the wonderful Studio Ninja. Chris, the founder, is a working wedding photographer, so he knows exactly what our pain points are. BTW the code FARM gets you 50% off your first year of Studio Ninja.

2. Failing to Define a Unique Style

In the sea of wedding photographers, your unique style is your beacon. It attracts the right clients and sets you apart. Early on, it’s easy to mimic trends or emulate your idols, but finding your voice is crucial. Experiment, take risks, and reflect on what resonates with you. Your style should be a reflection of your vision, not just the current trends you see all over social media.

3. Not Investing in the Right Gear (Or Overinvesting)

Buying the same camera as your photography hero does not turn you into them. Gear doesn’t make the photographer, but the right tools can elevate your work. That said, splurging on the most expensive camera on the market without understanding what makes it valuable to your work is a misstep. Conversely, skimping on essential gear can limit your capabilities. Balance is key. The most important element is that it feels comfortable for you to use. Ultimately, I don’t want to be thinking about my gear at all; I want to be zoned in on the creativity. Before splurging on what the cool kids are using, rent equipment for a few days or take advantage of loan schemes, like Canon’s Test Drive service. Aim to invest in quality gear that enhances your unique approach and also feels comfortable in your hands.

4. Putting All Your Marketing Eggs In One Basket

A strong social media presence is essential to build up your wedding photography business, but try not to take any of it for granted. I’ve been around long enough to see that eventually, all the social platforms move out of favour. They are also unreliable and can simply go down when you’ve planned an important piece of content. Spread your marketing across multiple platforms and my advice here is to always invest time, money, and effort on your website. This is the only online place that’s yours, it’s your digital real estate. Word of mouth can also be golden. Networking with other wedding professionals often leads to referrals. Don’t underestimate the power of a friendly chat at industry events or over DM. Invest in your marketing, we feel entitled to be on social media for free but that will only give you a minimal amount of reach. Eventually, it’s time to put your hand in your pocket.

5. Ignoring the Importance of Contracts

When establishing your business, it’s natural to reach out to family and friends for your first bookings. This is exactly how I started, as did many photographers who have spoken for us at events. A handshake deal might seem friendly and straightforward, but it’s fraught with potential misunderstandings. Contracts protect both you and your couple, ensuring everyone’s on the same page regarding expectations, deliverables, and payment. Tailor your contracts to each client, and don’t shy away from seeking legal advice to ensure they’re comprehensive and clear. It’s never too early in your career to implement a contract, and we have one over in The Barn that you may download and adapt.

6. Overlooking Client Experience

In wedding photography, you’re not just selling photos; you’re selling an experience. From the initial consultation to the final delivery, each interaction should be professional, personable, and positive. Happy clients are your best ambassadors. They’re the ones who will sing your praises to friends, family, and anyone who’ll listen. When you are new, you might focus most on fine-tuning your style but also try to fine-tune your client interactions.

7. Faking It Until You Make It

I don’t know who advocates for this in our industry but please, please do not fake any of it. So often I see newer photographers trying to gloss over or downright lie about their experience level. There’s space and clients for all levels.

If you are new, then pitch it as they are lucky to get you on your way up or at introductory rates. People will be much more accepting of any errors that you make if they are clear that you are building your business up. Part of our fee is for experience and if you don’t have it yet, don’t expect that part of the payment. Your newness can be your USP at this stage, have fun with it!

8. Under/Overpricing Your Services

Speaking of prices, determining rates is one of the toughest challenges. Set your prices too low, and you might be swamped with work but unable to cover your costs. Price too high without the portfolio to back it up, and you may struggle to book clients. Research the market, understand your costs, and value your time and talent appropriately. Remember, as your skills and reputation grow, your pricing should reflect that. It’s similar to hairdressers; they are all cutting hair, but there’s a clear difference between booking a junior or a senior stylist in terms of cost and experience level.

9. Trust Your Inner Voice

When defining your style, it’s common to scour social media and the portfolios of established photographers for inspiration. While external influences can spark creativity, true originality comes from introspection. To carve out a voice that’s distinctly yours, reflect on what moves you personally. Consider your passions, your experiences, and the elements of photography that resonate with you on a deeper level. Your unique perspective and internal narrative are invaluable assets. Let them guide your artistic expression, helping you create work that not only stands out but also feels authentic to who you are. In a world saturated with images, your inner voice is your strongest tool for creating work that leaves a lasting impression.

10. Remember: Direction Over Speed

Your direction is more important than your speed. It’s easy to feel like you’re in a race, especially when you see others in your field achieving milestones. But success in wedding photography is not about how fast you go; it’s about moving in the right direction. Take the time to build a solid foundation, focus on what sets you apart, and grow your business at a pace that ensures sustainability and quality. You might look at where others that you admire are and want to accelerate to that point but I think you will miss one of the best parts – the beginning should be about experimenting, discovery, and creative play. Do not rush truly learning your craft.

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this gives you some food for thought as you work on starting a wedding photography business. However, my final piece of advice is to be unafraid of making mistakes. There is more growth to be gained from them than if you just nail everything straight out of the box. Reflecting on my biggest mistakes, I can see that I learned more about myself and my business during those times than when I coasted along. Do not let the fear of making mistakes hold you back because everybody, without exception, makes them.



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