Always be true to yourself, find your own creative style. If you perfect your skills in a certain style of photography you’re passionate about this is the best way to building confidence in yourself. Practice on friends and family, but don’t take their word for how good your work is as naturally they are going to be bias. The average customer you will get as a wedding photographer is going to be more critical about your work.
You might be wondering how to get exposure out in the field? You currently have no portfolio to show potential clients, and no experience dealing with new clients. From my experience, one of the best ways to start out in the Wedding Photography business and start building your portfolio is to find work as an assistant or second shooter for an already established photographer or studio. This is the best way gain confidence, and get first hand experience not just for producing some great images, but also customer service and learn how to direct a shoot. Even at this early stage you should always carry a backup camera.
I wouldn’t recommend taking on a friends wedding as the main photographer, this is way too much of a responsibility, even if you think you are well prepared. Its their special day and shouldn’t be time for you to practice wedding photography.
You need to also be critical of your photography. Know that you’re good, but also know where there is room for improvement. Rather than trying to compete with a million other wedding photographers out there, set yourself a personal high standard. If your not at the level you need to be at, find a photographers work that you admire, research what makes them successful, understand the quality of work they have to offer and know whats involved in producing it. Forget about the rest, there are a lot of ordinary photographers out there too. Remember you need to aim high. Research what you need to get to that high level. You can never spend enough time researching new photographic methods and the latest equipment on the market. Always use your camera in manual mode, know your equipment like the back of your hand. This will give you the confidence and practical skill that you will need as a professional.
It is also of great importance to be proficient in post processing, spend plenty of time using Lightroom and photoshop, buy photography magazines, watch tutorials online, you can educate yourself, as everything you need for honing your photographic skills is online. I’ve always thought that if you do a course in photography, you are only ever going to be as good as the person that teaches you, their technique is not necessarily the best, teaching yourself builds more confidence, you are learning your own style not someone else’s!
After gaining some experience as a second shooter, and you have your own portfolio, you might be thinking that your ready to begin your own business, remember not to don’t rush into it. Try to save as much money as you can from your assisting work to go towards advertising your business. If you have enough work on as a paid second shooter you can think about advertising your business locally and online, and see what kind of response you get. If you have a good contact that you are assisting for that has plenty of work, I wouldn’t recommend moving on to your own business until you are close to fully booked for a year.
When setting your prices an important factor is knowing your value. don’t set your prices too low, people will second guess your quality, even if you do great work, they will perceive it differently. Of course don’t charge too much either if you are just starting out, you don’t want to lose clients because you’re too expensive! I find smack bang in the middle is a good option. That way clients won’t second guess your prices. If they like your work enough they normally have a set budget for their wedding photography, and they’ll hire you. The average for wedding photographer in townsville with all images in high-resolution on a disk is $2500, this doesn’t include an album, but with the disk they can print as many photos as they like for their own personal use, and perhaps create their own album.
Establish a relationship with a local print lab learn about the proper conversion of files from digital to print, get some test prints done and figure out what type of finish best displays your work. Make sure you have a logo, and business email, its these finishing touches that make a big difference in how you present your business.