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February 01, 2022

5 Steps to Starting a Wedding Photography Business

5 Steps to Starting a Wedding Photography Business

No matter what type of wedding a couple plans — whether it’s a huge white tie affair at a vineyard or a spontaneous elopement on a beach — they can probably agree on having one thing: photos to capture their special day. And they need a talented photographer to do just that.

If you have a creative eye and a passion for photography (and love telling love stories) then maybe you’ve always wondered about starting a wedding photography business. We’re here to tell you how to make it happen.

Review and research what you need to start your business

What’s the market like?

The first step in starting a wedding photography business? Do a little research. Find out what the market’s already like in your city. Check Google Maps, Yelp, and wedding vendor websites like The Knot or Wedding Wire to find out:

  • How many other photographers are in your area
  • What other photographers already offer, service-wise
  • What other photographers charge
  • How much the average wedding in your area costs

What one wedding photographer charges in Hawaii isnotgonna be the same as what another charges in Georgia. Cost of living, demand for photographers, and population will all affect your market.

What photography gear do you need?

Next, look at your photography equipment. What gear do you currently have? What do you need to buy for your business, and what can wait until your business grows? A lot of this will depend on the services you offer (more on that later). 

For example, if you already have someone who wants to join your biz  as a second shooter, you might consider buying extra tripods, lenses, or memory cards to have on hand. 

Do you have the experience to run your biz solo?

There’s a  bigdifference between being the go-to photographer with an iPhone because you take great selfies and actually running a profitable wedding photography business. If you’ve never shot a wedding before, you might want to build up your experience and portfolio first.

How can you do that? One option is to work as a second shooter for an established photographer. Another is to work with another wedding vendor, like a bridal shop, on a  commercial shoot.  

Remember, being a business owner is like a separate job on its own. You have to be a great project manager, customer service rep, marketer, accountant, and much more on top of being a great photographer. Make sure you have what it takes to see it through! 

Set up your business

There’s a lot of ground to cover when launchinganysmall business. A business plan can help you cover all your bases, from costs to launch, what you should charge, who you’re serving, and lots more. (Psst: That’s why we have  a system that’ll help you write your business plan.)

We have a lot of  resources about starting a business on The Contract Shop® blog, so make sure you give those a looksee. We’ll share a few crucial steps here: 

Show off your skills with a website or portfolio

You absolutely have to have a website as a wedding photographer! Sure, you’ll probably meet and book clients who DM you on Instagram or find you through their friends. But a website:

  • Shows off your portfolio of work so clients can actuallyseewhat they’re investing in
  • Helps potential clients discover your business online
  • Gives clients a way to contact you
  • Shows potential clients that you’re super profesh and serious about your biz
  • Lets you  share positive testimonials from previous clients

What pages you include on your site and what you want it to look like are completely up to you, but we suggest at least starting with these essential pages:

  • Services and prices page
  • About page
  • Portfolio/work samples
  • Contact page
  • Links to a blog or social media accounts

Pretty simple, right? Oh, and don’t forget to  protect yourself and your website by having important legal stuff like terms & conditions and a privacy policy. 

Have client contracts ready to go

This is an important step, so we’re giving it its own little section so you don’t forget.Protect yourself and your shiny new wedding photography business with contracts. We have  a contract template made just for wedding photographers in our shop!

It may seem easier to hold off on contracts and rely on casual handshake agreements when you’re just starting out. Maybe you don’t want to force new clients into signing anything. Or maybe you’re not exactly sure what a contract should include.

We get it! That’s why we’re in this biz. We recommend having contracts ready at the start so that you can:

  • Show clients that their investment is protected
  • Outlineexactlyhow your professional relationship will go, from what’s included in your services to payment to deliverables and more
  • Protect your own resources and set boundaries
  • Cover your booty in case of…well, anything. (Pandemic, anyone?)

Trust us, you’ll feel a lot better once your legal bases are covered! Then, you can move on to the next, much more fun step: marketing your new business.

Market your wedding photography biz and start booking

Marketing a business is a whole different game. There are  somany ways to put your biz out there that we can’t possibly name them all. We can, however, give you a few ideas:

  • Start a blog! Highlight some of your favorite wedding shots, share photography tips, or share behind-the-scenes content as a photographer. A blog with strong SEO will help people find your business from Google search.

  • Build a follow-worthy social media presence. Instagram is a great place to show off your photography work. So are Pinterest and Facebook. Find out where your target audience spends time most and market your biz there.

  • Work on your email list before you go live. Email may not be as “fun” as the other two marketing options here, but hey, you convinced people to share their email address with you. Make it worth their time by emailing them teasers from photo shoots, blog post links, and biz updates.

That’s all, folks! We hope this blog gave you the little push you might’ve needed to start a wedding photography business. And remember, don’t let all your hard work go to waste! Protect your new business by using a  Wedding Photography Contract Template

woman with long hair holding tablet with wedding photographer contract template

Our comprehensive bundle takes care of it all: copyrights, services provided, payment plans, or what happens if a fight breaks out between the groomsmen — hey, weddings can be wild! Set your new biz up for success and start booking spouses-to-be today! 

 

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