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Archive 2012 · Getting started in the business
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Getting started in the business

Some of you may remember my introduction and announcement for my desire to become a wedding photographer (part-time only). Why did I choose wedding photography? Because its an event that gives a perfect opportunity to capture one of the most memorable event through visual story telling. Besides, everyone seems to be camera friendly during these events. In my opinion, a good wedding photographer is the most versatile and skilled photographer as it covers all aspect of photography i.e. Portraits, lighting situations, still life images, landscapes, architectural, and capturing moments.

My first step through this journey is very obvious. Become a better photographer day by day. I entered the photography world at a considerably late age. I accept the fact that my skills are far from being ready to shoot a wedding. I know anybody can pickup a camera and press a shutter but it takes a special skills to be able to create a powerful and memorable image. A skill that I hope attainable through countless hours of training, practice and dedication. But I may be wrong.

My second step is to learn how to capture moments much like a photojournalist does. Be able create images that store the memories of someoneís big day. I quickly learned that fast shutter speed alone isnít enough to freeze a special moment. Patience and instinct are undeniably the best traits of photojournalist. For me this may just be the biggest and hardest step to over come.

Of course, there are plenty more skills and traits that a successful wedding photographer must have in order to run a business but I donít want to get too far ahead of myself.

For me, photography doesnít come easy but I truly love and enjoy it. There are plenty of times were my images comes out much like a snap shot photo and itís a bit discouraging but I always tell myself that becoming a good photographer doesnít happen over night.

Why am I writing this? Because I want to know how you over came the obstacle and entrance barrier to the world of wedding photography? What made you choose this avenue of photography over others? Do you consider yourself or at least your shooting style as a photojournalist inspired? What was/is your inspiration?


Jun 22, 2012 at 06:08 AM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Getting started in the business

John-Tolentino wrote:
Why am I writing this? Because I want to know how you over came the obstacle and entrance barrier to the world of wedding photography? What made you choose this avenue of photography over others? Do you consider yourself or at least your shooting style as a photojournalist inspired? What was/is your inspiration?

I started by sweeping floors for a studio during college. At the time if someone told me I would one day be a wedding photographer I would have laughed at them. It took me a great deal of time before I really found my niche. I did not just wake up and have the wedding photographer epiphany.

I love photography and always have but it took shooting many different types of things before I realized that people were what I wanted to focus on and then mainly weddings.

The reason I choose people is because people intrigue me... shooting them forces me to step outside my comfort zones and I think it makes me a better person. Photography is not an act of relaxation for me like it is for many people... quite frankly it causes me quite a bit of angst sometimes. Like I said, stepping out of my comfort zone gives me that certain satisfaction of "living".

I do not really consider myself any certain "type" of photographer. I have particular way I shoot but I would say that in the end my goal is classic, stylish, storytelling. Whatever that may entail.

My inspiration comes from many different places. I would be hard pressed to name individual people because no one person or group of people are like my "holy grail" of inspiration. I look up to a lot of my colleagues for many different reason... some not being related to photography at all. I find more inspiration in places, light, and events. I am also inspired by the never ending quest to get that "perfect" shot.

Jun 22, 2012 at 06:25 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Getting started in the business

My personal experience as a wedding photographer may be similar to some other people out there. I had never really taken any courses for photography or been an art person. I'm a tech and business guy. I went to business school and found myself opening my first company right out of high school. College courses for me were all about business and running financials. That area of study never became a business for me. I ran my IT company for a good number of years until I finally said enough.

My wife was an art person and was trained in art so she was the first photographer. I had always taken snapshots using a Sony P&S and I still do.... even at weddings. It's a little more inconspicuous and I always end up getting great results since I'm more of a technical shooter. Same thing goes with my first 1.6x crop body which is still the Canon 550D and then my FF body which is a Canon 5D Mk III. While my wife shoots for art, I shoot everything for numbers. I can actively crunch F stop numbers to calculate how much light I need and at what focal length I should be taking photos. I learned all of the technical details about camera equipment by reading this forum, reading engineer reports, reading lens reviews, and experiencing all of it live with the cameras for test shots so I could hone manual shooting because I want that much more control. For me, the toughest thing is to trust the camera's advanced features to do what it needs to do. As with any photographer, I have constant issues with AF, Auto WB, and any automatic setting on DSLRs. Sony cameras are much more advanced in terms of automatic processing which is why their P&S systems are excellent and offer just enough manual control to shoot well. Learning photography actually isn't the hard part. I can now shoot full manual on the 5D Mk III and 550D as well as do video with a proper rig. The hardest part of wedding photography right now IMO is marketing.

Being a business first before being an artist is what I bring to the business of photography. This is quite hard due to all of the bad debt that racked up over the years in the IT business and my unwillingness to go get money from clients. I learned a hard lesson that being in touch and asking for what's owed to me is important in business. I started the business with my wife about a month ago, got everything registered, crunched my 5 year numbers, crunched my 5 and 10 years business plans, built an HTML5 website, and financed all the equipment as well as educated myself for about a total of 3 months. Those things are easy. The toughest part of this business IMO is marketing. Getting the company name out there and getting hits on the website as well as social marketing, referrals, and creating a reputation is tough. I'm still trying to network with other wedding photographers and getting to know people since I was isolated from society for a while. I'm constantly stepping outside my own boundaries to connect with others and market to people in my area. Nothing really prepares you for marketing and this time around, I'm making every effort to service customers as well as make our business work well. It's important to connect people with quality photography but it's also equally important to get paid and have the business function well. My inspirations are Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Donald Trump, John D Rockefeller, Warren Buffet, Li Ka-Shing, Walt Disney, and Henry Ford. At one time each one of these guys failed and they all were able to work past the failures and generate business. The one phrase that has helped me is "Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success." Failure is just Success rounded down.

Jun 22, 2012 at 03:10 PM

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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Getting started in the business

I'm still fighting the snowball effect of word of mouth. I havent gotten many bookings because no one knows me or feels that my price point is justified (my website needs "professionalized" as well but that is only part of the problem).

Next year I plan to suck it up and maybe do a bridal show just to get my name out there. Yea, the clientele isn't ideal, but you gotta start somewhere and holding out for perfect candidates isn't making me any money.

I picked up a photo 100 class in highschool and was hooked. I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon D70 with kit lens that year with xmas money from parents, grandparents and whoever else would support me. Then I worked off the remained working at a local puttputt golf n games type job. It took forever but I worked that camera off and loved it more because of the process.

I chose weddings because trying to make straight up art (IMHO) isn't a viable career for the lifestyle that I am accustomed to and desire to continue. Weddings, if you can book them, provide a legit service that someone can value, as opposed to art which seems to have subjective value.

Jun 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Getting started in the business

Doug and Alexander - Thanks for sharing your experiences. These are the type of replies I was looking for.

Doug - I can definitely relate with the stress that photography could bring to you. Never wanting to settle and the continuous dig for being creative behind the lens. Art doesn't come as a second nature to me. I get inspired by other artists' work whether it be photograph, painting, music, motion picture, etc. I can come up with photographic ideas in my head but I still lack the "know how" to fully implement it successfully without getting some creative inspiration from others.

I have a similar background to Alex. Business Major with emphasis in IT. So, I tend to think logically than creatively in process of making an image.

Your replies are truly appreciated. This gives me a basis of what others has gone through and it gives me multiple approaches based on what worked for others. I understand that there isn't one formula for success and that what worked for one may not work for others.

Jun 22, 2012 at 05:29 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Getting started in the business

cbradio09 - as an amateur / hobbyist, I actually landed a couple of paying jobs (not wedding) while doing a personal assignment out at the street and asking random people if I could take their photographs. I then emailed it to them and I got a few call backs that led to paying jobs in which my images were used for publishing.

I could only imagine the stress of marketing and getting your name out there. I think this is the reason why some startup wedding businesses are offering their services for almost free.

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:30 PM

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