what advice would you give someone just starting in this field?
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skasol
Registered: Apr 13, 2004
Total Posts: 2147
Country: United States

just like the question says, what advice would you give someone just starting with wedding photography?



amonline
Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Total Posts: 6482
Country: United States

"Read the stickies."



TRReichman
Registered: Jan 22, 2009
Total Posts: 2883
Country: United States

Heard a great piece of advice from a veteran photographer. When asked what advice he would give to a newer photographer he said...

"...make sure your spouse has a good job."

Great advice.

- trr



skasol
Registered: Apr 13, 2004
Total Posts: 2147
Country: United States

Lol. I hear that.



paregorike
Registered: May 20, 2008
Total Posts: 1006
Country: United States

TRReichman wrote:
Heard a great piece of advice from a veteran photographer. When asked what advice he would give to a newer photographer was...

"...make sure your spouse has a good job."

Great advice.

- trr


The follow-up advice to your advice is "... and make sure your spouse is supportive enough..."


Ron




TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9463
Country: United States

If you can do it on the side while having a real job, you'll probably be better off. Tough gig to be financially successful at on its own.



RJKphoto
Registered: Oct 28, 2010
Total Posts: 1457
Country: United States

Choose another career. Seriously. I believe the end of professional photography as we know it is about 10 years away. Keep photography as a hobby, and ENJOY it!
If you really insist on becoming a photographer as a career find a hook, a niche, and exploit the difference. With the zillions of fauxtographers entering the field every day, you are going to need to be majorly different than everyone else. Learn photography...not photoshopgraphy.



the_rebel
Registered: Oct 26, 2005
Total Posts: 1230
Country: Canada

The advice that many give you here might sound bitter, but it really is not. Many of the guys have been around in their respective markets for some years now and know exactly what it's like. Unfortunately a lot of newly engaged couples are 22-32 (depending on your area) have different ideas of wedding photography pricing when they get engaged.
The younger they are, the more likely they are to think that it's the camera doing the work, not the photographer. Right off the bat they wouldn't spend much.

I personally had one bride email me for rates and availability, when i told her that my rates started at $3500, she replied that it was too much for her, and their budget was $600-$1000...What was funny is that her signature was the nicely edited local cell carrier which stated the email was sent from their brand new (then) $800 phone. Goes to show you where peoples priorities lay.

In any case, don't let the comments discourage you, making a full time living out of it is hard as **** but then again which business is easy? Especially since you have new wannabe photographers willing to shoot weddings for next to nothing popping up every day (literally). I've been full time since 2009. It can get really stressful but personally I'm used to it now. I try to keep my overhead low to keep costs at bay, specially during the off season, but the major cost (my studio) stays the same year round.

So when someone tells you to have a full time job while doing it, there is some truth to that, but at the same time a certain amount of disservice to full time shooters that depend solely on photography to feed their families. If everyone did it full time i'm pretty sure we would all be making good money because the client wouldn't have an option than to pay the nominal rates of a full timer.

I must admit, while i love what i do, the craft of photography was a lot more enjoyable when it was a hobby.

Good luck
Dan



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 4769
Country: United States

the_rebel wrote:
I must admit, while i love what i do, the craft of photography was a lot more enjoyable when it was a hobby.


Sure.

Say a guy likes tinkering around with working on his car on the weekend and so he gets a job working 40 hours a week at a muffler-change shop. Now he feels differently about tinkering around on weekends. It's like that.



ai3x
Registered: May 02, 2005
Total Posts: 2332
Country: United Kingdom

If you want to take standard everyday photos and have business come to you then run now.

If you want to push yourself, push the boundaries, take photos nobody else would even think about, work 18hrs a day 7 days a week, market yourself, network, grow your business, tear your hair out when the phone stops ringing, remarket yourself, rebrand yourself and above all, never stop running - well in that case pull up a chair, you'll fit right in.



paparazzinick
Registered: Jan 08, 2005
Total Posts: 7341
Country: United States

RJKphoto wrote:
Seriously. I believe the end of professional photography as we know it is about 10 years away.



Heard this 10 years ago. The person who told me said he heard it 10 years prior. The person that told him heard it 10 years prior too. And so on.

I do agree with you, the profession is dead to new people trying to get in. But if you're in and established, making money and continuing to better yourself and stay ahead of the competition. Then you are fine and the 10 year prediction is a moot point for you.



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 9463
Country: United States

BTW I don't have a full time job but to expand on my advice... If I did, I wouldn't charge less because it isn't my main income.



lisy78
Registered: Apr 09, 2009
Total Posts: 9241
Country: United States

skasol wrote:
just like the question says, what advice would you give someone just starting with wedding photography?


I would say: Don't.

I do it and I enjoy it, but the only reason why i really enjoy it is because I do it very little as it's a second job, to a good paying career I also enjoy.

And yeah you could find tons of people who are very successful at this but let me tell you this... you show me someone who is very successful and happy doing this and I will show you:

1. That with the skills that are helping them succeed (hint: photography is only a small component) they could actually be running a far more lucrative business that doesn't require them to pretty much WORK for every penny they make (aside from the experience you have very little is "reusable")

2. That they are either holding off having children because it's not the right time with this career path, or they had children and they often curse the fact that they're the only parent who never attends the birthday parties that all the other dads and moms attend, the barbeques etc. ...

Oh and notice that I haven't even mentioned the whole "middle of the market is a warzone" stuff 'cause frankly that's all secondary to 1 and 2 as far as I'm concerned.

FWIW I did figure out how to make it work for me, but the end result of what I did is that it's not a big contributor to my income... but at the same time it's also taking up a RIDICULOUSLY SMALL amount of my time... so on balance I'm happier than when I was trying to do it all



lisy78
Registered: Apr 09, 2009
Total Posts: 9241
Country: United States

Sorry for the second post... but I was just going to say that if you have what it takes to make it as a wedding photographer then you also have what it takes as a portrait photographer.

I know some people who are successful at it and they easily do better than most wedding photographers from a financial standpoint... and they're NOT stuck working 10 hour days, pretty much always on Saturday, they don't have half the stress that you have on a wedding day... and again they can kill with their sales.

Admittedly I've sucked at transitioning to that, but I'd love to do it...



skasol
Registered: Apr 13, 2004
Total Posts: 2147
Country: United States

the_rebel wrote:
The advice that many give you here might sound bitter, but it really is not. Many of the guys have been around in their respective markets for some years now and know exactly what it's like. Unfortunately a lot of newly engaged couples are 22-32 (depending on your area) have different ideas of wedding photography pricing when they get engaged.
The younger they are, the more likely they are to think that it's the camera doing the work, not the photographer. Right off the bat they wouldn't spend much.

I personally had one bride email me for rates and availability, when i told her that my rates started at $3500, she replied that it was too much for her, and their budget was $600-$1000...What was funny is that her signature was the nicely edited local cell carrier which stated the email was sent from their brand new (then) $800 phone. Goes to show you where peoples priorities lay.

In any case, don't let the comments discourage you, making a full time living out of it is hard as **** but then again which business is easy? Especially since you have new wannabe photographers willing to shoot weddings for next to nothing popping up every day (literally). I've been full time since 2009. It can get really stressful but personally I'm used to it now. I try to keep my overhead low to keep costs at bay, specially during the off season, but the major cost (my studio) stays the same year round.

So when someone tells you to have a full time job while doing it, there is some truth to that, but at the same time a certain amount of disservice to full time shooters that depend solely on photography to feed their families. If everyone did it full time i'm pretty sure we would all be making good money because the client wouldn't have an option than to pay the nominal rates of a full timer.

I must admit, while i love what i do, the craft of photography was a lot more enjoyable when it was a hobby.

Good luck
Dan


Thank you for this great perspective



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 4769
Country: United States

lisy78 wrote:
photography is only a small component


That's true. Only a very small percentage of my time working in this business involves actually taking pictures.



dmacmillan
Registered: Nov 03, 2007
Total Posts: 4496
Country: United States

D. Diggler wrote:
lisy78 wrote:
photography is only a small component


That's true. Only a very small percentage of my time working in this business involves actually taking pictures.

Very true. I spent over 20 years as a professional photographer. Yes, you've got to love and be good at photography, but you also have to love and be good at marketing, sales, business, retouching and bookkeeping. You've got to love them even more because that's where you'll be spending most of your time.

Few people realize that for the average Joe photographer, even back in the heyday of the '50's and '60's, they made at best a decent living. Going digital has significantly changed the wedding market and either introduced new negative pressures or intensified existing ones. I have friends who were in business for 30 years who succumbed to the new reality.

My experience has shown me photography is a great hobby, but not a good way to make a living.



skasol
Registered: Apr 13, 2004
Total Posts: 2147
Country: United States

dmacmillan wrote:
D. Diggler wrote:
lisy78 wrote:
photography is only a small component


That's true. Only a very small percentage of my time working in this business involves actually taking pictures.

Very true. I spent over 20 years as a professional photographer. Yes, you've got to love and be good at photography, but you also have to love and be good at marketing, sales, business, retouching and bookkeeping. You've got to love them even more because that's where you'll be spending most of your time.

Few people realize that for the average Joe photographer, even back in the heyday of the '50's and '60's, they made at best a decent living. Going digital has significantly changed the wedding market and either introduced new negative pressures or intensified existing ones. I have friends who were in business for 30 years who succumbed to the new reality.

My experience has shown me photography is a great hobby, but not a good way to make a living.




Thank u, good advice.



Juliewhitlock
Registered: Oct 03, 2012
Total Posts: 30
Country: Canada

I make above the average income for people in my area. I also get to meet, care about and bring joy and some sanity to the weddings and lives of my clients. I work from home, mostly in my Jammie's and have an occasional beer at noon. I make my own schedule and only book clients who make me happy to know them. My point? If you are truly made do do this, if you are in love with all aspects of the business and have dedication and zeal it can be an amazing and very fulfilling way to make a living. It's not all doom and gloom. It's one heck of a lot of hard work but so is anything worth earning. Real, true professional wedding photographers will always be hired for all the things we bring to a wedding day that have nothing to do with snapping shots. My advice is give it your all and do it right from day one. Systems, business plan, proper contracts and accounting. Treat your clients like gold and pick the ones you click with. They will be your best advertisement. Good luck!!



Ghost
Registered: Feb 22, 2005
Total Posts: 2014
Country: Canada

lisy78 wrote:
skasol wrote:
just like the question says, what advice would you give someone just starting with wedding photography?


I would say: Don't.

I do it and I enjoy it, but the only reason why i really enjoy it is because I do it very little as it's a second job, to a good paying career I also enjoy.

And yeah you could find tons of people who are very successful at this but let me tell you this... you show me someone who is very successful and happy doing this and I will show you:

1. That with the skills that are helping them succeed (hint: photography is only a small component) they could actually be running a far more lucrative business that doesn't require them to pretty much WORK for every penny they make (aside from the experience you have very little is "reusable")

2. That they are either holding off having children because it's not the right time with this career path, or they had children and they often curse the fact that they're the only parent who never attends the birthday parties that all the other dads and moms attend, the barbeques etc. ...

Oh and notice that I haven't even mentioned the whole "middle of the market is a warzone" stuff 'cause frankly that's all secondary to 1 and 2 as far as I'm concerned.

FWIW I did figure out how to make it work for me, but the end result of what I did is that it's not a big contributor to my income... but at the same time it's also taking up a RIDICULOUSLY SMALL amount of my time... so on balance I'm happier than when I was trying to do it all


+ Gold.



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