Starting your own business is hard, but rewarding. The only problem is not knowing exactly what you have signed up for and wedding photography is no different. While it may seem glamorous and simple, a lot more goes into it than simply showing up, snapping a few pictures and getting paid.
There are a variety of things I wish I had known before I got started in the business. First and foremost, the realisation that wedding photography is a business and not a hobby is one that I wish I had come to earlier. The best advice I can give to fledgling photographers: take the necessary courses and learn small business inside and out before committing to it as a career.
Secondly, I had to learn that photographs will not sell themselves. It’s only natural to struggle in the early going, as your confidence starts to wane and you are still learning how to believe in yourself. But unless you work on your selling abilities, you are not going to make it as a wedding photographer.
People are always going to encourage you to do what you truly love to do. As the old saying goes, a person who does what they love to do never has to work a day in their life. As the wedding photography industry becomes more fragmented, with more people catering to specific niches, it pays to focus on what you care about most.
Photography is a medium that allows a person’s joy to shine through. When you do not like to shoot something, this apathy shows in your work. In order to continue working and being hired, be sure to choose an area of concentration that lets you express your individuality.
I also wish that I had not allowed other people’s paradigms for success define my level of personal happiness. You must decide what you truly want out of life, so that you do not get caught up in chasing what other people deem to be success.
If you are looking at wedding photography as your ticket to riches and a big house, you should cease that thought process immediately. Learn to define success on your own terms, or else you face a long, uncertain career full of unhappiness.
One thing I’ve picked up along the way is the importance of dedicating yourself to personal passion projects. Selling your work to the highest bidder can deplete your artistic reserves and make you feel like a soulless automaton. By getting back to the roots and taking pictures for the love of it, it can have a rejuvenating effect on your professional output.
Life is not easy to predict and even the best laid plans can go awry if you’re not careful. But if you do what you love, love what you do and have reasonable expectations, great and wonderful things can happen in your life.
This blog was setup on the back of me getting out the professional photography game in the North West, I want to pass on my failures and successes and some great advice!