wikiHow to Become a Wedding Photographer

The photography business is one that is very difficult in which to excel. In the past, great skill and a bit of luck was mandatory, or else a tough road lie ahead. In the modern age of digital technology, the level of skill and luck may have subsided, but that has opened a doorway for a multitude of aspiring professional photographers. The days of worrying about getting sued for not getting that perfect wedding shot has abated enough that almost everyone can do it. Digital cameras allow the wedding photographer to see the shot before the moment has passed, and as such, second and third chances are possible. This has flooded the market with labor aplenty, and sheer numbers rather than skill is now the hurdle that novice wedding photographers must conquer. Still, there are some basic steps that if followed, will reward you with a certain path to become a wedding photographer.


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    Decide on your format. Regardless of advances in technology, medium and large format equipment are still known to provide the highest quality images, but 35mm camera's do have their place.
    • Medium format (120 mm) is the most popular among the pros who continue to shoot on film. Hasselblad is considered the king in this format and has made the jump to digital as well. Amongst wedding photographers shooting on DSLR's, "full-frame" sensors are considered mandatory due to their higher resolution and vastly superior performance in the low-light situations often encountered when shooting weddings.
    • Traditional format (35 mm) is the most common as entrants into this size is the most affordable. If you go this route, spend wisely and buy the best camera appropriate to your style and budget. While traditional 35 mm film doesn't hold up at all to medium format film in a controlled environment, a dynamic environment like a wedding is where the digital 35mm camera excels in its versatility.
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    Purchase only quality equipment. When it comes to your equipment, especially your camera and lenses pay attention and get the best as your budget will allow. There are thousands of others just like you spending a lot of money on high-end equipment and they will have the results that will steal your business.
    • Canon and Nikon are the front runners in the world of 35 mm SLR and digital (DSLR) outfits. They have plenty of equipment, lenses and accessories. You cannot go wrong using one of these two brands.
    • Medium format is ruled by Hasselblad, however they are not the only medium format producer. If you are looking at medium format, understand the differences between medium format and 35mm.
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    Always buy Quality Lenses. The first choice will always be the lenses produced by the brand of camera you are using, however 3rd party brands do make lenses of excellent quality. If you must save money, buy a lower model camera and the higher quality lens. You can get a great shot with a cheaper camera and great lens, but will may struggle to if you go for high end camera, but skimped on the lens. The magic happens through the glass. Remember that you will change your camera more often than you will change your lenses, especially if it is a quality lens.
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    Seek out lenses with huge apertures. At minimum, stay with an aperture of 2.8 or better. You never know when you will need a fast shot or have lighting problems. Huge apertures are excellent in low light and can mean the difference between getting the shot and missing. You cannot always rely on a flash to generate the light you need.
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    Know your business. Consider taking a basic or advanced photography class. Depending upon your experience and knowledge, taking an applicable course will give you a wealth of information. Wedding photographer requires practice and experience the same as any other trade or skill. It is a good idea to get to know photographers and make yourself available to assist them where you can, this puts you in a position to learn from these photographers. Many potential customers on a budget will seek out such courses in hopes of getting a good photographer at a good price.
    • Materials you use and techniques you learn in your class can be used to build your portfolio.
    • You can build your network of other photographers and possibly gain leads, by assisting and fostering a good working relationship.
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    Start building your portfolio. This doesn't mean getting a cheap photo album and filling it with pictures of your pets and kids. While those are nice, they aren't going to get you that contract. You will need to take candid and staged shots that are set up similarly to the kinds of pictures people expect to see in a wedding album. Just because it is not a real wedding, your customers should be able to picture themselves in those photographs. They had better be your best "practice" shots, as well.
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    Write up a business plan. Professional wedding photographers did not get to their position by happenstance or just winging it. This is your career, you need to take it seriously. You worked hard, you produce a high-quality product and you deserve to be paid a fair price. If you have a great reputation, you can command higher fees.
    • Do not under-price yourself in the market just to try to win clients. However do price yourself according to your skill and the market you are in. Be sure to set prices that do not have your business running at a loss.


  • Before you just go out and start shooting weddings, make sure you have a solid contract written up so you and your clients know exactly what to expect from each other. Happy clients are referring and returning clients.

Things You'll Need

  • One Main Camera
  • One backup Camera
  • Lenses
  • Battery pack
  • Flash
  • Tripod or Monopod
  • Memory cards
  • AA batteries

Article Info

Categories: Wedding Planning