5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Photographing Weddings

I started photographing weddings in 2013 after I graduated college.

A local photographer took me under her wing and taught me SO much, but there’s still so much that can only be learned by doing it.

  1. Second shoot often and grow thick skin. You’ll never learn if you put yourself in an untouchable bubble where you aren’t willing to grow. I’ve been in this business 5+ years at this point and I crave feedback. I take every opportunity to second shoot that my schedule can handle and I always ask my main shooters what they liked and what they didn’t like about my style of shooting.

    I’m pretty outspoken and like to vibe with my couples so they trust me even if I’m not the main shooter. Sometimes the main doesn’t like that and I respect it if we ever work again. Some people like a hands on second. Others like someone who blends into the shadows.Ask what you can do to be the best help possible.(and take plenty of behind the scenes photos for them, you never know when one may be helpful for their website.)

Things I Knew When I Started Photographing Weddings

Kelsey in her natural habitat, for example.

2. Never stop learning. I naively thought that being a wedding photographer would take a couple years of real effort, then I would be an expert. I could not have been any more wrong. I make it an effort to never, ever, ever stop learning.

Here are my favorite places to learn:

Creative Live Every topic is covered here. Newborns, Weddings, Photoshop, etc.PhlearnEditing Tutorials GaloreDo More ForumBoudoir posing, editing, marketing, etc.Katelyn JamesConsistency, Posing, etc. She also has a monthly fee and you can watch her shoot entire weddings.Katch SilvaEditing & How to direct posing as well as other miscellaneous goodiesBen SassoStyle/Branding, Editing, Consistency

3. Be prepared for the hard stuff. You are going to have unhappy clients. You will not be able to make everyone happy. Do not stop trying. For every client you just cannot make happy no matter how hard you try, there will be another client who thinks the world of you.Which leads me into not everyone is your client. If you don’t vibe with them or you don’t think you can provide the service they’re expecting, it’s okay to tell them that. If you’re willing to go that extra mile, find them someone who CAN help them.

Furthermore, if you don’t have the experience, be honest. Maybe that client is willing to take a chance on you while you try. Maybe not. At least you haven’t ruined an experience for them. You can always work on it until you feel comfortable and then take on jobs.

4. Build your brand. It took me AGES to figure out what my thing is. Brandi Potter can make a kick ass double exposure. Chrisman Studios is SO good at finding negative space and unique framing. What is Tayanna Harris’s thing?

What I hope my thing is, is authenticity. My goal is to attract loudly in love couples with big personalities that show in their photos. I am passionate in human rights and am loud and proud about it on social media. Hopefully my clients see this and pick me because of this.

Know who your client is. Know who you are and invest in good branding from a good designer.

If you’re a fan of mine and like hiring local, Happenstance Studio did my branding.

Kansas Fair - Kansas City Wedding Photographer

The most “me” photo I’ve ever taken. This photo is my brand, to me.

5. Be a part of your community. I work A LOT. I have a second job and I’m an ambivert that leans heavily on the introvert side when given the chance. Therefore, I don’t make it to things a lot. When I do, it makes me feel so full.

Making creative friends can be one of the best experiences. I have a group chat with some of my faves and we can bounce ideas off of them, ask for general business advice, and support each other through the not so great parts of being an entrepreneur.

This network can also be great for if you need a backup in case, god forbid, you get deathly ill on a wedding day. They can also send referrals your way if they’re booked, or vice versa.