Following up from this post from last week called How to build your photography portfolio, I had a question from a reader about how aspiring wedding photographers should build their ‘folios. And it’s a great question because that’s a whole ‘nuther can of worms.
I did my first wedding for free. I knew the couple, we were comfortable with each other, and I was able to be free to experiment and learn on the job. If you don’t feel that you yet have your bearings to do a wedding solo, find a photographer who will hire you as a second shooter. You will get paid a bit and have an ‘in’ to the world of wedding photography where you can learn simple things like wedding time tables, how to interact and also how to get the shots without interacting.
When you feel you’ve got the basic tools to attempt your first wedding:
- Make sure that the couple knows that it’s your first
- Get a signed release to use the photos
- Definitely use a contract!
- If you’re doing it for free, make sure they know what the finished products will cost and possibly get that up front.
- If you’re going to charge, I would suggest charging a small enough fee for the couple to not expect too much (since it’s your first) but large enough to cover the cost of creating some sample products for yourself.
- Make sure you build an album or press printed book for yourself. This will be a product you can show further prospective couples. If you can, do a disk case, a canvas, a parents’ book…whatever products you want to sell after your weddings.
- Provide them with a watermarked web-ready disk so all their friends will know who you are and your business can grow from there!
So in short, building a portfolio of wedding work will take more work than a portrait portfolio but having one cracking good wedding should set you up to start booking ‘proper’ weddings. People don’t need to see ten different galleries before they choose whether to hire you or not.