How do I start a wedding photography portfolio?
How do you build your portfolio when you don’t have any clients? This is one of the most common questions I get asked, and it’s a legitimate one. If you want to make money with your photography, you don’t need a résumé, but you do need a good portfolio. Here are some tips about how to do that without clients
This is the genre in which you will get the models you need for free – use your own children (but they may be your toughest subjects!), your nieces and nephews or your friends’ children. Does free models mean you photograph them for free? Well, yes, for a while. Just think of it as an investment into your future success. Practice! Practice! Practice! You get the opportunity to practice and show your skills (plus your patience) on a variety of subjects. You get some amazing images to feature on your website. And your friends get some really cool pictures of their kids. It’s a win-win situation.
Photographing High School Seniors.
Most of the above tips and benefits apply for shooting senior portraits. They don’t even have to be seniors – any high school or college youth can model for you and no one will know the differences. Before you go out and shoot, though, look at other successful senior portrait photographers for inspiration, but, as always, let your own style shine.
I don’t recommend you shoot a friend’s wedding if you’ve never done such an event before. You would not want your friend to be left with poorly composed or badly lit wedding pictures. It is risky. If your friend wants you do give it a try, make sure you make it clear that this is your first try and that you cannot guarantee that the photos will meet their expectations. Instead of shooting the entire wedding, you could shoot your own images during the event without getting in the way of the main photographer. Try to capture some detail shots of the flowers and the cake at the reception for example. It will be good practice and no one will get hurt.
Assist a local wedding photographer. This will get you some hands-on experience at the side of a professional Should you go that route, be aware that some wedding photographers may let you use some of your own images for your portfolio if you work as a second shooter, but many will not. It’s important to read your contract carefully before starting.
Ask a recently married friend if you can photograph her all made up in her wedding dress. Go to a really great location and pretend it’s the big day. Set up some indoor and outdoor shots in a variety of lighting and poses. You really only need a handful of well composed and well lit pictures of the bride to complement your portfolio. Get those detail shots and tell a story.
Wedding still life detail photos
Get some props and shoot still life photography. Take detail shots of engagement and wedding bands of friends and family members. Weddings are full of opportunities for still life photography. The table settings, flowers, jewelry and more are all beautifully laid out for still life photography. Get used to the little details that are just as important in a wedding day as the ceremony and reception.
Flatlay photography for weddings
Who doesn’t love a good flatlay? Flatlay photos are overhead still life photography shots that are really trendy on social media. Try your hand at flatlays with shoes, rings, jewelry boxes and more to take some gorgeous shots you can use in your wedding portfolio. There are styling boards for photographers that are specifically designed to help with these kind of shots as well. You can also make your own styling boards with fabrics and thick boards.
Wedding photography styled shoots
If you’ve ever put together a photo shoot before, styled shoots will be a breeze. Get together with some local artists and vendors to put together styled photo shoots for magazine submissions and portfolio building. Wedding photographers can submit real weddings and styled shoots through Two Bright Lights. It’s a great platform to get styled shoots published and build up your list of credits. The more credits you have, the more eyes you have on your work. Plus, how cool would it be for your future brides to get their work submitted to a magazine? Showing that you’ve been published before can give engaged couples an extra incentive to book with you.
Have some married friends work with you on building out your wedding photography portfolio book. Get them to pull out their old wedding outfits for a day and take a walk around some of your prettiest local spots. Take them back to the spot they got engaged, or even married, and make the shoot special for them. Practice doing couples poses, engagement photos, and more with any married friends that you might have who feel comfortable in front of the camera.
Connect with local wedding vendors and offer to shoot some pro bono work for them. You’ll want to make lots of connections with wedding vendors if you plan to be one yourself! Shooting some work for them to feature on their social media or website will get your name out there to their audience of brides and grooms. If you continue to establish the connection, they may even add you to their recommended photographer list.
Photographing Real Estate.
Apply the same strategies. We all know either a real estate agent or a home seller. Ask them if you can practice shooting their property, they get some freebies and you get experience plus images for your portfolio. Again, it’s a win-win situation.
You don’t need to be a great cook or a talented food stylist to practice these special skills. Just shoot some nicely presented take out food or pastries from the local bakery. The added bonus is you get to eat it when you’re done shooting!
How to Start a Wedding Photography Business
Want to start a wedding photography business? If you love taking photos, starting a wedding photography business can be a great way to make some extra income on the side (and it could even turn into a full-time gig!). In this step-by-step guide, we will share how to start a wedding photography business.
To start your wedding photography business, you’ll need to know these 5 steps:
Step 1. Register your wedding photography business
Step 2. Buy the right wedding photography equipment
Step 3. Create a wedding photography website
Step 4. Build your wedding photography portfolio
Step 5. Market your wedding photography business