How to become a wedding photographer - 3 things I wish I’d known before I started

How to become a wedding photographer - 3 things I wish I’d known before I started

Clare and her girls at Domaine de Cazenac, South of France

 

Before launching Faye Wilde Photography, I spent five years running a wedding calligraphy business. I had so many ups and downs; I often worked for free, my pricing was too low, and I spent more on materials than I made from sales. It was a recipe for burnout, poor self-worth and low confidence.


However, these challenges taught me valuable lessons that transformed my approach when I transitioned to wedding photography. Now, I have processes in place to ensure I consistently work on the business while attracting dream clients and weddings in venues all over the world. At the same time, I feel more confident, creatively fulfilled, and financially secure than I’ve ever been in my professional career. 


There is no quick fix – everything in life takes work! In this blog, I will share the three things I wish I'd known before I started to help you navigate the industry with confidence.

 

Glen and Tom at Vicarage Boutique
  1. How to create a wedding photography portfolio

Would you book a wedding photographer without ever seeing their work? No, me neither! Couples want to see evidence of your skills before they trust you with one of the most important days of their lives. 

 

This is why a portfolio is so important. 

 

Building a portfolio that captures your unique style and reliability is the first step towards securing bookings. Here’s how to get started:

 

Get comfortable with your camera

Before booking your first job, you must familiarise yourself with your camera and practise as much as possible. There are two ways to do this: 

 

Free opportunities

  • Mood boards and mock shoots: Create a mood board with cohesive colours and fashion, and ask family members or friends to model for you. This will allow you to get creative, experiment and refine your style without pressure.

 

My first ever styled shoot at Middleton Lodge Estate. This shoot cost me just under £2000 and I'd pay it again! Middleton is now one of my most booked venues.

 

Investment options:

  • Workshops: Attend workshops run by seasoned professionals to learn and expand on your skills.
  • Mentorship: Seek mentorship from experienced photographers. This can open doors to assisting and second-shooting opportunities, giving you valuable hands-on experience. 
  • Styled shoots: Organise a styled shoot to showcase your creativity.

 

Curating your portfolio

When selecting images for your portfolio, focus on what you love to shoot. Consider elements like colours, venues, fashion, seasons, and locations that reflect your aesthetic. Your portfolio should be a true reflection of your unique style and the types of weddings you want to photograph. 

 

Marina and Freddie at Rosewood London

 

  1. How to determine your wedding photography prices

Setting your wedding photography prices can feel like one of the most daunting tasks. The fear of charging too much and turning off potential clients, or imposter syndrome that makes you doubt your worth, can lead to a cycle of underpricing and burnout – trust me, I’ve been there, and it’s not great. 

 

But here’s the thing: understanding your value and setting appropriate prices is essential for your motivation and the success of your business. 

 

Overcoming imposter syndrome

Many new photographers struggle with imposter syndrome, feeling they aren’t experienced enough to charge what they’re worth. However, if you’re working for what feels like too little, you’ll quickly lose motivation and enjoyment in what you’re doing. Charging the right amount makes you feel valued and encourages you to go above and beyond for your clients – so everyone benefits.

 

Factors to consider

Determining your prices involves a number of important factors:

  • Living expenses: What you need to pay your bills
  • Lifestyle: What you want to feed your soul (holidays, meals out, clothes, etc.)
  • Business costs: Your monthly business costs (kit payment plans, insurance, etc.)
  • Emergency fund: Savings for unexpected events like sickness or emergencies.

 

Setting your base price

Only you can decide your base price, but I would never advise shooting a wedding for free. Instead, calculate your expenses and double or triple the amount for your initial bookings. This approach ensures you cover your costs and build a sustainable business foundation.

 

Reflecting your value

Remember, you can’t raise your pricing without enhancing your service. Any price increase should reflect improvements to your client experience, problem-solving abilities, technical expertise and the exclusivity of your offerings. 

 

Beth and her girls in Derbyshire

 

  1. How to market yourself as a wedding photographer

Marketing yourself as a wedding photographer can be challenging. The pressure to constantly produce engaging content, especially if you compare yourself to others, can make it hard to know what to post. But with the right strategies, you can build a strong presence that attracts your dream clients.

 

Finding your audience

Around 90% of my clients find me on Instagram. Therefore, it’s essential to show up consistently on this platform with content that resonates, engages and inspires. Here are some strategies I use:

 

Stay consistent 

Scheduling tools are great for batching content, improving efficiency, and overcoming imposter syndrome. You only need to build up the confidence to sit down and post once, and once you’re in the flow, you’ll have batched a week or two of content before you know it!

 

Write how you speak

The best marketing is conversational and soft. Always write how you speak and be authentic about what you do and what you love. 

 

Tip: Create a scarcity mindset that encourages people to book you early. I find that actively avoiding sharing my availability makes people more eager to secure their spot before it’s too late.

 

Some caption ideas that show personality but are still professional:

  • Who’s in the image
  • What you loved about the wedding
  • What you’ve been up to
  • What you’ve been working on
  • How you’re preparing for your work week ahead
  • How you connected with this couple

 

Remember: The best marketing isn’t about trying to be everything to everyone. Being authentically you allows you to connect with those who share your vision. This also extends to the vibe of your pictures. Think about your energy on the day. Are you dynamic, can you be quiet and high energy, or are you more reserved? You can translate this to your images and subconsciously communicate the energy you'll bring to enhance your couple's days. 

 

Lauren, Nick and their chosen few at Middleton Lodge

 

These three key insights are just the beginning when it comes to establishing and growing your wedding photography business. From the essential kit you need, editing and software tools, and my proven method for raising your rates, to showing up authentically on Instagram stories and mastering client onboarding and management – there’s so much more to learn.  

 

To help you navigate this journey successfully, I’ve created a comprehensive guide that covers all these topics and more. My How To Become a Wedding Photographer guide provides everything I wish I had known when I started. Grab your copy here and join the mailing list for an exclusive 20% off your first order. 

 

Thanks so much!

Faye x

 

 







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