A lot of photographers ask me how to get started with wedding photography, so I just wanted to share a few tips on the blog!
1. Master Your Photography Skills
Beyond knowing how to use your camera, you'll need to know how to handle different situations during a wedding day. This includes being able to find the best portrait locations, knowing how to use lighting equipment for the reception, and being able to edit consistently. Since so many things are happening on a wedding day, it will be very stressful if you're still in the learning stages of photography.
2. Find A Photography Mentor
When I wanted to learn photography, I had no idea where to start. Luckily, I had met Nadine from Sachiko Studio when she did a couples session of me and James. I remember nervously shooting her an email and asking if she would be willing to teach me, and let me come help out at shoots for free.
I know a lot of photographers contact me to learn or second shoot with me. I personally tend to respond the most to people who seem eager to learn and help. The approach that I find less effective is when photographers send me their information, and ask me to think of them for second shooting gigs. Photographers prefer to work with people they know, so take the time to try to get to know them!
My advice especially when you're starting out would be to work for free until you feel more comfortable with weddings. This includes offering to come as a third shooter to help out, or messaging a photographer that you admire that you'd like to learn from them. Don't be discouraged when they say no or don't respond because some photographers are just busy, so just keep contacting people until you find the right mentor!
P.S. I'm going to start offering photo mentoring soon! If you're interested in joining my list and being the first to hear about it, be sure to sign up here.
3. Second Shoot
Once you're comfortable with your skills, and have attended a few weddings, join local Facebook second shooting groups. (Ie search in Facebook "Los Angeles Second Shooters") Another way to get photographers to think about you would be to network at wedding meet ups like Tuesdays Together. Lastly, keep making friends with local photographers! Don't be afraid to treat them to lunch or coffee, and get to know them. Like I said, photographers think of their friends first!
When I first got started with photography, I would read through other photographer's blogs from front to back. I would learn everything I could about wedding photography, so that I could be prepared for any situation. Take advantage of photographers willing to share their education, and study up!
My other advice would be to check out their weddings that they deliver to see the types of shots you need. Also make a check list of shots you would like to get on the wedding as well. My favorite blogs to follow are:
Katelyn James (My all time favorite photographer)
Amy & Jordan
5. Prepare Your Couple
Most couples don't know what you need as a photographer, so don't be afraid to articulate it. For example, say that your couple wants the photo in front of the pretty fountain, but it's in full sun and not the great lighting. You can help them shoot it, but let them know that the lighting isn't the best there and a better spot would be at X location.
Good luck! Hopefully these tips will help you out when it's time to shoot your first wedding :) Be sure to also grab my free guides below to help you out, and check out my Photographer Resources page here.
Free Wedding Photographer Workflow Checklist
Sample Wedding Photography Timeline