Hello, my name is Jarrett Timmons and I am the owner of alice heart photography. I am working on a book that talks about the ins and outs of wedding photography as well as the struggles, sacrifices, and trials that come with the territory of becoming a professional wedding photographer. There will be tips, tricks and insight that will teach anyone who is willing to learn about the business side of things and what it takes to become a successful wedding photographer. Hope you enjoy the rough draft of this chapter!
Starting Your Career as a Professional Wedding Photographer
When I started alice heart photography, I had some great and helpful friends in the industry who give me hints and tips on what to do to get off the ground. They taught me that in order to have a successful start there are a few things you must know. It will cost you money to make money, work as hard as you can in the beginning, and it will take a good 3 years to see enough profit to make a living. Although those tips are both true and terrifying, I think there is a bit more to it than that. Here are some of the first steps that you’ll need to know on your journey to becoming a professional wedding photographer.
Portfolio - Assuming you’ve shot some events before you decided to become serious in your dreams to being a professional photographer. You will need to build a body of work before clients will trust you to capture their memories. This is typically one of the hardest things to kick off your career.
Business Cards – You will need something to give potential clients that want your information at a moments notice. Your cards should direct them to a portfolio, website, phone number, and e-mail address. Cards are the first impression your clients get, other than yourself, so take time making sure they look breath taking.
Website – Whether you've handed someone your business card or they come across your website organically, you’ll need to have something that shows clients you exist. They will more than likely want to look at some of your work before contacting you to make sure it is worth their time.
A few builders I like (each with their own pro's and cons)
Reviews or References – If you don’t have rave reviews from previous clients, it will be that much more difficult to get a new client to book with you.
Work Phone Number – Having a number that isn’t your personal line will help you to tell the difference between a client calling and a personal call allowing you to answer the phone professionally. (Google voice is free and works great.)
Professional E-Mail Address – When is the last time you took someone serious when their email address was firstname.lastname@example.org but their profession had nothing to do with monkeys?
Albums – I cant stress enough how important first impressions are. Being able to physically hold your work will impact the client greatly and there are tons of affordable album companies out there.
Contracts – The client has decided that you are a perfect match for them and that you are right on par with their budget. You will need something to solidify the agreement, making sure everything runs smoothly and both parties know what they are providing. Getting a lawyer to draft up an iron clad contract is the best way to go, but if you look, there are some samples online.
Insurance – Not only will you want equipment insurance, but you will also want liability insurance for emotional and physical damages. Its pretty affordable through PPA.