I’m getting my gear ready for tomorrow’s first spring wedding with Kathryn and Nate! This will be wedding #44 since the first one as a second photographer back in July of 2013. The two weddings that summer was a test to see if I really wanted to do wedding photography. 🙂 As I’m popping my Eneloop batteries out of the charger, I think back to just how my equipment/gear has changed since that summer. Seems so long ago!
My favorite pic at Carlee’s wedding! Carlee was a friend from church. Her close friend Katie from Illinois is a wedding photographer and they invited me to be a second shooter. First time for me! Taken with my Canon 20D. That ole dinosaur camera…
I never knew that one wedding shot with an “old” digital SLR camera, a Canon 20D, would turn my world upside down—evolving into this THING! My service to couples doesn’t just involve just taking pictures. Oh golly that sounds so amazing. Take pictures and <snap> that’s it! Great photo! Oh how I miss those days! Warm fuzzies.
But now, I’ve had to consider costs of doing business, build a good initial portfolio, plan shoots, upgrade equipment, pursue education, create a brand, study customer service, product pricing, and marketing. Hello, coffee.
Flashback to fall of 2013… amazing evening with a newlywed couple that I had planned a stylized shoot with, to build my wedding portfolio. This was done at Dorris Ranch near Eugene, Oregon.
If you’re pondering about making a living, where people are going to pay you for quality images, you can’t afford to cheap out or slack. I said, IF you’re pondering about making some kind of living off of your talent. You cannot get people to hand you checks for photographing an event with one old semi-pro or consumer camera and one lens. However, it can be done! But not for long-term. Go big or go home! Overtime you’ll realize that you’ll need certain things in order to do the job well….because you never know what can happen… Hello, equipment wish list.
Beware that then in order for you to get those things, you need to make an income. In order to do that, you’ll need to strengthen your business branding and your marketing. Cha-ching! It’s a never-ending process! If you take this journey, you might find yourself in a business that grows. I say “might”, because growth or success depends on a lot of factors.
Eventually you take less pictures of birds and flowers and bugs…and take them completely out of your portfolio!!!!!!!! BUT I still love this one. American Avocet journeying on a trail at Klamath Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
This barely touches the surface…but, branding is so important. It’s about how unique you are. How you stand out from others. How you convey it in everything that relates to your service. Everything…products, website, flyers, logo, colors, style, your dress style, social media, writing, communication, how you relate to your clients. In the end it connects to your values, who you are as a business, and what you can do for “your people.”
Really, I’ve come to love family photos at weddings. It’s usually the only time family members are together, and I love documenting the great moments they want to remember.
Programs I can’t do without:
Equipment. Thank you Lord for Amazon.
85mm f/1.8 lens
50mm f/1.4 lens
28mm f/1.8 lens
two YN-560 III Speedlites
YN-560 IV Speedlite
few other cheap light stands
Eneloop rechargeable batteries, a gazillion
stacks of Compact Flash (CF) cards
Labs that I love: (Other than the furry kind!)
Here’s a list of educational resources I love:
Jim Harmer from improvephotography.com – When I first started, I took a couple online classes on portrait photography and introduction to BASIC understanding of flash photography. Thanks to Jim and the resources on the website, I’m no longer scared of using my speedlite! Haha! Sounds silly, but to a lot of “natural light” photographers, using flash can be a scary thing…