how to be a wedding photographer

How to Be a Wedding Photographer | Successful, creative, fulfilled

Today I’m going to walk you through how to be a wedding photographer. Specifically we’ll talk about being more successful, creative, and fulfilled and the factors involved in achieving those states. This is a comprehensive guide based on 10 years as a professional full-time wedding photographer as well as constant research and practice on creativity.

First let’s talk about some definitions. A successful wedding photographer will be profitable and have a positive impact on their clients. To some, success might also mean being fulfilled. Fulfillment means satisfaction, perhaps from doing something you’re passionate about.

Lastly, we’ll talk about being more creative. Increasing creativity will mean that you’re constantly learning and growing as an artist. Even though we seek fulfillment, we continue to evolve so that we avoid boredom or stagnation.

Ready to talk through how to be a wedding photographer?

how to be a wedding photographer

How to be a wedding photographer through 5 steps towards more success, creativity, and fulfillment

Step 1: Stop looking for the secret sauce, simple solution, or guaranteed method.

To be or not to be a wedding photographer. If you want “to be” you’ll need to stop comparing or competing. I you want to be successful, creative, and fulfilled then you’re going to have to figure out what that means and looks like for you. Something that worked for someone else may not work for you.

Yes, we can look to other successful photographers to determine how to be a wedding photographer. What did they do that worked? Who is successful and why?

However, where you have to be careful is trying to be someone else. There are a lot of photographers out there teaching how to be a photographer, (including me.) My warning for you is to be discerning when you are learning. 

Constantly be learning, yes. But learning and integrating and growing means developing your own skills, methods, and processes rather than what worked for someone else. If someone says there’s only one way to be successful, I question their creativity.

Therefore, as you dive into how to be a wedding photographer, be sure to consider the kind of photographer YOU want to be. What makes you special, unique, and different than the countless other wedding photographers out there. Thinking through that will help you develop your own brand, style, and voice.

Step 2: Start, take a step, dive in – be fearless yet intentional

After you’ve let go of the idea that you’re going to find the perfect formula, it’s time to start. So often, finding the perfect answer prevents us from getting started. If you wait until you know everything, you’ll never be ready.

Therefore, figure out how to overcome your fear of starting a business. One way to do that is to start with the basics & fundamentals. Don’t try to do everything at once, don’t try to be award winning on your first day.

Part of our fear is around failure. Instead of trying to avoid it, embrace failure as a teacher. Yes, if we can learn from the experiences of others there are some mistakes we can avoid, but failure is also part of the process.

How do you plan to get better if you’re afraid to try something new? Scratch that, we’re all afraid to try something new. The question is, do you let your fear stop you.

As much as failure is part of the process, so is risk. Being self-employed is scary. Putting your art out there to be judged is scary. 

But it’s also exciting.

So let’s try to minimize risks. Just like a rock-climber reduces their risks by increasing their skills and then climbing mountains that are within their abilities, you will gradually increase your skills and develop your business and your photographer.

Ways to minimize risks include having low overhead and though-out systems with built-in redundancies. If you have two cameras, you’ll have an extra one if you drop one. And if you run your business on a tight budget rather than buying miscellaneous gear, you’ll be less scared about finances. Make sure your can make money off your gear, like a drone adds value and pays for itself buy how many drone accessories can you justify?

Lastly, if you diversify your income you’ll be less reliant on one thing. That’s something we learned the hard way in 2020. Read more in the business for photography.

Additional learning:

how to be a wedding photographer

Step 3: Learn photography and develop creativity constantly 

If you are continually growing as a photographer you’ll be constantly developing your creativity and sustaining your fulfillment. Alternatively, if you never get better you’re more likely to get bored. And finally, if you stagnate creatively it might hurt your business.

Since photography is becoming easier to learn, it’s becoming more important to continually learn. Don’t get left behind stuck doing the same old things, unless they’re continuing to work. Change is constant and the ability to pivot will continue to be important even as we put 2020 behind us.

I suggest the following three step process:

  1. Pick something you are interested in
  2. Pick something you need to know
  3. Master one small thing and then build on it.

Additional learning:

how to be a wedding photographer

Step 4: Opinions on priorities

When it comes to fulfillment, another factor beyond constantly challenging yourself is remembering your why. Some days it can be hard to remember why we decided to take on the risk and challenge of self-employment. Other days, we can’t imagine doing anything else.

I have come to believe that having clear goals and priorities will help you survive the days you feel like quitting. If you’re constantly focusing on your priorities, you will be creating the life that you want rather than letting life happen to you.

This applies to your business but also your photography. When it comes to photography specifically, your style and priorities will dictate how you shoot. Everyone is going to have a different opinion, mine is that moments are where it’s at.

Moments will help you grow, stay present, be engaged, connect with your couples, and find deeper meaning in your work. Cute photos of shoes don’t help me find meaning. They might for you, I don’t care where you find meaning I just care that you find it because it will help you get through hard things like burnout and crappy clients.

Here’s some more info on the importance of moments and how to prioritize and get better at them:

Step 5: Marketing and growth

You will have to continually grow your business. I’m sure there are a few people who built such an incredibly strong foundation that they are continuing to ride out the rewards. Most of us have had highs and lows, ups and downs.

For example, you might really focus on SEO and getting more inquiries until one day you have more than enough. Then, you start to neglect your website and next thing you look up and have lost traction. Just like you need to continue to grow your skills through constant learning, you need to water your business like a plant.

Marketing is constantly changing. What worked for us 10 years ago is different than what works today. There are some things that are timeless, I highly recommend timeless strategies combined with staying on top of what’s new.

More information on growth:

Conclusion: how to be a wedding photographer

Here’s the five step process on how to be a wedding photographer and find success, creativity, and fulfillment.

  1. Find your own path: stop looking for a recipe to be an overnight success
  2. Start: fearlessly and intentionally take your first step
  3. Continually learn and grow your photography and creativity skills
  4. Have some priorities and live true to your values
  5. Grow your business, water it

The process of overcoming fears, trusting and believing in yourself, continually developing your skills, challenging yourself, and maintaining your business will help you be a better photographer. It’s a path to creativity, success, and fulfillment. Let me know how it goes!

Many of these concepts have a corresponding YouTube video on our channel The Bergreens. I suggest subscribing to our channel and watching for new content on the wedding photographer tips playlist!

how to be a wedding photographer

check out more recent posts on how to be a wedding photographer:

Let us know how you liked this how to guide and if there’s anything you want us to talk about in future posts.

Next, get our free Build Your Life e-guide. You might enjoy checking out our recommended reading list.

Recent Building a Life and Tips for Wedding Photographers you might enjoy:

stay in touch with more tips

We are Marc and Brenda Bergreen, a husband and wife photography team specializing in Colorado wedding photography and other adventures. Let us help you make your wedding an adventure! It would be an honor to capture your love.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know how we can help! Be sure to follow us (weddings instagram & adventures instagram) and/or like us (facebook) to stay tuned.

In the meantime, remember to…

love adventurously bergreen photography

Similar Posts