You’re so taken with taking pictures it’s almost obsessional and it’s safe to say you too love the wedding industry. I can definitely, 100% relate. And right now, your camera is probably the most valuable item you own (no judgments). At this point, you are certain that you are an expert in all technical facets of your hobby, from shooting in manual mode to direction. It wouldn’t be a surprise if you have thought about making an income out of your passion. And let’s say you’re ready to push through—what are the next steps? Tune in, we are thrilled to share how to start your wedding photography business!
Create an LLC
Before we begin, we would like to stress that we are not licensed legal consultants. For qualified legal advice, it is best to consult with an expert. Our opinions regarding this topic are based on our personal inputs and experience.
With that said, say you already have an ideal brand you want to build. You have determined your brand identity and everything is on your vision board. You’re now ready to go out to the world and make it official! The next step would be to determine your preferred legal structure for your business. We are not going to go in-depth regarding this, but from our (and our friends in the industry) experience, creating an LLC would be best for your wedding photography business!
An LLC business structure will protect your personal assets from any legal liabilities in worst-case scenarios like facing a lawsuit or paying business debts. Still, it’s best to assess your financial situation and seek an expert’s advice! The requirements to establish an LLC may also vary in different states, so be sure to check with your local office!
1. Prepare a legal contract
Speaking of legal, it is absolutely crucial to make sure that each transaction you make with your clients follow the terms and conditions of a legal document. This is to ensure that all procedures made are agreed upon by you and your clients.
From payment terms to cancellations, make sure to have everything written in clarity! If you’re not sure what to include in your contract, there are templates available on Honeybook that you might like! Be sure to include the code (insert referral code here) when you sign up so you can have a discount!
2. Sign up for a client management tool
Before you accept your first clients, be sure you have everything set up and ready, including a solid workflow. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in a client management tool like Honeybook. Managing a business entails more than just bringing in clients, collecting payment, providing them with your services, and calling it a day. To be completely honest with you, concluding a transaction requires process! We’re talking about client acquisition, scheduling appointments, sending out emails, invoices, contracts, and so much more!
Now, we’re not saying that you can’t do all those manually by yourself. You definitely can, but it’s going to be a much longer and more tedious process for you. These things will take away precious time that you could use to edit your clients’ photos or time that you could’ve spent with your family. I could speak for myself. We’ve been using Honeybook since 2018 and it has taken A LOT off our plates. Trust us, it’s life-changing! If you’d like to give it a try, sign up using the code (insert referral code here)!
Build Your Social Media Presence
When you thought about building a wedding photography business, your first thought must have been to create an Instagram or Facebook page. Let me be the first to tell you that you’re heading in the right direction! In fact, as of September 2022, Facebook was the third most visited website at a whopping 5.12 billion visits, while Instagram takes the 13th spot with over 929.39 million site visits. So if you’re planning to be a smart business owner, building your social media presence should be essential!
To start, it is important to note that by “presence” we don’t simply mean your business should simply exist on your chosen social media platform. You also need to grab attention, especially from your ideal market! Your page should look cohesive with your brand to let your page visitors know that you have the eye and that your aesthetics align with their vision. Your captions should also be powerful enough to hook your ideal clients, urging them to press that follow button!
Prepare a go-to-shoot checklist
Say you have done the steps above, and you might be ready to shoot your first wedding. But before that, prepare a wedding photo checklist to use as your reference in taking all the necessary shots. Of course, you can tweak your checklist according to your client’s wedding timeline. Just be sure to always communicate with them and pay attention to all necessary details!
Connect with local vendors
In our industry, building bridges can be extremely beneficial! It is pleasant enough to befriend a lot of like-minded creatives, but you also need to connect with as many wedding vendors in your area! It’s sort of like an I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine situation. Say you have a client and that client is looking for a florist. You can easily recommend the florists on your contact list and vice versa!
Participate in Styled Shoots
Before you reel in your clients, you need to grow your portfolio, and building a portfolio means you’ll need impeccable photos! That is the very reason styled shoots exist! If this is your first time hearing about styled shoots, it is essentially an event where a team of wedding vendors collaborate to create a picturesque editorial set, mimicking a wedding setup. Usually, there will be flowers, beautiful gowns, models, and all those precious wedding details you see in a real wedding! That is why styled shoots are perfect for photographers who want to build or expand their portfolios.
Joining a styled shoot will also give you a chance to publish your photographs to wedding blogs and magazines like Style Me Pretty and Wedding Sparrow, thus improving your reputation and authority as a wedding photographer!
You can join a styled shoot by joining communities or forums for wedding creatives. Participating in one will also help you connect with other creatives!
Invest in a mentor
If you feel you need guidance from an expert who has been in your shoes, investing in a mentor will do you so much good!
Let’s be honest, not everyone knows the ins and outs of running a business right on the first try. Sometimes, you’ll need somebody who has been there and done that to shed light on what to do and how to elevate your business. Someone who will actually teach you valuable tips and step-by-step processes in improving the necessary areas in your business!
You can start by following photographers that inspire you, joining webinars, enrolling in courses, or if you want to truly go in-depth with one-on-one coaching, you can also join our mentorship !
We hope this has been a valuable read for you! We are so excited and we cannot wait to see the things you will do in the industry! We would love to support you in any way we can, so don’t be afraid to drop your social media handles below!