THE LONG ROAD TO WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
THE LONG ROAD
All over the internet you can see people asking
“How did you get into this as a career? Did you go to school? It’s just one day of work, right? What do you do other than shoot on Weekends?”
All of the above are honest questions.
There is no way you would know about what a wedding photographer has to go through - it’s not part of your day to day life. Before I started as a wedding photographer I did not know what goes into being one as well. All I knew is that I love photography and I did not really care about the rest of it.
I had no idea what it truly meant to be a wedding photographer.
HOW DO YOU BECOME A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
There are many ways that one can end up being a wedding photographer.
Usually you can find two types:
People who went to photography school, and chose to specialise in weddings
People who randomly fall in love with photography and choose to shoot weddings
Personally, I belong to the second category.
I went to school for Mathematics and Physics with a concentration in IT. After, I studied IT and Econometrics - if you wonder, econometrics is the branch of economics concerned with the use of mathematical methods (especially statistics) in describing economic systems (boooooriiiing). After I realised that I do not enjoy it I made a decision. I moved to London within few weeks of the realisation and decided to try something completely different - I started from 0 as a Surveyor. I still enjoy working as a Surveyor but my passion and love for photography proved to be stronger than the security this profession provides.
I like it but I always knew deep down that I was meant to do something else.
Before I found photography I worked as a:
Coordinator in Advertising Company
I had always loved photography, but never really looked at photography as a possible career.
I have an older brother - 15 years older to be exact. My brother was a photographer ever since I can remember and because of that I always wanted to do something else than photography, even though I was really attracted to it. I wanted to be different.
Many years passed, I met the love of my life and we began our adventure in England - a foreign land we both chose as the place to build our future.
MY BREAKING POINT
"DISTANCE NOT ONLY GIVES NOSTALGIA,
BUT PERSPECTIVE, AND MAYBE OBJECTIVITY.”
¬ Robert Morgan
Living in England, travelling to different countries and meeting different people gave me a perspective on certain things, one of them being the question I asked myself often:
"What do I want to do in my life?"
I realised that just because my brother is a photographer, it does not mean that I can not be a photographer as well. After all everyone`s vision is different and we see things in unique ways. I understood this and I started making decisions about my future.
The trip to Iceland was my breaking point - I bought my first DSLR.
I was immediately hooked, obsessed, call it what you want. The marriage of photography and computers was precisely what I wanted, what I craved. I took dozens, hundreds, thousands of pictures of Icelandic landscapes. It made me feel like I never felt before.
HOW DID I SHOOT
MY FIRST WEDDING?
How did all of this lead to my becoming a wedding photographer as a profession?
Remember how I split the crowd into two categories?
The “People who randomly fall in love with photography and choose to shoot weddings”?
Here is where the random part kicks in:
Ever since 2016 and our trip to Iceland I was obsessed with taking photos of landscapes. Landscape photography is completely different to wedding photography. You need to visualise what you want, you calculate your settings in your head before you even arrive at the location, you have control over everything but the weather and the light. Many trips to different countries and countless photos made me understand my camera very well.
Fast forward to 2018 and my first wedding happened because of my curiosity. I was invited to my friends wedding and I thought "What the hell, might as well take my camera, see what happens".
I took some photos, watched the photographer and I found it very interesting. Interesting because in wedding photography the weather does not matter that much and you have a complete control over the light! Everything else is different every time. It made me think about wedding photography as an opportunity to further my knowledge about my camera. I took out my camera and practised, and practised again. I wrote down what settings worked, and what didn’t. I practised in all kinds of lighting conditions. I learned how to use each and every part of my camera, reaching back into the times when I used to draw and paint. Understanding of light and shadow. Throwing myself into the photography world.
After my first wedding I thought "That was fun" and the ball kept on rolling.
DO YOU NEED A DEGREE IN PHOTOGRAPHY TO BE
A REAL PROFESSIONAL?
Ummmmmm... No, not really.
There are many photographers who went to art school, or have a degree in photography, who aren’t good photographers or business people.
There are incredible photographers and extraordinary business people who never went to school for their profession.
There are incredible photographers and extraordinary business people who did go to school for their profession.
While a degree can help, just having a degree in photography doesn’t automatically make one a good wedding photographer, or make them capable of running a good wedding photography business.
HOW DID YOU LEARN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
It was not easy. Wedding photography is not as simple as buying a decent camera and showing up at a wedding.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IS EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.
You have to be a documentary photographer, a keen photojournalist with a good eye and fast reflexes.
You have to be a portrait photographer, that knows every aspect of lighting, posing, and directing.
You have to be a sports photographer, capturing fast action and moments for everyone to remember.
You have to be a food photographer, a fine art photographer, a photographer of architecture.
You have to be a fashion photographer, knowing how to show off both your subject and their outfit.
You have to understand in a second how to light any venue and get the most out of it.
You have to do all of this and more, with little time to think, week after week, without making fatal errors.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY IS AMAZING.
I practised, made notes on what did not work, researched on how to fix it, and practised again. I read every piece of material about photography that I could find. I found national workshops and I went and I learned - even if only a little bit. I practised and then practised some more. I joined a local photography guild, listened and took notes.
For everything that I learned about photography, I did all of those things to learn Lightroom, Capture One and other image editing software. I knew a lot about Photoshop from my previous jobs but there was still a lot to learn.I read books on business, countless forums and articles.
I learned about SEO and how to make your website visible to Google.
I practised, made mistakes, corrected them and practised again. I can honestly say that even if I had the opportunity to go back in time, I still would not have gone to school for photography. My analytical thinking and my mathematical prowess allowed me to understand all the intricacies of a camera . Perhaps a business class or two might have made a difference, or a marketing class.
WHAT DO YOU DO FOR THE REST OF THE WEEK IF YOU ONLY WORK ON WEEKENDS?
This question leads me to another part of the story:
What does wedding photography involve?
Many people believe that wedding photographers only work on the day of the actual wedding.
When you try to imagine what it would be like to be a wedding photographer it's important that you understand what you would be getting yourself into if you chose to pick professional photography as your career path.
Curious clients also want to know what do we do for the remaining 6 days of the week!
I have seen countless articles from wedding photographers who are trying to justify or explain why their services cost what they cost.
I do not want to write about that in this part.
If you are a curious client or you want to become a wedding photographer then come another day.
I will explain how an average week can look for me or other photographers.