Educate yourself and get to know your camera
To be a full-time photographer you need to know your camera very well as you need to capture important moments at the wedding. And there is no second try for a better shoot. So it's very important to understand how to set up the camera before the wedding day.
If you will choose the path of being a full-time photographer, most probably you will educate yourself your whole career. There is always something new to learn. However the most important is an education in your early days as a photographer because you need to learn the basics. Once you will know the basics you can focus on developing your style, playing with color grading or learning post-processing in programs like Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop.
Invest time and money in your photography education. If you are a self-learning type you can try out online courses led by experienced photographers. There is plenty of online platforms with great courses like Coursera, Skillshare or even Youtube! Another great way how to learn during your way to work/school, or during training in the gym is to listen to photography podcasts! If you are the type of person who needs to be led by someone, you can check out local photography workshops. Do not be afraid to reach out to other photographers for help. Most of the photographers will offer you great tips or offer you a workshop session where they will show you their own style of making pictures. Also, they might ask you to second-shoot for them or send referrals your way once you build up your business! I recommend you to try out all of the learning techniques to find out which type is the best for you.
Reach out to engaged friends
When you are starting out, you need to photograph your first wedding somehow. The fastest and most comfortable way how to get experience is to ask your engaged friends if you can photograph their wedding day. Most probably you will feel more relaxed surrounded by familiar people and also another big advantage is that friends of your friends will notice you as a photographer. You need to understand that every time you will photograph the wedding day, each time you will be noticed by more people. If you will be friendly and you will do a great job with the pictures, there is a big chance that they will recommend you to their engaged friends.
As a wedding photographer, you must have a photo plan for your friend's big day. I recommend you discuss the plan with the couple. Ask them which part of the day is the most important for them. What kind of pictures they like. You can even ask them for some ref. shoots to understand what kind of photography style they might like. Once you will have a plan, you will be more relaxed during the wedding day as you will know crucial information on how to make your friends happy with your shoots.
During your meeting with the couple try to not promise unrealistic services which you can't deliver. Agree with them on some tolerable photo plan which you know you are able to fulfill. It’s always a good option to promise less and deliver more. The couple will be happy and give you better feedback.
Be a "second shooter" at the wedding
After you will get to know other photographers in your city, ask them if you can be their second-shooter. Being a second photographer is a great option if you want to get more experience in wedding photography. If you get a chance to assist an experienced photographer during the wedding you will learn much faster because you will see how the other photographer works. This will help you figure out how you need to photoshoot a wedding on your own.
A second shooter brings a different perspective. You as a second photographer cannot physically stand in the same place as the lead shooter, so you are "forced" to find another spot and like that you are creating pictures from a different perspective. Being a second shooter will help you to find out your own style and bring different artistic ideas to capture unnoticed moments. Never duplicate the shots! Remember that you’re there to provide a creative variety of pictures, not to duplicate the main photographer’s photographs. Always check out where the other photographer is standing while shooting, you can observe what lens the main shooter is using or even check from what angle shooter is taking pictures. Be creative and unique! Photograph special moments with the style which you like and if the photographer does accidentally miss a key shot, your photo will save the day! Also, be sure to capture the detail shots like flowers, decorations, rings, programs, etc.
It’s a huge benefit not only for the main photographer but for the one who is assisting. Both of you are learning how to work as a team, growing your organization skills and also getting better at communicating with each other.
Create a website to show your portfolio
The website is super important if you want to look professional and also if you want to get more clients. A great website is essential to get potential customers. Have you ever seen any good photographer without a website? I honestly did not. In my experience, simple design and branding are best. For making first impressions with people that have likely never met you, the design of your site is very important. The most important page is the homepage, because its the first page which your client will see and on that page depends if your client will stay and discover more or close the website. Your homepage needs to clearly communicate your message – in as little time as possible.
"If you're looking for a wedding photographer, you've come to the right place. "
"Hello, I am Anna and I am a wedding photographer based in NYC. Let me capture your special day."
What you should have on your website:
Your best wedding pictures (portfolio)
Information about you (who are you? what you do for a living?)
Information about the area where you are able to shoot
Information about services and prices