How to Book Your First Wedding

Weddings have always intimidated me to be honest. As beautiful and sweet as they are, it was scary to know that I only had one chance to get it right. What if my camera had a malfunction? What if I messed up? What if the bride HATED her photos? The list of fears went on and held be back from shooting weddings. I would get a ton of requests from my photography friends asking if I would be their second shooter and made up an excuse or would just tell them I don’t shoot weddings.

Then one day I got asked to shoot a wedding and the main photographer said she would paid me whatever I wanted, so I said heck yeah! And shot my first wedding back in September 2017. It was fun, scary, thrilling, exciting and nonetheless, a great learning experience! I shot a reception in October 2017 and then second shot another wedding with a dear friend in November 2017 and was HOOKED!

Fear was the biggest reason that held me back from trying something new, but as soon as I had the courage to go for it, it was the best experience ever! I met with a bride a couple weeks ago and she booked me for her wedding in the fall of 2018! I’m sooo excited and she’s such a gem! I can’t wait for her special day!

I wanted to share with you guys how can you get into weddings too!

GET SOCIAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I say this a thousand and one times [only because I can’t stress how important it is] reach out to other photographers in your area! I’ve connected with a lot of photographers in my area and have gotten to pick their brains, be gal pals, learn from them, and even be mentored by them! Social media is called social media for a reason ;)

Since I’m in the Austin area, I’ll look up hashtags on Instagram like #AustinPhotographer or #AustinWeddingsPhotographer etc. You can do this too with wherever you’re located! I’ll slide into their DMS and ask them if they want to grab tacos or coffee and boom, INSTAnt friendship! Haha see what I did there? Then ask them if you can shadow them for a wedding to get experience!

I strongly encourage you to join photography Facebook groups to connect and learn from other photographers all over. The Rising Tide Society has introduced me to some awesome friends and their whole mission is to create community over competition- how awesome is that?! You can simply look up photography groups in your area via FB Pages. And if you’re interested in joining a group, leave a comment below and I can add you to some that have been super helpful and inspiring to me!

But seriously, use social media! I know I totally fangirl whenever someone reached out to little ol’ me to meet for coffee and chat about all things photography!

DO A STYLED SHOOT
I’ve heard some people say they haven’t had much luck with connecting with photographers in their area, which honestly breaks my heart. I’ll spare you the rant! Anyways, if you don’t know any photographers in your area, I encourage you to do a styled shoot! Because I’m in my mid-twenties, I know a lot of people who have gotten married so I’ve been reaching out to them asking them if they want to put their wedding dresses back on and model for me! And let’s be honest, what girl doesn’t want to relive her wedding day?! (I remember I put my wedding dress at least once a week leading up to my wedding day because I knew I’d never wear it again haha.)

If you don’t know anyone who has already been married, you could go to a thrift store and get a wedding dress or buy a cheap white maxi dress online and have a friend model it for you! You can go to the grocery store and put together an affordable bouquet or collaborate with a flower shop in your area! BOOM. You’ve got stunning photos you can show your future brides!

Then after your shoot you can start marketing yourself as a wedding photographer! You can also reach out to gal’s who recently got engaged [I totally do this haha] and ask them if they’re looking for a wedding photographer! Don’t be afraid to market yourself!

I’m actually working on some bridal style shoots this spring to add to my portfolio and prep me for this year’s weddings!

GET EXPERIENCE
If you know a family or close friend who is getting married, tell them you would like to shoot their wedding! I recommend doing this after doing a styled shoot so you feel comfortable and confident before the big day! And if you can, find someone else who can shoot the wedding with you so you don’t have to do it solo! All my wedding packages include a second shooter for two reasons: one being, in case something terrible happens to my camera, there are back up images and two, I can’t be at two places at once [like the getting ready photos] so to have an extra hand and to someone you can divide and conquer is the BEST! *insert praise hands*

I hope this was helpful and got you EXCITED to shoot your first wedding! Weddings are a BLAST! If you have any questions drop them in the comments below or feel free to shoot me an email if you want to chat more at byjuliamarie@gmail.com.

Julia Mann