Now aspiring wedding photographers have a comprehensive guide to building a profitable wedding business! Drawing from her twenty-three years of experience in the wedding photography industry, author Elizabeth Etienne helps readers reduce the growing pains both in shooting a wedding and in dealing with wedding clients. Unique features include prep sheets such as: couple’s questionnaire, shot list, photo timeline, helpful hints, contract, and package rate sheet. With an introduction written by celebrity wedding planner Colin Cowie, this indispensable book will teach you how to: - Create a great product - Offer dynamic customer service - Price your product and service appropriately - Package your product uniquely - Market your product effectively. Anyone looking for practical advice on how to start and grow a wedding business will need this one-stop resource from one of the most sought after wedding photographers in the world.
Allworth Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, publishes a broad range of books on the visual and performing arts, with emphasis on the business of art. Our titles cover subjects such as graphic design, theater, branding, fine art, photography, interior design, writing, acting, film, how to start careers, business and legal forms, business practices, and more. While we don't aspire to publish a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are deeply committed to quality books that help creative professionals succeed and thrive. We often publish in areas overlooked by other publishers and welcome the author whose expertise can help our audience of readers.
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About the Author
Elizabeth Etienne has more than twenty years of experience shooting photos. A graduate of the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California, she is best known for her vintage-style imagery often associated with her elaborate weddings and high-production engagement sessions. Her wedding and contemporary lifestyle images can also be found in stock libraries, fine art galleries, and advertising campaigns for hotels, pharmaceutical companies, and record labels in the U.S. and Europe. Award-winning and published in numerous magazines and websites, Etienne also contributes to key industry publications such as Bride World, Rangefinder, AfterCapture, The Times Journal of Photography, PDN, Petersen’s Photographic Magazine, Photoserve.com, Kodak.com, and Photobiz.com. She currently serves on Kodak’s advisory board and has her own consulting business and workshop company called Dream Team Photo Workshops. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Read an Excerpt
What Does It Take to Be a Great Wedding Photographer?
Let’s take a look …There are good wedding photographers and great wedding photographers. A wedding photographer needs to be capable of wearing many hats and titles. He or she must be capable of multi-tasking—thinking and performing simultaneously. Sound daunting? Don’t be discouraged. Every person may have strengths and weaknesses in certain areas. Use your stronger skills as a launching pad to sharpen your weaker ones. If you practice each one independently, in time, you’ll become a master and claim their title.
Below is the list of skills you’ll need to acquire to be a great wedding photographer.
• Photo Technician
• Production Manager
Photo Technician: A great wedding photographer will know how to adjust the right camera and flash settings for a the perfect foreground and background lighting, choose the right f-stop for large group shots, and select the right focus mode for creative moving dance shots. He or she will also know how to deviate from the camera’s default settings to create a unique image or improvise when a device malfunctions. Having the best fail-proof equipment, numerous camera bodies, lenses, flashes, filters, film, digital cards, hard drives, and batteries is a mandatory skill of a wedding photographer.
Production Manager: A great wedding photographer will know how to create a customized photo timeline, schedule the hotel and travel plans, scout and secure all locations, prep the gear, arrange the perfect props, arrive early, introduce the team, organize the people for the next shot, and always have an alternate plan in case things don’t go as anticipated. Unlike the wedding day timeline, the photography timeline enables the photographer to capture the maximum number of beautiful, sentimental, and funny images in the minimum amount of time.
Artist: A great wedding photographer will know how to frame a unique composition, choose the right lighting, select the best exposure, use the perfect lens, and know just the right moment to press the shutter and create an award-winning image. Doing more than just documenting the wedding, an artistic wedding photographer will create magazine quality, fine art, award-winning images that are far beyond ordinary, standard wedding images. She will silently tell a story, sing a song, or write a poem, through her magnificent imagery, unlike that of any other photographer.
Director: A great wedding photographer will select and demonstratively direct an awesome team of skilled photo assistants to pass the right lens, camera body, or more batteries, fast, so a priceless shot is never missed. A director will be a leader and know just the right moment to crack a joke and snap the shutter, speak clearly, show the bride how to stand, encourage a family to put their arms around each other, imitate the perfect jump shot for the groomsmen, and remind the couple their honeymoon escape is less than 24 hours away! Making everyone feel totally comfortable and entertained in front of a camera lens is a personality skill that’s imperative to capturing authentic images.
Therapist: A great wedding photographer will listen to your clients’ needs and make suggestions where and when appropriate, be flexible if the timeline runs off schedule, hug the bride if she’s worried about her feuding parents, tell the groom’s mother she looks beautiful, and reassure the best man that he’ll find the ring when it gets lost! Having a warm heart, a listening ear, a calm and fun-loving attitude, and a shoulder to lean on in an emotionally charged environment like a wedding is the key to making others trust you and feel you’re on their side.
Once you’ve practiced these skills, integrating them simultaneously on a tight time schedule and keeping your cool all the while, you’ll be a good wedding photographer. If you can master these skills, you could become a great wedding photographer!
Table of Contents
The Keys to a Profitable Wedding Photography Business
The Business of Finding and Keeping Clients 19
1 The Wedding Photographer 21
Photo technician, production manager, artist, director, and therapist
2 Branding and Identity 31
Creating a unique company logo, name, and style that are yours alone
3 Advertising, Publicity, and Self-Promotion 37
Cost-effective ways to promote your business
4 Web Sites 55
Your storefront window
5 Client Meetings 67
The keys to closing the deal!
The Business of Doing Business 79
6 The Information Kit 81
The critical documents for organizing your wedding photography business
7 Creating Wedding Photography Packages 109
Pricing your services for maximum profit
8 When Bad Things Happen to Good People 117
Equipment malfunctions, illnesses, and lawsuits
9 Partnerships 125
The pros and cons of teaming up
The Business of Creating Great Wedding Photography 135
10 Creating Your First Wedding Portfolio 137
Even if you've never shot a wedding before!
11 Choosing Your Team 141
Interns, assistants, second shooters, and photo labs
12 Planning for the Wedding Day Shoot 155
Mental, physical, emotional, and technical preparation
13 Working with Wedding Coordinators 167
Helping them help you
14 The Rehearsal Dinner and Brunch 171
The perfect intro and exit for the big day!
15 Shooting the Wedding 175
Directing, composing, and creating those "Wow!" shots
16 Processing, Editing, and Retouching Your Images 189
Part two of your creative process
17 Destination Weddings 199
Organizing your shoot using the travel checklist
18 The Client's Wedding Album Book 207
Images, layouts, printing, and binding
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you want to become a great photographer and not a mediocre one that just muddles along, then this is not just a book to read but an investment in your future! I picked this book up and have not put it down since! I'm on my second reading of it at this moment. Elizabeth Etienne, writes in a clear concise manner explaining not just about getting the shots, but how to get the shots and run a lucrative business. From advertising, websites, client meets, editing, invoicing, how to treat clients, how to get your dream team together...she covers it all!! She goes in depth about each subject and stints on nothing! Out of all the books out there, if there is only one that you need and should have...it would definitely be this one! You will never regret it!!