When I first started to take photography seriously,I was eager to learn and eager to practice. The learning part I found was more readily available than the practice. I taught myself how to shoot manual, by making a lot of mistakes first, and shooting a lot of snails- but thats a whole other post. What I was craving for was experience to work with people, couples, anyone! I would literally practice on anyone who gave me the opportunity, but finding willing couples wasn’t always easy – you’d think with the lure of a free photo shoot people would be game – not so. So I had to use what I had around me, and that was every family member in sight and willing friends. I shot a few weddings for free to try build up my portfolio,which for me was great. They weren’t particularly big or expensive weddings, but it gave me the experience, to see how a wedding day flowed and get the basics of what was expected.
At the time, I was reading wedding blogs like there was no tomorrow. I was seeing beautiful images with amazing bokeh and style, and when I compared them to mine it left me deflated, I wanted mine to look like theirs! It wasn’t the effort that I was putting in which was the issue, I worked my butt of hard when I shot,even for free, I believe if your going to do something, especially when it represents you, you do it to the best you can. But, in order to change the type of images I was getting I had to change a few things, and I had to take some control, but I also had to get creative because I didn’t have a massive income. I couldn’t pay models and I wasn’t in touch with any vendors.
So I used what I had- my friends! One of my best friends had recently been married and said she would be willing to act as a model in her dress for me, and we enlisted our other friend to be the groom. I bought some flowers and loaned a full frame camera with a lens. We did the hair and makeup ourselves, brought along some jewellery accessories and headed to Kirkstall Abbey!
The images that we took that day were some of the first to go on my website and helped me define and express how I wanted to shoot. That shoot helped me book some of my first full paying clients who I didn’t know before hand. The start of my business. If you are wanting to be a wedding photographer and you are just starting out, don’t think that it is going to be easy. It’s not. But, if you have a passion for what you want to do and are willing to put in the work, I believe you can achieve it. Ask to second shoot, ask to assist, create your own shoots, connect with people & work with what you have.