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A great way for a photographer to make money is by photographing weddings. Not only will you put a few extra dollars in your pocket, but also you’ll become a better photographer as a result. Most weddings are held on weekends, so, as a part time job, it can’t be beat. You keep your day job and work on weekends. You receive money for making pictures, you get to go to a party, and you get fed and for the most part, people are on their best behavior. So, taken altogether, wedding photography is a great way to either make extra money or begin a career path. It’s a challenging workday, to be sure, but armed with great preparation and the right equipment you can’t help but be a winner at it! 

How to Find Clients

The first thing you’ll need is a portfolio of some kind. It doesn’t have to be a wedding portfolio at first, but it will help build your business if you put one together as quickly as possible. Here’s how to get that first one: volunteer to shoot a friend’s wedding. Or find out if someone you know has a friend getting married and offer your services for free or a minimal fee. Then shoot their wedding like a crazy. If you’re shooting digital, go nuts. Shoot as many different kinds of photos as you can. Photograph everything. Kids, cakes, cars; nothing is too insignificant that won’t add to your portfolio.

Photo Courtesy of James Schuck

Another way to put together a portfolio is to find an already established wedding photographer and work as an assistant for a few weeks until you get an idea how the whole show works. Then work for them for a while. It can be daunting at first to walk into a wedding where there may be more than one or even two hundred people. Working as an assistant will give you a stress-free introduction and you’ll get a front-row seat to see how a seasoned pro goes about it.

Okay. You have some experience, you have a camera, and you’ve put a collection of photographs into a nice album. You are ready to go. The next big question is how to find people to hire you. The answer is easier than you think. Make some postcards with a single great image on it and leave them around town, making sure you place them in the neighborhoods where you want to find your clients. Coffee shops, banks, jewelry stores, dress shops, frozen yogurt shops, etc. Leave your picture postcard everywhere women shop, because the bride-to-be will almost always be making the decisions about their wedding. Ask the owner if you can leave your cards. Most of them will be happy to have them. 

See more: Photographing Weddings: The Package & Signing Agreements

Photo Courtesy of James Schuck

Take some of your photographs, wedding or otherwise, and frame them. Then go to your local coffee shop and ask the owner if you can show your work. Find a blank wall in any shop in town where your clients shop and ask the owner if you can decorate their wall for them. You will be amazed how many people say yes. Just make sure to go to the businesses where the brides shop: dress shops, florists, printers, limousine services, bakeries, jewelry stores etc. Put your photos where potential clients will see them.

You see the idea? Not only will you find clients in all these places, but you’ll also develop relationships with the owners of the stores who will be in a position to recommend you to their clients. And when you photograph a wedding that the local florist introduced you to, be sure to make lots of lovely photos of the flower arrangements, frame them and bring them back to the florist as gifts. Do the same thing with all your other vendors and before long you’ll have a whole list of salespeople working for you! Somewhere down the line when you’ve got a thriving business, you’ll make albums for your vendors. They will love you for it.

All this will take a little time to get started, but before you know it, you’ll be on your way! Whether it’s a great part-time job or a career change, it’s that easy!

James Schuck

James Schuck is a writer and photographer working in Southern California. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City and has photographed everything from Architecture to Auto Parts to Cookies to Portraits and Weddings.

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