Profitable Wedding Photography
“. . . written in an easy to read and friendly style, it is a serious how-to guide by a gifted photographer.”
Great photographs require much more than great equipment. They require a great eye that is honed through discipline and practice. Great wedding photographs require this same eye added to the understanding that you don’t get any chances to retake that perfect wedding shot. You have to be prepared.
For those interested in developing a wedding photography business, Profitable Wedding Photography is an entire course in a book. Written by Elizabeth Etienne, one of the most successful wedding photographers around, the book offers comprehensive, clear and practical advice on starting and succeeding in this business.
With more than 20 years of experience, Ms. Etienne knows what she is talking about. In her Introduction, she writes that the “keys to success in any business are product, pricing, service, packaging, and marketing.” She then goes on to divide the book into logical chapters such as: Branding and Identity, Advertising, Publicity, Self-Promotion, and Creating Your First Wedding Portfolio. Within each chapter she provides examples from her own business.
The first chapter comes with a cautionary note: “Contrary to popular belief, not every photographer can be a good wedding photographer.” Nevertheless, she urges readers to learn to use their equipment (to avoid fumbling with F-stops at a crucial moment), become good at multitasking, find a particular wedding photography style to excel at and advertise, listen to clients and learn to be a therapist—among other things. (The advice on being a therapist must surely come in handy when dealing with bridezillas.)
In Chapter Two, Ms. Etienne encourages readers to ask themselves what their greatest skills are and how those skills could set them apart as wedding photographers, while in Chapter Four she focuses on creating a website, which is a vital marketing tool in today’s electronic world.
Chapter Eight—When Bad Things Happen to Good People—is a particularly interesting and honest look at things that can, and inevitably will, go wrong and how to deal with them in a professional manner. It’s an important chapter for two reasons: First, it shows that even the best in the business can have bad, very bad days, and second it teaches that the thing to remember is learning to deal with such days effectively (running away or screaming are not effective options).
The book also includes a number of useful tools such as a shot list and photo timeline, contract samples, and a package rate sheet.
Since this is a book about wedding photography, it wouldn’t be complete without examples of her great wedding photos, and Ms. Etienne does not disappoint. The shots she includes show that wedding photos need not be clichéd. Instead, they can be whimsical and romantic, bringing out the individuality of the people being photographed.
Although Profitable Wedding Photography is written in an easy to read and friendly style, it is a serious how-to guide by a gifted photographer.