Welcome to day four of our guide to becoming a wedding photographer. Yesterday I shared my thoughts on the best overall investment for photographers, and if you read all of it, I did bring up a second place investment: education. I’m a former teacher, so I really do believe in education. Over the past 8 years, I have learned so many things that have helped me with wedding photography. If you’re serious about becoming a wedding photographer, you need to be serious about your wedding photography education.
Wedding Photography Education: Your Chance to Succeed
The first thing I want to make clear is that education is an ongoing process. You don’t simply get a degree and then know it all. There are always more things to learn, and the wedding world is always changing, so you have to learn even more things to adjust with the times.
To do this, make your photography education a regular part of your routine and plan for it. It could be 20 minutes of reading a day or maybe watching a video once a week. Whatever you choose to do, put it on your calendar or you will find something else to do with your time.
Set Wedding Photography Education Goals
Also, you need to set goals for your photography education. Don’t just wander around aimlessly doing a little bit of something here and a little bit of something there. Focus. Find something you need to learn and put that down as your goal. It can change every month or it could even be the same thing for an entire year. When you have a clear goal, though, you will know what you need to do and you will know if you accomplished it.
There are plenty of things you could learn about to be a better wedding photographer or photographer in general: camera settings, posing, lighting, equipment, or editing. All of these are good subjects and things you want to learn, but in my personal experience, the most important area to learn is business. Photographers tend to be artists, not business people, but wedding photography is a business. It doesn’t matter how great you are at photography if you don’t know how to run a business. This is something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past, and it’s my main focus in my continuing education.
Find the Right Teacher
Once you’ve got a subject and a goal for your education, you need to find a teacher. The great news is that there are tons and tons of educational information out there for wedding photographers. I get about 10 emails a day from professional educators trying to sell me things, so the opportunities are out there. If you’re starting out, there are plenty of free resources. KelbyOne has a lot of free videos in the form of shows, and if you like it, there’s also a paid subscription with more focused lessons. The same is also true for CreativeLive. You can watch the shows as they are on-air for free, but if you want to own the videos and watch later, you have to pay. The largest resource, of course, is Google. You can simply type in a topic and you’ll find articles and YouTube videos. Some of them are junk, but others do have high-quality content.
Another great option is a full wedding photography course. I bought two courses from Ben Hartley at Six Figure Photography, and they have been well worth the investment. Kyle Goldie also has a full class that I’ve heard good things about. I haven’t actually gone through it, but I am considering it.
There are thousands of wedding photographers out there, and that’s a lot of competition. Honestly, there isn’t a big difference from one to the next, but one way to get ahead is education. If you can learn a few tricks here and there, you will start to stick out from the crowd. Make sure you come back tomorrow to learn some more!