Few fields of photography are more lucrative than weddings. Why? Because you're dealing with a captive audience, a momentous occasion that just HAS to be be captured, and an emotional time in the wedding couple's life. They make emotional decisions and are prepared to pay the money for it.
Which does not mean you have to be greedy. Quite the contrary. It just means you can charge a fair rate for your services - and for the fact that you'd be working on weekends, and after hours. Which comes at a price, one that most people are happy to pay.
So what will you learn on the pictureperfect.co.za wedding photo course?
I give you the insider secrets of 13 years of wedding photography experience
I teach you what to expect on the big day
You learn how to handle stressed clients
You'll learn about posing the couple
You'll learn how to deal with difficult lighting situations
I'll help you develop an individual, discernable style
and help you launch a new, lucrative career.
Wedding course students in action during the optional practical session. If you choose to add the optional practical wedding training to your course, I'll put you under the same time constraints as you would be at a real wedding, "forcing" you to make snap decisions about lighting, poses and backgrounds. This top-up is available to students in Cape Town and environs.
Will this photo course be right for you? If you are reasonably comfortable with your camera, can handle a bit of healthy stress, have equipment or can borrow some for your first wedding, then you are. But speak to me about a wedding photo course first and check if you're unsure, and I'll help you plan getting your first wedding signed up and in the bag!
If you'd like to get on and do it, there's no time like now. The wedding photography course can start right now - it's up to you. You don't have to wait for the classroom to fill up.
How much? ZAR1450 Contact us for a direct transfer in ZAR.
If you are not satisfied with the course material, 100% of your money back - guaranteed.
Actual, typical feedback on an assignment submission:
Hi (student name)
These images are really good and will proudly be part of anyone's portfolio. Well done!
The biggest issues wedding photographers deal with are those of exposure on the unkindest part of the day, and posing the couple.
Your flash/camera combination seems to take care of the first very well. By this I mean not only lighting correctly, but you seem to be able to fine-tune the exposure so that you retain some highlight detail as in the shot of the couple facing each other on the beach.
You retained some beautiful colour in the backlighting through her hair while lighting their skin tones perfectly, without blowing out all atmosphere by too strong a flash. This is the hallmark of a good photographer. Although most clients probably won't see that, I would urge you to constantly strive for that kind of lighting ratio. Whatever it is that you do with the Canon, keep doing it!
You have the same kind of fine control on your first shots - those of the indoor portraits of the brides. They are beautiful pics and flatter the brides.
The second aspect I touched on earlier as being the wedding photographer's most difficult to learn is that of posing. And here I think you can be a bit more adventurous and experimental.
I know how it goes - the bride can't/won't sit down because of her dress, there are no structures of props around that you can use, but you have to try. I noted in all the pictures that the people are generally standing in a similar pose. Remember that when you put all these images in one album, that factor very quickly stands out.
Vary your poses. And the easiest way of doing that is to make the clients sit down, lean against something or do anything to change their body postures, like running even!
Sitting them down helps you deal with one of the most difficult issues - making the man look taller, if the bride and groom are the same height. When both heads are at the same height, it lends an unneeded formality to the pictures, as with your picture of the bride in the red dress. By getting the bride, for instance, to sit down in front of the groom and lean/slouch into him, you can stagger the position of the heads and make him look taller.
Seating them, even on beach sand, gives you added creative scope. The groom can sit with his right leg pulled up, pant sleeve rolled up, and the bride leans against his knee, facing him from the right. That creates a naturally intimate scene between them, because they are naturally facing each other (at about 30 degrees), and just as easily can look straight at the camera for an eye contact shot.
This arrangement gives you further scope through the composition possibilities. Think, for instance, of shooting wide angle with them in the background and a heart with their initials scratched out in the sand as your immediage foreground. A bit cheesy, but sometimes you have cheesy people and they might love it.
Use rocks on the beach to seat them in a staggered height position. Let them run through the shallow water towards you (this gives great facial expression and breaks the tension of the shoot), let the groom pick up the bride and swing her around (also great for capturing emotions), or carry her on his back.
You can even do your family portraits on the beach like this. Let the couple sit, let the family kneel (on one knee, not bot) behind them. It makes everyone totally informal and people tend to love it when you kill that formality. Of course, if you have snooty people it will not work. Take them indoors, and put them in a scenario where some can sit, some can stand behind chairs. They're more at home doing that, so don't buck the system.
The beach is one of the most restrictive places to work because there is so little to use as props. I shoot close-ups of the couple's feet in the sand, their hands, ring and a flower, I do close-ups of their faces in profile, staring out at sea, and really tightly cropped, and I try staying away from full-length shots on the beach (unless they're running or jumping or doing something silly) because straight-up full length shots tend to accentuate the emptiness of the beach. Of course, even the emptiness of the beach is great - if you shoot a wide angle landscape with the couple walking in one corner of the image. This works great for misty, deserted beaches.
What I also notice in your images that you can work on is the emotion between the groom and the bride. I have not seen the rest of your portfolio, but just from the ones you supplied, the shots in some cases feel a tad cold. Technically you are on top of your game, so now put some thought into the displayed emotions in your pictures.
For instance, where you have the couple embracing, the groom behind with his arms around the bride, take a few shots of them looking at you, then away, then back at you but tighter framed, then suddenly, ask the groom to give her a hug. He does this gladly, and because it is a surprise, she reacts accordingly, smiles involuntarily, sometimes closing her eyes in pure pleasure and love. One of your couple shots, 478, has this feeling where the groom kisses her shoulder.
You cannot stage that, ever. It has to be natural. So spring it on the couple, and be ready, in close-up mode, to capture that very quick emotion.
Little interactions between the two do wonders to bring out emotion. Tell the bride to chat to the groom while you're setting up from far away. You act like you're setting up the shot, but you're actually ready. Tell the bride you can't hear what they're saying, so she can say whatever she likes. I'll put money on it that she'll say "My dear, tonight I'm going to ..."
Guess what the bride is going to do/show on his face? Be ready to get that - it's priceless. Think up your own little scenarios to elicit such emotions between the two. That makes your shots real, human, and natural. People respond to that when they look at the pictures, and positions you as a "natural" photographer, ie not staged. Of course it is staged! But you camoflage it so well no-one will know.
One of your pics, the one of the large lady and black groom, is the most difficult shot to ever get right. There is not much you can do about that situation except try to concentrate on the emotion of their day rather than making pretty pictures of them. The lady probably has no illusions about her weight. Don't try too hard to hide that.
If anything, make the bride stand behind the groom so that she is partially hidden. It makes her look slimmer. Let her rest her chin on his shoulder, from behind, arms around his waist. It breaks down the space between their faces, makes the situation look more intimate. And does her the world of good, being half hidden behind him.
Also be careful with your flash in portrait mode, shooting up. It lights up the double chins and accentuates her size. Rather shoot down onto the bride - it hides double chins and compresses the perspective so that she looks a little smaller.
It seems to me as if your strength lies in your indoor portraits. You submitted two really excellent, moody shots. Your lighting is soft and flattering. No need for the soft focus filter. Just do as you do - it's great, and work on this further and make it your trademark shots.
I would like to see more family shots, informal poses with the whole wedding party, and a bit more creative stuff with the couple for your next assignments. Also a bit of the church shots, so that I can check your flash use, and your reaction time during the confetti tossing. Concentrate here on the faces of the people throwing the confetti - it adds to the sparkle of the day, and it is your job to capture that sparkle.
You wrote: > Do you have any ideas on how a beginner photographer can get more weddings and exposure to get a foot into the wedding photography market?
Yes. Offer to do a wedding or two for free/at cost. Advertise in a local photo printing place, stating you want to enlarge your portfolio and will shoot a wedding for free. Include a few pictures on your ad so that customers can see you are not a hacker, then sign them up, but pick photogenic people. If you are going to do it for free, make it count.
If these clients are happy, they will recommend you. Each recommendation, in my experience, brings back 3 weddings. Now extrapolate that - you do three weddings, they turn into 9, then into 27 ...
Overall, I am very happy and confident that you will be able to make a living doing this. A bit of fine-tuning is needed, which will come as your confidence and experience grows. And there is no other way to learn how to swim other than being in the water. Go shoot some more!