How does a hobbyist photographer attract potential customers?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by amcknight, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. For many years I did a considerable number of weddings on a part time basis in addition to my law practice. No problems. I suggest telling potential customers the truth about what you are doing, and let your portfolio speak for what you can deliver. If you are good it shouldn't matter too much.
  2. In my neck of the woods there are some student girls (about 20 yeasr old) who take wedding photos. They use the simplest cameras (like EOS 1200D, EOS 60D and 50 mm or Helioses). They advertize themselves via social net and have some customers but their prices ... are around 100-150 dollars per day with retouching and toning, they shoot only staged photos, and their customers have none of journalistic style photos, only staged (and often so trendy film-like looking). Do not forget, that Leica contest was won by a girl from Tiksi Evgenia Arbugaeva (Arctic Circle) with a very simle and cheap camera.
    So if they take a risk they do it. The amaateur photographers take a risk also.
    But - you have better have another camera of the same class/tier.
    Show the cuatomers at least 4 complete weddings not only your best photos, ask them how large prints they are going to print, etc...
    For that scheme, only word-of-mouth will do. And yes, tell them that you are just an amateur (but a comprehensive contract is still needed).
  3. Most brides these days don't manage to choose a mate for life . . . I have joked that I have photographed over 600 weddings but most girls only get married two or three times in the entire life . . .
    Sandy Vongries and Moving On like this.
  4. Irony is a beautiful thing.....

    Our Wedding pictures were taken with a Canon AE1 on a 36 exposure roll of Kodak film by a family member 37 years ago......
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
    ken_kuzenski and ed_farmer like this.
  5. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Beat us by a year - hope / expect you've had as good a ride!
  6. Well good for you and yours Sandy.

    It has been great. Can’t imagine any other course. Funny thing is, we appreciate each other more as time goes by.
    Like two trees planted close, our roots are grown together in the same soil.
    We never staked out territory that didn’t meet each other’s wants and needs.
    The more we gave, the more we got.
    Funny how that has worked so consistently well all these years.
    Sandy Vongries likes this.
  7. I encourage photographers who are not the official wedding photographer to leave their cameras at home. I'm a wedding photographer. If I'm a guest at a wedding, I take my own advice.
  8. Actually, you are both right. An old-school rule of thumb is that a professional photographer is a photographer who charges money for their services and derives most of their income from that. Otherwise, one would be referred to as a "part time" professional photographer. It's all just splitting hairs, I suppose - but there are plenty of people who call themselves professional photographers because they charge money but they don't have any of the other attributes you suggested (which are highly valuable).
    michaelmowery likes this.

  9. I think being honest is always the best approach. Saying what you have said here is completely honest. Full disclosure.

    On the website question - just be aware that dipping your toe into the professional arena...the water is deep.

    There is:

    Peripheral equipment (media cards, cases, equipment cases, etc.)
    Media Storage
    Insurance (equipment - don't count on your homeowners policy anymore - liability - indemnity insurance policies in case something goes wrong and the couple has to re-stage part of the wedding for pictures.)
    Membership dues (PPA - a place where you get indemnity insurance)
    Schedule C tax filing to the IRS
    Paying state sales tax
    LLC - if you want to keep your personal finances safe and separate from anything that could happen to you (getting sued) as a result of doing business
    Office fees or equipment
    Forms and file cabinets for storing any bridal information should couples want something from you in the future
    Pricing and discounts
    Cost of time and media for delivery of images (unless you have a posting site that allows for downloading files) - How long will they stay posted? Will you repost them for free? In a month, in 6 months, in a year?
    Copyright notice information
    Emergency back up photographer community in case something happens and you can't cover the event and someone else needs to step in.
    Bank account for keeping your business funds separate from your personal funds.
    Set aside funds for equipment needed throughout the time of your endeavor - extra equipment, media cards, flashes, etc., in case something breaks and you need backup equipment on site.)
    Creating parameters and contracts between you and the clients

    It's a slippery slope to get into wedding photography *lightly* - I've seen a LOT of things go wrong and the pros have devised ways to protect themselves and their clients. Without protection, IF things go south, there are risks for both the photographer and the clients that they will end up devastated or in court.

    Weddings really ARE fun. But they are also non-repeatable, stressful, fast-pace, multiple location, shape-shifting events. Liability is a major consideration. And this isn't said to discourage you at all - it's to raise awareness.
  10. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    A short note simply to mention that the Original Question was asked on 9th October 2018 and that question is the only post made by the Original Poster, who last logged into P.Net on 12th October 2018: so it's unlikely that the OP has read any responses to this thread, which have been posted after 12th October 2018.

  11. I want to say that I attended two wedding celebrations. And in one of them was a professional photographer, confused by all sorts of technical aspects, shadows, and so on. And the second was an amateur who understood all this, too, but he worked primarily with people. It was more pleasant for me to look at an amateur who tries and does it with love and not with the goal of making money!
    michaelmowery likes this.
  12. I have shot two weddings, 20 years apart, both for friends who told me they wouldn't have any photos if I didn't do it. And I have more respect for actual wedding photographers than I can even quantify. Doing that for a living must be one heck of a job. :)
  13. That is a good one. It goes to show that being a professional has nothing to do with talent or experience. There will always be professionals who just aren't good at their profession and those who are better than others.
  14. Hobbyists pay to do their hobby and professionals get paid to do their jobs. You get paid so you are a professional.
    hectorroldan likes this.
  15. But you are a professional.
  16. I think this thread has ran its course. The OP has not responded in 7 months.
  17. First of all, you need to understand the whole game, who's the best player in it, how they are doing it! My suggestion would be to start out by getting a job as an intern or assistant to a professional wedding photographer. The main idea is to get a hand full of experience that no university or school can teach. Build your portfolio while interning, some of the good portfolio platforms are Pixpa or format, exclusively for photographers. Build a good network, a good word of mouth marketing will surely help you to attract the potential client.

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