How to be a professional wedding photographer | Know who and what you are

This post is for all the new photographers out there, looking for their place along the path of “how to become a professional wedding photographer.” The other day a wedding photographer on Facebook asked me to describe the best wedding photographer for their upcoming wedding. Then they followed up with asking me why 5th Photography would be a good choice for them. Impressed with the directness of the question I wanted to give a really good response. Here was what I said.

What a great idea to challenge all of the photography community to represent themselves to you!

…The right photographer is the photographer you can’t live without. I’ve looked through hundreds of photographers since 2010 and only a few have left lasting memories in my mind: as artists, as people, or both. Personally, I respect humility, passion, skill, hard work, and and a smile that steals hearts. This is what I would look for in a photographer. I try, every day, with every ounce of energy in me to convey each one of these characteristics to my clients, my friends, and my family, sacrificing none for the other; no person or trait is less important than the other.

Your photographer will shoot your wedding day as if were their own and will find love in the smallest moments as if they were in your shoes. Your photographer will understand what you want before you want it, and will take pride in creating art from genuine moments of your connections with your partner and with all of those you love around you.

You are beautiful in ways you don’t know. Your fiance is beautiful in ways he doesn’t know. It’s something only the outside world can see. It’s your photographer’s job to see and capture this so that you can find new beauty in yourselves, that is beyond this season, beyond your wedding, and beyond this stage in your life. This is one of my favorite things to do…to reveal an aspect of you that you don’t get to see in the mirror but that draws people to you, breaks down walls, and connects souls.

You must form a mutual bond with your photographer. Your photographer must want you as a friend as much as they want you as a client, and you must feel the same. You must want to laugh about the same things, to cry about the same things, and to love on the same things. This gives you both the opportunity to unite in creating and capturing. One can’t exist without the other.

We’d love to meet you via Skype or in person to chat. I’d be thrilled to see three photography masterminds come together!…

Good luck! And I can’t wait to see who you choose.

Here is the best advice I can give a new photographer looking to go pro. First and foremost, be you. But make sure you understand who you are, what makes you tick, and that you put your best face forward. There will always be photography work out there for you; if you look you’ll find it. But there is more to life and a deeper fulfillment you can reach by creating bonds with people and letting the work happen. I think one of the reasons Dado and I have been able to continue doing what we love behind the lens is because we’ve found people we could bond and connect with. We adore our clients first and foremost as friends. We connect on Facebook, we go for coffees, we text each other about exciting wedding details. Strive more than to find clients, strive to make art and bonds. You’ll reap invaluable rewards that way and you’ll feel fulfilled in ways you’d least expect.


des moines wedding photographer


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