How to Become an Event Photographer
Now, the party don’t start till the event photographer walks in. It’s hard to imagine a party or event of pretty much any kind without a photographer, right? Whether it’s a regular Friday night at the club or the annual company dinner, there’s likely to be someone in charge of capturing the event with a camera. And if you’re reading this, you probably want to know how to become that someone. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give event photography a try. Or maybe you just realized the huge potential of this field while doing some research to create your photography website.
No matter the motive, becoming an event photographer might be harder than you think. Sure, anyone can go to a party and snap some shots with their smartphone. However, actually being hired (and paid) for this job takes a lot of work and persistence. Ready to start this journey? Here are the steps you should follow to become a professional event photographer.
Show what you can do
Nowadays everyone and their mother are actively sharing their photos on social media. In the eyes of potential customers, having a beautiful website is what draws the line between being an amateur and becoming a professional photographer. And so this is how your road to becoming an event photographer starts: creating a stunning online portfolio.
While a powerful website is generally necessary for any photographer, it is an absolute must for event photographers. Your site should be able to transform any visitor into a client. Here are some of the features it should include in order to do so:
A high-quality gallery featuring a selection of your best work.
A charming about me page.
Detailed information on your services and how to contact you.
Booking scheduler available 24/7.
Ironically enough, if you want to start getting hired as an event photographer you’ll need to offer examples of your previous gigs to prove your talent. You can build up a strong (even if limited) portfolio by shooting some friends’ events or shadowing experienced event photographers.
As for the services, be very descriptive in your content and choose your words wisely. Make it attractive, but also detailed and informative. To avoid potential issues, clients should know what they’re signing up for from the start. Adding an FAQ section could be a great option if you’re getting similar questions over and over again.
Getting your name out there
Next on the list: social media. Use these popular platforms to expand the reach of your work and engage with potential clients. Social media for photographers is slightly different than social media for private users and other businesses. Make sure you know how to make the most of these tools before you begin your journey. Needless to say, all your social profiles should be linked to your site, and vice versa.
Now you have a website and a solid social presence. The only thing missing is an outstanding photography logo to bring them together and make them your own. Logos are like rocks – no one wants a pebble when they can have a diamond. You should invest in a great logo, as it will be the first impression your potential customers will get. If you’re on a budget, you can easily create a logo with Wix Logo Maker. Not only will you achieve a highly professional result, but you’ll also be able to use it as a watermark to protect your work!
You can take your work's exposure one step further by learning how to reach out to brands and partnering with them to reach a whole new audience.
Find your first clients – online and offline
Most of your clients are likely to find you online, especially at the beginning of your journey as an event photographer. Because of this, it is an absolute must that you learn about local SEO for photographers. Your website’s rank on search engines will be a major factor on the number of clients who see your work. Some of the main things you’ll need to do to improve your site’s SEO performance include:
Add your location as part of your keywords.
Create a profile on Google My Business.
Use the same name, address, and phone number across all online profiles.
Join local directories.
Optimize your website for mobile.
On top of maximizing your SEO efforts, you should be proactive. Dedicate some time to browsing the internet to find freelance photography jobs you might be interested in.
Finding clients out in the real world will be more difficult, but hard work will pay off. Start by talking to local businesses related to your field. Partnering with venues, catering businesses, or DJs can lead to many business opportunities. Offer payment-in-kind for these referrals – such as sending clients their way or photographing their services – instead of cash. Don’t forget that word-of-mouth goes a long way. Make sure you let your friends and family know you’re starting a new business and make sure they mention you whenever they hear someone is planning an event!
Before you get the gig
Someone saw your outstanding portfolio and wants to hire you. Now what? The first step is setting up a meeting with the client. Whether it’s in person or via phone/chat, both sides should clear time in their schedules to focus solely on this conversation. Start by asking them about the type of event and style of photography they need. Some clients are interested in getting group shots, while others prefer candid portraits. Having a full understanding of the characteristics is necessary to create high-quality results.
Make sure you get all the details you might need during this talk. What and who do they want you to photograph. What type of location (or locations) you’ll be shooting at. What’s the general schedule and key moments of the event. Literally any information you think might be relevant to the shooting.
Once you know everything about the event, it’s time to think about the aftermath. Determine how many images you’ll provide and a delivery deadline. Take all these factors into account (including processing hours) when you negotiate the price of your services.
Ready, set, shoot!
It’s showtime. As we already mentioned, you should go into the event knowing what the client expects from you. Make sure you get all the shots they asked for before you start getting too creative. And dedicate enough time to plan the shooting and prepare all the equipment you will need. Other than these, there are other general rules that apply to all gigs:
Get there early. Take some shots of the venue and decor details before it gets crowded.
Act like you belong. Pay attention to the dress code and be confident.
Be friendly. No-one wants to have their picture taken by a less adorable version of grumpy cat.
Talk to the attendees. A nice chat can lead to recommendations and new gigs in the future.
Carry business cards. Don’t give them around to every person you meet, but have a few with you in case someone asks for your contact information.
The final images’ delivery time frame and method should be set with the client prior to the event. Make sure to meet their expectations to end the project on a high note. If your clients ask to pre-review the final selection, take a look at Wix Photo Albums. With this feature, you’ll be able to create stunning, stand-alone sites for each event you shoot and easily share as many photos as you want with your clients. You can also choose to password-protect the albums and offer the option to download the images. These options might be highly valuable for your client if they are interested in sharing all images with the attendees. Lastly, to maximize your potential future business leads, include your watermark on the images you publish online!
Don’t be forgotten
The relationship between you and your client should not be over as soon as they receive the final images. Your goal should be to get a call next time they organize an event. Even if they loved your work and promised to hire you again, you’ll need to make an effort to make sure that this actually happens. The best way to do so is creating a photography newsletter and asking them to sign up. Unlike social media posts, these emails are less likely to go unnoticed and will keep your business on their mind.
By Judit Ruiz Ricart
Photography Expert for the Wix Blog & Social Media Team