Event photography is a popular field that many hobbyist turned professionals begin with. This is because getting your first paid gig can be easier than if you decided to jump right into fashion or travel photography. Deciding which area of event photography you want to get started in will be your first step when looking for your first paid job.
WHAT TYPE OF EVENTS WILL YOU SHOOT?
Event photographers shoot in all types of setting from indoor to outdoor, grand ballrooms to conference rooms. You will need to be able to adapt, keep up with, and capture key moments without hesitation. Some types of event photography include:
- Corporate event photography
Most of these can be interchanged as many wedding photographers will also shoot corporate events in the offseason. But, how do you get started? Getting your first paid gig might seem challenging but as you book more it will begin to come naturally.
How to Get Your First Paid Gig?
1. Build your website
The key tool that will bring in clients is your website. Even if you do not have web design skills, building a website can be easily done. You will want to make sure you show your best work. Keep it clean, professional, and simple when first starting out. You can always redesign and add extra features as your business grows but it is more important to have a place to direct potential clients.
2. Create Your Portfolio
Nowadays it isn’t essential for photographers to have a physical portfolio but they can be incredibly useful. You can begin to reach out to event planners, marketing companies, production companies, and other industries to pass your work around. Having a portfolio to show or postcards to send out to potential clients can be a great way to find unexpected jobs. Consider asking for a professional critique. This can lead to some of these individuals being really interested in your work that they hire you for an upcoming event. This portfolio can be a digital form that you can quickly access on a computer or tablet when you have face to face meetings.
One of the first places you want to go when looking for event jobs is to those closest to you. Friends and relatives may be able to quickly point you in the direction of someone looking for a photographer. These may be small events at first like birthday parties or anniversaries but these will allow you to gain more experience and have more to add to your website and portfolio.
4. Get Your Work Displayed.
A little known way that can get your work out into the public is to have it displayed at a local business like a coffee shop. While this may not get your calendar booked, this is a great way to get your business cards out and name passed around.
5. Become a 2nd Shooter.
Being a second or third shooter for an already established photographer is the best way to get your foot in the door. You will gain vital experience of actually working on events that can help you be better prepared for shooting your own events. Being a second shooter may not sound appealing but consider it as a way to gain hands-on experience from a mentor that can help you gain an in-depth understanding of what it takes to be a successful event photographer.
How to Get More Event Photography Jobs?
Once you have completed a few event jobs you will want to work on bringing in more paid gigs. If you have focused on impressing your previous clients and delivered more than they expected it shouldn’t take long for you to fill your schedule with well-paying jobs. To better establish yourself as a professional event photographer consider these tips:
- Keep a client database that you can look back on and stay connected with so you stay fresh in the clients’ mind.
- Have a creative marketing plan and know your ideal clients. When you know the type of events you want to shoot and know the type of client you want to work with you will be able to focus on attracting those clients to you.
- Know where you should be online. Aside from a website consider a blog and social media platforms. For corporate or business events focus more on LinkedIn as opposed to Facebook or Tweeter.
- Get out in your community and network. You never know where your next client can come from.
- Volunteer your services. Offer a free shoot for a Chinese auction or raffle at a local event. Go out a shoot the free concerts or activities going on in your community.
Gong from hobbyist to professional can be a big leap and will not happen overnight. It can take careful planning and going above and beyond what your clients expect. Event photography isn’t just about the images you take it also has a lot to do with how you present yourself to clients and interact with guests. Once you gain more experience you’ll become more comfortable with your interactions and bringing in more clients will just become second nature.
We hope this article has helped shed some light on the photography industry and has helped you gain some insight on how to land your first event photography gig. Let us know if this article helped you to land your first event photography gig, we’d love to hear all about it!