With experience comes wisdom along your journey in photography and life; You’ll make mistakes. You’ll learn from them, grow from them, and your work will be better for making them. Hopefully, one day, you’ll pass along these parcels of earned wisdom to someone who can learn from them as well.
We’ve turned to some of the top wedding photographers in the world to share with us their best piece of advice for a beginner photographer and here’s what they had to say.
To see our entire list of Top 100 Wedding Photographers from the U.S. and Canada and our Top 150 Best International Wedding Photographers, check out these articles:
- 100 Best Wedding Photographers In The U.S. and Canada
- 150 Best International Wedding Photographers For 2016
1. Dave Paek of Dave Paek Photography
Dave’s Best Piece of Advice: Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet. I’m not necessarily referring to underwater portraits here but more about taking shots that take you beyond your creative comfort zone. The more “fall back” shots and gimmicks you rely on, the more you’ll become complacent in what you do and, in turn, you will stunt your own creative growth. If you shoot safe all the time, inevitably, photography will become more of a mechanical chore rather than something that inspires you.
See more of Dave’s work on his website: www.davepaekphotography.com
2. Andrea Bagnasco of Andrea Bagnasco Fotografie
Andrea’s Best Piece of Advice: Be prepared to work hard and never give up, even when it seems like the obvious thing to do.
See more of Andrea’s work on his website: www.andreabagnasco.it
3. Vlad Lodoaba of Vlad Lodoaba Wedding Photojournalism
Vlad’s Best Piece of Advice: Find photographers you trust and respect, reach out and offer to assist/second shoot for them. You will likely get told “no” a lot (don’t take it personally), but you will eventually find someone. Learn from their experiences and their mistakes. Assisting allows you to get a good feel for some of the challenges of a wedding day, and second shooting allows you to improve your technique or experiment without the stress that comes with being principal photographer. Then when you shoot your own weddings, you will have valuable practical experience and be better prepared to do a great job.
See more of Vlad’s work on his website: www.byvlad.com.
4. Gary Evans of Gary Evans Photography
Gary’s Best Piece of Advice: You can do all the planning you want prior to the wedding but there are things that can blindside you, including the weather. Don’t be afraid of things you can’t control, embrace them and go with it.
See more of Gary’s work on his website: www.
5. Yves Schepers of Yves Schepers Photography
Yves’ Best Piece of Advice: Reach out. Reach out to the wedding photography community in your area/country and create a network around you. Start to see them as colleagues instead of competitors. Whether it is to get honest feedback on your work, to share jobs when you’re overbooked, to get some support when you’re going through a rough patch, or just to hang out and have some fun, it will help you get your business going so much faster.
See more of Yves’s work on his website: www.yvesschepers.be
6. Ken Pak of Ken Pak Photography
Ken’s Best Piece of Advice: Put your personality into the frame. Get closer to the subject; balance between mundane, untraditional angles, and compositions. Don’t be afraid of experiment. Look out for the unpredictable, and serendipity will find you! Enjoy your learning process.
See more of Ken’s work on his website: www.kenpak.com
7. Jesse van Kalmthout of Jesse van Kalmthout Photography
Jesse’s Best Piece of Advice: Confront your inner demons and fight them. Every single wedding photographer makes a ton of errors for every great shot or award. It’s about failing and then failing better. So infuse your personality and keep going, because there is no way around failure, only straight through it.
See more of Jesse’s work on his website: www.jessevankalmthout.com
8. Nicola Tonolini of Nicola Tonolini Photographer
Nicola’s Best Piece of Advice: Get it out of your head that this is the easiest job in the world. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you have to work, work, work, work, work!!!!
See more of Nicola’s work on her website: www.nicolatonolini.com
9. DALLAS & SABRINA KOLOTYLO of Dallas Kolotylo Photography
Dallas & Sabrina’s Best Piece of Advice: Keep your love for photography and your creativity flowing by maintaining balance in life. If you love what you are doing, you are naturally going to put your heart and soul into it and you will end up producing work that has soul, and that you love. When you are producing work that you really love, it will attract like-minded clients and at the same time give you the opportunity to continually refine your craft.
See more of Dallas and Sabrina’s work on their website: http://dallaskolotylo.com/
10. Christina of Christina Zen Photography
Christina’s Best Piece of Advice: It’s in our nature to follow other photographers. We look at them and get inspired, but don’t just follow and try to emulate. Don’t just fawn over how they shot something. Instead, dissect their work. Study it critically to see where their light it, how their pose is in the minute details. Look at and break it down so that you see the components of the images you admire, not just an overall look you want to copy.
Doing this helps you bring those components into your own work without mimicking, and allows your personal aesthetic to come alive. Take those ideas and do the same with your own work too. Break down what you did well and what you struggled with, and fix it. The best photographers are the ones that never stop learning or striving for better.
See more of Christina’s work on her website: http://christinazen.com/
11. Wayne La of Wayne La Photographer
Wayne’s Best Piece of Advice: Don’t pigeonhole yourself into particular styles and techniques at the beginning; learn everything. Be a natural-light ninja but advance your flash lighting. Train to pose like a master painter but learn to see moments before they happen. You’ll find your authentic voice soon enough, but you won’t know until you’ve sung many songs.
See more of Wayne’s work on his website here: http://waynela.com/
12. Mantas Kubilinskas of Mantas Kubilinskas Photography
Mantas’ Best Piece of Advice: Many beginners make the same mistake I did when I started my photography business, we get very excited about everything photography and begin buying things we will rarely use. We buy new gear without mastering whatever already we have.
My biggest piece of advice is to become a guru of your gear. Get one camera, two lenses and one flash. Once you master those, then begin adding new things to your camera bag. If you buy two cameras, ten lenses, and ten flashes right from the start, I believe it will take eight times longer to become an amazing photographer.
See more of Mantas’ work on his website: www.mantasphoto.com
13. Nicole Chan of Nicole Chan Photography
Nicole’s Best Piece of Advice: Never stop learning. Create a multi-faceted educational plan for yourself with specific tasks and timelines. Learn through podcasts, books, YouTube tutorials, webinars, workshops, and magazines. Also, don’t forget about non-traditional learning – assisting other photographers, 2nd shooting, personal projects, etc!
See more of Nicole’s work on her website: www.nicolechanphotography.com
14. Crystal Stokes of Crystal Stokes Photography
Crystal’s Best Piece of Advice: Take the lens cap off……just kidding. Continuing education is undoubtedly the best investment you can make as a new photographer, or as an experienced photographer! This is often overlooked or dismissed because we want to spend money on the tangible; a fancy new DSLR or a lens or lighting equipment. However, if we aren’t equipped with the information we need to give our clients our absolute best, those shiny new toys won’t matter nearly as much! Invest in YOU!
See more of Crystal’s work on her website: http://crystalstokesphotography.com
15. Marius Tudor of Photochic
Marius’ Best Piece of Advice: Always be ready for the most intimate moments. Being ready means to be there all the time even when ‘nothing’ is happening.
See more of Marius’ work on his website: https://photochic.ro/
16. Alessandro Iasevoli of Alessandro Iasevoli Photographer
Alessandro’s Best Piece of Advice: Be focused. Figure out where you want to go, where you want to be in 3-5-10 years from now. Define your goals and never let the day by day workload distract you from them. Do not take any job just to make money, but always try to define and target the clients you want to work with, the ones for which you think you can be unique, and look for them only! You may need to say ‘no’ many times, but it will pay off in the end.
See more of Alessandro’s work on his website: www.alessandroiasevoli.it
Did any of the above advice surprise you? What advice would you give to a beginner photographer? Comment below!
See what what the top wedding photographers chose as their best lenses for wedding photography here: BEST LENSES FOR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY ACCORDING TO 13 TOP WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS.