Information overload!

What a day. I feel I have learnt more in the past 12 hours than I have done in the last few years. Started off the day at 8am with Andrea Barrett who was presenting a class called Foundation of Weddings with Mark Jordan.

Andrea advised that you need to make sure your shots are controlled and composed. The last thing you want is for the official wedding photographs to look like snaps that one of the guests took.

She also talked about the process she follows once a new client is on board. She has a list of questions for the bride and groom that covers everything from family to supplier details.

Andrea emphasised that as well as being a good photographer, you also needed to be business aware; know your cost margins, get insurance and never give away your photographs on a disc.

Throughout the 90 minutes, Andrea gave great advise on getting published in magazines, as well as marketing yourself to potential wedding venues. It was a great start today, and the beginning of lots of note taking.

Next up was Brett Harkness with his class called Weddings. Brett is one photographer I admire. He makes getting great wedding photographs look so easy. I found the room and there was already a queue forming, so I thought to be safe, I would join it so not to miss out. Am so glad I queued as there were three times as many people trying to get in as were able to fit in the room. A very popular session.

Brett walked us through the equipment he takes to a wedding, as well as the settings he uses on his camera. It was good to hear him say that as long as you are comfortable with your camera, it does not matter what settings you use.

He spoke about how he gets some of his images as well as advising us to experiment with different angles. He also showed us a number of his images. Most of the images he gets of the couple are shot in about 30 minutes.

Just two classes in and I cannot wait until my next wedding to put some of the advice received into action.

After a quick bite to eat, it was off to meet Gordon McGowan. My boyfriend found Gordon's blog last year and I have been following his weddings ever since. Posing is a big part of Gordon's style, in fact it would be fair to say he is passionate about correct posing.

It was a fairly interactive class with a model bride and groom so Gordon could show us some basic poses that we could photograph and learn from.

The one overriding message that I got from the first three classes I attended was to know my business, know how much I am worth and have a business plan. I had a couple of choices for my next class, but decided that after four and a half hours of weddings, it was time to talk business.

So off I went to meet Julia Boggio and James Derbyshire, who were talking about how to develop a passion for your business. What I did not know about James and Julia prior to their class was that their first dance at their wedding had taken the Internet by storm.

Despite the recession, they have managed to grow their business very fast and they were going to tell us how. One thing they advocated when developing your business, is to start with a business plan and to be very honest about the type of business you want to have.

Like the other photographers I had seen earlier in the day, they also do not believe in paying for advertising. Referrals can come from a number of places. Writing articles is one way, as well as being active online using social media. All in all, I left their class with a few questions for myself with regards to where I want to go with my photography and my style.

By 6pm I was close to being dead on my feet. The hour between classes was more like 30 minutes once I had spoken briefly to a few people and found my next room, so missed the first day of the trade show, but have scheduled time for that tomorrow.

I finished off the first day with Lisa Aldersley. Lisa has a very natural photography style and does not pose any of her shots to ensure all weddings are unique. She will, however, do a very small number posed photographs as these are usually requested by parents.

Lisa talked about meeting clients and ensuring they are comfortable with you. If they are not comfortable, then it is very unlikely they will book you for their wedding. Also, if you do not feel comfortable with them, do not agree to do their photographs as it may show through in the photographs you take of their day.

Lisa ran through her night before routine as well as dressing like you belonged at the wedding. When photographing in a photojournalistic style, this is very important, so you can mingle with guests and make them feel more comfortable around you.

Though a very long day, it has been extremely useful and inspiring. What I have learnt from today:

  • Not all professional photographers shoot RAW.
  • The wedding album should be cherished as it is part of the family history to pass down the generations.
  • Shooting alone or with another shooter is a personal choice.
  • Work out your costings before quoting a price - what is your work worth?
  • Having a rapport with your client is a must.
  • Know your equipment!
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