Where do I start?
An easy, risk-free way to break into the profession is to approach established photographers listed in Yellow Pages or Yell.com, and ask for a Saturday job.
Many successful wedding photographers use part-timers on a semi-regular basis to help out during busy periods, paying them around £100-150 to photograph a wedding. This typically takes about three to four hours to do, starting at the bride’s home and finishing at the wedding reception.
If you’re a keen and enthusiastic amateur with your own equipment and a portfolio of photographs, you've a good chance of being taken on as a part-timer. “You need to make an interesting display of photographs of what you’re trying to sell”, advises Tracey Jones, who has worked part-time for a studio in Felixstowe. “After all, a prospective employer can only really judge you on the basis of photographs you’ve taken before - which is why it’s important that you’ve got photos of something like a family wedding you’ve done.”
The summer is a great time to make your approach, as there are plenty of weddings and some of the photographer’s regulars will probably be away on holiday at the busiest times.
Expect to go along to one or two weddings with the photographer before getting your first job. The photographer is going to want to see that you dress smartly, treat guests in a friendly and courteous manner, and can take good-quality photographs.
Once the photographer’s convinced you'll do well on your own, you’ll probably be asked to photograph the next small wedding that comes along. This is a great way for you to build skills and acquire trade know-how until you are ready to break out on your own.
Industry bodies such as the BIPP run respected training courses for budding photographers, run by experienced professionals. You can also access training from specialist companies, such as the Trained Eye, which offers a range of short courses for both wedding and portrait photography. A quick Google search should bring up a list of training courses in your area, and you should have sufficient choice to shop around.