If you've followed me for the past couple years, you probably know that photography is a big part of my life. I love it. If you've looked at my flickr page you'll see that I like making photos of everything from wildlife to street photography to portrait photography. One genre of photography that is blatantly missing from my portfolio is wedding photography. Ahhh... wedding photography. I say it with a strong yearning to give it a try. Problem is I have no weddings to shoot. As I look around the Internet I see photographers with great looking wedding portfolios and I long to present mine. Problem is I don't have a wedding portfolio to show.
It's not that I've never been contacted to do a wedding photo documentary. I've always managed to talk my way out of wedding photography because I disclose that I haven't the experience with wedding photography to guarantee that I'll be able to produce the key shots the bride may want. I realize that weddings can't be recreated. Once moments are gone during a wedding they are gone forever.
Wedding photography is a difference animal from other genres of photography. Often, there are no do-overs. You might say the same for sports, but in sports, there are often several photographers vying for the same shot; so if one miss the shot then usually someone else would have gotten it. Multiple photographers covering a sports is normal depending on the event and if it's not covered, well it's not big deal. There will always be another game. With weddings, it's a once in a lifetime event and I would be responsible for the key shots. Since I haven't shot along side an experienced primary photographer I can't say that I know what the key shot even are.
I've registered on several second shooter websites with offers to work for free to gain experience shooting weddings. I have yet to be contacted. What I've learned is that there are scores of other would-be wedding photographers asking to shoot along side of primary shooters too. My way of differentiating myself is to advertise myself as willing to shoot a wedding as the primary shooter and learn on the job. I do this with full disclosure. I always make sure the bride knows that I am learning on her wedding day and that I cannot guarantee that I'll get the shots she wants. I try to lend myself to budget conscious brides who would not otherwise hire a professional photographer to cover her wedding. My logic is that some wedding photos beats no wedding photos - or a learning photographer beats not having a photographer at all. Most professional wedding photographers charge upwards of $700.00. I've offered myself to brides for free; my calendar is still clear as of this writing. I acknowledge that it is entirely possible that by the time you read this I may have one or more weddings under my belt.
UPDATE July 9, 2015
I shot a wedding in Raleigh and I had a blast. Wedding photography appears to be something I am going to pursue.