I recently interviewed Nick Gillespie from Bluebendphotography. Nick is a wedding photographer in Ashville, North Carolina. Nicke was kind enough to answer some questions about getting into the wedding photography business, and how to succeed in it.
1) How did you get started in wedding photography?
When I was 14, I went to Yosemite with my family and fell in love with the photos in the gift shop. It’s silly, but that’s what got me started down this path. By the time I graduated high school, I had saved up enough money for a very used, but still working Mamiya 645 (professional level, medium format camera). I also had a dark room in my basement and a furious obsession for photography.
Throughout college I worked freelance for different local papers and small publications. When I was 24 I got my first job as a professional wedding photographer. I was lucky enough to apprentice under another photographer who had been photographing weddings for over a decade at that point. I learned how to be a wedding photographer and how to deal with clients. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am without that experience.
2) What is the most exciting part of being a wedding photographer?
The most exciting thing for me about photographing weddings is the bride and groom portrait session. During the time that I get to photograph the bride and groom, I get to really exercise the creative part of me. I love all aspects of the day, but it’s during these 30 minutes or so that I really get to “do my thing.”
3) How do you promote your business?
Most of my referrals come from former clients and from other venues. I end up becoming friends with most of my clients and keeping in touch with them. Many of their friends end up seeing our work and then calling when they are getting married.
4) What was the hardest thing about starting?
The hardest thing about starting out was getting your foot in the door. It’s almost impossible to convince clients to let you photograph their wedding if you don’t have any portfolio. Luckily, my former employer was gracious enough to let me use my portfolio when I moved to Asheville, North Carolina and set up Blue Bend Photography.
5) What should new wedding photographers keep in mind when starting a photography business?
The biggest thing about going out on your own and shooting weddings is to remember that photographing the wedding is only one small part of the job. A much, much bigger part of the job is running the business and dealing with clients. If you aren’t business minded, you might want to consider working for another company.
6) What kind of venues do you prefer to shoot in?
We photograph weddings in all kinds of locations and venues. Over the last 7 or 8 years, though, most of our weddings have been in some kind of outdoor setting. Outdoor weddings are becoming more and more popular and Asheville is ideal for it. This area has endless mountain views, waterfalls, and mountain meadows. If you’re going to come to Asheville to get married, you might as well do it with a view!
7) What kind of clients are ideal for you?
Our ideal clients would be people that value the wedding and photography as much as we do. The wedding is important. It is the start of a new life together and a very sacred bond. We believe that photography is also very important as a way to both relive the day, and also pass a legacy on to future generations. I have very often wondered what my Great Grandparents’ wedding looked like, or what my Great Great Grandparents looked like in general. What a wonderful thing to be able to pass on to future generations.by