Posts tagged tips and advice
How to Start Your Wedding Photography Business

I feel like this blog post could be something that aspiring new photographers could use in navigating their soon to be business. I wish when I was just starting out that someone had told me a few of these things so that I could have better prepped myself. Regardless, I learned along the way and found a few amazing things that helped me grow and book my first few wedding clients. If you are in the dark about where to start, this blog post is for you.

I can track back to 2008 when I realized I wanted to be a wedding photographer. Yep, I was a sophomore at NC State going to school for a science degree. I wanted to switch my degree to something dealing with art, but people kept telling me that there was no money in art. “You want to have money to pay your bills, right?” is what they would say. And then I would respond with “yeah, youre right.” So, I stuck it out and worked towards a degree that I have never ever used. Truth be told, I often ask myself how far my business would have gone if I would have listened to my gut the first time it spoke to me. Maybe its a good thing I waited until I was older.

Who knew that I would go back to school after that degree to receive another degree in my first love—photography. I am proud of myself for this, the program was intensive, more so than my first one, and really forced me to think—about math, about how far my creativity could go, and showing that I was better than the others. Which, might I add, was a mesh of wonderfully skilled students. When I came out the gate with my degree, I knew I had to hustle to get my name out there. It was 2015 then, and the professional photographer atmosphere was massive (it still is). Everyone was a “photographer” including their moms, their uncles, and best friends. It was my job to make my work stand out against the repetitive sea of other well named artists and hobbyists. I needed work, I needed money, and I needed to build up an amazing portfolio. I needed this like ten years ago, but here we were—starting from the bottom.

I am here to tell you about some things that will help you with your footing, where you should focus your attention, and to inspire you to go out there and kick some ass. Read below for some tips and advice for when you are just starting out. The kicker is? Most of this has almost nothing to do with photography. If you want to start a business girl, first thing is first—you start acting like its a business.


Know Your Why

Ask yourself “why” youre going in to business for yourself. It could be your need for freedom, you don’t want a boss ever again. You could want to transform the lives of others. What is your purpose for becoming a wedding photographer, a commercial photographer, a social media marketer, a boutique owner…girl, what is your purpose? Honestly, your why and purpose will probably change within a few years, so just be honest with yourself right now and how you really feel. I started my business because I wanted to be self sufficient. I had seen the decline of our economy…I had no job prospects even with my first degree—all of my friends parents had been laid off. I started my business because I knew if I was in business for myself, I could make it work somehow, someway.

I wouldnt put too much pressure on yourself for this question, because again, your why will change—just like how mine did. You don’t need a big lofty goal, you just need to realize what it is and ask yourself why this is important for others. Who are you here to serve? Are you here to serve 22 year old brides? Are you here to serve 32 year old brides who have a degree in law? Seriously, who are you here to serve and ask yourself WHY you want to serve them. Whatever you do, don’t skip this. If it helps, then write out a little avatar of your dream customer. Here is an example that I came up with on the fly…

Jennifer is a 26 year old data analyst for a local company based in the triangle area of North Carolina. Jennifer went to UNC Chapel Hill for her undergrad, and then went off to Virginia Tech to receive her Masters degree. She wanted to move back to North Carolina to be closer to family, and when she did she unexpectedly met the guy who she is planning to marry later this year. She always dreamed of running in to a guy on a plane somewhere (she likes to travel alot), but in all actuality, she met her fiance by swiping right on a dating app. Jennifer shops at Anthropology sometimes, but her heart is with the downtown boutiques who have custom clothing from women all across the States. Jennifer has a dog and a cat, and has trained her cat to walk on a leash, just like her pup. Jennifer vacations in the OBX every summer, and always plans atleast a one week trip out of the country to appease her need for culture. Jennifer wants to have a wedding photographer that “gets” her, and doesnt want her wedding images to look like just another wedding in the triangle. She is not a fan of the light and airy images, but more so the adventurous type of imagery.


Make a Website with a very Clear Message

I know this kind of sounds easy, but in all actuality it is not (especially when you are in your head all of the time). Remember your why? Now it’s time to put that on your website. When someone lands on your page they need to know immediately if they want to stay and look around, or leave. Trust me, you want this. There is no use in keeping someone on your website unless they are actually interested in what YOU are offering.

Let’s look at an example. If you’re WHY was to make couples relive their wedding day with happy tearful imagery—then you need to say it. You need to tell people why they need you, and if they resonate with it, then those are the people who you want to continue on your website. I would say something like “Our sole purpose is to create jaw dropping imagery for couples all across the southern region of Virginia.” Simple, right? This is a one hitter quitter. Keep it simple and to the point. Oh, and make sure you write out your location, or where you want to travel to. AKA “Southeast America, Raleigh/Durham, The Carolinas.”

Oh, and something no one tells you to do when you first start out…I am telling you right now. You might not understand NOW, but trust me when I say you will NEED this later…ladies, you need a clear and accessible place on your website where people can opt in to your email list. This is a whole different blog post, but yall, start on this now.


Choose one platform of choice

Look, your first couple of years in business are critical. Also, you are going to find yourself fighting the urge to do all of the things. Dont. You need ONE (and I mean it) platform to share content weekly. And yes girl, you need to post to it weekly. Your platform could be a podcast, a blog, a youtube channel…whatever! It can be anything (but don’t use social media for this). Pick one thing that you are going to use to put out quality good content about your work. I say choose one, because if you choose to do all of them, you will get burned out quickly. Also, none of your fans will know where to go because you may post something on a podcast, and then later try to write a blog post. Be consistent.

Do this every week. If you choose to do a blog, awesome, welcome to mine! With my blog, I try to post atleast twice a week now. When I first started out, I only posted about 1 post per month. That was a bad business move on my end. If I wanted to come out the gate kicking ass, I shouldve been giving Google all of the great content, but instead, I did it only when I had time. Yall, you are going to have to make time now. Listen to me when I tell you that this is important. Your loyal small fan base will want this, they want to know how you are doing—give them that information. Do this to strengthen the relationship with your existing audience so that later, these people can help you reach a wider audience.


Engage with your customer

Now this is the fun part. You need a solid place online where you can engage with your clients and potential clients. For me, this is Instagram. I know quite a few business owners who bow down to the powers of Facebook. But for me, my main source of communication with the public is Instagram. This includes responding to every DM and every single comment. Whatever social media platform you choose as your weapon of choice, do it well. And by doing it well, I mean allotting a certain number of minutes per day for you to post something and to comment and message people back. Oh, and you need to post every day. If you are on Instagram, this could mean that you post to your insta-stories, or a photo in your insta grid. Whatever the case, you need to show up ONCE a day. Remember, what you are doing is important—remember your WHY? You need to start showing up and letting people know WHY your work is important and casting that net out so that others can become aware of you.

And again, make sure you respond to people. Even if its just an emoji…you need to respond. What is worse than when you comment on a friends post and they just magically dont respond back to you? It kind of hurts your feelings, doesnt it? Take the time to say thanks for the comment. Our world is so “social” so its time to embrace it.



Ahh. The word we have all been avoiding. It’s a necessity, and inevitably, what you need to have a sustainable business. But, here’s the thing, you will more than likely not be making a profit your first few years in business. Think about it, everything you make goes straight back into the business. Camera gear, insurance, studio space, repairs, computers, CF cards, the list goes on and on. This is all fine, because, you want to put this money back in to your business. At the same time, you also need to pay your bills.

I would figure out a way to make money while you are still figuring things out with your business. What did this mean for me? I did alot of family sessions, I worked at a bridal shop, and a florist. I know it sucks because you clearly started this business because you didnt want a boss, but girl, you got to do what you got to do. Don’t lose sight of building your business, just make sure you use your money diligently and for the right things. I would spend extra time doing the projects that are going to get you the next phase of your business. For instance, I started teaching beginner photography courses for the sole reason of getting my name out there and to build up my email list. If you want to be a lifestyle and brand photographer, I would do sessions in your free time that showcase this. Then I would showcase this on your social media platform of choice, then turn around write that blog about it.

The fact of the matter is, it’s going to be hard the first few years of business. So please dont come in to this thinking you can fly off to Miami for a fun girls weekend. Unless you have daddys disposibale money to spend, this is the time for you to hunker down and use whatever money you do have—wisely. Invest in yourself. If you’ve been wanting a mentor, or just need help figuring out how to shoot on film—do your research and make sure you use the money you’ve made to invest in that. The one thing that I have clearly learned, its the fact that when I started to prioritize myself, my business started to flourish afterwards.

When you know your why, it makes things a little easier.


I hope this blog post was helpful for you! I was serious when I said this had little to nothing to do with photography, but it hits the nail on the head. These are things that I wish people told me in advance, and who knew how far I would have been if I knew this at the beginning of this journey. If this helps you or inspires you, write me a comment and let me know.


Tips and Advice for Finding Your Dream Wedding Photographer

Happy 2019, everyone! Wooh, 2018 was the year to beat. I never thought in a million years that I would be where I am at today. I have had the opportunity to collaborate and document some amazing couples, families, and even expanded a bit further in to boudoir. Y’all, it’s been a good year. 2019, I hope you are ready for the awesome surge that is Fancy This!

Starting this year I plan on giving you guys and gals some good content on planning for your wedding! Let me just say that I am not a planner…nope! BUT, I do know a thing or two about planning a meeting with your potential wedding photographer, things to ask them, how to prep for those sweet detail shots on the day of your wedding, and just some good insight on what I think is the most important aspect of your day. Well, most important right besides actually marrying your beau.

Oh, and it doesn’t stop there. Not only am I teaching more this year, but I am also putting out content for other photographers. If you are a newbie photographer, or want to start building your empire, I may have a few blog posts coming out that you may want to indulge in. If it’s anything that I’ve learned thus far—education is key.

Since this is prime engagement season, I thought it was only fitting to share our first ever educational blog series for what you should be on the lookout for when booking your wedding photographer. Trust me, when you start looking for one, you will realize that there are HUNDREDS of photographers. It can be a bit overwhelming, so hopefully these tips and bits of advice can help ease the process. If you are wanting to add to the conversation, feel free to follow me on instagram as I ask my followers for their experience and will definitely add yours to the mix. You can follow me at @nikki_fancythis


Tips and Advice for Finding Your Dream Wedding Photographer

Word of Mouth

First things first…youre engaged and now you have the daunting task of searching for someone to document the most important day of your life to date thus far. Where do you even start? Well, for starters you can reach out to family and friends who were recently married. Word of mouth travels near and far, and I can speak with my own experience, I really take my friends advice when it comes to things like this. However, if youre friends and family arent planning on throwing the same caliber of celebration that you are throwing…their advice may not be as sound.

For instance, lets say your friend from some time years ago decided she was going to get married in a barn somewhere and they used “so and so photographer” from small town, USA to photograph it. Cool. But, the kicker is…you are planning on having your wedding inside a ballroom with zero windows (note* no natural light). The ballroom is gorgeous—you have sweet details at every crevice of the space, with large and long white sheer curtains that soften up the ambience. Pretty, right? Eh, not if you don’t have a photographer who knows how to light the space up.

You look at your friends wedding photographer and realize that you see minimal to zero images of anything inside. This is a problem that you should address if you were to reach out to them. Maybe the photographer chooses not to showcase on their website any images inside just as a personal preference, which is fine. But, you should ask them to show you a wedding where at least a portion of it was inside. When you do this, you get to see how that photographer used light to light their subjects. If images are blurry, not enough light on the subjects to properly see expressions, or just a little flat, then this photographer may not know the necessary procedures to take to make the day extra memorable.

The main thing to be aware of when listening to family and friends is comparing how similar your weddings are in regards to ambience, venue, and even price. My best advice for couples trying to find their photographer is to look at your potential photographers full wedding galleries. This is not something that can simply be found on their website. This is something that they can send through an online gallery. Photographers choose their very best images to showcase on their website, and if they posted every single image on their website, it would inevitably slow their website down. So, instead, they store online galleries elsewhere.

Ask for specific galleries that are similar to your wedding. If you are getting married outside near water, ask to see a gallery with that. Water shows a glare in photographs, so—ask for a gallery so you can see how they handled the glare. If you are getting married inside an estate home, ask for a gallery that showcases an inside wedding.


Know the Style You Want

I know you are new to this, but I am going to try and break it down for you as simply as possible. Y’all, again, there are hundreds of photographers in your area. However, they are all different. The good thing is that you can sort of navigate what kind of style you like and are drawn to. Let’s go over a few different styles that you will probably be aware of.

  • Traditional: These are the types of galleries that showcase very prim and proper posing. Some refer to this as an old school type of portraiture, but the results can still be breathtaking. Traditional type of portraiture does not really stray away from posed pictures, but more so the photographer photographs in hopes of these images adorning your huge fireplace in your mansion. They are classic in style and classic never fades. If you are wanting more of an authentic and fun type of wedding photographs, this may not be the style for you.

  • Photo-Journalistic: This is like the exact opposite of traditional. If a photographer is a true photojournalistic photographer, there is very minimal amounts of posing that they do. Most of what they showcase are those true emotions that happen during the day. Like capturing hands holding during the father of the brides toast, or a tear between the mom and her son during their mother and son dance. A true photojournalistic photographer is on the mission to document those moments that go by rather quickly and unnoticed. When looking at their galleries you may see all aspects of emotions, and they are there to capture that. Things to ask this type of photographer is how they document bridal party photographs (since traditionally speaking, they are posed) and even family formals.

  • Lifestyle: This is mixture of traditional and photojournalistic. This type of photography consists of giving the couple tasks to do, and documenting them doing those tasks. For instance, they may ask the groom to twirl his bride or to walk together through the gardens. This can be great for the couple because it takes their mind off of “posing” and it gives the photographer a chance to capture the fun moments that happen between the couple.

  • Light and Airy: Light and airy photography has really nothing to do with what type of portraiture the photographer takes. This is the type of editing and shooting style that the photographer does. You can spot this easily if you are looking at a photographers portfolio and see a lot of bright imagery. It is, literally, how it sounds—light and airy. Some people really enjoy this type of imagery, and others aren’t really drawn to it.

  • Dark and Moody: Dark and moody photography shows more interest in shadows, stark lines, and maybe even a darker exposure. This can be easily spotted in a photographers portfolio. Normally people are taken aback by the style immediately, or they have fallen completely in love with it. Which is great, because you should definitely pick a side when choosing how you want your day captured.


Meet With Them

Either in person, skype, or facetime. This one is super simple…this photographer is going to be with you all day. I am not kidding, your photographer will be with you more on your wedding day than your future husband or wife. If this person doesn’t mesh with you, then it’s going to be an awful experience. You need to absolutely adore one another, trust them, and to be over the moon happy with their body of work. If not, then start over. Trust me, if you do not trust your wedding photographer on the day of your wedding, that will inevitably effect their work produced. Unless that photographer is a psychopath with no emotions, this will eat at them all day if you do not trust them. Y’all, if you dont trust them in the beginning, its time to look other places.


This one seems like common sense, but I am here to tell you it is not. When you start the process of reaching out to photographers—notice who responds back in a timely manner. If you reach out to them at 8pm at night, yeah, this does not apply to that because photographers have lives after 5pm, too. But, if you reach out to them and they respond within 24 hours, that is awesome. If it takes them a few days to get back to you, it may not be the best route you go with if you prefer prompt replies. I am not saying you should be a bridezilla and expect a reply within 30 minutes—I am saying that if it takes days to respond to your email and you are the type of person that appreciates efficiency…this may stress you out. If your photographer opens the door to open communication, accept it and tell them exactly what you want in regards to wedding photography. Trust me, a great photographer will gladly accept and will give you all of the information you will need to move forward, and what to expect in the process.


Places to find Wedding Photographers in your Area

And lastly, let’s go over some simple areas that you may or may not have already started your search on.

  • WeddingWire : WeddingWire is awesome because it is a simple area that the engaged couple can go on and search for multiple types of vendors. You can also see a ballpark range of price for that certain vendor. WeddingWire hosts reviews (which I highly recommend you look at) for vendors and shows a gallery of images for each business. This is great if you are looking for a venue, baker, photographer—literally, almost anything. The downside to this is that there are a ton of vendors listed on the site. There is not a high jump for vendors to get on to the website, so what that means is if someone was just toying with the idea of being a photographer…they could just sign up for a business account and WAH-LA, they are ready for business. You, as the consumer, would need to differentiate between a newbie vendor, and a true pro. Again, you can do this with reviews.

  • The Knot : Same thing as above. In fact, if my memory serves me right, have merged together. They are under the same ownership, so some of the things on their website are similar. I will say, The Knot does a better job of hosting more quality vendors on their website.

  • Google : Yep, handy dandy google always comes in clutch. Just make sure you type in specifics like “Durham Wedding Photographer” or “Durham Film Photographer” if you are leaning more towards a film look. You know this already, but specifics are key.

  • Local Wedding Magazines : This is probably your best bet to find qualified professionals in your area. Local wedding magazines take time to get to know the vendors in the area, and curate magazines that highlight the best of the best in the area. If you are local to the triangle area of North Carolina you may find top vendors in Southern Bride and Groom, and even Weddings Look Book.

Of course, if you think I should add any other details to this blog post, feel free to reach out. I am looking forward to more of this in 2019! Cheers, yall!