John HudetzAlbuquerque, New Mexico, United States
John Hudetz Photography
A typical day at work for me could be aboard an 8-day Alaskan cruise, beside a beautiful Colorado stream or on a beach in the Dominican Republic. But the best part of my job as a wedding photographer is knowing I am documenting the most important day in my client’s life. How I capture that day is how they will remember it with family and friends for years to come. I started my business in 2000 to anchor myself with a stay-at-home opportunity that still allows me to travel. I work from my home along with my studio manager and album designer. All of my photography work is done on location. I've maintained a six figure income in this work environment since 2002. I am lucky to be based in Colorado, the #2 wedding destination state in the US.
Before I started my wedding photography business, I worked part-time as a photojournalist for a sports magazine, Delta Airlines Sky magazine and The Chicago Tribune. It was a big risk in my mind to commit full-time to wedding photography. But, fortunately it has paid off and made for a wonderful independent life that allows me to be creative and compensated. I've maintained a six-figure income in this work environment for the past decade. I'm totally independent in choosing what jobs I take or don't take. I'm passionate about photography and people. I'm free to schedule my time to my liking. I work with Mac computers and Nikon equipment, but I started out with PC and Canon, so I know both worlds well. I consider myself an expert in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom software. I shoot with the latest Nikon D4 and D800 cameras. My business is now primarily referral, but early on I did advertise to bring in clients. I've learned to streamline my business in the areas of marketing, actual photography shooting and post-production workflow. I've won many international wedding photography awards from many different photography organizations. My best advice is to keep things simple. Find out who your best clients are and learn how to attract them to you. The more fun you have the more fun it is for the people around you. I think most people entering this business buy way too much equipment and post processing tools. I’ve also seen people spend way too much money on advertising. I’ve learned from my mistakes and now keep things streamlined and financially manageable. The thing I am most proud of is the incredible response I receive from my clients in appreciation for my work I want to teach you how to assess your market, how to approach it and make money from it. You have to be realistic about income potential when starting out and be able to measure your progress along the way. Everyone's situation is different based on talent, experience, market conditions and financial resources. It’s about assessing all those things in coming up with a viable business plan that helps someone build confidence in transitioning from where they are in life now to where they would like to be. I hope my time with you looking at wedding photography as a profession will better equip you to avoid lots of mistakes and find out quickly if this is a path worth pursuing.