Melbourne wedding photographer and PSC Bachelor of Photography graduate Cassandra Tzortzoglou shares her top tips on how to build a successful wedding photography business, how also shooting commercially helps keep her creative juices flowing during off-season, and why living with your parents when starting up is a good idea.
Congratulations on your success with Blossom Daisy Creative! Looking back a few years, did you see yourself as a wedding photographer when you started your photography degree?
No I did not at all see myself shooting weddings while being a student at Photography Studies College... and enjoying it! It was my partner who pushed me to try, and after a handful of weddings were under my belt I picked it up quite naturally, and loved it.
Was there a particular wedding that you shot where you realised this is want you wanted to pursue as a business?
A wedding that was a tipping point in my career was actually a past teacher at PSC, Ying Ang. I photographed Ying & Michael's Wedding in early 2017, and I still get many enquiries based on the scope of their magical wedding. I feel that after their wedding, I found my calling, and 'niche' as they say, I have attracted many of the same clients now, and working with my ideal clients is a dream come true.
Where do you get most of your clients from?
Most of my business is from word of mouth, and connections in the industry. Past clients will always recommend you if you leave them an impression, and you have the skillset they are looking for.
How has your wedding photography evolved and what are some of the challenges with a wedding shoot?
I believe that I always had my own style within my photographic work, and that just developed as I became more confident within myself. I can shoot a wedding, and feel limited with available light, or timing issues, however, making the most of those moments is what makes you a better photographer, and strengthens your style. My style developed by pushing myself - diving deep into my own world, and practicing shooting every chance I get. I still feel like its developing, and I never stop feeling this way.
You flit between wedding photography and commercial photography, tell us how you balance that?
I shoot commercially on top of weddings, splitting my time between the two fifty-fifty. I really enjoy both aspects of my business, dealing with commercial clients mixed with wedding couples. I find it stimulating and that it keeps my creative juices flowing in the wedding off season. It also gives me flexibility financially, and opportunity to grow as a photographer and company. I am pushing myself on a daily basis, and it sure is not easy work.
What are some wedding tips you can give our readers wanting to do wedding photography?
1. Try shooting a wedding with a mentor in the industry, someone who is developed and in need of second shooters.
2. Reach out to creatives, and offer your time for a shoot - you never know, they might recommend you to their clients!
3. Learn to love shooting in the moment and in any lighting scenario.
4. Make your clients trust you, by selling only you (don't copy other people).
5. Undersell, overdeliver.
What is you advice to students/young graduates wanting to start their own photography business?
I would say make the most of your final year, and learn all you can in the business class. Looking back, I already knew I wanted to start my own business, and indeed I did in 2014. I was lucky enough to have teachers like Ying and Dan there for career advice, and their encouragement was what pushed me to just go for it after I graduated. And my partner of course. If you're lucky enough to live with parents, I would make the most of that, and skip on paying rent for as long as you can. I did this, and it truly gave me the flexibility to leave behind my weekly job, and test the waters of working for myself while starting out. I haven't looked back since.
Was it useful studying a photography degree?
I had only just started shooting commercially in my second year of the degree, and I started weddings upon graduating. Commercially, PSC was a huge help, learning about lighting and tethering, as well as the post production and print process. I wouldn't take back studying at PSC, it guided me to become who I am today, and assisted me in finding my true power. It is a wonderful place to thrive, learn and evolve without huge stresses or any distractions. I say: make the most of it while you can!
You graduated in 2015 with a commercial major and Award of Excellence, would you recommend Photography Studies College?
Yes I would. I believe it's important to study a creative field for your own self development as a photographer. I definitely wouldn't be the photographer I am today without the years I spent discovering what I loved at PSC. The support system, equipment and teachers available at your whim is remarkable and something you will look back on later in life and cherish. It was also the highlight of my early 20s, and I gained lovely friends out of the process.
Wedding IG: @blossomdaisycreative
Commercial IG: @bdcstudios