Jobs 101: Wedding photographer

Annabel Law helps brides feel confident on their special day with her own team of female photographers.

Ainul Mardiyah

Published: 30 January 2019, 11:46 PM

Overseas shoots are not Annabel Law’s favourite part of her job.

A lot of hard work goes behind the scenes during overseas shoots. Annabel and her team usually have to leave early to reach the location before sunrise, and there is barely enough time for them to enjoy the destination.

But her latest overseas trip to Italy might be a game changer for Annabel.

After nine years of capturing heartwarming moments from her couples’ weddings, her time is finally coming soon. Her boyfriend of almost three years, Tommy Koh, proposed to her in Italy, at the peak of Florence.

“My fiancé is the reason for everything and he was the person who supported me all the way,” said Annabel. PHOTO CREDIT: ANNABEL LAW

Youth.SG met Annabel to find out what it is like to be a wedding photographer in the competitive industry.

Who: Annabel Law, 27
Occupation: Wedding photographer, Founder of Annabel Law Productions
Studied: Homeschooled from the age of 11

Tell us more about yourself!

I was one of the first few female photographers in Singapore nine years ago. I’ve tried different branches of photography, including food and products, but I prefer weddings because I am a people person. I like to talk to people and understand their lives.

I also like fashion photography, so I incorporate that into my shoots.

Occasionally, Annabel helps brides with their hair before shoots. PHOTO CREDIT: GRACE NEO

How did you get into photography?

I started as an intern when I was 18.

Photojournalist Chong Jun Liang from The Straits Times was one of my mentors. He guided me in my photography journey and taught me everything he knew. Today, I want to do the same for my younger generation and not leave out any secrets in the industry.

For my business, however, I did not know how to get clients. I had to get a full-time job to support myself because I cannot just be sitting around waiting for clients.

My fiancé, who does marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), helped me grow my social media account. Within three months, I left my full-time job and focused on photography. We started Annabel Law Productions in 2012.

Newlyweds Mark Lim (right) and Jolene Toh (left) at their sunrise pre-wedding shoot at the Great Ocean Road in Australia. PHOTO CREDIT: PEZ TEO
Jolene (left) and Mark (right) had their wedding at Ritz Carlton Singapore. PHOTO CREDIT: ANNABEL LAW PRODUCTIONS

How has the wedding photography industry changed over the past few years?

There are more women entering the industry. In fact, there has been an influx of brides who specifically request for female photographers.

It is easier to be with a female photographer on their actual day. When the bridesmaids run errands, they will not be there with the bride. The person closest to the bride would then be the photographer.

The gender ratio is still wide, but there is significant progress.

Jolene (left) and Mark (right) viewing their wedding photos for the first time. PHOTO CREDIT: GRACE NEO

How does being a woman work to your advantage as a wedding photographer?

We understand the female anatomy and insecurities. We try to explore poses and flattering angles instead of having to use Photoshop.

For example, standing in an S-shaped formation gives a curvy, feminine silhouette as opposed to standing straight. Creating such angles allow the subjects to see themselves differently.

It becomes more than just a photo-taking session. We don’t change how you look, we let you experience how you look.

Annabel (right) directing Jolene and Mark for their maternity shoot in her studio at Lorong Chuan. PHOTO CREDIT: GRACE NEO

What advice would you give to aspiring wedding photographers?

The best way to enter the industry is to be an intern and learn the trade. Work hard and learn everything.

You will understand that in this industry, nobody will teach you. There is a fear of sharing trade secrets; it’s a skill that can become a career once taught. If you find a good mentor who wants to guide you, give your all and prove yourself.

“Our interns learn how to shoot by editing our photos,” said Annabel. PHOTO CREDIT: GRACE NEO

Educational requirements: Qualifications do not matter. In this line, experience is key.

Qualities needed: Talent does not matter as much as hard work and willingness to learn.

Salary range: Depending on your experience, it ranges between $1,988 to $3,280 per wedding. Pre-wedding shoots ranges between $490 to $1,060.

Working hours: You can expect to work for 10 hours at each wedding. On average, you would be working on 10 weddings a month.

Career prospects: You can venture into different branches of photography, such as baby shoots. Photographers are also trained to have good PR skills and can generally talk to anyone from any walk of life.

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