Are you interested in a career in photography?
Of course, you are (why else would you be reading this). Becoming a pro photographer isn’t as complex as you might think. Sure it will require hard work, but anything worthwhile takes effort. The following simple steps will guide you along and put you on the right path to go from a hobbyist to a professional photographer.
#1 Educate Yourself
Build a solid foundation by making use of every resource available. Go to the library and online and read as many books, eBooks, articles, and blog posts as you can, about running a photography business. Also consider signing up for a photography class at an art school, or enrolling in a photography degree program. Having a structured environment with a teacher will help quickly improve your skills and knowledge, give you some much-needed credibility, and most importantly you will make connections that will help you long into the future.
#2 Treat It As A Business
Since you want to take it beyond a simple hobby, start acting as a business. You should set up a separate business account, plus get some business cards and a business license. If you want to be taking pictures for profit, do take the legal aspects of the business seriously. The last thing you want to do is work based on vague promises and a handshake. Talk to a licensed attorney/barrister who knows the industry to help you write a good contract. If you can’t afford legal advice at the moment, joining a professional trade group such as the PPA or BIPP is a good idea.
#3 Build Up Your Portfolio
It doesn’t matter what you think or say. Clients will only be won over with a strong portfolio. Start taking action, and put all the knowledge you gained into practice. Take photographs every single day. Photography is all about having a good eye, creativity, and being self-critical. Shoot as many photos as possible and then pick out the best. Be different from everyone else by finding your unique voice.
#4 The Art of Networking
You won’t survive long as a professional photographer without networking. Become friends with other photographers and get to know the people in the industry. Networking is essential to securing jobs and contracts.
#5 Market Yourself
To really become a professional photographer, you also need to be realistic. There is a lot of demand out there for photography services, but at the same time, there is plenty of competition as well. Differentiate yourself from the majority of run-of-the-mill photographers.
So how can you stand out from the crowd?
Work towards establishing your unique brand. Highlight the advantages you can bring to clients. If you can’t come up with a good list of reasons why potential customers should come to you, then you should continue to develop your photography and business skills.
Above all, don’t forget to enjoy the work. With a little persistence and determination, you can find your place in the photography market.
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very nice article. i would imagine much time must be spent on each stage before moving to the next. i’m certainly still in the educational phase and have probably more then a year ahead of me before i feel ready to put a portfolio together or even think about contract writing. i just hope i’m good enough one day to make that step