Have you ever wondered how to start a career in
Things to Consider Before Becoming a Full-Time Professional Photographer
Cost of Gear
First, before you quit your day job, make sure you crunch the numbers to see if you have enough money to invest in the gear your
A great place to get started is to Google the niche of
Take a look at what other photographers recommend in your niche and research what you can afford to buy outside
Next, you need to decide on which niche you want to specialise in. Many professional photographers just do wedding
It’s best to keep in mind that just because you love taking photos of your pets as a hobby doesn’t mean you will enjoy that as a full-time career in
Your Income can be Inconsistent
Also, when you first get started, you need to be aware that your business income will not be consistent. For example, as a wedding photographer, you may make all your money in the spring and fall. With this in mind, you need to budget for the rest of the year when money becomes more sparse.
Even if you have your own studio, you need to plan for high and low periods of business and prepare yourself as well as your family to live in periods of income. Ask yourself, is this a lifestyle I can live in? Many professional photographers fail in the first 5 years because they discover they simply can’t earn enough year around. So take the time to crunch your finances and income to see if a
Do you have the time to commit to a full-time business?
So you took the time to learn
You have to be an accountant, social media manager, administrator, networker, and much more. As your business grows, you can outsource some of these jobs, but more money comes with practical experience. So make sure you have a solid foundation and the time to commit to running a
Preparation for Starting a Career in
Here are a few tips and tricks you can use to prepare your
Find a Mentor
Finding a mentor is one of the most important things you can do to prepare for professional work. You will learn such skills as how to find potential clients, industry standards, and if the career path is right for you by studying under someone who is already working full time as a photographer.
Even better, many photographers are looking for help, especially a wedding photographer or other high-stress
Get Professional Education
Online courses are a great way to better prepare yourself for your career choice in
What are the qualifications needed to become a professional photographer?
A professional degree is not required in the industry to be accepted as a photographer. Most people take online courses to learn new skills. When you learn online, you can find time easily to devote to learning instead of having to go somewhere on a set schedule, such as a university. If you are currently a photographer working on weekends, taking courses is a great way to fast-track your
This may seem backward in your
You want to get the good practice of not over shooting, which film
If you want to have a good career in
Some photographers still don’t understand these concepts, and it will help you to feel more confident in your own work as well.
Photography Groups and Communities
Being a photographer is a lot more than just taking photos. It’s important that you join groups to learn what is trending in the
Be helpful to other photographers, especially other pros. A career as a professional photographer is a very difficult way to make a living, so help out. Share info and equipment if you can. Be tolerant and friendly to amateur photographers who ask for your help. They show their love and respect for something you believe in.
Once your own business grows, you will have a group to refer to for other photographers to assist you or sell your old equipment. Connecting with other people and especially photographers is one of the best things you can do for your career in
Photography Business – Basic Steps
So you have your social media accounts set up and a lot of
1. Domain Name
First, take some real time when choosing a domain name. This name should be easy to spell, connect to your brand, and easy to remember. If you have a hard-to-spell name, maybe rethink the name of your company.
Also, many website templates come with an easy-to-buy domain system. Check out sites like SmugMug, Pixpa, and WordPress to explore a variety of options and templates for your website and domain name.
During the course of your career, you need to create a unique brand that sticks. When you pick up your camera and show up to any shoot, you should be able to easily tell customers who you are and what you do. Branding comes down to every detail of your company, including fonts, colours, images, logos, and much more!
First, start off by exploring inspiration sites such as Pinterest or Instagram to see what local photographers are doing. Choose the top three and ask yourself why I am attracted to their branding? Then find ways to work that into your own branding.
Of course, do not steal people’s ideas, but instead, spin them around to make them work with your portfolio and website. Look for tips from others that can help you grow your own branding.
3. Identify your Dream Clients
If you want your business to be successful, you need to really narrow down who your dream customers are. You should know everything about them. Where do they live? How much money do they earn? What are their interests? What is their career? What problems can you solve for them through your
If you feel unsure, learn how to find your dream clients and define who they are. This is one of the most important steps you will take in your business.
Next, to stay on course for success, take a long hard look at your portfolio. You should never post a single image you don’t love on your website. You need to be very picky about what you are sharing with your potential customers.
As Hemingway once said about his books “kill your darlings”. Only show your best work that will surely connect with your dream customers. If you are feeling unsure, ask your past customers or family and friends for feedback. Take it a step further by paying a professional photographer to critique your portfolio.
Pricing the services is one of the top parts of the business that makes photographers uncomfortable. They don’t know their own worth. How much should you charge? Well, this is a question that comes on many levels. First, you need to consider what your customers are willing to pay for your services?
Next, consider what they are getting besides
You may think you don’t need a contract. Think again. No matter what type of
If you don’t know where to get started, head on over to Legalzoom.com or professional photographers of America. PPA offers members free legal advice and lawyers to go to work for you when you need help most. The membership is worth that price alone.
7. Unique Selling Points
What makes you different from other photographer businesses? Are you great with kids? Do you make your customers laugh? Do you shoot film? Do you know how to use a drone? Sit down and write out some things that are unique to your personality and your work.
This list is the special skill set that is going to propel you to greatness! You need to figure out your unique selling points so you can push them in everything from your branding to your networking. If you are unsure, ask your family and friends what special traits they think are unique to you.
8. Network Network Network
Lastly, the key to starting your own
Come up with an elevator pitch to help people learn about your business. Go to networking events,
When people need a photographer in your genre, your name should be the first one to pop into their brain because they met you and liked you. Networking doesn’t have to be just in person either, and you can network on social media and other internet platforms.
Rules of Professional
You must never be a part of the situation you are shooting, whether it is a wedding or a news event, or a family gathering. You must learn to be an unattached observer or you alter the purity and honesty of the events before you. You must not photograph people when you are in a private place unless you have their permission. That is an invasion of privacy and against the law.
If you get their permission you are well advised to tell those folks what you intend to do with the photo. In fact, you may not sell that photograph for commercial purposes, even though you received permission to photograph the person, unless you have a “Photo Release” form from that person, giving you the right to use the picture for commercial use.
If you are on public property and manage to photograph something that transpires on private property you may use that photograph for your personal use, and have it published in a legitimate media – like a newspaper or Internet website – however, you may not sell, or use, that photograph for the purposes of making money off of it.
Being a photographer carries the responsibility of never altering a photograph. (You can lighten, darken, sharpen, or crop the image and be safe. To alter is to “Make or become different in some particular way, without permanently losing one’s or its former characteristics or essence (compromising the purity and integrity of the art).
Final Thoughts on Getting Success in Your
There you have it! All the steps you need to reach real success in your
Your creativity will be sparked, you will inspire others, and you will create a vision for others they may not have been able to create themselves. So pick up your camera today and go out there ready to reach success. You are your only real obstacle, and by following these steps, you are sure to kick start your career as a photographer.
Whether you want your photos shown in National Geographic or call your home your office, there is a