Want to turn your dreams of becoming a professional photographer into a reality? Whilst it can be a very competitive career, photography has such a wide application that there’s always a way of getting your foot in the door. Here are some of the major steps any budding photographer needs to take when considering a career.
1. Learn the Ropes
Becoming a professional photographer requires some know-how. There are plenty of courses in photography for those that want formal education. For those that prefer a self-taught approach, it’s worth reading books, magazines and blogs. Whilst there is no right or wrong approach to photography, learning from others can help you better understand the trade, as well as giving you influences that can help you develop your own style.
2. Buy the Right Equipment
You don’t need a top end camera to begin with. You can usually save money on a mid-range professional camera by buying second hand. Rather than buying multiple camera bodies, focus on buying different lenses. Depending on the type of photography you want to get into, you may also need accessories such as lighting. Good editing software is also needed.
3. Get Experience
All photographers should build up a portfolio of work they’ve done. This can be shown to prospective employers or used to show clients what you can do if going down a self-employed route. There are various ways to gain experience. Some photography companies will offer internships, which could be worth making use of. Alternatively, you could volunteer your services to help build up a history of clients. Also consider family and friends who may need someone to provide photography for a wedding or take shots for a Linked In profile.
4. Market Yourself
Marketing yourself effectively will help you to stand out from the crowd. This means promoting yourself in any way possible. Social media pages and a website can help give you an online presence, which may be useful for attracting work. When it comes to real world marketing, try to use every social event you can as an opportunity to network and find new clients. Print off business cards and form cross-promotion strategies with other businesses. The more creative your marketing strategy is, the more likely it is to make your services stand out.
5. Find Your Speciality
At first, you should be taking up any opportunity that arises just to build up experience. However, eventually you may want to find a speciality that can help you stand out. This could be anything from real estate photography to photojournalism to wedding photography. By networking with people within that trade you can help to find new clients and make a name for yourself. Each specialism is likely to come with its own rules and techniques. Read up on these so that you can compete with other specialist photographers within your niche. Remember that even professionals within their niche may still accept other odd jobs. If you’re a fashion photographer and you’re struggling to find clients and a wedding shoot comes up, don’t automatically turn it down – it could lead onto extra fashion photography work if you just so happen to meet someone at the event.