The advent of digital photography has led to the explosive growth of photography, whether as a creative art form or as a career choice. It is very easy to be a photographer now. You can buy cameras and some equipment, learn photography from many free online photography courses, practice your photography skills, and find a niche market that you can focus on. You can indeed find your own answer-how to become a professional photographer.
However, although it sounds easy, it is not so simple. Photography is a very competitive field. You need talents, skills, marketing acumen and discipline to become a professional photographer. To be successful, professional photographers not only need to be talented; they also need to persevere in long hours of work, compete hard due to the imbalance between supply and demand, and manage their business as entrepreneurs.
Here is a 10-step guide on how to become a professional photographer:
If you can strike the right balance between your creative enthusiasm and entrepreneurial instinct, then professional photography may be a great choice for your career. Just like starting any other business, before starting your photography career, make a list of questions you need to answer yourself, set goals and think about how to become a good photographer.
– What motivates me?
– Am I ready to start small and stick to it alone?
– Can I work alone as a photography professional?
– Which professional field of photography excites me?
– What gaps can I fill in locally?
– How can I improve my skills?
– What value can I provide to my customers?
2. Find a photography tutor
You can find answers to most of the questions about how to be a good photographer through online and offline research. Participate in photography lectures, exhibitions and seminars. You will meet many photographers in these activities, and you can get a lot of answers directly from them. You can become a member of many online photography communities. Some of the answers you seek will come from structured education, and some answers will only come with experience and time.
3. Receive the correct photography education Professional photography is one of the few fields that does not require structured training.
You can learn, practice and improve your skills without going to a formal educational institution. However, it can add a lot of value to your career, skills and experience as a professional photographer. Many professional photographers have taken photography courses in top photography schools, universities or design schools. In addition to developing their skills through formal courses, photographers should also have a keen eye, a lot of creativity and technical abilities. We have listed some simple steps to help you get started.
4. Conduct photography internships with professional photographers
If you are a young, up-and-coming photographer, please pay attention and establish contact with other professional photographers and mentors. Cultivating your “interpersonal skills” is very important. Good communication, flexibility and patient behavior are as important as developing the technical skills of professional photographers. Never shy away from getting feedback about your work. You will ultimately make a living based on the quality of your work.
Look for vacancies and get internships or assistant photography jobs to gain practical experience that no university or school can teach. The key is to gain professional photography experience by applying the knowledge and skills you have learned in the real world. During the internship, I focused on learning how to operate a photography business and how to deal with clients.
5. Find your focus area
Your education and internship experience will help you learn the art and technology of photography and give you a clearer understanding of what kind of photographer you want to be. Now is the time to start defining your photography style and find your market segment and focus on the type/style of photography you like. Do you want to shoot portraits, travel, weddings, fashion, conceptual art photography, documentary, or are you interested in commercial photography? Research the market segments you want to focus on-for example, if you want to become a wedding photographer, learn and learn from the best wedding photographer websites.
Cultivate your personal style of capturing the world. Create your own photo story. What do you particularly like to shoot, such as black and white, portrait, humor, color?
Follow your heart and believe in your vision. This will help you develop a unique style. Sometimes the use of specific equipment, specific themes, lighting settings, and editing process helps to define an individual’s photography style.
Pay attention to the work being done in your industry. Read industry-specific blogs, research, find inspiration, and let these ideas flow.
Create an online portfolio website to showcase your skills and talents. Make sure that the website builder you choose provides the flexibility, functionality, and ease of use needed to build a professional website without any coding knowledge. Pixpa is a portfolio website builder platform trusted by creative professionals around the world.
6. Combine suitable cameras, lenses and photography equipment
Although you need the right equipment to take high-quality images, don’t over-purchase all the fancy photography gadgets you can find.
In most cases, you can first buy well-functioning second-hand equipment or a slightly older camera or lens and start with a substantial discount. Buy a decent DSLR camera to start becoming a professional photographer. You don’t need the highest model to get started. Some photographers think that using SLR cameras is a more realistic way of learning photography. Read this article about SLR and DSLR cameras to make up your mind.
Make sure to buy the right equipment based on the type of photography you care about. Buying lenses is always an area where people tend to make a lot of wasteful spending-carefully choose lenses so that they can serve you in most of your work situations. In addition, make sure you have invested in the correct hardware and software for post-production. Properly calibrated monitors and correct editing software are prerequisites to meet your professional photography needs.
7. Practice, practice, practice again
Now everything is starting to merge together. You now need to continuously hone your skills by practicing all aspects of the photography profession over and over again. Make sure you are proficient in all devices and understand them from the inside of the camera.
Take pictures every day. Only in this way can you do better. Develop a work plan to manage your project. Start the 365-day project. Use Pinterest to create boards and plan the best shots in a specific style.
8. Build your photography portfolio
Your photographic portfolio is the most important tool for you to become a successful professional photographer. Having an impressive photographic portfolio will pave the way for success, because all potential clients will judge your skills and talents based on your portfolio. Choose the best image that shows all of your work-make sure your portfolio wins new customers for you.
9. Create your online portfolio website
Creating your online portfolio website is essential for you to gain exposure, reach customers, and let them view your work. Your photography website is your window to the world-when people search for “professional photographers near me”, it can open up new opportunities for you and win customers and projects outside of your network and local. Your website, brand, and content should reflect the type of work you specialize in to attract the right customer base. Learn how other top photographers showcase their portfolios-check out these photography portfolio sites.
Choose the right platform to create your portfolio website. Make sure that the portfolio website builder you choose provides the flexibility, functionality, and ease of use you need to build a professional portfolio website without any coding knowledge. Once you have a strong portfolio, you can register with the photography association in your country and become a certified professional photographer.
10. Set your photography pricing
Make sure to calculate all input costs and profit margins to arrive at the price of photography. Research the top professional photographers in your area and field, but consider the value you bring. Flexible and have a price range. Don’t overly weaken your competition in order to win projects, and don’t over-price and lose customers. Learn the basics of how to license your images and put together a template for signing a contract agreement with a customer.