If you are thinking about becoming a professional photographer
but are unsure of your abilities, in doubt or do not know where to start, this text will give you some guidance to start.
Making money with photography is real
Making photography your profession is absolutely real, no matter what anyone tells you.
You have probably heard many times that there are already so many people with cameras around, every second is a photographer, and all these jokes.
Yes, there are many people with good cameras, but few who know how to really use them. Yes, there are already smartphones with excellent cameras, but they are not always suitable for professional work.
And in the end, each person carries his own unique vision of the world. And if a photographer shoots from the heart, then there will definitely be an audience for his pictures.
Must be good at photography
In order to make money with photography, you need to have a good technical level.
You may have a not very expensive and not the most professional SLR camera, but you should be able to easily control the exposure functions, all the manual settings of your camera, and know it thoroughly.
The technical training of a photographer includes not only the possession of technology, but also – most importantly – knowledge of light, how to use it and how to create it; knowledge about the composition of the frame, about colors, about the meanings in photography.
Buying the most expensive equipment and understanding it will not be enough.
In addition, you will still need to learn how to work in at least one photo editor and, of course, a photo book layout program if you want to expand your services.
There are people who manage to sell low-quality photos for a lot of money. If you still truly love photography and want to give people joy and beauty through your skills, you will not do this.
You will learn all your life
First you will get basic knowledge of photography.
Perhaps you will learn on your own and collect them piece by piece and put them into a single picture. Perhaps get the basics from someone else’s good guidance, which is usually quicker and clearer.
But then you will look at thousands of pictures and learn from their examples.
You will go to master classes of photographers who inspire you and learn from them.
It’s important to know something here – there will come a time when you will take no more than 20% of new information from workshops and webinars, and this will be fine. Because you will already have a good knowledge base, and you will just fill in the gaps, get insights and inspiration if the master class is really good.
But you will learn all the time and with great pleasure.
You will need to do marketing
If you want to do custom photo shoots – weddings, children’s, reportage and any other, you will have to learn marketing for a photographer. It’s better to know about it right away.
In my 10 years of filming experience, it took me about five years to start thinking about it at all, and only the last two years have I been marketing consciously.
You have to learn all the time, because the digital world is changing very quickly.
Marketing for a photographer will include a good portfolio site, its SEO, maintaining social media accounts, paid targeted advertising, constantly sending information to customers, creating a sales funnel, and so on.
And as I wrote, it is absolutely possible to become a professional photographer, but it is also true that it will not be good enough to photograph for this. You need to have some more skills.
Additional skills and abilities
In addition to beautiful photos, you need to study marketing, psychology, be able to build communication with people and create excellent customer service. These are all very important points for the profession of a photographer.
Making money with photography is running a business.
It is better to immediately treat this occupation as a business.
Even if you are not yet sure that you are shooting at the proper level, even if you do not know where to look for clients, what price to set and who will pay for your photos, start with the basics.
For example, write down all your expenses for equipment, down to the smallest detail – batteries, cards. Record all your training expenses. This will be your primary investment in your future profession.
Believe me, having in front of your eyes the amount you invested in getting started, you will never want to rent for free and learn to charge for your services much faster.
In addition to expenses, immediately maintain a customer base. It is easier to do this from the very beginning than to remember and organize later. Ideally, you should immediately maintain a CRM system where you will have basic data, be sure to email, it would be nice to have birthdays of clients and their children.
Be sure to make an online portfolio in the form of a website.
Once you have a starter portfolio to show to potential clients, make yourself a good website. Now it is quite easy to do it yourself.
Make a website and set your first price for services.
There are photographers who shoot for free “for a portfolio” for years, and all because they are not sure of their quality all the time.