Monday, June 27, 2022

How to Become a Professional Photographer – A Free Step-by-Step Guide

Photography is a beautiful artform if one practices it with passion. It is a popular career option, but irrespective of being perceived as a glamorous profession, it takes a lot of effort, hard work, and knowledge.

Your love for photography reflects in the moments you capture. However, you need to have the courage and discipline to convert your passion into a profession. As it is a competitive field, you need to have the skills, shrewdness, and talent to make your mark as a professional photographer.

What does it take to be a professional photographer?

The Washington Post defines a professional photographer as someone who earns over half of their annual income from photography. 

Every professional photographer spends most of their time collaborating with their clients to bring ideas to life. You will have clients who share their opinions and ideas about how a project should unfold including what type of images they want as a result.

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If you are a photographer who is consistently honing your craft, then your pictures must be outstanding. 

Do you also have a mentor to nudge you in the right direction? If so, you are lucky. But not everyone has a mentor, which is why we have written a few recommended steps to help you become a professional photographer.

Look inside yourself

First, do a little research on yourself. You can begin by finding out what matters to you. This allows you to discover your motivations: business or art; or both.

Prior to beginning your career in photography, ask yourself the right questions and look inside yourself to discover why you want to take up this new journey altogether. 

  • Why do you want to become a professional photographer?
  • What are your aspirations and future goals?
  • What benefits do you want to reap in a photography career?
  • What niche do you want to target?

As a budding photographer, begin by practicing the different types of photography. Try to shoot something every day. This will enhance the quality of your work and refine your creativity daily.

Be your own mentor

Most likely, you will find all the answers to your questions both online and offline. Make it your habit to attend local exhibitions, seminars, and talks by experts. Upon attending these events, you will meet a lot of professional photographers, and eventually all your queries will be answered. 

Join credible photography communities online. Also, you should increase your knowledge of using photographic equipment for capturing the perfect image.

Pursue an Education in Photography

Although being a photographer does not require formal training, you still need to learn to hone your skills and practice capturing memorable images. Joining an educational institute will pay off. Above all, there are so many course options available to choose from:

Photography Certificate  Program: This course covers the basics of photography, principles of digital photography, how to use photography software, and the history of photography.

Associate’s Degree Photography : This program lasts for 2 years. The syllabus is technical to help learners learn different types of photography from transparency and negative films to working with natural light. 

Bachelor of Fine Arts: This is a 4-year program that includes the study of the fundamentals of photography, digital and film photography, the history of photography, and other topics related to photography.

Master of Fine Arts: This program involves learning the theoretical aspects of image-making and photography. It also gives students practical experience.

Become an assistant to a professional photographer

Build your network with other professional photographers and always be ready to receive their feedback. It will help you learn new skills.

Look for jobs and apply to be an assistant to a professional photographer to gain practical experience on the job. This complements your university education with real-world scenarios. 

While being an assistant to a professional photographer, remember to learn about the business of photography and how to deal with clients.

Build A Camera Kit

To get started as a professional photographer, invest in a good-quality DSLR camera. Also, be sure to purchase the right set of equipment based upon the photography you are interested in.  

Select your lenses carefully as people end up spending more than they should. Plus, do not forget to buy the right hardware and software for post-production, such as Lightroom and Photoshop. These are the best editing tools for photographers.

Create a Strong Online Portfolio

Pick your best images that cover the breadth of your work so far. Having an impressive portfolio will allow your clients to judge your skills and talent. 

While creating a portfolio website, be sure that the website builder offers robust features and flexibility with no coding knowledge needed. Your branding, website, and content should reflect your area of focus so you attract the right client base to your work.

Determine your photography rates

To finalize your photography rate, calculate all your costs and income. Remember to be flexible with your rates. Find the top 10 professional photographers in your area and see what value they bring in for their clients and what they charge.

Learn about licensing your images. You can also use templates for agreements between you and your clients.

Market yourself and see your growth

Marketing is indispensable for reaching your clients. Take part in photography contests, local trade exhibitions, increase your network on social media, send emails to potential clients, and be open to receiving collaboration requests.

Whatever choices you make: be it for marketing, the clients you work with, or equipment you invest in, all of it will have a massive impact on your photography business.

The challenging and exciting world of photography awaits you. Capture the magic of the moment and it will benefit your career as a photographer.