How to Become a Photographer: 10 Tips on Starting a Photography Career
February 21, 2016
February 21, 2016
A photography career has a charm of its own. If you yearn to become a professional photographer, you are already aware that this is a highly competitive industry. But does that stop you from living your dream freelance photography career? If you have the right skills, consumers will trust their time and money on you, hoping that you can produce a visually appealing image that tells a story. There is nothing better than making money doing what you are passionate about. Isn’t it? When your clicks leave the world awe-struck, could you ask for more?
Yes, freelance photography gives you the opportunity to earn a reputation across the globe!
Photography is a Huge World
All of us appreciate the ability of the camera to capture moments dear to us and freeze them in time, leaving us with beautiful memories to cherish all our lives. If photography is a passion, it can pay you rich dividends as a career. Starting a photography career isn’t that difficult.
Here’s how you can get started:
Build a Portfolio
A strong portfolio is the first thing you would need to start a freelance photography career. It should include samples of your work and show potential clients that you have the skills and experience demanded by their photography project.
If you are just starting out, make sure you have something impressive to show clients. Show them your shoots of your friend’s marriage. Of course, you have covered a cute baby’s birthday bash, capturing sweetest moments that would bring a big smile to anybody’s face. Include them in your portfolio.
All such photos can decorate your portfolio and convince potential clients of your ability and skills in using the camera to capture moments in real time. You may want to choose a theme for your portfolio and include an appealing statement outlining your experience and feelings about the subject matter. It would help to include relevant certifications in your portfolio.
However, it is important to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a picture before including it in your profile.
Choose your field
Do you have a passion for a specific field? Does nature inspire and motivate you more than anything else? Do you love to capture sporting events or find taking clicks of architectural buildings more interesting? Do you wish to be a military photographer or plan to capture lifetime events?
You may want to market yourself as a specialist in the freelance photography industry, with core skills in a specific field. Choose your field and get started with your camera.
Buy no unnecessary equipment
Don’t feel tempted to buy unnecessary gear and equipment to “help your business.” You don’t need all the photography equipment that a competitor uses. Chances are you won’t ever use all that you have invested in. It would only amount to wasting money by investing in gear that you don’t need.
You can always convince yourself to being thoughtful about purchases. If you already own photography gear that creates the images you want, you have just the right equipment to frame shots and create memories for clients. So why waste money on something that you don’t need?
But this doesn’t mean you should buy any crap camera. The most important equipment you need is a single-lens reflex camera with a built-in light meter. Second, you need some editing software to edit images and organize photos. Buy a camera, lights, and lenses you can comfortably use and wait for your business to generate more money for investment in advanced camera equipment.
Word-of-mouth marketing continues to get people business. Prospective clients are more likely to trust recommendations of friends than magazine advertisements. Is there a relative or friend that has used your services? You can always spread out the word about your services to those around you, so they can bring you business whenever someone needs a photographer for an event.
When you have started with your freelance photography career, it would help to set up a formal referral program to reward clients for referring your services to others. It may help to hand out a stack of your business cards to happy clients and encourage them to tell their friends about you. A business card with a professional logo is a significant marketing tool to present yourself as a serious freelance photographer.
Starting a photography career may seem like a daunting task initially. However, once you understand the nuances of the business, everything will fall in place then. To start with, you need to build a client base. Try leaving your marketing material with local businesses that attract customers. You may have the best photography skills in the world, but you may not see any success until potential clients know about you. Show potential customers that what you are doing is interesting and valuable. Go out of the box to impress clients and get business.
Leverage the power of social media to market your services. Engage with potential audiences and start a discussion.
Connect with potential clients
When you are wondering how to become a photographer, it may help to join online freelancing marketplaces and forums. Connect with your target audience in mobile on-demand platforms that have become a hub of freelancers. Peer Hustle is one such freelance marketplace where you can connect with potential customers and impress them with your portfolio and skills and get started.
When you are already a professional in the industry and are looking to expand your freelancing business, the feature-rich mobile application can connect you with an entire team of videographers, photographers, actors, models, stylists, or makeup artists for a client’s photo shoot.
Get a website
As a freelancer, you want the world to know about your skills. A website is one self-promotion tool that you may want to use to showcase your skills to potential clients. In fact, by having your own website, it’s easier to establish your credibility among prospective customers and show them that you mean business.
- Include your best photos that instantly click with the audience and display creativity and experience.
- Keep the site updated almost every day with fresh photographs. This will enhance the popularity of your website and keep it fresh in the search engines.
It may also help to start your own blog and talk about photography. A blog would be a window to your photography knowledge and establish you as an expert in the industry. People will look up to you for advice and inspiration.
Shoot a lot
When you are starting a photography career, make it a point to take pictures wherever you go. By doing so, you will become more familiar with your camera and learn it better. Practicing photo shoots in different modes every time will improve your understanding and knowledge and give you a better idea of standing behind the camera. The more you spend time shooting clicks, the better you’ll get with using the lens.
Stay organized and disciplined
It’s important to be disciplined and organized when you start out as a freelance photographer. Catalogue all of your projects and make sure you are able to easily trace any specific file that you may need later.
It’s even important to figure out what makes you stand apart from the competition. Use it to your advantage. The goal is to get work on the basis of your skills, not what is trending. It’s your unique selling point that will outshine the present trends and establish you as a professional in the industry that clients can trust their work on.
Try to imitate the work of your heroes. By doing so, you will gain deeper insight into process and production and also learn more about your personal tastes.
Set your goals high and stay updated
See big and remain professional all the time. Set high goals and never undervalue yourself. Bidding low on projects may create a wrong impression of your competence on clients. Underbidding reduces your value as a professional.
When you set yourself big goals, it will be easier to accomplish things and stay focused. However, it is not necessary to beat yourself up if things aren’t going as planned. Initially it may be hard but if you have faith in yourself and continue to make efforts, your hard work will pay off.
Your goal is to portray a picture of yourself that you want clients to see. Remain professional to the core and always be updated with the trends of photography so you are never caught unaware by the demands of a client. As photography is an art, you need to show your creative skills and experiment on your own shots. Photographic websites and magazines are your best recourse to getting latest updates in the industry.
Freelance photography is a lucrative career these days. With the right skills and work approach, you can carve out a niche for yourself in the industry and get your photography business running. True, starting a photography career and earning a name for yourself may not be a smooth ride, but you can outshine the competition with a dedicated approach to work and setting the correct budget. If it’s a passion to click others, turning it into a profession is a great idea! Get started with a freelance photography career today!