Photography is the art of capturing life’s moments that happen in the wink of an eye with a click of the shutter. Maybe you’re already a self-proclaimed amateur photographer, with photos posted to your Facebook page garnering an abundance of “likes.” Photography can be a fun hobby and a great way to express yourself artistically, but many people are still making a good living out of taking their passion for pictures and turning it into a productive career. If you’re the family member or friend that always gets singled out during events to take the pictures, then maybe it’s time for you to take your eye for a great shot to the next level.
Professional photography isn’t just about being able to take good pictures, either. You have to be able to accomplish a variety of tasks if you want to remain relevant as a paid photographer. Here is a list of tips to help guide you through the basics of starting a photography business.
- Make sure you’ve got the right equipment. This doesn’t just mean having a nice Nikon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera. To take photos professionally, you’ll need flashes, backdrops, a tripod (or several), and a computer with the appropriate photo-editing software, like Adobe Photoshop.
- Make sure you know how to use it. Sure, you can spend a ton of money on some pretty state-of-the-art equipment, but if you don’t know how to use it then you might as well just submit the photos you’re taking to an abstract art gallery somewhere and hope for the best. To be a competitive photographer, you have to know photography basics, as well as stay current with the latest techniques and trends in the world of photography. Consider taking photography classes at a local university or enrolling in online courses. Not only will they help you perfect your craft, they’ll also be a tax write-off for your photography business.
- Put yourself out there. So you’ve got the right tools, and you can turn any low-light situation into photographic gold, but does anyone know how talented you are? If you’re not willing to put yourself out there by marketing your skills, then you’ll never succeed in a competitive business like professional photography. Be consistent with social media posts, website promotions, and letting potential clients in on your latest photo campaigns, like holiday specials and wedding events. Letting everyone know how busy you are will keep you fresh on their minds when they begin looking for a photographer for their special occasion.
Does professional photography sound like a career that you would like to develop? It takes keen business sense, consistent marketing skills, and a special eye for the perfect shot. If you think you’ve got what it takes, then don’t be afraid to get out your camera and take a shot!
Job Summary: Professional Photography
- Suitable for age range: 16+ years old.
- Safety and security: Safety and security risks involve those common when dealing with the general public, meeting new clients, and driving to and from various special events and occasions to take pictures.
- Can improve your: Business skills, artistic skills, and social skills.
- Can continue as a career? Many professional photographers start out taking pictures as a hobby before developing their love for photography into a growing and prosperous business.
- Required soft skills: Ability to communicate clearly with clients, to meet strangers, and to sell services.
- Required hard skills: A mastery of all of your camera equipment, with the ability to adjust for changing photography scenarios on a moment’s notice. Must also maintain the ability to work in high-pressure situations like weddings and sports events, and to produce quality shots time and again. May also require a driver’s license to get to and from events.
- Resources and network:
- Where & how to find one? Starting your own photography business can be as easy as dusting off an old camera and getting to work on flyers and business cards, but it’s becoming successful as a professional photographer that’s the hard part. One good way to begin your photography career is to acquire a mentor or tutor. Contact a local photographer and see if they would mind having a little unpaid help at their next photo shoot. You may not make any money for lending a hand, but the skills you can learn from a pro will last a lifetime.
- Estimated pay: Professional photography pay varies greatly depending on the specific job. Most photographers have different rates for different events. Wedding photography packages usually start around a thousand dollars and go up from there, while family shoots are usually charged at an hourly rate which can range anywhere from $30 to over $100 per hour. Rates can also vary depending on your area and the local competition, so consider doing a little investigating into local photographers’ rates before setting your own.