Photography is often seen as an exciting hobby; however, very few people consider turning this hobby into a career. It is true that it is a little hard to run a full-time business in photography, as it is a passion that grew out of a hobby. Hobbyist photographers think about turning their photography skills into a career at least once in their life. But most people don’t know the basics of jumpstarting a photography career; on the other hand, some learn it as they go along.
Turning Passion into Career
It can be pretty challenging to start a career out of photography; however, here are some tips and tricks to help you have a better start.
1. Take Part in as Many Photography Competitions as You Can
Photography competitions are a great way to improve your skills and creativity. Taking part in such competitions allows you to get honest feedback and valuable lessons that help in improving your photography skills.
Photography competitions allow photographers to find their niche and make them their own critique. This way, they tend to look out for mistakes in their work and improve it. Improving your skills is the best way to level up your photography from just a hobby to a career. So, if you are thinking of ways to enhance your way into photography, start with photography competitions.
2. Select One Niche and Focus On It
If you start off as a photographer who doesn’t know what niche he/she wants to choose, you wouldn’t be able to jumpstart your photography career. It is better to choose a niche and stick to it instead of gaining knowledge about different fields of photography. Master your desired niche, and become a pro at it. You can always learn about other niches but go with one initially.
Most people go for a niche they find easy; however, the truth is, you should always go for the one that aligns perfectly with your passion. Learn every technique related to it, no matter how long it takes. Be a master before you land your passion as your career. All the experience and learning will help you jumpstart your business as a photographer.
3. Make a Portfolio, a Physical One
As a photographer, you need to show off your work to gain recognition and move to the next level. It is better to have a physical portfolio of your best work to show off when an opportunity arrives. There are several ways of creating a photography portfolio, but the best one is always in the form of a photo album or a book. In short, you need to go a step ahead to win the race.
4. Do Not Buy Unnecessary Gear
The buying cycle for a photographer doesn’t end; they have to keep upgrading their gear with time. However, the problem arises when the buying becomes binge buying of unnecessary stuff. Most people buy gear thinking that having more accessories will allow them to get better pictures, and their business will go up. Although high-quality photography equipment is essential for good pictures, sometimes it is just a waste of money.
Hence a professional photographer should make sure only to buy the gear he/she needs.
5. Make More Relations with Other Photographers
Having good relations and connecting with people from the same field always helps, and it isn’t just about networking. The benefits go beyond that, like-minded people inspire each other, and the connection becomes more about brainstorming, sharing resources, accountability, and the process of learning from each other.
To jumpstart your photography career, you should know at least a few people from your field of interest who can guide and help you when needed.
6. Help Your Fellows Whenever You Can
As a photographer or a studio owner, it is important to be helpful to others working in the same field. This way, others will also be kind towards you when needed. This tip should be followed in every situation, especially when you want to jumpstart your photography career. For example, if you are on an outdoor shoot, you can take pictures of local vendors and inbox them. The content should be more social media-friendly, so they can use it for their publicity and give you a shout-out; both of you will be benefited.
7. Indulge in Marketing of Your Business
For a photography career, marketing skills are different from other fields of business. You cannot push your work on social media 24/7, neither can you send emails again and again. There are other marketing methods that you can use to promote your photography business. For example, you can organize small events such as demos, workshops, or photo sessions, ask your regular clients for referrals, offer some discounts, and cross-promote your business with other related businesses. This way, you can market your business without making your clients uncomfortable.
8. Make a Price List
If you have decided to level up from a hobbyist photographer to a professional one, make sure to make a price list. It is too unprofessional not to have a price list and call yourself a professional photographer. Make your pricing clearly outlined to your clients and if you offer any discounts, make them clear. Put some effort while making your price list, do not charge too little or too much for your work, and know about the rates other professional photographers are offering in your area.
9. Start Your Photography Blog
Blogging is maybe the best way to make your name visible in the photography world. Your online presence can help you a lot in starting your career as a photographer. Nowadays, it is pretty easy to start a photography blog; there are several websites like WordPress where you can start a blog even with minimal knowledge of website development.
You can share your best work, the things you have learned, and your ideas through the blog. Blogs allow more people to know about you and your skills and get more clients.
A transition from a hobbyist photographer to a professional photographer requires a lot of effort. However, the hard work pays off. A photographer should set realistic goals and work on achieving them; unrealistic goals can only make people feel disappointed.
Moreover, it is better to brainstorm small steps before taking bigger steps towards a business. Start from more minor things and make progress as you learn, do not think that it is a good idea to resign from your job (other than photography) before you have established your photography career perfectly. Lastly, if you are in the very early phase of such transition, you are in a privileged form, as you have the time and capacity to look for ways and opportunities for unique work.